A place for disappointed skyfall viewers



  • acoppolaacoppola London Ealing not far from where Bob Simmons lived
    Posts: 1,243
    gklein wrote:
    Here's my exposition/criticism of "Skyfall" and Bond. Pour yourself a cup of coffee...

    Bond producers, this is a very detailed and, I promise, intelligent review.

    If there's one scene that encapsulates this entire movie, it's the scene where M is reciting pretentious poetry interspersed with action scenes involving Bond. The inter-cut action scenes are boring but that doesn't matter. In Mendes hands, it's the pretensions that are important. The action scenes are only there to add symbolic weight to the words of the poem -- or to be strung together pieces of "art" and paraded as a Bond movie. Ironically, there's no scene of classy performance art like we normally get in a Bond movie (we DO get it in the latest Mission Impossible movie). It's "Skyfall" itself that gets passed-off as "classy" performance art.

    I'm a nearly 50 year-old, life-long Bond fan. This is my first Bond movie review as it is my separation notice to Bond. THIS WILL BE FULL OF SPOILERS. Where do I start? Best Bond ever? I really don't know what movie most folks were watching. I watched one of the most boring Bond movies ever. Also, never mind all those loose ends from the previous two movies/missions. That's all forgotten as Bond goes from being a rookie (though, at times, an unbelievably skilled rookie) to being all washed-up.

    The Bond movie producers have committed a lot of sins over the years -- such as infusing silly-ness and a lack of consistency into the Bond movies (even within the same reboot era). And, of course, there is their flat out refusal to EVER deliver a Bond movie that's not full of major plot faults. The one unforgivable sin though is to deliver a Bond movie that is weak on stunts and truly Bondian action. To say that "Skyfall" is weak in this regard is an understatement. Outside of the pre-credit sequence, there is NO truly Bondian action or stunts in the entire lengthy movie (not that I mind a long Bond movie). Even really bad Bond movies, like "Die Another Day", at least entertain if you can ignore the stupid plot and its faults. "Skyfall" starts out well then fairly consistently bores (especially in the last half) -- something a Bond movie should NEVER do. (Note that crappy action, like that of "Tomorrow Never Dies", ALSO bores.)

    If we consider the serious experiences of our lives, we find that they are really etched in us and that we still think about them -- but we probably don't seek to repeat them. If we consider the fun experiences of our lives, we find that we seek to repeat them. The best experiences of our lives, those that leave a mark AND that we wish to repeat, have both the serious and the fun elements.

    There's a reason that the ideal template for a Bond movie should be a modern fusion of "From Russia With Love" and "Goldfinger" (though not an uneven mish-mash like "Die Another Day"). "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (OHMSS) should not be the template. The best Bond movies are somewhat serious but always fun (though they should never be silly or attempt to be comedies). Producers, you got to 50 years by making fun movies. OHMSS was great as a one-off stand-alone. You'd have never reached 50 making something so heavy over and over -- anymore than you would have gotten there by making "Moonraker" over and over. Even OHMSS though, had some silly-ness in addition to major plot faults.

    As for the plot of "Skyfall", there's not a SINGLE scene in the entire movie that makes any sense whatsoever from a plot perspective. John Logan, who wrote the brilliant Hugo, must have simply been brought-in to add wit to the existing script -- not concerning himself at all about the, apparently, necessary plot faults. Yes, I can only think the producers believe major plot faults to be NECESSARY to a Bond movie as they refuse to make the movies without these faults. With the near total lack of truly Bondian action set-pieces, all these major plot faults, simply and unfortunately, cannot be ignored. More on that in a moment. First, what's RIGHT about this movie?

    Top notch acting all around. Javier Bardem is magnificent. You find yourself wishing for more screen time with him. He completely upstages Craig. His villain is part Hannibal Lecter, part Joker, part Max Zorin -- at least original in the compilation. Silva's physical disfigurement adds a fun creepiness even if it lacks the sinister brilliance of a tear duct that weeps blood. This device makes it okay that we don't get a main henchman. Silva is his own main henchman.

    Daniel Craig is a great actor. However... Half the fun of a Bond movie used to be simply watching Bond be Bond. Unfortunately, this is not so with Craig's emo Bond. In one scene with Q, when Bond is asked what he sees in an artistic painting, the uncultured, emo Craig Bond offers in put-out fashion "a bloody big ship". The more fun Bonds of the past would have come back with something completely unexpected that showed wit AND greater observation skills -- perhaps noting that the painting was a fake because of some detail noticed only by Bond. And it would have been done with something of a wink. Similarly, during the word association game, Bond damn near howls and hisses. I almost expected him to jump-up on the table and begin snarling and clawing at the air. Craig would make a better villain than a Bond.

    There's a scene in "Casino Royale" where Craig's Bond commandeers a tractor and does nothing more inventive with it than crashing it through a wall. There's another scene where he crashes his own body through a wall like the old Jaws henchman -- the same wall a "bad guy" had himself just negotiated with Bondian panache. Enough said?

    Q then gives Bond a signature gun which we've already seen used more effectively in "License to Kill" than the use it gets here. Then Q quips "were you expecting an exploding pen"? Well, yes, frankly -- at the very least.

    I like the idea of a young computer expert assisting Bond (even if all the "computer work" by Q in this movie is ridiculous and unbelievable -- and the graphics look like something from the 80s after we were JUST given REALLY GOOD graphics for the computer work in "Quantum of Solace"). However, shouldn't someone older, with more experience, be creating gadgets?

    The producers have long been content to allow the actor portraying Bond to become too old to be believable in the role. 35-45 is the ideal age for Bond -- old enough to be an experienced expert and young enough to still be a field agent who is believable in the action and matched to still physically attractive women who are not too young. Five movies per actor -- one every two years. Then a reboot with a new actor -- not a new origin story --keep Bond a mystery -- just a reboot.

