Sunday, November 11, 2012
What I love about Skyfall ...
It's stunning to look at. Roger Deakins has outdone himself with his beautiful cinematography, including some stunning color palettes. In particular, the Shanghai sequence is one of the most original, and gorgeous action scenes I've seen in a while. No shaky cam here.
The return of some Bond tropes, i.e. the quips, Q, the leather-padded doors of M's office, even things like the Kimono Dragon getting the better of the Chinese thug, a sequence that really harkened back to the Moore era.
Adele's song, and the opening credits.
The overall acting. Daniel Craig is very, very good, but we know that. And while my biggest problem with the film is the character of Silva, I will admit that Javier Bardem was excellent. He chews the scenery but in a unique, and very funny way, while also remaining threatening.
What I don't love about Skyfall ...
Too much M. Judi Dench rocks it, so it's not her fault, but I guess I prefer my M's to stay in their office and dole out assignments. Not everyone has to be along for the ride.
There's a whole middle sequence that felt an awful lot like The Dark Knight Rises, with the character of Silva way too much like The Joker, including a God-awful bit of CGI face altering. Also, I know that Bond films are ludicrous by their very nature, but the whole get-captured-on-purpose-to-wreak-havoc plot point did not work for me.
I like Thomas Newman but this was an uninspired score that actually made me miss David Arnold. Although I did appreciate the return of a lot of classic Bond cues.
Everything is just too personal in this film. For Bond, it's personal. For M, it's personal, and for Silva, it's very, very personal. The whole movie is trying to ratchet up the stakes. While that generally works in most films, I actually don't love it in a Bond film. What I love about Bond films is that they are self-contained adventures, and that Bond, as a hero, has a certain detachment, even though he's saving the world.
When I first heard about the end of the film, that it was set in the moors of Scotland, I was pretty excited. It just wasn't as good as I had hoped, maybe because it felt like a gothic version of Home Alone instead of a typical Bond film. I don't need lairs and jumpsuits (maybe I do) but it just didn't work for me, despite a nice performance from Albert Finney as Kincade.
Overall, it was impossible to not be excited (as a Bond fan) but the very end of the film, when the filmmakers signify that the re-boot (that began in the superior Casino Royale) is finally over, and Bond is back. I walked out anxious to see the next film, to see Daniel Craig, and M, and Q, and Moneypenny, and hoping that it would be a different, better film than Skyfall.