As a mom of two kids under the age of three, I rarely see a movie--in the theater--so I was pretty jazzed to get the chance to see Skyfall on it's release date. I like Bond. I grew up watching Bond films. Sean Connery, whose swagger is still very appealing, was the best Bond ever. I was not overly fond of Daniel Craig's Bond. It wasn't so much his acting that bothered me, but I didn't like the plots of the Craig Bond movies. Whenever I saw my husband watching one on TV, I'd always ask "is this the one where they beat his balls?" The "beat your balls in a chair" scene turned me off from the Craig Bond franchise. I mean, who came up with that idea. Skyfall, however, enticed me with scenes from Istanbul, Turkey (my husband's hometown), so off I went to see Skyfall with a hint of optimism. If you like classic Bond, this film will not disappoint. Below you will find my review. (SPOILER ALERT)
The Good:This film is a reboot of classic Bond in many ways. The plot line features a stereotypical bad man doing bad things (why is it never a woman), but the why behind Silva's (Javier Bardem), the antagonist's, actions made it interesting. Silva and M go way back, and his quest is one of vengeance. At one point, however, Silva has Bond strapped to a chair and I feared it was a "here we go again" moment. Thank god, no testicle punching, just a creepy villain hitting on Bond. Can't blame the guy.
The film also kept to classic Bond plots in two ways, 1) by providing a multi-national backdrop (Turkey, Shanghai, UK, Macau, and a creepy island somewhere), and 2) had a stereotypical Bond girl. In fact, she was so stereotypical that when Bond semi-randomly appeared in her shower, she went with it. Can't blame the girl. But like most Bond girls, things don't end well. Bond's strumpets, who seem to have more cup-size than brains, rarely fare well in the films.
Caution: You are a Bond girl.
So was I.
"Welcome to Scotland"
I also enjoyed that they provided some character development for Bond in this film. We finally get a glimpse of who he is: Scottish, an orphan, from "Skyfall" estate. It is his reconnect to his home, to the "old" things in his life, that ultimately allows Bond to come back to himself.
Other things to love? A new Quartermaster, played by Ben Whishaw, who seems to represent modern technology in his young, geeky way. And while I don't want to give away one of the big surprises at the end, I will say there is one Bond girl we all love and SHE, played by Naomie Harris, has finally made her arrival into the Craig Bond franchise. Yay.
The Bad:Oh my god, could they mention how old Bond, MI6, or M are one more time? I don't think it would be possible. They practically jammed the theme of "they are old" down the viewer's throats. In the end, they twist this around to show us "the old ways are better," but still, it was too much. While making fun of everything old in the film on one hand then making reference after reference to classic Bond on the other, the "message" of the film became really, really clear: we should value the "old."
Clearly, there is nothing British about an "embrace tradition" theme, is there?
I felt rather indifferent toward Silva as depicted by Bardem. He had some great lines, including when he noted that all the mayhem was just exhausting, but sometimes his character felt very stock. In his best moments, I could see his role was inspired by Heath Ledger's Joker. As a villain, he was crazy (it is a requirement, right?) but he was also funny. This makes for an uncomfortable villain to watch. But at the less impressive moments, like when he uses a police uniform as a disguise of blows things up for "fun," I found nothing new.
Final WordOverall, I enjoyed the film. No one beat Craig in the balls, we got a back-story on Bond that was interesting, Albert Finney's line, "welcome to Scotland," had me laughing--I love the Scots--, there were loads of classic Bond allusions, and new characters were introduced which provides promise for the future. There were some sentemential twists at the end, but that is to be expected. One thing that leaves us wondering is if there was a blood connection between M and Bond. For a moment, we see a glimmer of something in Silva's eyes that makes us suspect, but it's not clear.
This was the best Craig Bond yet, and I hope they go forward with this revamp of the character. One thing that did disappoint was that they had the opportunity with this film to bring Connery back into the fold in a very important role, and I am not sure why they went instead "in a direction that shall not be named," but I guess that's just wishful thinking on my part. Overall, it was a fun action flick. And no, Daniel Craig is not too old to be Bond.
Oh yeah, and people should not be allowed to bring to-go spaghetti into a movie. The whole theater smelled gross. Shame on you gross movie goer. Who does that?
Four out of Five Thigh Berettas.