    Now it seems the producers want someone too young portraying Q to possibly be believable as someone having the experience and knowledge needed to create truly great gadgets. The Whishaw character works very well as a computer expert (an ADDITIONAL character to the tradition) but not as a weapons inventor / quartermaster.

    Casting John Cleese as Q was genius back in the Brosnan days. I wish Cleese were brought back. To hell with consistency. That was already thrown out when Dench was kept on as M following the reboot. Yes, she is very good. So is Cleese -- just in a fun way rather than a serious way. This character has always been about fun. Also, it used to be that Q was the only one allowed to out-quip Bond. This is no longer the case. This is a good change in relation to the young Whishall who Bond really should be able to out-quip (and who should respect Bond as an elder who's been with MI6 longer) but we still need an older gadget master who Bond can not out-quip and someone who Bond respects (even if Bond doesn't respect the actual gadgets and never returns them in working order) -- someone who doesn't really care for Bond.

    I did like the reveal of the new Moneypenny -- which suggests that she may be more than the traditional secretary of previous Bond movies (and is a fun character). I hope she's more than a secretary anyway. I'd hate to think the producers got their wires crossed with Q and Moneypenny. The computer age makes a pure secretary completely unnecessary while a gadget master is made even more necessary -- given that nearly every gadget will surely have a built-in microprocessor (see the latest Mission Impossible movie for wonderful examples) and given that gadgets will become dated so quickly (which means we need a quartermaster regularly handing-out new gadgets). Also, we don't want Moneypenny entirely discouraged from the field just because of Bond's crass discouragement toward her. HE's never made a mistake?

    As with Q, who is now out-quipped by Bond, the script is similarly flipped with Moneypenny. It is Bond who makes sexual advances toward HER while she is the one keeping HIM in check. This is a GREAT change. It's refreshing that not every woman unbelievably fawns over this man (especially given this Bond's lack of model good looks -- which makes such fawning even less believable). The flirting is still there on both sides and is fun. Hopefully they will never actually sleep together and ruin the fun.

    The pre-credits action is a bit routine but made fresh by some added dramatic elements. Then, thank goodness, there's the cuff-link and jacket adjustment and the truly good digger action directly before and the "just changing carriages" quip directly after -- all taken together to FINALLY give us a truly Bondian extended moment in a Craig Bond movie (and all done very well by Craig). All that is missing from this scene is the Bond music theme.

    I disagree that this pre-credit set-piece is the best in the series. For me, that honor belongs to both "Golden Eye" and "Casion Royale" -- though, obviously, I have very different reasons for the selection of each. As in the "Golden Eye" pre-credit set-piece, the Bond music theme is conspicuously absent from the "Skyfall" pre-credit action -- even though both set-pieces offered great placement opportunities for it. Still, "Skyfall" gets EXTRA credit from me for fusing these two different types of pre-credit sequences ("Golden Eye's" and "Casino Royale's"). Even if it's not quite as great as either, it's still a good pre-credit set-piece.

    Producers, can we PLEASE have the gun-barrel back to the beginning of the movies NOW? Pretty please with sugar on top?

    I've often thought that the pre-credit sequence should not be the very best set-piece of a Bond movie -- though it should be one of the best of the movie. There should be about five set-pieces (interspersed with smaller action bits) and the pre-credit piece should be the third best -- with a better one mid-movie and the best one at the finale. This way the movie, starting out with a bang, and while breathing and perhaps moving up and down, is still generally always building. (The same should be true of the drama, fun and twist/surprise reveals.) Many Bond movies make the mistake of never topping the pre-credit action. Worse, more still have very weak finales. Well, in "Skyfall", the pre-credit set-piece is all we get. Period.

    "For Your Eyes Only" is a great example of a Bond movie with a large number of set-pieces held together by an engaging, down-to-earth, realistic story with a few twists. (Though it's not a perfect movie mainly because Moore is miscast as Bond in this reboot. Bond is played very differently than the Bond we'd already gotten from Moore -- and Moore, at this point, had already become too old to portray Bond. This should have been the first Bond movie starring Dalton. The movie also had some silly moments.)

    The "Skyfall" title song is good and the the credits animation is great. I really enjoy the work of Daniel Kleinman. His Bond work is more original and less pornographic than the credit sequences of the Brosnan Bond movies. His work here is not quite as inspired as his work on "Casino Royale" but still great. The cinematography is similarly great. Mendes gets credit here for insisting on his cinematographer.

    The score is slightly weak with only passing notes of the Bond theme. The Bond theme never really takes-off because there are simply no action scenes with the required panache to place it. Well, it could have been placed in the pre-title sequence. The producers have inexplicably shied away from the great Bond theme now for many years while the Mission Impossible movie producers continue to make expert use of their own good theme. As a result of this, more people seem to be now familiar with the Mission Impossible theme than the Bond theme. It's likely that newer Bond fans, form the Brosnan era on, have never heard a lengthy segment of the theme. Producers, if you believe the Bond theme has become dated, then update it with some modern instrumentation and computer enhancements. Don't abandon its full expression during a great action scene. It has gone a long way to adding the panache for which Bond had previously (prior to the Craig era) been famous.

    Mendes was responsible for insisting on his sound man and should take blame for the slightly weak score. Also, apparently Mendes lied when he said that he did NOT ask for action scenes to be deleted from the script (to make more room for drama) when he was hired-on as director. This is easily one of the most Bondian action set-piece WEAK Bond movies ever. You can't make-up for this with crap action.

    There's a lot of wit written into the script despite its plot faults (everywhere). I like true wit like Craig's brilliant last line in the "Casino Royale" pre-credit piece. Prior to the Craig Bond movies, I'd grown tired of Bond's school-boy sexual innuendo and his add-on un-witty comments displaying his tasteless disregard for life following a necessary killing. Nearly everyone, including Craig, gets witty lines in this movie. Now, let's get to those plot faults...

