Saturday, November 10, 2012

Skyfall



Last night I found myself unexpectedly, wonderfully . . . alone.  Lisa and Lu were at a sleepover ‘spa’ party, and the other kids were scattered among the grandparents. I still had to go to work at ten, but what to do with the four hours before that?

How about the rare treat: seeing a movie in an actual first-run theater. Gasp! For this delicious bit of wasteful spending I chose to see the brand new James Bond movie, Skyfall, which opened that very day.

[Yes, I saw it alone. Lisa has, to date, never once so much as entertained the notion of going to a movie alone, citing the ‘loser’ factor, but it’s never bothered me.  Heck, I was able to get up and go pee twice without getting heckled about my bladder.  Loser? In my book that makes we a WINNER!]

Anyhow, about the movie . . .

Skyfall is the 23rd installment in the franchise and marks the 50th anniversary of the same.  A rogue cyber terrorist named Silva, played brilliantly by Javier Bardem, launches a one-man war against MI6 with the intent of taking down M.  Bond and M, both slightly off their game and on the outs with the establishment, must once again rely on each other to stop Silva and end the threat to Queen and Country.

There’s an odd duality at work in this film. It resonates, time and again, with nods to the past and a sense of ending, and of a certain finality to it all; yet at the same time it exudes a feeling of renewal and energy, a certainty, not of finality, but of relevance and necessity.

50 years ago JFK was in the White House, few people in the heartland had heard of a place called Vietnam, and the good guys were easily distinguishable from the bad. Flash forward to 2012; it seems ridiculous to even ask if a Cold War icon like James Bond has a place in our world. But bit by bit the film flips that notion on its head, leaving us to think that maybe, just maybe, Bond was born for this world of murky alliances and obscure enemies, and merely struggled (albeit successfully) to fit in in the world of the Berlin Wall and Aston Martins.  

Too deep for a Bond film? With respect, you haven’t seen Skyfall.

Not to worry though, it’s still a James Bond film, with everything you expect from the series. Action? The pre-title chase scene had more action than a lot of action films I’ve seen. Women?  Berenice Marlohe is so stunning that I literally gasped at one point, leading me to believe she deserves the sobriquet “breathtaking”.


Villains? Silva is a memorable one, full of creepiness and humor, intelligence and violence.  Humor? This isn’t a Roger Moore-era Bond, but there are a fair amount of jokes sprinkled throughout.  An exploration of Bond’s past? Sure, including his parent’s cenotaph and his childhood abode. Oh, wait – we’ve never explored Bond’s past. Until now.

[Which settles a question I’ve had for years. It went something like this: Is 007/James Bond simply a title, a nom de plume adopted over the years by various applicants? It would be a rational way to explain away the different actors and the series longevity; think of it as a poor man’s version of Doctor Who’s regeneration. Nifty to think about , but now disproved.]

Skyfall is a great movie. I give it a grade of an A



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