Thursday, April 25, 2013

Skyfall (2012)

The latest James Bond starts off with a signature, pre-credits action sequence (the best sequence in the film) then gives us a rather busy (visually) credit sequence with a limp Adele song, which made me long for the John Barry/Maurice Binder days.  This is a fine movie.  Just fine.  My problem is the film isn't fun, except when Javier Bardem is on screen, and the whole film has a gloomy pall hanging over it.  There's only one, all-too-brief Bond girl (who is quickly disposed of in a rather vivid manner...he doesn't even end up in bed with her) and hardly any exotic locales:  There is one scene in the streets of Istanbul, and a skyline shot of Hong Kong, and that's it...most of the movie takes place in an underground bunker.  Daniel Craig may be the closest to Ian Fleming's conception of the character than any of the other actors that have played him, but the films have taken on their own identity apart from the books, and a little glee and panache would've lightened the grim mood.  He has maybe thirty lines in the entire film, and never changes his facial expression, no acting required, his haunted blue eyes providing the required screen magnetism (if any).  Most of the acting is provided by Bardem, who's obviously having a ball, the best Bond villain in years.  Spoiler Alert.  The film seems in limbo, tearing down the franchise's legacy while supposedly celebrating it.  M is murdered and the famous Aston-Martin is symbolically blown to smithereens, while the character of Moneypenny is reintroduced and we visit Bond's childhood Scotland (a reference to Connery, I'm guessing).  Though I'm not proposing reinstating the days of Roger Moore's eye-rolling, James Bond is taking himself way too seriously.

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