As we are told in the closing credits of the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, the franchise is 50 years old and James Bond will be back! This note should have been in the beginning of the movie so everybody would know the film would suffer from an identity crisis: is it old or new?
There will be spoilers to follow so beware…
M, who has been played for the past few movies by Judi Dench, does not survive the film. In real life she is slowly going blind, like MacGuyver’s Dana Elcar so, I think, this is why she was written out of the film.
Ms. Moneypenny is introduced at the beginning of the film as a field agent who is a bad shot but her name is never given so we don’t know who she really is until the closing seconds. And what of Q… famously played for 36 years by one actor before the film went Naked Gun and appointed John Cleese. Q went away for Daniel Craig’s appearance before returning in Skyfall as… a 32 year old sardonic “whiz kid” who turns out to be not-so-wise.
And then we get a new M at the end played by a fatter and balder Ralph Fiennes who looks older than the 49 years he is.
Why all this changing and jumping around, re-introducing characters or changing them?
Because I’m convinced James Bond doesn’t know who he should be. Is he Sean Connery’s James Bomd? Is he Jason Bourne? Is he an anti-hero?
A very telling decision was to not include any gadgets. In fact, Q says exploding pens are something they don’t do anymore.
So Bond gets a Walther PPK in 9mm (which means he’s outgunned) and a radio beacon.
And the villain? A disgruntled, apparently gay, ex-MI6 agent played by Javier Bardem, throwing hissy fits and being dramatic. With a bad, floppy blonde hairdo.
Hardly a Goldfinger.
The film is also far too long at over 2 hours.
Bond beds a woman or two and he drinks his martini (which is shaken without him instructing the bartender to make it that way) but the lamest part is where Bond takes out the classic Aston Martin DB5 as seen in the classic films (and in Bronson’s last Bond movie).
When I saw that car in the garage I thought to myself… the writer thinks this is a homage but it’s just desperation.
I will likely see the next Bond film but I certainly hope it’s better than this one which, at 50, appears to be having a mid-life crisis.