09 November 2012


James Bond is fifty years old this year - he has never looked better.  I've been excited about Skyfall since shooting started after MGM got itself out of financial trouble.

Daniel Craig, at the behest of M and Her Majesty's government, is after a terrorist who has acquired a list of embedded MI-6 agents.  During pursuit one of the terrorist's minions Bond is accidentally shot by a fellow agent, falling into a river (leading to one of the best opening title sequences, with theme song by Adele).  He is announced as deceased.

Which any Bond fan knows is false because that would make a really short movie.  C.f. You Only Live Twice.  While Bond recuperates on a desert island the terrorist begins releasing agents' names - deliberately taunting M.  A decidedly shaky, out of shape Bond returns to service.  M trusts him, a fellow government wonk (played brilliantly by Ralph Finnes) disagrees.  Bond does his job and brings in the terrorist: Silva.

Silva, as played by Javier Bardem, is the Bond villain to end all Bond villains.  He's a megalomaniac.  Without conscience.  He pushes the envelope (there's a brief hint of a homoerotic interplay with Bond).  Silva has this weird, creepy little laugh.  And don't get me started on the amazing SFX work done when Silva takes out his partial plate/bridge.  Ack, ack, ack.

But the greatest part of this movie is Judi Dench in this, her best M outing yet.  While she had a greatly enlarged part in The World is Not Enough, Dame Judi brings gravitas, humor, and a beautiful performance as someone who can't afford to second-guess or doubt her decisions.

I loved the score, the cinematography (there is an amazing fight sequence with a sniper in a high-rise that is backlit with rotating neon ad signs - wow), and the casting (Ben Wishaw as the new Q was genius, pun intended).  It got a little dusty in the theatre toward the end.  My only issue was the standard-issue "expendable Bond girl", Severine: if she's just confessed to being a child prostitute/abused woman Bond really ought not to sneak into her shower like a creeper.  Just saying.

1. Jack Reacher - totally looks just like Mission Impossible
2. Iron Man 3 - aw man, please tell me they aren't going to kill Pepper off just for kicks
3. Hobbit - Richard Armitage, squeee!!!
4. Red Dawn - No.  Just no.
5. Django Unchained - Tarantino and Christoph Walz reunited.

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