Thursday, 21 February 2013

Skyfall: Bond’s Birthday Bash …

You know it has to be said, sometimes.

That anniversaries can be … a lot of hot air.

No, really … !

I have to admit, I spent last night, watching Skyfall the latest in Eon Productions’ latest entry into their James Bond franchise: the 23rd film in the series had a cinematic release that heavily trumpeted the fact it was the 50th year since the release of the original film, Dr No.

Hmm … 

You this sound’s like I possibly going to tell you about a film I’ve seen and how I’ve possibly not enjoyed it it.

Not quite.

Hmmm …  let me try and tell you about Skyfall … 


Skyfall opens with the traditional pre-titles teaser.   One which sees Bond and fellow agent, Eve, chasing a mercenary known only as Patrice: a mercenary who has managed to get hold of a computer hard drive with the names of every NATO agent embedded in terrorist groups

Not something MI6* wants everyone to see, obviously.

And something that leads — in this opening sequence — to the apparent death of 007.

He survives, of course.   (We are talking about a Bond film, after all.)

Survives to find that who-ever was behind the theft not only is capable of bombing Vauxhall Cross, from the inside, but also is keen on targeting M, herself.

With reason.

That man … ?   Is Raoul Silva: a former MI6 officerª, left out in the proverbial cold, after the handover of Hong Kong.

I’ll let him introduce himself, shall I … ?

A man who feels betrayed by M: and wants her to know that he’s not happy about how he’d been treated, over the years, especially as the Hydrogen Cyanide capsule issued to all officers that didn’t work … 

As you can imagine, he’s definitely not a happy bunny …


Now … 

Did I enjoy the film … ?

Now, I’ve got admit, yes I did, although with similar reservations to Kevin D: the pair of us have been happily messaging each other about the film.

While we’ve both scored the film differently, we’ve both had similar thoughts on Skyfall.

Fundamentally, it’s a fantastic James Bond: well scripted, beautifully acted, and having, in the shape of Javier Bardem’s Silva, having one of the most memorable and disturbing villains.

On the other hand … ?   I think I can say we both found some of the many references to the earlier entries in the franchise understandable, given this was celebrating the franchise’s 50th anniversary: but they seriously got in the way of the plot, as recently presented

Bond’s “You must be joking” line is the least invasive, in that sense

I also personally found those to be something of a backwards step.   The Daniel Craig films in the Bond franchise have been successful — I believe — because they’s been radically grittier that previous entries.

The 50th anniversary decorations — the reintroduction of both Moneypenny and Q, the Aston Martin, complete with ejector seat — are nice to see, but don’t necessarily take the series forward.

All thing’s told … ?   

All thing’s told, I’ll leave you with our respective scores … 

Paul: ★★☆☆
Kevin: ★★★½☆
Average: ★★¾☆☆

*        Before you ask, yes, that’s the real website.   Personally, that’s always something I look at with a mix of amazement and humour.   Amazement because, up until only a few years ago, getting anyone to admit the SIS existed was well nigh impossible: and humour, because what was one of Britain’s most secretive organisations — outside MI5, the BBC and the Freemasons — now has a heavily advertised website, like everybody else … 

ª        If I’ve understood things correctly, over the years, an MI6 officer is someone working directly for the agency: more Harry Ipcress, than James Bond, but usually the man on the ground, running a spying operation.   It also includes the undercover officers that Skyfall tells us have been infiltrated into terrorist groups, and then betrayed. An MI6 agent, on the other hand, is more like the  members of the French Resistance, during WW2: someone who’s passing — for whatever reason — intelligence information to the MI6 officer, nearest them.

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