Review: ‘Skyfall’ ***Contains spoilers***

OK, I know I’m in for a lot of grief here but I’ll admit up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never seen a Bond film all the way through. The only times I’ve seen them is if there’s been one on TV and The Boy Wonder decided to watch it despite it only having 30 minutes left. I suppose it’s a bit of a surprise considering I am a bit of a geek. I adore Batman but Bond has just never figured in my life.
However, after hearing about “the gritty reboot” and seeing trailers that looked pretty good, I thought I’d give ‘Skyfall’ a go.
I thought the cinematography was good. The action sequences were pretty impressive and the product placement was nowhere near as invasive as I was expecting.
Some might say that director Sam Mendes has “paid homage” to ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘The Woman in Black’ but as far as I’m concerned, he ripped them off.
The Baddie, Silva, played by Javier Bardem was a cross between Hannibal Lector and Heath Ledger’s Joker. His peroxide hair, his unhinged and inappropriate excitement at the thought of mischief along with his ability to anticipate what his nemeses will do seemed like a take-off of Heath Ledger’s far superior role. It seems like he’s watched ‘The Dark Knight’, seen the excitement Ledger’s performance produced and thought “That’s what I need to do to portray a ‘good villain'”. But his portrayal falls completely short.
One scene which shows Silva locked in a “high security” part of the London Underground which MI6 is using as its temporary home since Silva blew up their usual digs. It looked like an exact replica of the scene where Hannibal Lector is caged in the penthouse suite of a hotel, awaiting transfer. Surprise, surprise, they both managed to escape.
How did Silva escape? By engaging the only man guarding him in conversation and attacking him. Correct me if I’m wrong but The Joker also did that.
Oh, and after’s Silva’s escape, the “goodies” realise it was part of his plan to get caught all along. Just like The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’. Escaping from a secure place seems to be a common trope of villains in recent blockbusters.
One thing I did like about Silva, though, was the unlikely sexual tension between him and Bond and his undeniable Oedipus Complex regarding M although I still think that idea could have been developed further.
I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief: is this James Bond or Aquaman? Bond managed to survive drowning at least twice.
My main thought throughout this film was: I didn’t know they were bringing out another Batman film so soon.
A manor house set alight, a derailed train, a skyscraper with a set-to, a manic villain whose plan requires him to get caught then break-out. Plus, the villain disguising himself as a policeman. Even Thomas Newman’s soundtrack appeared to have taken “inspiration” from Hans Zimmer; Newman’s music was far more loud and booming than his previous soundtracks.
One issue that I had with both ‘Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Skyfall’ was the pointless exposition in the dialogue. Why don’t filmmakers believe the old adage “show, don’t tell”. Don’t condescend your audience – they don’t need your constant explanations.
The idea that the story would feature more on M was a great idea but I felt it didn’t go anywhere near deep enough. The characters generally seemed underdeveloped and I felt the actors featured didn’t have their opportunity to really shine. They did the best with the script they were given.
I liked Q although I think Chris Addison or Richard Ayode would have been better suited to the role. I did wonder whether any of the technology used in the film could be used in real life. I can’t even get a signal in open land, never mind on the Tube.
I thought Daniel Craig’s run was rather – unintentionally – funny. It was as though he thought he’d appear faster by lifting his knees to his chest and moving his arms a lot.
The final set piece, set in Scotland, was drawn-out and completely ridiculous. The misty, dark and creepy house had me half expecting to see some evil spirit knocking around a la ‘The Woman in Black’. While M, Bond and the caretaker set traps, I thought ‘Skyfall’ had entered ‘Home Alone’ territory. I thought Harry and Marv were going to pop up and stand on some shattered Christmas decorations.
Questions that popped into my head whilst watching the final set-to in ‘Skyfall’.
Why did he take all tracking devices off his car, refuse help from the MI-6 but lead Silva to his manor home anyway?
Wouldn’t it have been easier to throw Silva off the scent entirely?
Why didn’t Bond shut the door to the secret passage after setting up the bomb?
Why did he stand waiting in the tunnel until the flames approached him?
How did Bond escape any kind of burns?
Why did Silva’s goon look so cocky on the ice, despite knowing Bond had killed most of his co-workers?
Why didn’t the caretaker turn the bloody torch off when they were in the little church? How did Bond not drown again?!
Many Bond fans see this as a tour de force but I felt it could have been a lot better.
Vic x

One response to “Review: ‘Skyfall’ ***Contains spoilers***

  1. Very critical review of a movie I enjoyed quite a bit, but I have to agree with the points you make. Although my suspension of disbelief held throughout the film, I admit that it shook quite a bit in some of the parts you describe, mainly the ‘Joker’ escape and the trapping part (loved the comparison to ‘Home Alone’).

    What I still like about these ‘new’ Bond movies is that they cut back so much on the gadgets. It gives everything, in as far as that is possible for a James Bond flick, a more realistic feel.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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