    First, why does Bond go AWOL and become addicted to alcohol and pills? It's never explained. Is it simply because he was accidentally shot? One minute, he's on top of his game fighting on top of a train. The next, he's all washed-up but we don't know why. Bond can't take a bullet? He's sulking. An attack on MI6 pulls him out of it. Really? Why doesn't the knowledge of those infiltrated Quantum agents embedded in MI6, or that dangerously still missing hard drive, keep him from going into sulk-mode in the first place? Surely they're at least as great a threat to MI6 -- maybe Quantum is even behind the recent attack. Why does MI6 not attempt to recover Bond's body after he's thought killed? Is it not at least possible that he had obtained the hard drive just before he was shot and that he has it on his person? Did MI6 not send another double oh after the hard drive after Bond said "the hell with it" for three months?

    MI6 is attacked with explosives which we've already witnessed in a scene (albeit an unbelievable one -- a lone woman who continues to attack MI6, after the explosion, all by herself in broad daylight on open waters) from the vastly more entertaining and original story that is "The World Is Not Enough" (the miscasting of Denise Richards and the boring finale not-with-standing). How did Silva get the explosives into the building? Maybe he made use of those Quantum agents that have infiltrated MI6 but have been forgotten about. Then, once NATO agents start getting exposed, shouldn't Felix Leiter step-in? Where's the CIA? Oh yes, the Americans had already covered this ground years earlier in "Mission Impossible I". Why is Quantum never suspected by MI6 or M or Bond in all this?

    Bond breaks into M's home. He also did this in "Casino Royale" -- a movie in which he also remotely hacked her computer. How does this behavior not get him court-martialed -- especially after he just went AWOL? It's an obvious attempt by the producers to make Bond more Bourne-like but Bond is not Bourne. He works FOR queen and country not AGAINST them -- or, at least, he shouldn't work against them.

    After living with it for three months, Bond gets around to extracting shrapnel from a bullet wound in his chest so that he can identify the shooter -- the same shooter that killed MI6 agents at the beginning of the movie with the same gun. (I wonder if there's shrapnel in his body from Eve's gunshot.) Apparently MI6 never thought to extract those bullet remains from the other agents' bodies three months earlier as any police investigation would have done. Thank goodness for Bond's superior intelligence.

    Shanghai. Three "bad guys" (we later learn) have someone in a room that they want to kill. Do they simply kill him? No. They fly in a hit man to shoot him from a neighboring skyscraper. Bond coldly watches the murder without interfering. Then Bond quickly out-fights the hit man and accidentally kills him -- the same man he was unable to kill on top of the train. Now that Bond is all washed-up and unable to fight, he is suddenly able to vanquish him quite readily. Why did Silva, who's been monitoring nearly everything at MI6, not warn his hit man that Bond was pursuing him? I did enjoy the silhouetted fight.

    Macao. The same three "bad guys" who couldn't kill a man that they had surrounded and isolated in a room (and had to hire someone to murder him), decide to kill Bond in a crowded casino. They're not worried about anyone seeing. They don't wait to try to kill him outside. They attack him in the casino -- but without simply pulling a gun on him. They first allow Severine (another good performance) to speak with him but don't bother to find our what she learned before trying to kill him. I did enjoy the Bondian Komodo dragons.

    I also enjoyed the spin on the "shaken-not-stirred" bit. There should always be a spin on this. The "Bond, James Bond" bit was tired. While this line should be in every Bond movie, the set-up and delivery has only been done really well in five Bond movies -- Connery's in "Dr. No", Moore's in "Live And Let Die", Dalton's in "The Living Daylights", Brosnan's in "The World Is Not Enough", and Craig's in "Casino Royale".

    Next we meet Silva on his island lair. It's a great scene with a great performance by Bardem. The trouble is, it makes no sense. We are to believe that this man, formerly of MI6, is motivated by revenge and wants to kill M -- maybe attacking MI6 and NATO first for greater revenge even though this represents the same kind of betrayal to his compatriots that he himself has suffered. Anyway, didn't we have this basic story already in the superior "Golden Eye" (the dumb Boris character and the fact that everyone in the world in that movie speaks English not-with-standing)?

    We don't know how Silva obtained his release from his Chinese captors (whose hands M had betrayed him into) but we do know it was many years ago. Does this great (we learn) former agent immediately track down M to seek his revenge upon gaining his freedom -- the very reason, he says, that life continues to "cling" to him? No. He somehow becomes an amazing computer expert (better than the genius young Q who is outsmarted by Silva). Silva becomes a sort of computer-espionage expert for hire and builds a private army. Apparently, this is all merely to pass the time while he continues to think, for years, about getting his revenge on M -- not worrying that the "little old lady" might well die of natural causes or retire before he gets to her and her MI6.

    He and Bond are the two lone survivors that M has created - -as Silva explains to Bond. Really? Bond is all that's left of the 00s or MI6? When did that happen? Silva acts as though he knew, for years, that M would send Bond for him and that he has some connection to Bond. Bond is part of his plan -- but Silva has no connection to Bond as he does to M.

    Also, with all the potential story material in today's headlines, the producers, for Bond's 50- year anniversary, decide to give us a tired story of revenge with a throw-back to the Hong Kong hand-off of a now distant time.

    Silva kills Severine (a waste of on-screen talent and an interesting character). Bond, who had promised to rescue her, doesn't give a damn -- even though he's a more emotionally vulnerable Bond when it comes to his own hurts. This is now the third time in as many mission/movies that Craig's Bond has directly caused the death of an innocent and not cared.

    Then Bond, who couldn't hit a stationary target with his gun a few days earlier, expertly outguns four moving gunmen at once -- killing them all with only one shot to each. Silva is then taken into custody -- all part of Silva's plan. Apparently, it was also part of his plan to blow the cover on his island lair, lose some men, and lose his access to the vast computer network that he had spent years building and was the source of his livelihood and power. (Why did he ask Bond to join him?) This must be why Silva, the former great agent, never bothered to frisk Bond which would have led him to discover the not-so-tiny 1970s-ish radio that Bond had expertly hidden on himself by dropping it into his pocket.

