Less of a Random Killing Machine, More of a Personal Statement
Today’s review is an admission of guilt on my part. I saw this movie in theaters about three months ago and, even though my sister indicated that she was intrigued to find my opinion about this movie, I completely forgot to give it. And, after three months, the drink and drug affected my brain so much that I completely forgot I had a sister. Oh wait, I mean I forgot to review this movie. And it was even more important because old what’s-her-name wanted to hear my opinion. Well, it turns out I had waited long enough to review this movie that it’s already been released on DVD. And so I am finally able to bring you my review of Skyfall, written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan, directed by Sam Mendes, and starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw.
A MI6 agent on his Majesty’s secret service by the name of James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on assignment with another agent named Eve (Naomie Harris). They’re in pursuit of a mercenary that has stolen a hard drive containing the NOC list from the first Mission Impossible movie, containing the identity of all the undercover agents in the world. While trying to get the hard drive back, Eve inadvertently shoots Bond, allowing the mercenary to escape. The death of James Bond sends shockwaves through MI6. Eve is suspended to a desk job and Chairman Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) suggests that it’s time for the head of MI6, M (Judi Dench), to retire. On her way back to her office, M finds that someone has hacked her computer, sending her a taunting message and blowing up her office. James, who has been banging women and drinking a lot, learns of the attacks and returns to duty, regardless of his injury. M approves him for duty even though his test results do not, and Bond sets about finding out who was behind this. Psst! It was Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
Now, I’m not really sure what old what’s-her-name thought about this movie, so I don’t know what her opinion was. Not that it would change mine, but I would at least have bullet points to argue with her if I knew. I liked this movie, I like the greater majority of the Bond movies, and I like the Daniel Craig ones most of all. I know a lot of Bond fanatics probably wouldn’t be down with that sentiment, but I like action movies more than I like suave spy movies, and the Daniel Craig ones meet that description much better. But that’s not to say this movie didn’t have its share of problems. The first thing that occurred to me was that the bad guy could post his video of the undercover agents on YouTube. One of my videos is still not allowed to be monetized because I infringed on copyrights in their opinion! And that didn’t get anybody killed! YouTube needs to get their shit together. Also, I know these new Bond movies want to set themselves apart like the Batman Begins of the Bond movies, being darker and more realistic. And, though I appreciate the shout outs to things that Bond fans would appreciate, they had a couple of “fuck you” parts that they shouldn’t leave in. It’s like in the first X-Men movie when Cyclops joked about how dumb they’d look if they were wearing yellow and blue tights. In this one, Q jokes about not having exploding pens because that would be so dumb. You know the Bond fans that are supporting your movies are probably not going to enjoy you saying that the things they liked were stupid, right? The name of the movie was also an annoyance to me. I had no idea what they meant by Skyfall when I saw the title. I didn’t know what it meant when it came up in the psychiatric evaluation. And when I found out it was Bond’s house, I was really let down. Especially when they go all Kevin McCallister with it, setting up traps like it’s Home Alone. I see this too often in movies that are trying to take themselves seriously recently. I heard a lot of complaining about this movie about how it was too M heavy, but I didn’t really see that. I understand the complaints that everyone always thinks what Bond is doing is reckless and crazy, but he also has saved the world about 23 times already and people should just get off his sack. But with the M thing, I assume Dench was ready to get out of these action movies since she’s pushing 80 now, and they wanted an emotionally resonant way to do that. I feel they accomplished that.
I was cool with the action and the look of the movie, but I could’ve used some more action. It made me laugh that they started the movie with Bond being visually obscured and then revealing only his eyes at first, as if we were supposed to not know who he was when you played the music score when he walked into frame. But that didn’t make me laugh as much as when this super spy was in a car chase with these bad guys and they pulled their car up right next to the villain in his car, and Bond’s big idea was to ram his car instead of maybe grabbing the gun that we know he has and shooting the guy with it. He could’ve put it point blank against the guy’s temple they were so close! Instead he chose the equivalent in effectiveness of reaching over and flicking his ear, which he could have done because he was so close to the guy. I also liked that they had a chase through a bazaar in Istanbul because I’m pretty sure I recognized it from one of the Assassin’s Creed games. And no, I don’t think it’s at all pathetic that I can only recognize famous global landmarks because I’ve been there in video games. I know what the Eiffel Tower is because it was in the fourth Alien movie and one of the National Treasures too! …Also I’ve been there. I liked the opening though. It was action-packed and a great way to start a movie. Then they go into those classic Bond-style credit sequences with that cool Adele song playing. How do they still come up with those crazy credit sequences when LSD isn’t as popular anymore?
The cast was all pretty good in this movie. Daniel Craig is a pretty awesome Bond, and I’m told he’s attractive as well. I felt like his one-liners weren’t nearly as good in this one as they have been in the past, but that’s not really his fault as much as it is the writers fault. Another thing they did with his character was only use the fact that he wasn’t as good of a shot anymore when they needed it. Twice in the movie they show him not being able to hit anything with a gun, but you put a shotgun in his hand and take him back to Skyfall and he’s a champion skeet shooter. Javier Bardem made a strange choice for the villain. I don’t think they’ve had a flamboyantly gay villain before. Besides Nick Nack. And sure, he didn’t SAY he was gay, but come on… At first I thought he was kind of laughable as a villain, and then he did that William Tell thing with the sexy chick and the shot glass. That was pretty fucked up. Even more so because she was hot. And then he pulled out his dentures and told his sob story and I was kind of in with his performance. Naomie Harris also did a good job in the movie, and was nice to look at throughout (although I still maintain that she hasn’t topped her hotness in Pirates of the Caribbean yet), but was it really supposed to be a surprise when she said her last name? Could people not have guessed that when they had her in the secretary’s office? I’m not even the biggest Bond fan and I figured that one out.
Skyfall was a good movie with its share of problems, but not enough that it would hinder my enjoyment. Solid story, decent action, and good performances. They had some things that didn’t make sense, and some of the one-liners fell short, but I enjoyed the experience. I saw this in theaters, bought it post haste on BluRay, and will look forward to Daniel Craig’s next outing as Bond. Skyfall gets “Enjoying death” out of “I say ‘Day’ and you might say …’ ‘Wasted.’”
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