Bond. James Bond.

Apologies for the delay in this review. I saw Skyfall last Thursday night during a midnight showing....but I wasn't totally coherent throughout, so I decided on a second viewing before writing a review. Now, I must admit...before Casino Royale, I wasn't really much of a James Bond fan at all. I had seen the occasional film here and there and to me it felt like if you saw one, you saw them all. They followed a very specific formula, which seemed always over the top and not full of too many surprises.

Oh and there was another reason I didn't connect with it. Why? Well because I was never its target audience. I absolutely love the action/adventure genre as much as anyone...and secret spy films can be very fun if done right and well, but these films were never made for me. No girls allowed....unless you take your clothes off. It's because these films represent the ultimate male fantasy.  Driving cool cars, shooting every man you come across and sleeping with every woman (save for M and who knows....Bond may even know her biblically too for all I know,) if you're a dude, what's not to love? If you're a self-respecting woman? Misogyny? Not really my cup of tea. You can always take it with a grain of salt....but that makes for really salty tea.

And then Casino Royale came out, and I started to view the character and at least the later films in another light. This is largely due to Daniel Craig's winning performance, as well as his sizzling spark filled chemistry with co-star Eva Green. This was a Bond I could respect. Not a 2 dimensional womanizer-- but a broken man who had been through hell and back again. Casino Royale was fantastic and started out the new Bond series on a very promising note. Then comes Quantum of Solace. Craig remains a likable Bond even if he is slipping more into the original character's shoes, but everything else is pretty much forgettable. An entertaining misstep. So when Skyfall started to get overwhelmingly positive reviews, my low expectations suddenly shot up really high! Never a good idea.

Luckily the film started off with a bang. The opening sequence was incredibly exciting, Adele's theme song was great and the opening credits were a little cooler and less weird and smutty than usual. Things were definitely starting off on the right foot. But somewhere along the way, your attention wanes ever so slightly, but it certainly comes back by the end. The problem? Waiting to introduce Javier Bardem's fantastic villain for at least a good hour or so into the film. The editing should have been a little tighter to get us to that point. A huge mystery trying to figure out who is the culprit behind the plot is good and all, but you can only take so much before it gets a little tedious. Luckily we have a few action sequences here and there to tide us over until Bardem makes his grand entrance. But once again what we don't have that makes me personally more invested, which is a viable or interesting love interest.

Naomi Harris is likable and pretty, but her chemistry with Craig is much more chummy than romantic. Her character is decent enough, but pretty throwaway. And Bond's other main squeeze? Well......let's just say [SPOILER] she had a bit more promise, but died far too soon. [/SPOILER] By making these girls so bland..this leaves the character kind of falling back into his more....ahem....horn dog ways. One of his first "encounters" was with a woman  that was the DEFINITION of a prop (and not either of the two I already mentioned....don't worry though, he slept with them too,) had me recalling this old SNL sketch where Bond is told he has every venereal disease imaginable, and in fact a few that had never before even been discovered yet. Sadly this clip is nowhere to be found on the internet. Look, I get it....Daniel Craig's Bond has got that something that makes him different. In fact, seeing him with these women is somehow different than the other Bonds. I get it....I would probably fall charm to the charisma too. But don't overdo it. One of the scenes in particular in the film I had to chuckle at, since the guy hadn't known a girl for ten minutes before surprising her in the shower later. Most women would probably scream, but not the Bond ladies. Come on. I pretty much laughed both times at that.. I get it's part of the character....but just tone it down a notch or two.

Sorry, that rant didn't mean to be THAT long. And I also meant for this to be a more positive review, because I actually really did like the film a lot. It's well directed, action packed and Craig, Bardem and Dench all give excellent performances. I just must respectfully disagree with it being the best....but that doesn't mean it wasn't darn good. I just wanted more Bardem, tighter editing, and a better love interest....and then it'd be perfect. So I give it 8/10.


Johanna said...

Ah, you are your mother's daughter. You have given voice to what I could never say....and the reason I cannot watch more than 10 minutes of a Bond film. Dad took me to one and I don't remember which one it was, but I wanted to go march for feminist rights at the end. And I'm not even a true feminist. But Bond could convert me. :)

You are so funny....salty cup of tea. Right-o!

courtney wightman said...

by your "attention waning" do you mean "slowly drifting off to sleep because it's the midnight showing"? my attention didn't wane at all! i thought every minute was interesting. and to tell you the truth ... i completely forgot that i had even seen casino royale (funny story). this was my favorite of the bunch and one of my favorites of the year! LOVE IT!

Emily said...

Yes I do. But it wasn't any better the second time, so I felt qualified to make that call. And I NEVER have a hard time staying awake during midnight showings.

Sarah said...

Great review, Emily. Very well spoken. I liked Casino Royale...I couldn't really get into Quantum of Solace. I think it totally had to do with the love interest aspect. I mean, Indiana Jones had multiple leading ladies, but even he had the decency to keep it to one woman per film!