    Also, apparently, after Silva's attack on MI6, he knew MI6 would move its headquarters to an underground location giving him access to London's subway system. He also knew that MI6 would build a "Silence of the Lambs" glass prison just for him and connect its door to their main computer network so that he could escape and meet some of his men at a pre-arranged place. This escape would be assisted, he knew, by the "brilliant" new young Q's "brilliant" decision to plug Silva's laptop into MI6's main computer network. Awesome.

    Is the missing hard drive still out there in a henchman's hands? Has the information contained on it already been shared with foreign governments and terrorist organizations? Is NATO now finished thanks to M? Does anyone care anymore? What happened to Silva's plan to continue to expose NATO agents and wreak computer network havoc on MI6? If he's now done with all that and it's time to kill M, why not track her down and kill her? Why did he want to get himself captured first? Why did Silva want access to the subway system via MI6 rather than simply walking into the subway from the street? Well, it's now all about Bond...

    You see, in his master plan, years in the making, he knew that if he escaped from MI6 into the subway system that Bond would pursue him there and catch-up with him as he was making his way up a ladder -- at the exact moment that a subway train would be approaching. Silva could then blow a hole in the subway corridor (with explosives that he must have planted years earlier) that would send an entire subway train careening toward Bond (a train that, at rush hour, is completely empty). This is much better than having one of his men kill Bond. You see, it makes perfect sense. This train scene is quite bombastic and totally lacking in Bondian flair. This ludicrous "plot" (for lack of a better word) device is what gets passed-off as a mid-movie action "set-piece".

    In all of this, the producers were obviously trying to take a chapter from the "The Dark Night". The only thing they got right was the brilliant portrayal of Silva by Bardem. The plot of "Skyfall" shows none of the intelligence of the "The Dark Knight". (I'm not talking about the "Dark Knight Rises" -- which was heavy and lumbering and not nearly as good or as fun as "The Dark Knight".)

    M explains to Bond that she traded Silva to the Chinese because he was too gun-ho in his job and exceeded his mandate. Sound like Bond? You'd think at this point Bond might be concerned that the same could happen to him and that he'd take Silva up on that job offer. After all, the Craig Bond fails every mission, is insubordinate and rude, regularly breaks into his boss' home and hacks her computer, had just gone AWOL, and is an alcoholic and drug addict. Anyway, I knew governments traded prisoners for other prisoners but it's quite unsettling to think that they trade their own agents. At this point, I began wishing Silva success.

    Silva finally attempts to kill M and fails. Well, he tried to kill her by storming a congressional over-sight hearing at which M was present -- not exactly the most opportune moment. Why not break into her home as Bond does? Bond is again shown to be an expert gunman. Bond then "kidnaps" M and takes her to his childhood home -- believing that he and (ultimately) his deceased parent's old groundskeeper (still stalking around their isolated and abandoned mansion home in suite and tie) can protect M better than all of MI6. Apparently, he AND M also believe that such an isolated location offers good protection instead of making them sitting ducks. Why not get some help? Yes, Silva had infiltrated the MI6 computer network but Bond can't call in support?

    The mansion and Albert Finney character seem to exist for no other reason than to make Bond more like Batman. Bond should NOT have a home life! He is Bond NOT Batman. Producers, be proud of that fact!

    The old Aston Martin is brought out. Why does this modern Bond have a 1960s model Aston Martin that has been heavily modified by Q branch? It's not explained. It would have been fun if it had been shown how Bond had acquired this car. Perhaps it had belonged to some legendary double oh of the 1960s -- a great wink to the audience. Anyway, didn't we learn how Bond had acquired his taste for Aston Martins back in "Casino Royale"? How does this fit in? As in "Casino Royale", this Aston Martin is underutilized. When the car is destroyed, Bond shows his first real emotion in the entire movie. If only this materialistic Bond cared as much when Severine died (or when M dies later).

    While some may think that Bond has always been materialistic, this is not true. He may make use of the best of everything but he has always had an "easy come, easy go" attitude toward money and possessions and has always been very sharing. In fact, before this, we'd not known Bond to actually "own" a car or have a home.

    Silva shows up with his men. Being now denied his island lair with its computer network and presumably stripped of all personal belongings when he was taken into MI6 custody, how was Silva able to organize his men and follow the computer-created "bread crumbs" laid-out for him by Q? Without access to bank accounts (which surely MI6 had seized), how is he able to pay his men? Why are they still working for him? How did they get a helicopter?

    Bond fails in protecting M and Silva kills her. Bond then does Bardem's great character the dishonor of killing him by cowardly stabbing him in the back with a knife throw. It reminded me of Bond's hot-headed and cold-blooded shooting of the unarmed bomber at the beginning of "Casino Royale" (the one he needed alive). It also reminded me of his cowardly and sadistic maiming-shooting of the unarmed and unsuspecting Mr. White at the end of that movie -- which Bond performed from a distance while hidden. This Bond is not "cool" (in every sense of that word). Grow-up 007.

    Unlike with Vesper, Bond gets over the death of his "mom" and his failure to protect her in no time. Well, I guess she was a "bitch" before she died (good for nothing more than sacrificing agents) -- though, to be fair, Bond wasn't the best "son" a mom could have. Wait a minute, Vesper was also a "bitch" - but AFTER she died. Let's see... Bond only has relationships with "bitches". All other women are to be used. Got it. Wait, is Moneypenny a "bitch" or will he use her?

