Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Skyfall: Bond is Back – Finally!

James Bond faces mortality (his own and another’s) and a mid-life crisis in this latest, which is one of the more emotionally deep of the series

     We’ve waited what seems like an eternity since the second-rate Quantum of Solace – has there been a drearier title for a major movie in the past decade? – to see the latest James Bond.  Skyfall starts spectacularly, almost as good as The Spy Who Loved Me, leaving Bond (and the audience) in one of the darkest places yet.  Adele then sings the theme song and
we’re away into both the cutting-edge present and a recollection of the nostalgic pop past when Shirley Bassey or Wings or Carly Simon or some other top performer gave the latest Bond movie a send-off.

Daniel Craig and Judi Dench
Javier Bardem
     There are some great action sequences and even though they probably were filmed in front of blue screens, they seem like they could (in your wildest movie dream) occur.  This is in direct contrast to the Superhero movies that dominate the multiplex in the summer.  There’s also a greater depth in the villain, played eccentrically by Javier Bardem with a spectacularly icky make-up effect.  In one scene, he seemed to be coming on to Bond and I could feel the discomfort of the heterosexual males in the audience, but Bond’s rejoinder was “What makes you think this is the first time?”  I wanted to cheer that they’d address this so casually.

Ben Whishaw
     Where the movie works best, but probably annoyed some viewers, is in the slower scenes that set up and build towards the action sequences where great actors like Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, an unrecognizable Albert Finney, and the bold Ben Whishaw as Q (marvelous as John Keats a couple of years ago in Jane Campion’s Bright Star) ground the story emotionally so that the pyrotechnics matter.  However, it’s Daniel Craig who can now be said to embody Bond.  Yes, he’s better than Connery because he’s had to play greater anguish in both this and Casino Royale and he can pull off the humor and the requisite swimsuit beefcake scenes.  

No comments: