Well it’s happened again. A big blockbuster has arrived and seemingly hoodwinked the majority of the cinema-going audience. Now, I’m not saying that SKYFALL isn’t a good film, but the praise surrounding it is similar to that of fanatical cult members praising their beloved leader. It’s about to be released on DVD, so here are my problems with the latest in 007’s canon.
It honestly felt that the majority of the film was simply copied and pasted from Nolan’s Batman series. Bond returns home after being presumed dead (BATMAN BEGINS). The villain gets captured on purpose and soon escapes. In fact, that’s happening in almost every blockbuster these days. The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT, Loki in THE AVENGERS, and now Silva in SKYFALL. It even looks as though the same thing will happen in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Apparently it shows how devilishly clever our villains are, when really it shows the lack of ideas from Hollywood’s screenwriters. Silva even disguises himself as a cop in order to assassinate a prominent character. If this wasn’t enough, then Bond is soon given his own family mansion and his very own old man confidant, Kincade, who is just… kind of… there! Not to mention the broken hero trying to reach previous glory, and that name-drop at the last second, revealing a character’s true identity with a nudge and a wink.
One of my huge pet peeves is when characters in films are dumber than me… and I’m a fucking idiot. It’s especially insulting to everyone’s intelligence when said characters are supposed to be smart. So let us take a quick survey: you’ve just apprehended a major international villain and confiscated his laptop. Do you immediately connect it to your very own server? …NO! Of course you don’t. Nobody would. It would be like banging a hooker without a condom. Everyone in the audience and their butler knew the thing would contain a damn virus. It was hardly as if Silva was keeping his hacking skills a secret. Did Q not receive the memo about the huge explosion earlier in the film?
I’ve heard this droning mess dozens of times and I’m still not entirely sure of the actual tune. I’d at least hope for some decent vocals, but to me, Adele just sounds like a passed out drunkard that mutters in her sleep; ‘Let the Skyfaalallalalal’. This is all on top of the fact that I am usually very lenient on Bond themes, as no matter what, they can make me stand up and fight international volcano-inhabiting villains. Unfortunately, all this song makes me want to do is fall asleep, which would be preferable because that’s where Carly Simon, Tina Turner, and Duran Duran serenade me with tales of yore.
Does this film want to be taken seriously or not? It’s hard to tell and also suffers from the same disease as THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. This disease goes on to infect fans, who become irrational and inconsistent in their defence of the films. At first they say ‘This is a realistic take. You can’t expect the same Bond/Batman.’ And these very same people will defend the sillier moments and plot holes with ‘It’s a comic book/Bond movie. What did you expect?’ I expect a little consistency at least. So, when Q says ‘Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that anymore,’ we all burst into hysterics, and have to staple our guts from exploding at the obvious dig towards GOLDENEYE (my personal favourite). This would be all fine and dandy, until the very moment Silva’s escape plan rests on the convenient placement of Bond, an explosive, and an underground train being on time. If this film really wanted that realistic tone, we should have seen Bond and Silva waiting around for a few hours, until eventually a replacement bus service was scheduled.
No doubt Javier Bardem made a fantastic villain, but there were so many things about Silva and his introduction that just rubbed me up the wrong way. And not the kind of pleasurable rubbing that Silva allowed Bond to experience. First there’s his diabolical plan, which at first I thought involved stealing a list of spies and outing undercover operatives, despite the fact that, if Bond is anything to go by, they use their real names anyway. However, I may be confusing this with MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, so do excuse me. There’s also the fact he was once a member of MI6, just like our dear friend Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), but at least he had the decency to introduce himself early on in the film. Silva waltzes in past the hour mark and has all his exposition handed to us in a quick piece of dialogue from Judi Dench’s M. As well as stealing most of his moves from The Joker, Silva decides a better plan is to just kill M, rather than continuing to release agents’ identities, which would probably be more psychologically distressing for her.
Well if there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that Bond will whisk us away for an exotic locale for the big finale. So where are we off to this time? The inside of a volcano? Perhaps a tropical island? NO! Like pulling the short straw on ‘Blind Date’, we’re off to the ever-so-exciting Scottish highlands. Drizzling rain, grey skies, and some fucking gorgeous T&A in the form of Judi Dench. This isn’t what I wanted. Well hopefully the action will be grand and not, I dunno, just cut together from the final moments of HOME ALONE. Seriously, did we really want to see Bond, M, and Alfred Pennyworth setting traps? They don’t even have the common decency to stick Micro-Machines under a rug.
Luckily the film is handled with expert direction from Sam Mendes, which gives us fight scenes in silhouette, and a poem being read during an action scene. That’s the kind of innovation we want. That and scantily clad women, stupid gadgets, and a Bond that doesn’t seem as though he had to be dragged into espionage. Is that too much to ask?
SKYFALL is out on DVD & Blu-ray on 18th February 2013.