    This is now Bond's third failure in as many missions/movies. In "Casino Royale", he failed to deliver Le Chiffre alive (and was subsequently shown to be cavalier and insubordinate about it in the next movie). Having redeemed himself by capturing Mr. White, he then loses him in "Quantum of Solace" and never recovers him. (By the way, why couldn't Le Chiffre simply have been kidnapped by MI6 at the beginning of "Casino Royale" the way Mr. White was at the end of the movie?) Bond then deliberately failed in delivering anyone else alive during this mission/movie -- including Dominic Greene, who could have been used to gain intelligence on the mysterious Quantum organization. In fact, Bond deliberately sent Greene to a slow sadistic death (the kind of evil the villain would normally dish-out). Bond, very unprofessionally, did this from personal motivation (after only extracting the information from Greene needed to satisfy Bond's own personal vendetta) and then lied to his superior about it.

    It's interesting that after Bond fails to recover the stolen hard drive at the beginning of the movie and then goes AWOL and then fails all of his tests, M rewards him by lying about his failed test results and sending him out on a mission with such high stakes for herself and MI6 and NATO -- especially given this drunk, drug-addicted Bond's track record of failure and insubordination. It's even more interesting that after Bond "kidnaps" M and gets her killed -- damn near treasonous action -- the new M rewards Bond with yet ANOTHER mission.

    In fact, Bond's presence in this mission/movie doesn't significantly change anything about how it's played out or how it ends -- except that Severine and (possibly M) would have lived if it weren't for Bond. And maybe, just maybe, MI6 headquarters wouldn't have gotten exploded if Bond were on the job rather than getting drunk.

    The finale is completely boring -- especially the panache-lacking Die Hard - like action. In fact, there hasn't been a good finale to a Bond movie since "License to Kill" -- a movie that did a great job of using great action and stunts to actually move the serious story along. The action was well integrated into the story. However, I don't like Bond motivated by revenge. It's okay for the villain but I like a Bond who doesn't take things personally. Also, the VERY end of that movie was out-of-place.

    By panache-laden Bondian action I mean things also like the tank chase in "Golden Eye" or the boat chase in "The World Is Not Enough" (and a lot of the other set-pieces in that movie) or the car chase in "Die Another Day" -- though all these seemed tacked-in and were not as well integrated as the action in "License to Kill".

    And all the stuff about Bond's childhood is also out-of-place. He's not supposed to have two identities like most super heroes. He's meant to be a continuous cipher -- always on the edge of death so always enjoying life. Where can you go after blowing his cover like this? Will he wear a mask and cape in the next movie? We EVEN learn, not only of his Scott heritage but also of his Christian heritage. This is a mistake to impart on this formerly mysterious man of the world. It also limits the ability of the male members of Bond's international audience to project their alter-egos onto the Bond character (and it limits the ability of the female members of his international audience to wish to be with him) -- a commercial mistake.

    Well, to be fair, Bond had already blown his own cover in "Casino Royale" when he stormed an embassy and had his picture shown and identity revealed in the newspapers. I guess his real career in espionage had ended as soon as he had become a double oh. I wonder why Dominic Greene didn't know who Bond was?

    I'm all for putting intelligence, grittier action, good acting, artistic devices, beautiful cinematography, and more realistic and thrilling stories into Bond movies but for goodness sake, don't sacrifice the panache, sets, gadgets, special effects and stunts (or even a slight bit of fantasy) -- the most critical elements of Bond movies and that which truly distinguishes the character from other spies, action-adventure heroes and super heroes. Especially don't sacrifice these elements if there's been a failure in inserting the intelligence (as is definitely the case here).

    These missing elements, apparently, have all been given over to the "Mission Impossible" movies -- the last of which contained much better action, stunts, gadgets, fun and inventiveness (even as they copied and out-Bonded Bond) than all of the Craig Bond movies put together. This, even, despite the fact that "Ghost Protocol" simply showed the Mission Impossible team breaking into places over and over again through-out the entire movie. To be fair, its plot ALSO involved unbelievable and unrealistic computer hacking and the now tired Bond cliche of a villain attempting to incite nuclear war between world super powers. It also had some plot holes but nothing like the craters in "Skyfall".

    What "Mission Impossible IV" really did well was strike a balance between a serious espionage thriller and a fun action adventure movie -- a balance that at least half the Bond movies fail to achieve (with most falling on the silly side). It's certainly not achieved in the boring, overly-serious "Skyfall". (Okay, maybe "Mission Impossible IV" could have been a bit more serious.) "Skyfall" came out a full year after "Ghost Protocol" but the 007 team still couldn't top it -- even with a 50-year anniversary movie. Bond, you are no longer the leader.

    I do like the update of making Bond more of a world-wide warrior and less of a "gentleman agent" and less of an icky playboy bedding women (or girls) half his age. I like that he can enjoy a beer in addition to wine or a mixed drink (thank goodness that there's been no rich playboy-esq champagne drinking by Craig's Bond). I'd prefer though, that he'd enjoy a classier brand of beer than Heineken. I EVEN like the main characters to have back story -- just not for Bond. He is supposed to be an international man of MYSTERY. Producers, you can update him and even take cues from other franchises without completely surrendering him to those franchises. Remember, yours' is the ORIGINAL action-adventure hero all the (former) pretenders have copied. Are you content that Bond should now be the pretender -- copying everyone else instead of simply taking cues?

    And, producers, please, I know it's Bond, but IT'S REALLY OKAY (I promise) to have a story without major plot faults. Nobody will complain. If you can't find a writer who can deliver this, I'll review the scripts for free and point them out. It's not rocket surgery. Also, try taking just a littler more inspiration from the highly fun and inventive "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise and just a little less from the self-absorbed Bourne and Batman franchises -- which are not the "game-changers" that you and Mendes believe them to be. If they were, "Mission Impossible IV", "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Avengers" (though not my cup of Early Grey) would not have done so well at the box office.

    Maybe even give us a Bond movie involving modern sea-based piracy. Sure, give us another Craig Bond (maybe two) to wrap-up the Quantum stuff, then give us a reboot back to a (little more) fun Bond with a new actor. Actually, Craig looks old enough to retire the role already.

