Friday Flix: Skyfall

Last weekend I was Stoked. I listened to Adele sing about Skyfall had my ticket purchased for the movie in IMAX, and rewatched the preview a dozen times for good measure. This, they said, was the epic James Bond movie. Some even dared to say the best Bond movie ever.

The movie opens in a beautifully cinematic way, very artsy as James is tracking down some villain no doubt. Eventually we end up in one of the greatest rooftop chase scenes of our time. The action is already more than worthy of a Bond film.

I suppose I should note the extreme possibility of SPOILERS in this review, which will stay minimal until the point of no return, which is coming up. But for now, if you’ve seen the trailer, I’m not spoiling much.

So James and Bad Guy are on the train fighting over “the list” and James’ fellow agent upon orders from M accidentally shoots James. The Bad Guy gets away, James might be dead (except we know he won’t be), and as he sinks into the water the Adele song kicks on with a fantastic Bond opener with scenes we will later realize might have made the rest of the movie more exciting.

Part of me at this point is thinking—since I’m a student of story—hmmm, interesting choice for an inciting incident. Seems an awful lot like a climax, but it’s only been what, 5 or 10 minutes. Despite odd images of deers (yep) and a constant kick back to some house in the opening credits, I’m ready to continue on.

Okay, people. Point of no return approaching.

I’ve given you a week to get Skyfall seen, so before the SPOILERS fest begins, I’ll say for those who still want to see the movie knowing as little as possible about the story, here’s why for me Skyfall was Skyflunk:

  1. Love Interest. Technically there are two Bond girls in this film and their characters are both fairly interesting on the surface, but one the relationship doesn’t last for more than a couple scenes and the other seems more like a buddies relationship than a romantic one. We need someone for James to be charming with, and since these girls are usually a part of his motivation for saving the world, well… More on this later.
  2. Villains – Major and Minor. Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with Javier Bardem’s performance. In fact, he’s really the highlight of this whole thing. But he was squandered. What I would have liked to see is him messing with James’ head more, a bit of psychological wits with occasional brute force until the final showdown. Alas, not. As for the minor villain, he ended up being more like a henchman than anyone all that formidable.
  3. Daniel Craig. Loved him in Casino Royale. It made me think, Yes! This is the Bond we’ve been waiting for. Ditto on Quantum of Solace. Ditto on the first part of Skyfall. The rest of the film he seemed drowsy or disinterested. What happened to the charmer I’d grown to know and love? He had a few good moments, but nothing like the previous films.
  4. Skyfall.What do you think Skyfall will be? Some kind of secret mission to take out the enemy? Maybe a satellite or evil supercomputer? Some impossible mission where James barely comes back alive? Nope, it’s this:

    James Bond’s old trike. He named it Skyfall because it used to be blue and when he went off a jump it seemed like he fell out of the sky.

    Okay, not really, but honestly that’s what it kind of feels like. I don’t know why they didn’t call this movie Aston Martin or Martini. It’s about the same level of exciting. Don’t purposely mislead us in the trailer.

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