Saw 'Skyfall'.....

Discussion in 'Cactus Cafe' started by FAST FRED, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. FAST FRED

    FAST FRED 500+ Posts

    .....and thought it was definitely OK, pretty darned entertaining and a little different from what I expected, but actually nothing particularly special as a cinematic event after my final evaluation.

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    SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD:








    Daniel Craig is very good again here in his third Bond role. I enjoy his sanguinely suave, mostly unflinching, outwardly sophisticated with a wry sense of humor yet carnal, savage, muscularly visceral and ruthless take on James Bond even more than I did Sean Connery's earlier excellent and iconic, though less literal in my view, portrayals of Ian Fleming's secret agent 007.

    IMHO, the filmed work of Roger Moore and that of several other "Bonds" rank well beneath that of those two.

    Craig's 007 is as uncerebral as a pit viper, as purposefully loyal as an attack trained pit bull and forever and relentlessly as duty bound as a casino pit boss in service to his Queen and country.

    Whenever he clicks into action mode he's nearly as unstoppable as Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" with his programmed bravery, calm reactions, quick decisiveness, tenacity, deadly destructive skills and, in his case, more than a little luck giving him almost super powers.

    And Dame Judi Dench makes good use of an abundance of screen time as "M."

    On the down side, IMO, this movie was notably slow moving at times and a little talky, except for its great and exciting trademark action sequences, plus I thought things were very, very sorely lacking in the sexy Bond girl department.

    Adding that all up, I found all those skinny chicks and the paucity of female skin shown to be a minus.

    Bond, himself, bares more.

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    It was also generally bereft of the usual array of Bond film gadgets which have run the gamut in variation from the genuinely clever and/or innovative to being too gimmicky or even overly cute.

    Not that many spectacular scenic locations were featured either (instead, lots of tunnels, barren moors, rocky highlands and dark interior scenes) as the 23rd film of this well-followed franchise became increasingly old school and gritty the further on it flickered, while revealing 007's bloody basic instincts and several tidbits of Bond's back story which could be helpful by helping to explain or in allowing interesting future story lines.

    Because a young "Moneypenny" and "Q," Bond's Scottish boyhood home, his orphaned upbringing, the circumstance of his parents' deaths and his formative years at MI6 are introduced in this episode.

    I believe more Bond back story was given us in this film than in all others combined.

    So that's a length-creating newby to what had always been formulaic and faster before.

    While having fewer gadgets from Q and going old school were acceptable, I found the only really disappointing thing in this motion picture was its villain.

    Maybe you'll appreciate him more but I found "Silva," as played by Javier Bardem, less evil an antagonist than what I'd expected or hoped for, especially when compared to his cunning, stunning, compressed air gunning "Anton Chigurh" in "No Country for Old Men."

    As one critic wagged, you never knew if Silva wanted to blow Bond up or just blow him.

    Of course, bad guys are always chosen for Bond, not by him, and we don't generally get to choose our villains in real life either.

    There wasn't any doubt what Bond wanted to do, once he identified his foe.

    And 007 stalked him, exactly as he often does: by "sneaking up" in plain sight at a gaming establishment and ordering a shaken Vodka cocktail.

    Silva didn't even appear until everything was half over and then seemed to be channeling or even reprising those flawed, weak-*ssed Bond villains played by Christopher Walken or even Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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    When Silva attacked by helicopter, instead of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" coming over his on board loudspeakers, they blared out John Lee Hooker's "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom" as recorded by The Animals.

    I, of course, thought that bit of derivation (or homage) was cool.

    For me, if Bardem's role was memorable at all it was in a largely forgettable way, when evaluated by me against what I cogitate this storyline needed to be better realized.

    Silva had a few truly vile moments, but often seemed to be the mere caricature of a villain, occasionally coming off here and there a bit like that rascally bohemian artist Bardem so successfully brought to life in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

    Heck, I recall how those local construction worker meanies in either version of "Straw Dogs" were almost equally threatening in some ways.

