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Nov 07

New Twist on Old Bond

Skyfall, the new Bond flick comes out November 9th and I’m quite sure many of you will go and check it out. Maybe not so much for what you don’t know about James Bond, but perhaps for what you do know about the character. Love him or hate him, Bond has always been a very polarizing figure to movie-goers. My take on that is because he never really departs from the characteristics that make him James Bod. The womanizing, the drinking, the wanton disregard for his life and others’. That is until Skyfall.

I consider Skyfall the completion of the reinvention of Jams Bond for this century. All of the previous Bond’s have followed a very rigid script. You’ve got your women in distress, your super cool spy gadgets, your lavish parties, and of course your over-the-top villain. Every man’s so-called dream for the most part. You   could see the shift in styles with Casino Royal with a more rugged and slightly more realistic, at least combat-wise, spy thriller. Skyfall is the completion of that shift. Below I’ll talk about the stuff that worked, the stuff that didn’t and a quick summary.

What Worked

Combat

I think that Bond’s fighting skills have evolved over the years and Daniel Craig’s Bond is a much more physical one. He’s definitely got the body for it and he makes the physically daring shots of the movie more believable. Also, he’s not invincible. He get’s hit often, but is relentless which is something I enjoy watching. There’s a particular scene where Bond literal digs pieces of bullet from his chest with a knife. Granted, I didn’t really believe someone in real life would do that, but if this Bond where real, he totally would.

Technology

Or I should say lack thereof! One of the themes I think the director is re-thinking. I suppose to make Bond more believable they had to get rid of the outlandishness of the gadgets. And so they have. I was brought here kicking and screaming, but I must admit that it works. I think they even poked fun at the lack of gadgetry at one point with Q remarking that he wasn’t in the business of making exploding pens! At that – I was heart broken, but it really made sense. Daniel Craig is outwitting his opponents in the fine art of fisticuffs – not chess, so anything more would be inauthentic to this imagining of James Bond.

The Villain, played by Javier Bardem does make excellent use of technology, but much more in a cyber genius sort of way. However, if you actually know a thing or two about coding then please look-away or be prepared to roll the eyes. There is lots of hacking and cyber espionage that might tickle the fancy of more modern audiences.

Villain

Javier Bardem does a fantastic job as the villain, and completely steels the show once he’s on screen. Perhaps that’s why he doesn’t make an appearance until well into the movie. He’s frightening, unpredictable, and really quite lovable – until you realize he’s completely crazy. He totally hits a home-run here, and he is quite easily in my top five Bond Villains. Besides Jaws and Boris.

 

What Didn’t Work

Bond Girls

I think for the most part everything worked except for the Bond Girls. Now here’s why. They couldn’t make up their minds on how to portray women in this movie. In previous Bond’s – they were very shovanistic and completely stereotypical. It works because they were that way with every character in the movie. The Bond girls don’t work anymore in Skyfall because on one hand you have a very strong and self-reliant female lead in Naomi Harris, while you have a more traditional female lead in Berenice Marlohe. And Bond does the nasty with both.  And also a native on some Island who shall remain nameless. So on one hand it looks like they are going progressive, but Bond is still disrepectin’ the honeys which leaves me scratching my head. Which path shall we take? Giving women some respect in these movies finally or just letting them be eye-candy. Either path is cool, because it’s all in the fictional world, but you’ve got to know which path your going down, and choose it openly. There were definitely conflicting tones when it came to the women in the movie which could have been avoided.

 

Summary

All in all, I found it to be quite enjoyable to watch. There is quite a bit of “changing of the guard” so-to-speak so be ready for that, but I think it’s all for the best. It’s what must be done to keep Bond fresh. I think Mr. Craig has about 2, maybe 3 more runs at Bond, and it will be on to the next one. However, until then, enjoy the latest installment Skyfall as we see a more intimate look at James Bond.