Skyfall

"It's like Home Alone!" my friend said, just as I was about to say the same. It went from Bond movie to The Adventures of 007 and M (as they drive off to his acestral Scotland in an ancient car), and, finally, to Home Alone.

The man behind us made many things better. He teased the first sex scene: "oh, Bond." First? Only. I would say this is new, but we're not spared the flirtations of Bond and Moneypenny.

I was reminded of The Wrath of Khan by this dogged theme of mortality. Can such things survive in a Bond movie? The suggestion that 007 might be fallible and violable was new in Daniel Craig's first Bond movie, but it remains an anomaly--one which this plot aims to dispell. In the end it's less about death--however thickly the dialogue is ("bloody old warships," bla bla bla)--than it is about flaccidity. Jesus really failed to answer the burning question: after you're resurrected, can you maintain an erection? In Craig's case, the answer is of course--well, witness his gait.

The world is this genre's playground, but that's nothing new.

The sneaking scene of mirrors and neon in Shanghai was, however, beautiful. As is all of the scenery.

Speaking of which, action sequences in Bond are aesthetic flourishes more than they are locuses of tension. It's not exactly that there are no rules, but rather, the impossible is the most likely course of action. Survive getting shot and falling hundreds of feet into a river? Yes. Motorcycle on rooftops? Yes. Slide down the metal barrier between opposing escalators? Well, I guess that's neither aesthetic nor impossible.

The reboot is these days as obligatory as the dub step trailer. But self-consciously bringing hints of realism to Bond? (Q says to Bond something like "it's a tube train, I know you've never been in one.") Surely that's straining the genre. Which is the point, I guess. I find myself asking the question what's worse, the Bond movie tradition, or the recent attempts to shake it up?

I wasn't aware that old necessarily meant conservative, but I stand corrected. Apparently, the world is a scary, scary place that can only be saved by "a paragon of British fortitude." (If you like Judi Dench as M, you have to assume she was making fun of 007 by calling him this in his obit.)

She says that the villain is "from the same place Bond is, from the shadows." Sorry, Gandalf?

"All this running around, jumping and shooting, it's so exhausting," says Bardem, Assange, whatever his name is. So true.

007 takes up his father's old hunting rifle AT A FUCKING COUNTRY ESTATE.

Scotland = England, but "back in time" (oh god).

Bardem is lovely, unfortunately he's also here the specter of the "new" world's homosexuality, threatening to penetrate all things that like to think themselves unpenetrable (MI6, Bond). Oh no we must repair the leak in straightness.

The innuendos are really awful, as is all of the dialogue, but then, that's traditional. But then, this one wants to be taken seriously everywhere else.

Serious sillyness, silly seriousness.

If by the 50-year-old scotch and the equally old car it means to say that the Bond franchise is an artifact of the 1960s, then I agree.

Trauma narratives. At least the evil double (Bardem) laughs at his own.

The Gila monster scene was very Star Wars, my friend points out. Henchman picks up Bond's gun, which can only be fired by him, thanks to Q. He says "good luck with that"; henchman gets eaten by gila monster. I think it might even be George Lucas & Harrison Ford in general (it could be in Indiana Jones or Star Wars).

The finale really drags. But then, as Anthony Lane points out, it always does in Bond movies.

14 November 2012