Saturday, November 10, 2012


Skyfall is the darkest in tone of all the James Bond thrillers.

On one hand, that is, also, its downfall.  But, on the other hand, it makes it one of the more interesting of the 25 Bond films.  (I count the original Casino Royale and Never Say Never, which had the best Bond villain, as part of the franchise.) 

I said “more interesting,” not more thrilling…although it has plenty of thrills, including an incredible motorcycle chase over tiled roofs in Istanbul, which is worth the price of admission and for which the stunt team deserves copious kudos.   

 It took me a while to figure out why Skyfall wasn't totally living up to my expectations and I think it's because the producers have taken the 50th anniversary of the franchise too much to heart.  The script was painting Bond as too old to be an agent and he failed in his attempt to qualify physically and mentally for service after a spectacular “death” á la Sherlock Holmes’ plummet into Reichenbach Falls.  (That was an interesting, if not intentional, homage and ties into my "Bottom Line" below.)

The point is that Bond is too iconic to ever be too old.  You could sense the audience’s desire to get beyond this and have him get into action.  There are two distinct lulls wherein Director Sam Mendes does not let Bond be Bond. 
What has been happening is that the franchise has been getting (for me) too realistic.  The lovable gimmicks are being thrown out and the humor is being dissipated. 

You could tell how the energy of the audience perked up when the Aston-Martin from Goldfinger appeared and the Bond theme music started to play. Then, we felt comfortable that our boy was truly back.

I don’t mean to be putting this film down.  I just expect the best from a Bond film.

What is appealing is that, after all this time, we learn some of Bond’s early life...where he grew up, what happened to his parents, etc.

Also, Javier Bardem starts off as a truly fascinating villain in his long introductory speech to Bond.  However, he, unfortunately, loses some of the charm within a few moments and turns into a psychopath no different from the typical enemy.

Bottom line, Skyfall seems like a setup for the next film.  And, since I don’t like to give out too many plot points, I won’t tell you why.

I saw Skyfall in IMAX and I’m wondering if that were a mistake.  Seeing Bond films more than once is obligatory for me, so the next viewing I will see it in a regular theater.  I’m wondering if IMAX might be too big for the darkness of this tale.

 I’ve not mentioned some of the excellent supporting cast because, again, I don’t want to ruin any surprises.

 Anyone who is a Bond fan should see this film and, perhaps, those that aren’t might be drawn into the franchise.

 I give Skyfall a 4 out of 5.

Note that I did see Skyfall again on a wide screen and enjoyed it more on the second viewing.  So, my suggestion is to save the money and not see it in IMAX.  I know that goes against the grain, but there you have it.

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