|SPOILER: Bond seduces a woman and drinks a martini.|
Listen, Daniel Craig's James Bond. I've been lenient with you. I got that Casino Royale was your first day out and that the young Bond was supposed to be a little rough around the edges anyway. And I understood that Quantum of Solace came out only two years after the previous entry, and that you had the writers' strike to deal with. But this is your third outing as Bond, it's four years in the making, and if you continue to insist upon pretending you're Jason Bourne, we're going to have a problem.
|Matt Damon called, he wants his schtick back.|
Skyfall would have been a great standard-issue Joe Schmoe's Bad Day action movie, but this is not supposed to be just another action flick. This is a Bond movie. There are certain things that come with the territory -- women, booze, one-liners, tuxedos. It's time the Craig Bond films stopped treating the Bond hallmarks like slightly embarrassing hurdles to be jumped and embraced the sources of this franchise's unparalleled durability. Chris Nolan can get away with the "everything's real serious" shit in his Batman reboots because tone has never been an identifying feature of the Batman mythos: we've had The Killing Joke, and we've also had batsuits with nipples. But the raised eyebrow, the perfectly timed groaner, the cheesy double entendre are the bread and butter of Bond. Take them all away in the name of modernization, and what's left? Just Joe Schmoe's Bad Day. In Ernest Hemingway's words (forgive me, Hem) it was a wonderful cure, but we lost the patient.
I also have another, very specific, gripe: every time this movie talks about, depicts, or even uses a computer, it's suddenly dated by 20 years. The CGI in the opening is distractingly blocky, with an early-90s Reboot slickness (too bad, because Adele's song is lovely). And Skyfall's notion of hackers -- that they spend 10% of their time actually hacking stuff and 90% designing scary skull animations and cryptic messages to freak out their victims -- is straight out of The Nancy Drew Files: Crime at the Ch@t Cafe (I should know because I had that book when I was 10 and loved the shit out of it).
I know this comes off as harsh. In truth, Skyfall has a lot going for it. I'll probably go see it again. There's a great action sequence on the London Tube and some deliciously claustrophobic stuff in the secret passages off Bond's house. The supporting cast is fabulous (can baby-faced Ben Wishaw really be 32?), and the cinematography is lovely, and yet... somehow, it all Skyfalls short. (I've been waiting three paragraphs to use that line.)
|Don't try this dress at home.|