Skyfall Spoiler Review
2012-11-12, 9:24 p.m.
So, here's the thing: I preferred Pierce Brosnan as Bond. (Or as anything, really.) I liked the somewhat goofiness of the other Bond flicks that I have seen on occasion. I like the silly gadgets, I enjoy the flirting between Bond and his boinks of the moment, I enjoy the fun of being a spy. So I am clearly NOT the audience intended for seeing Skyfall or any of the Daniel Craig movies, which are about 97% Very Serious. And I don't like Daniel Craig. I hadn't seen any movies he was in, but the dude always seems to have the same stoic unhappy disgust look on his face-- call it Sour Lemon Face-- all the fucking time, to the point where I wonder if his face is actually capable of doing expressions.
Anyhoo, L finds Daniel Craig hot for um, some reason ("I don't find your guy hot either," she pointed out. To each their own.), and I wanted to go see a movie on the day off, so we went. Here is what the movie is like.
At the beginning, Bond and Moneypenny are chasing after some secret list of outed agents that some other dude has made off with. (Note: The movie does not tell you that it's Moneypenny until the very end, but really, who else is it gonna be? They think they're being cute with this, especially when after all this time at the end Bond finally asks her damn name, but it's not.) There is the traditional car chase and train fight, but this time Moneypenny's trying to sniper one of the two dudes and M tells her to take a shot, EVEN IF IT HITS BOND. Which it DOES, and he falls off into a river. DUM DUM DUM!!!!!
Cue the Skyfall song, which Adele does well. They keep the trippy acid openers, I see. I guess they're not THAT modern.
The overall theme of the movie is, "Are Bond and M too old fashioned in the modern era? Shouldn't we put them out to pasture?" I do give them credit for taking up this issue and discussing it and making it a theme, even if it's a bit depressing. After the Bond "murder," M is told she's going to retire whether she wants to or not in two months, and M is all, "No." I love M, and I do give them props for using the hell out of her in this one. And then some ex-agent targets M and MI6 by (a) blowing up the building (though M's ugly pug statue in her office survives the entire movie somehow!) and (b) taunting her with hacks on her laptop and (c) outing agents via YouTube so they get shot.
Now, James Bond has been "enjoying death" for three months. He's on some island, he schtupped some woman, he drank a shot while a scorpion sat on his hand for some reason. During all of these scenes, he has the same Sour Lemon Face expression on his face the entire time and looks like he's having as much fun as he would be if he were in excruciating pain and in need of a root canal. Remember how it used to be a big deal who the Bond Girls (or any girl, for that matter) were in these movies? The women Bond nails are nameless nonentities. He doesn't look like he enjoys sex or drinking or anything AT ALL whatsoever. Remember how previous Bonds flirted with girls? The man is less flirtatious than I am, for fuck's sake. Who is this guy? He's fucking miserable all the time and I don't enjoy watching that. But after seeing the bombing of MI6, he goes and breaks into M's house so she can yell at him and tell him they sold his place and he'll have to go through all these physical tests to get approved. They also put him through that word association test you saw in the trailers, only he calls M a bitch in them. Hah.
Here's an interesting quirk on this shit: we're told that Bond failed EVERY TEST HORRIBLY, but M still lets him go into the field anyway to chase after the bad guy. We meet the new Q, who is the black haired, glasses wearing version of Andrew Garfield from the newest Spider-Man. He brags about hacking computers a lot and ONLY gives Bond a hand-coded-for-his-shooting-only gun and a tiny radio. Because we don't do cool gadgets any more in the movies. It's no longer cool. Yes, really.
While chasing around pretty Asian cities, Moneypenny eventually rolls in to assist Bond. Moneypenny, incidentally, is enjoying everything HUGELY. She is animated and fun and delightful and I'd rather watch her. It is especially noticeable how Daniel Craig is completely fucking stonefaced throughout the movie when you pair him with her in a scene, or the other "Bond Girl" he briefly nails before her crazy boyfriend kills her. (I gotta agree with this essay on how that poor girl is handled, as well as the other ladies in the movie.) They both act rings around him.
Bond goes to meet the other girl he nails in the movie, who is terrified of her employer/boyfriend/something. She tells him her employer's bodyguards are all gonna kill him, but if he survives, meet her on this boat. So there's a delightful throwdown in which Bond and a bodyguard LAND IN THE GILA MONSTER PIT where a gila monster is just chillin' under a bar for fun, with a shit ton of candles lit down there, like a Gila monster can't just knock 'em over with its tail accidentally or anything. The bodyguard gets ahold of Bond's "for your hand only" gun, of course can't shoot it, and gets grabbed and eaten by the Gila monster. BWAHAHAHAH JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS. Loved it.
