Friday, March 8, 2013
Here's the bare-bones premise for Skyfall. A former British Intelligence agent (Javier Bardem) holds a grudge against M (Judi Dench), and it is up to James Bond (Daniel Craig) to keep her alive. I'm not branching out farther than that because you need to watch the movie yourself and I would hate to give anything truly crucial to the plot away by accident
So, no Spoilers!
Judi Dench has never been a true favorite actress of mine, but she really shined in the role of M, a role she's played for several years. I feel the same way about Daniel Craig. He's always been "ehhh" to me, but maybe it was the plot, or maybe my perspective on his acting has changed, or something because I halfway liked him as Bond. Apparently the true Bond is less campy than the earlier films portray him, and if there's one thing Craig delivers, it's a serious Bond. Kudos to him.
I remember watching Quantum of Solace a few years ago and being totally lost. I couldn't even tell you the premise now, or even any individual scenes, I was so confused. In comparison, Skyfall has a tight script that does honor to its writers, and immediately titillated my love of action films. There are no plot holes that I could find, and I was totally in tune with the plot from start to finish. The adrenaline rush is constant throughout almost the entire film. We're not talking Speed constant, but the action is maintained from point A to point B without really lagging at all in-between. The writers created a 2 1/2 movie and left the audience wanting more. The special effects were spectacular in that they didn't draw too much attention to themselves. Really, the movie felt real, not Bond campy.
On to my problems with James Bond in general. The women. The average Bond movie has anywhere between 3 and 5 women that Bond takes to his bed. There's nothing fun for me watching Bond make love to that many women, when he really cares for none of them. At least in Skyfall the women don't linger, and any anatomy is shaded or blocked out. Still, I don't like Bond joining a woman in a shower. Thank God for the frosted glass. So, no nudity. Ok, there's my rant for the Bond franchise. If it weren't for the hundreds of compliant females I would have probably joined the fandom years ago.
This film really is a movie of firsts, one of which I won't go into, but the other one is important. To my knowledge, Skyfall is the first time when Bond is strapped to a chair with a man making sexual advances to him. If Bond was uncomfortable, imagine how uncomfortable the scene made me. There was no clothing removed other than a few buttons undone, but there was some caressing on bare skin and hands on his clothed upper legs. It was horrible to see Bond so helpless, and I don't even like him so you know how convincing Craig played the scene. It reminded me of Lawrence of Arabia when Peter O'Toole is sexually approached by a Turkish officer. It's just uncomfortable, and you feel like they've been violated even though nothing ever actually happens.
The violence is typical of Bond. Gunfire, some impressive fight scenes, and one man is dragged off by a large lizardy thing, I assume, to be eaten. That's thankfully off-screen although his screams are pretty loud. A woman is strapped to a bit of rubble and her former lover places a shot glass on her head for a game and then shoots her. Lots of gunfire, like I said, lots of people down, and some unfortunate loss of civilian life.
My ultimate conclusion is that I still don't like Bond. . . but if I did, I would like Daniel Craig's Bond. I may even break down and buy this movie because it was so spectacular, uncomfortable scenes and all. I like to be entertained as much as the next person, plus I liked that they gave some Bond background. The end, I thought, was especially excellent. So, know what you're getting in for if you decide to give Skyfall a try, but it really is worth it.