    For those that think I've overly harped on the plot faults, consider... This Bond movie had pretensions of being taken as a serious thriller. It has an academy award winning director at its helm and is filled with top-tier actors and actresses. It has a celebrated writing team. The producers have publicly bragged about this script and all the time (YEARS) that they had to perfect it. All this and they give us a story no more cohesive than that of "Moonraker" -- but with none of that movie's stunts, sets, or special effects to hide the craters. It's enough to make one forget one's complaints about double-taking pigeons, gondola-car hybrids, and henchman who fall in love with teenage girls half their height.

    This is our 50 year anniversary gift for all our support over the years -- and the new formula!? Old formula -- the plot and story must never make sense and we'll have great panache-laden action set-pieces to hide the fact. New formula -- the plot and story must never make sense and we'll have scenes with great acting to hide the fact -- and the action set-pieces are to be thrown-out (baby with the bath water).

    Finally, my take on Craig as Bond in general... I've been on the fence but now three movies in, I have to say, Craig is not my Bond. He's a great actor and I like much of his work but he's miscast. Bond can be a cold killer and still be fun and have panache. If people truly want the Fleming Bond then, Timothy Dalton, the most underrated Bond, fit the bill better. Unlike Craig's Bond, his Bond showed remorse at killing -- the way Fleming wrote him. His Bond was also dashing and handsome while exuding the same kind of danger and physical ability that Craig's Bond pulls-off. Also, like Craig, Dalton is a GREAT actor.

    Also, while Craig now claims to have been a Bond fan since way back, it was obvious from the "Casino Royale" press conference that he had very little knowledge of Bond. He became Bond almost entirely at the personal preference of one woman -- Barbara Broccoli. Note that I'm not suggesting a new Bond has to be like the prior Bonds. I like that Craig actually has a fit body -- as Bond should have. And I certainly don't mind Bond being Blonde -- especially since Hollywood almost always makes blondes be evil or stupid or both. In fact. Bond movies have often done the same. Please, no more tired aryan-esq villains.

    At 50, I've finally given-up on Bond but may write a review of the similarly over-rated "Casino Royale" (which was still way better than "Skyfall") - whose script also has many plot faults (though they're not as numerous or as serious as those of "Skyfall"). The under-rated "Quantum of Solace" -- though I agree with most of the criticism it received -- was far more entertaining than "Skyfall" with not nearly the number of plot faults (though there were some).

    I actually thought "Quantum of Solace" had a very realistic and modern plot -- the U.S. government working with a phony environmentalist seeking to take over the natural resources of a South American country. This is much more up-to-the-minute and original than "Skyfall's" tired revenge tale -- with all its major plot elements stolen from better movies (including better Bond movies). I don't know why people couldn't understand the "Quantum of Solace" story -- a story which, for a realistic change (especially in a Bond movie) showed some of the less moral action of a major western nation's government.

    "Quantum of Solace" also had action set-pieces even if it wasn't all Bondian action (though the foot chase and the fight that ends that chase were both GREAT -- even if it was all very Bourne). I also thought Craig looked more Bond-like in that movie than he did in his other two Bond movies. "Quantum of Solace" simply needed to be more fun (it was even more serious than "Skyfall") and it needed to be fleshed-out with more story and character development between the action scenes. Also, like "Skyfall" and "Casino Royale", it desperately needed more Bondian panache.

    For those that believe "Casino Royale" was a perfect Bond movie... Why would Le Chiffre's clients attack him during the card game -- rattling the hell out of him when they needed him to win? Why would Le Chiffre put Vesper in the road risking both her and Bond's death when he needed them both alive and could have captured Bond through safer means? Why did Vesper show no hint of the turmoil she was suffering for most of the movie but seemed happy-go-lucky? Why even send an accountant with Bond rather than an assisting agent? It might have made sense when Fleming wrote it but makes no sense in the computer age. I could go on and on and on....

    All-in-all, "Skyfall" is not a Bond movie but a pathetic Batman movie. If you want to see a better Batman movie, see "The Dark Night". If you want to feel the creative fun and sense of adventure that you used to experience at a Bond movie, see any of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. If you want to see an actual good new Bond movie, see "Mission Impossible IV". As for "Skyfall" itself, wait for someone to upload the the pre-credit set-piece scene onto You Tube and watch it there. You'll then have seen all you need to see of this mess of a movie (okay, maybe watch the credit animation too and listen to the title song but that's it).

    I appreciate great acting, drama and cinematography. However, if "Skyfall" is supposed to be the new direction of Bond -- all the dumb story and plot faults we've come to expect of the franchise but none of the special effects, set-pieces, thrills, stunts, gadgets, sets, panache and fun -- the series will never make it close to another 50 years. Happy Birthday anyway Mr. Bond. You may have done nothing for us lately but we appreciate your cumulative service. Now, I'll stop "expecting you" as you're now, yourself, an "uninvited guest". As I said, you've committed an unforgivable sin. You bored me.

    James Bond is dead. Long live Mission Impossible.

    Gregory Klein
    logiasophia at gmail dot com

    That was one incredibly written review. I have to hand it to you, that even though I agree as well as disagree to some points, the effort you went to stating your case is to be applauded!

    That must have taken ages and the intelligence in your writing is very evident. I would be a fool to think all Bond fans have the same taste as the history of the franchise covers so many era.

    Your review is at least proof that freedom of speech and expression is vital on any forum. I totally think that is some great writing in itself too.
    edited November 2012 Posts: 260
    I thought it was so stupid, cheesey and so far-fetched when Bond swings the car around, tells M to get inside the car and they decide to go to Bonds house ...seriously?

    The writing was so sloppy it astounds me you guys praise this movie. Like seriously, "M" the head of central intelligence at MI6 would feel more safer and want to go solo to who knows where with Bond ,rather than be protected by secret service, security at a secure government location .. In real life police would have killed Silva so fast in that court room .