    I do allow how film director Sam Mendes has perhaps renewed, reimagined and somewhat reinvigorated the James Bond franchise for future viewing with this worthwhile cinematic effort, but I personally won't need to see this flick again (except perhaps to glean any mumbled or misheard British dialogue from DVD subtitles) because, other than being able to proudly say that I've seen all 23 of them so far, I found not all that much motion picture magic was accomplished here for me.

    I was very eager to see this flick and I'm glad I did, but I've decided this story, its main villain and some of the other movie making choices were a little lackluster.

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  2. Clean

    Clean 5,000+ Posts

    The previous 22 Bond movies created a formula:

    There's an opening chase scene which has nothing to do with the main plot.
    Bond gets back to London and learns of some threat to the Empire.
    Bond meets the villain in a social situation where they sniff each others butts, but no hostilities take place.
    This villain is a wealthy industrialist who works for SPECTRE and lives on his own island, inside a volcano, or in man made undersea evironment. This villain is bent on nothing short of world domination. He launces his plan, caputuring nuclear subs, RAF bombers, or military satellites.
    Along the way, Bond meets a gorgeous Bond girl or two. Often, she works for the Bond villain. During the clash between Bond and the villain, she and Bond usually get captured and as Dr.Evil's son noted; "left for dead in an easily escapable" situation.
    There's an epic final battle between good and evil. Usually the military has to be called in because of the enormity of the situaltion. Good wins.
    Bond and the main Bond girl wind up on a raft adrift at sea where they begin having sex like a couple of rabbits.


    As a Bond fan, I like that formula and expect to see most of it in every movie. This movie mostly eschews the formula (except for an exciting opening chase) and essentially reboots the series again, introducing a whole new raft of characters along the way.


    I read one reviewer who compared Skyfall to The Dark Knight. I thought the same thing while I was watching it. Javier Bardem's villian reminded me of Heath Ledger's Joker. Skyfall has a very dark tone to it.
    Bardem isn't interested in world domination as much as he wants some kind of psycho-sexual satisfaction out of killing "M". As one reviewer said, you don't know if he wants to blow Bond up, or just blow him.

    It's a good action film, but it isn't a good Bond movie..
     
  3. FAST FRED

    FAST FRED 500+ Posts

    I agree with that premise and assessment, Clean.

    It's a lot like "The Dark Knight."

    Director Mendes has reviewed and somewhat reimagined James Bond.

    He partly used the old Bond movie formula, but there were many recognizable major and minor differences in substance and style.

    Some viewers will dig it and some won't.

    Others won't notice or care.

    If the 007 franchise needed some renewal or reinvigoration this might do it.

    Or not.


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  4. Namewithheld

    Namewithheld 2,500+ Posts

    Well they did say that Bond is coming back.


    I also think that a new Bond film is coming by Thanksgiving 2014 if not sooner since the studio mess has been cleaned up which is why the delay between Quantum of Solace in 2008 and Skyfall.
     
  5. RomaVicta

    RomaVicta 5,000+ Posts

    I liked it better than A Quantum of Solace.

    I think Mendes and the producers decided to pull the movie closer to the Bourne movies by abandoning some of the formula so amusingly described above. I agree with this move as the Bourne movies are very dynamic.

    The "Bond Girl" phenomenon is a little archaic, sort of like the way Playboy has passed from being racy to being pretty pedestrian.

    I enjoyed the changes, Vardem's laughing psychological villain (who turns the formula on its head by being the one captured and then escapes) and the choices of setting.

    Watching Bond become himself again was also an interesting character arc to me.

    I respect the opinions above, but I really liked the movie and think it's on track to get better. I'm not a Sam Mendes fan, but I think he handled this well. Maybe he should stick with British subject matter and steer clear of probing the American psyche.
     
  6. Dionysus

    Dionysus Cocky + Relaxed Admin


     
  7. RomaVicta

    RomaVicta 5,000+ Posts

    I left out "scarred" after psychological. I liked the weird turn they gave him. But it's out there, no doubt. Vardem is great.
     

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