A Discussion of Skyfall

I watched “Skyfall” last night and really enjoyed it. I do want to mention a few things, partially to play with a new and improved different review/discussion style i’m working on.

Also, SPOILERS. I don’t know if that’s an assumption to be made when reading a review, but if for some reason you are reading my post and haven’t seen the movie…SPOILERS.

Ok, so…

The Good: The entire Shanghi sequence. I loved the lighting here and the setting. It was a nice slow chase scene that managed to capture a very haunted feel. I especially loved how a room full of glass managed to create a shifting web of cover. And then the silloute fight scene was simply beautiful to watch.

Then we switch over to…er…new location and everything is warm and inviting. A real tone shift and a lot of it due to color and set decoration. Culminating from this was the cold and dark Skyfall set that slowly warms more and more through the third act.

All in all the settings seemed to border on the simple, but were executed elegantly. It helped evoke mood but keep me invested in the movie.

I really enjoyed the acting on display. I thought Craig brought a restrained persona with cracks of personality shining through, some of it meant only to disarm. I loved the “waste of good scotch” line, so very cold. Ralph Fiennes was very enjoyable, and I liked the effort to make him feel like ‘one of the guys’.

Judi Dench was good as always, and made great use of the spotlight put on her.

All in all, it had solid action, was beautifully shot, and the acting drew me in and kept me enraptured the whole time. No joke, I actually had a couple of muscle spasms going on in the middle of the movie but I was having such a good time I basically sat through the pain and tried to mentally force it away.

 

The Bad: I do have some minor problems with the movie, mostly lapses in what i’m branding as common sense.

The shooting of Bond; not the shoulder but via Eve. I see why it happened, and that’s good drama but it led to three of my problems. One, they were connected via headset so I think a simple “Get down Bond!” would have worked. You could say that the communicator was down but Eve was in contact with M and Bond heard everything as confirmed later. Then Bond falls off the train so Eve now has a clean shot and doesn’t even try and take it. Lame. And then throughout the move we see Bond’s nasty shoulder wound but the rest of his torso looked to be intact. He makes a joke later about “only four ribs and some minor organs” which is likely exaggeration but it indicates he was clearly shot.

The movie really focuses on his shoulder wound: the title sequence, his arm giving him troubles, remains from it form a clue to tracking down the thief. Very little, besides a few quips, is paid to the fact that he was gut shot by an assault rifle. I’m thinking his accidental shooting via Eve to be a last minute change to amp up the danger, or even take the blame away from Bond’s failure. After all with a serious shoulder wound I don’t think we would blame him for loosing a fist fight and being tossed from a train.

And finally, Silva’s escape. For the most part this was a nice sequence, and is also where I had my spasm problem, but what I don’t understand is how two MI6 security officers managed to get killed during his escape. He was presumably unarmed and locked in a secure cell. Sure the cell door was electronically locked and thus opened when the virus hit…and then he managed to leap across the room and disable the guard? No chance, this is a serious terrorist who has hacked the most secure network in Britain, took on Bond, and is a former double-oh himself. They would have drawn down on him the moment the door opened and should have at least took out his legs.

 

The Fiddly: These bits are things I could have seen go either way. They were fine in the movie, but I could also see complaining about them.

Essentially…the whole movie. I read, after the movie, a few bit stating that this film was not a direct continuation of the Bond franchise. That it goes “Casino Royale”, “Quantum of Solace” and…other stuff then this film. So now i’m left wondering if the next film will be pre-Skyfall and feature a ‘younger’ Bond or will be post-skyfall and feature a ‘classic’ Bond.

Part of this is what makes the movie really work and what makes it possibly the best of series. It could work as a capping point for the classic era leading things in a full circle, or it works as the end of a trilogy giving us the birth of a new Bond. I do wish i’d known about its ‘vaguely timeless’ nature before hand as all the “you’re getting to old for this Bond” stuff struck me as a bit soon or at least heavy handed.

Also, I liked Ralph Fiennes in this and think the new Moneypenny is cool. However I was also left thinking, sarcastically, ‘at least everyone now knows their place.’ We took out a woman as head of MI6 and replaced her with the old standby: a rich white guy. And let’s not have a likable and capable female worthy of working alongside Bond, get her ass behind a desk.

 

But anyways, the problems I had were minor and some of them I could see why they did what they did. For the vast majority of the movie I was very happily entertained. It was fun and exciting with a lot of visual style. I’m not a huge Bond fan, only owning a very few handful of the movies, but this one I will likely buy when it comes out.

 

Also, if ‘fiddly’ the best word to use there?

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One thought on “A Discussion of Skyfall

  1. Fiddly is an ideal word to use there.

    I more or less felt the same way, especially about Dame Dench being shelved in favor of Fiennes at the end of the film. The only reason why they got away with it is because it came full circle to the classic Bond setup, but I’ll be damned if Judi Dench isn’t loads more intimidating than Fiennes at his worst. The woman was cold, brutal and worst of all, the most capable head of MI6 we’d ever been treated to. You couldn’t dismiss her as a non-understanding bureaucrat or a woman in a man’s job, and each of her interactions with Bond made her feel very, very dangerous.

    For the “technical thing that would never happen” I was less concerned with James surviving the wound as I was with him surviving the fall. Hitting the water at that height would be like hitting concrete. He’d be dead.

    More biting was the new Q’s handling of the villain’s computer. It was retarded. It would be like if they had a bomb disposal expert defuse a bomb by lighting it on fire and shooting it with a shotgun.

    He plugged the laptop of a known top-level hacker not only into their network, but apparently did nothing to quarantine its access. As someone that only likes computers as a hobby, I can think of several ways they could have avoided the disaster, and Q was supposed to be a genius. It makes no sense.

    it also makes no sense that the guy’s plan somehow relied upon James Bond being hot on his trail, beneath the Tube, in that exact spot, so a train could derail on him. That’s omniscience, since the events leading to that moment were in fact entirely random.

    That and he would have been shot dead a dozen times before leaving MI6.

    But yeah, I quite liked it anyway.

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