I decided to count how many times, if any, Daniel Craig changes his expression noticeably throughout the movie. I counted 12 times. There are a brief half-smiles and smirks, almost all of which are done around the super charming Moneypenny. There is one scene where he very nearly rolls his eyes, but doesn't, but you get that he's feeling disgusted. There's the occasional tiny short bit of expression here and there, and one starting-to-cry scene. 12 times. So he CAN change expression, he just doesn't do it very often or very noticeably. The More You Know.
So the bad guy is this crazy blonde ex-agent that M cut loose, who ties Bond up and tells him some crazy story about his grandmother poisoning an entire island full of rats with coconut until there were two cannibal rats left--you know, I don't even feel like trying to explain this. Anyhoo, the villain ("Silva," a.k.a. Something Rodriguez-- I hardly caught anyone's damn name in this movie) seriously fondles the shit out of J.B. while he's tied up, including fondling his thighs. This is, oddly enough despite the two sex scenes, the sexiest bit of the movie. And the best part of it is after the villain dude makes some kind of sexual comment about this I forget, Bond is all, "What makes you think I haven't done this before?" BWAHAHAHAH ENGLISH BOARDING SCHOOLS, YOU KNOW THEY ALL TRIED IT.
Later, there is a scene where M is getting some kind of English version of a court-martial where she's being bitched out at great length for being old fashioned and how fucking dare she do that. Meanwhile the villain has escaped from prison, blown up the London tube, and is heading over to shoot her. The movie has M start quoting Tennyson during her court martial for um....I don't know why. Stalling, I guess. Anyhoo, after all the bitching about M's methods and being old fashioned, I deeply enjoyed the part where the villain shot up the star chamber. Bond gets M away, tracks down an "old fashioned" car that shoots bullets (LOVE THAT, THANK YOU MOVIE) and drives her off to Skyfall, the old Bond family Scottish estate in the middle of fucking nowhere. (Note: before I went into the movie, I heard a few people leaving it say, "What was Skyfall? I never heard them say it." It's on a sign, you guys.) M is all, "Hey, what age were you at when your parents died?" Bond is all, "You know that. Fuck you, audience, we're gonna bring that up and then shove it in your face that we won't tell you jack." Though you do find out his parents' names at one point. Andrew and Monique Delacroix. So there's that.
The house has been abandoned and sold and clearly has no power in it (and as we find out, no guns except one either), except the old family caretaker is still hanging around the joint lurking in the cold and dark. Seriously, I don't think they had a phone there, there is clearly no power and nothing nearby Skyfall for ages and ages, so how is a dude surviving there? He doesn't have a separate house nearby either. But he's totally happy to take J.B. and M in there to have a siege go on that totally blows up the place. Which was Bond's plan because he always hated the place anyway.
Also amusing: the caregiver calling Bond a "jumped-up little shit."
So I've mentioned that the villain blows shit up a lot, right? He flies into Skyfall in a helicopter (which is loudly playing some song about shooting someone--nice entrance!). He can figure out they're all in the house. He has a lot of bombs on him. So why on earth doesn't he JUST DROP SOME OF THOSE BOMBS ON THE FUCKING HOUSE instead of getting out of the helicopter, tediously throwing every bomb into every room of the house, sending a shooting squad ahead of him, etc? Think about that one, crazy man. M and the caregiver sneak out of the secret portal and run off to the other building in the area, the chapel, where I'm sure nobody will assume that you're at. Especially because there has electricity. And it's night.
At one point Bond is heading across a frozen pond when the bad guy and one remaining henchman spot him. Bond grabs the henchman behind him's gun and shoots out the ice so he and the henchman sink into the frozen water, leaving the bad guy to go find M in the chapel. Because sinking very far down underwater while trying to break a dude's neck and steal the flare on his back will only improve the situation you're in right now?
The bad guy finds M in the chapel--remember, he wants to kill her-- and sees that she's been shot in the side. He suddenly gets all emo and "You've been hurt! How dare they?" (They who, buddy? Your employees acting on your behalf?) Then he somehow wants him and M to get shot in the head with the same bullet. Huh?! Then Bond pitches a knife into his back. Then M somehow dies from the side wound that she must have had in her for like an hour. Daniel Craig actually starts to kinda cry, his final face change in the movie.
M leaves him the ugly pug in her will. Ralph Fiennes takes over MI6. Moneypenny, despite loving working in the field, takes a desk job for uh, no good reason really. She introduces herself. Bond is thrilled to work for his country again. He looks as thrilled as someone who's in need of their appendix being taken out. End of movie.
So: there's a few good moments here and there. The theme of "hey, sometimes old stuff works good too" works well. I love M and Moneypenny. For the brief period of time Bond Girl #2 is on screen, I felt for her. The villain is hi-larious, albeit losing his logic for the last half of the movie. And I guess you have to kill off M sometime because I heard Judi Dench is losing her eyesight. But..dear god, I don't get the appeal of Daniel Stoneface Craig. I think I'll look at Bond again once they switch actors to someone more lively.