Saturday, February 9, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Skyfall

2012, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead) -- cinema

This is the one where we take the reboot back to the Broccolis.  This is the one where Bond comes home.  This is the one where they resurrect Bond for , IMO, another take on the films.  The reboot is done and whether they continue with Daniel Craig or not, the franchise has changed (again) by the end of this movie.  That is rather bitter sweet for me as I am quite fond of Craig's Bond, of the "gritty reboot".  I was let down by Brosnan, I was let down as I considered the last few movies as the Batman & Robin of the franchise, all glitz and product shots, little character. Craig's Bond is the tough guy who wears his tux like armor, comfortable in the 007 role but rather new to the money and locations. While I am curious whether a cliche, younger actor would be chosen, I would prefer Craig stay.

If only two movies ago, we have the new 007 chasing the money and finding a shadowy organization that the world intelligence agencies are barely aware of, I was somewhat surprised to see a presentation of the resurrected Bond as getting old and out of touch.  If the first two were tightly woven, one story leading into the other, we can only assume there have been a number of unseen years between two and three.  Bond has become the seasoned veteran, the jaded hitman who is only too happy to fade into alcohol and brown in the sun, after his death. But it is his bond (forgive that) with the also aging M (who, since The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I finally see as getting old) that returns him to London, to MI6 and eventually... home, where he struggles against obsolescence.

But redemption is in tow.  Skyfall is a story about washing out the old establishment and embracing the new.  As viewers, we are still accepting Craig as the new but Dench was around pre-Craig and MI6 itself has left the Cold War behind and is seeking new enemies, new villains.  We saw the greatest threat to Intelligence rise in the real world, as a "hacker" who revealed our governments' secrets through Wikileaks.  And the "OMG look what he can do with a computer" fear is dragged along into this movie as a click that can blow stuff up a continent away and nobody, nothing staying hidden ever again.  But circumstances prove they need the old methods, the veteran agent, to defeat the "new" enemy.  In the end we see MI6 embrace its heritage as Bond visits the new offices which mirror the first office a Bond (Sean Connery in Dr. No) ever walked into.  Old is new and whether new is old, is yet to be determined.

Bonus Paragraph: I take exception in introducing a character named Moneypenny.  Moneypenny the role was already filled by Vesper in the first movie, as revealed by the short dialogue:

Vesper Lynd: [introducing herself to Bond] I'm the money.
James Bond: Every penny of it.

Kent's view.