    IMO M should have died more tragically and frankly more brutally. Silva should have just strangled M, or perhaps even sexually assaulted her proceeded by a strangle. Instead we got a long and boring cat and mouse interpretation of Silva,Bond and M constantly meeting up with each other until finally the inevitable happened ..and seriously M gets shot by one of Silva's henchman? wow what a bland and boring way to kill off M.
  • acoppolaacoppola London Ealing not far from where Bob Simmons lived
    edited November 2012 Posts: 1,243
    Getafix wrote:
    acoppola wrote:
    Getafix wrote:
    The hacking isn't something I liked the sound of on paper but I thought it was done fairly well (although I think Die Hard did it better, it was fun seeing Mcclane try and stop a cyber terrorist while not knowing sh*t about computers).

    I think the films might be becoming too tech reliant though. Q is a computer whizz now and Bond almost always has his earpiece. For Bond 24, I'd like it if Bond didn't have an earpiece and he didn't talk to MI6 during action scenes.

    The irony is that once they get into the DB5 they step back to 1964... and all modern technology disappears. I guess they are in Scotland. Bit backward up there.

    It's all very convenient of course. When they are in Turkey and London we can't escape the ear pieces, hacking, and general gee-whizzery of the tech nerds, and then when the 'plot' requires that that stuff is no longer convenient, it all just magically drops away.

    I suppose one theory could be that the DB5 is actually the logical next step up from DAD's invisible car - a time machine - and the Scotland scenes are actually set in the past (this would also neatly explain how Bond got the machine guns fitted). I am sure a time machine would be no challenge for Silva.

    I totally respect your opinion @Getafix But I see no need to take everything so literally in the film. The end scene was there to show that you cannot beat Silva with technology but through old fashioned determination and strategy.

    As for some of the so called plot holes or fantasticalness like the tube train crashing through on Bond. That scene was a nod to the past and the larger than life scope of Bond films. It is also there to add an unexpected surprise and I look into it no further than that.

    Mendes did a wonderful blend of making everything real looking whilst adding elements of the unreal. Look, the way I see it, in the real world, Silva would have executed Bond to hit M even harder and make her demise even worse. But you cannot have that in Bond.

    If we want to nit pick at every tiny thing, then we have to do the same with most Bond films. I always thought the villain never killing Bond when he had a chance is unreal, but I accept that for Bond films.

    SF is a wonderful mixture of the literal and the symbolic. That is my understanding. But at least it achieved keeping the tension up throughout and giving us a brand new look at Bond's world.

    Symbolic some may ask? Well, when the DB5 is blown to pieces, to me that is the final goodbye to the first era. Almost like a symbol of the older Bond not being able to compete now with the advances of modern cinema. That is how I interpreted it and nothing more. This was not any car being destroyed but an icon of the series old days of glory. In other words, once gone, you cannot recreate the past. The DB5 is destroyed forever and no Q can rebuild it when nothing is left.

    I completely get what you're saying and the way you describe the film it makes me wish that I had actually enjoyed it. I see what Mendes was trying to do and I applaud the intentions. I just think he was poorly served by the script.

    The film, as you describe it, is perhaps the Bond film that I've long dreamed of seeing and which I had hoped SF would be. But for me - and obviously this is personal and subjective - it did not actually do any of the things that you described. To be honest, although I found the non sequiturs annoying, this was not the reason I did not enjoy it. It was because I found the characters and plot uninteresting and the script, score and direction bland.

    It is a funny situation to be in. I think I share the same aspirations for Bond that most DC fans do - to see EON take the character in new and interesting directions, sometimes but not always darker than before. But this film just fell totally flat for me. Any way, as I've said before, it's basically my loss if I wasn't feeling what most others were when watching it.

    If I'm entirely honest, I do have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that DC is not quite as good an actor as he perhaps believes himself to be and others make him out to be. I think after Brosnan it was such a relief to have someone take the role seriously and inject some life into it. But I have always had this sneaking sense that Craig is never really going to quite convince me the way that Connery, Moore or Dalton did in their different ways. For me he just lacks a little something that would make me care for his character. I've noticed this in other films, most recently the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, which I also found strangely flat and disappointing. Perhaps this is for another thread...

    Hi @Getafix You will love @gklein review :) And beautifully written too.

    Whilst I have never stated Craig is my favourite Bond, I liked this film more than CR. I think in my own opinion, it was how Mendes approached it too.

    But even though I thought the film was excellent in the cinema, any Bond film holds up on the repeat viewing litmus test. And I mean any. So I will see how I feel about it again over the next few months.

    But one thing that was the most important thing for me is that the film took it's story seriously and did not lose sight of where it was heading. I didn't laugh at the film or get cheap entertainment which some of the Brosnan era was.

    I love fantastical Bond too, but I would sooner see Craig do a film like this then try to emulate a greatest hits style Bond film where he tries to be something he is not. Because that would kill it for me.

    Craig is not the natural comedian Moore was or has a similar personality of Connery to really convey that. But he is an interesting actor in his own right and I prefer the Bond they are doing to stay to his strengths.

    I am in no way arguing with you @Getafix as I think you are an intelligent man and at least you outline your points well. And you are way more than just a casual observer of the series.

  • edited November 2012 Posts: 3,082
    In real life police would have killed Silva so fast...
    Bond movies have never been about "real life". They are a fantasy and should be kept as adventurous action movies. Btw, gklein has a strong point IMO when writing:
    gklein wrote:
    This Bond movie had pretensions of being taken as a serious thriller. It has an academy award winning director at its helm and is filled with top-tier actors and actresses. It has a celebrated writing team. The producers have publicly bragged about this script and all the time (YEARS) that they had to perfect it. All this and they give us a story no more cohesive than that of "Moonraker" -- but with none of that movie's stunts, sets, or special effects to hide the craters. It's enough to make one forget one's complaints about double-taking pigeons, gondola-car hybrids, and henchman who fall in love with teenage girls half their height.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 38,792
    I thought it was so stupid, cheesey and so far-fetched when Bond swings the car around, tells M to get inside the car and they decide to go to Bonds house ...seriously?

