Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stray Observations on Skyfall

I had a chance to catch Skyfall last night alongside some other fine Messiah folk. I don't claim to be a James Bond fan. In fact, other than Casino Royale, playing a lot of Goldeneye as a kid, and a half hour of a Sean Connery edition here and there, I don't believe I have any background with the ol' 007. Now of course Bond has helped to define American culture's idea of what cool is and what masculinity looks like but that's another conversation.

Now action flicks aren't my first choice, but I enjoy a good one here and there. Coming into Skyfall, I was excited about the directing choice of Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road). When a more thoughtful approach can be brought to an action flick, I'm on board.

And to be honest, I think he (and the writers) brought some more introspection to the screen. Of course Bond was still using some pretty ridiculous gadgets and hooking up with every lady under the age of 35. But for the first time (in my limited Bond memory), a lot of thought had to be put forth on Bond's part when it came to his motivations for his role as an agent and the primary relationship explored was the one between M and Bond, not exactly a sexy relationship.

Beyond appreciating a little bit more thoughtful approach, the movie was a little slow. If felt long. There were some cliched action scenes (crashing into fruit carts, subway chases, fighting on top of a train) but there were also some beautiful shots (skyscraper fight scene, the Scottish bungalow, the island).

Javier Bardem provided a great villain that conjured up memories of Batman's Bane. I enjoyed the more philosophical middle act of the movie but, really, the movie was about Bond and M. And the final third of the movie, while beautifully shot and very deftly shot during dusk (a literal sky fall), delved into Bond's childhood in another move that conjured up thoughts of Batman.

All together, I thought it was a good installment in the Bond franchise and I continue to think Daniel Craig's portrayal is a pretty accurate representation of today's Bond.

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