    I'm having a hard time remembering this scene.

    Posts: 260
    Im tired of mainstream movies thinking of the audiences as idiots. I want a good solid story that focuses on character development, good writing and original ideas. movies like American Beauty , The Road and No Country for Old men. Im tired of cliched dumb downed action movies with plot holes, constant unrealistic scenes, and terrible writing
    Which is what we got with SkyBore.
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I thought it was so stupid, cheesey and so far-fetched when Bond swings the car around, tells M to get inside the car and they decide to go to Bonds house ...seriously?

    I'm having a hard time remembering this scene.

    Me too @Creasy47, I wonder if it's because it never occurred? :D
    edited November 2012 Posts: 260
    If Fleming was alive today to see skyfall, he would say, "Wow the producers have completely raped my character to bits". Bond should be portrayed as a gritty killer. EON has turned him into a superhero. Casino Royale is the closet Fleming type bond movie we've had since LTK. And may be the last considering the way Skyfail turned out to be.
    Posts: 260
    yea it did occur Sherlock. Bond picks m up in a car while all the chaos is happening at the courthouse downtown...And then they arrive at the garage where the kiddy lazy writing introduced the DB5, and procede to bonds house...dear god I cant believe im even writing this, it sounds like a macgyver show
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 38,792
    @Sandy, I think you might be right on that!

    I also hated when Bond got into a fist fight with M in the Skyfall lodge before Silva arrived, and he chokeslammed her through a coffee table. So rude of Ja--oh, wait...

    @DRESSED_TO_KILL, 'Skybore' now, is it? Did we tire of saying 'Skyfail'? And that's interesting, I didn't know you were in contact with Fleming's ghost.

    And just because YOU didn't like one film, suddenly they have destroyed the entirety of James Bond, and we will "never have a Fleming-esque Bond again." Interesting. I think many, many, many fans and critics alike would disagree with you, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just question how much longer you can diss this film before you decide to leave.

    If I hate something so much that I'm disgusted by it, I wouldn't stay in a place that discusses it. I mean, even when the likes of DAD are brought up, all I talk about are the moments I like. I'll bring up the terrible parts, such as that CGI, and leave it at that. No need to keep beating a dead horse for this long.
  • Posts: 1,817
    @DRESSED_TO_KILL can you answer my questions in page 17 and 0BradyM0Bondfanatic7's in 21?

    By the way, this is just sick,
    Silva should have just strangled M, or perhaps even sexually assaulted her proceeded by a strangle.
  • Posts: 173
    @gklein, amazing review... super long and yet I just had to read it all because it was so eloquent and intelligently written. Thanks for that.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 38,792
    @DRESSED_TO_KILL...but it didn't happen. Bond got into M's car, and then Tanner brought her out and put her in the back. Before he got in, Bond sped off. He didn't swing around and pick her up. It's like you're setting out to hate this film so much that you're tearing every single piece of it apart by making up things that didn't happen.

    Just like this: the "kiddie writing" that introduced the DB5. What? Barely any dialogue was shared in that scene, if I recall correctly. A line or two, and they get in and take off. Explain to me why the dialogue was "kiddie." You've peaked my curiosity.
  • acoppolaacoppola London Ealing not far from where Bob Simmons lived
    Posts: 1,243
    Regan wrote:
    @gklein, amazing review... super long and yet I just had to read it all because it was so eloquent and intelligently written. Thanks for that.

    Stop reading my mind @Regan :)) He could write a book on the series and I appreciated the eloquence to use your word of his argument.
  • MurdockMurdock The minus world
    Posts: 16,224
    Silva should have just strangled M, or perhaps even sexually assaulted her proceeded by a strangle.

    Wow, Really? it amazes me the kind of smut you put on this board. The only "Kiddie" writing I see is from you. We get it, you hate Skyfall. Why do you persist in plaguing the
    forum with your repeated arguments you never seem to back up?

    I want to know how you think Babs and Mike bullied Sam Mendes.

    Creasy wants to know how you think the dialogue is kiddy.

    Were asking you questions and you can't backup your claims.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 38,792
    @Murdock, good luck receiving them. He's beyond a hypocrite...I don't know what term would be appropriate. I've never met someone so one-sided or hypocritical in my life. He speaks of 'kiddie writing' in a section of the film that has little to no dialogue, yet he spouts out sexually assaulting M and posts James Bond cartoon porn on the forums. Sounds kiddie to me!
  • MurdockMurdock The minus world
    Posts: 16,224
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Murdock, good luck receiving them. He's beyond a hypocrite...I don't know what term would be appropriate. I've never met someone so one-sided or hypocritical in my life. He speaks of 'kiddie writing' in a section of the film that has little to no dialogue, yet he spouts out sexually assaulting M and posts James Bond cartoon porn on the forums. Sounds kiddie to me!

    It's times like this I wonder.... What would Timothy Dalton do?
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 38,792
    @Murdock, look at that chiseled grin.
  • MI6MI6 Administrator
    Posts: 677
    I'm disappointed (and a little bit sickened) with the turn this thread has taken. I am going to put a lid on it temporarily... I'll unlock it again in a maximum of 24 hours.
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    I am at this moment holding in my hands a copy of OHMSS, it came today by mail, it's been years since I first read it. I'm now 3 chapters into it (what a pleasurable read) and I say this with all honesty, I think Fleming would be proud of Skyfall.

    No, Skyfall is not perfect, it is not even my favourite Bond film (but close), but it is in my opinion one of the truest displays of Fleming's character on screen and a bold and courageous Bond film. It proved that it is possible to make a deeper Bond-film and please critics, average public and fans alike (with few exceptions). I respect those who didn't like it but when I read the complaints of some people I wonder, did they watch the film? Did they fall asleep in the middle and lost part of it? Were they distracted with something else and didn't pay the least attention to the film? Or were they simply high 8-}
This discussion has been closed.