Before we even get into James Bond 007 Skyfall, we have a BREAKING EDITION of Hey, What’s Up With Topher Grace: he was at my screening last night. He looked great! Very healthy, with a nice full beard. All of his friends seemed really nice. Unfortunately, Topher did NOT enjoy the movie very much. Before this actually becomes genuinely creepy, I would like assure both Topher Grace and the police that I was not following him around or trying to eavesdrop on his conversation. I am an adult, and I have my own things to do. A friend went to use the bathroom and I happened to be standing next to a load-bearing pillar in the theater lobby waiting for my friend to return, and Topher Grace happened to be standing nearby and it is not my fault if he was critiquing the movie &#aacute; la Americaine (see: loudly) for everyone to hear. I didn’t hear all of it, I just heard him ask a young woman if she liked it with an incredulous tone of voice and then add “It was kind of boring,” and then he said something about “missed opportunities,” which, I don’t even know. That is between him and his God. But, so, there you go. Celebrities really are like us! They go to the movies one pants at a time and they even have opinions and everything! And now: James Bond 007 Skyfall!

Uh, yeah, it was great. Admittedly, it was a bit of a pastiche of action sequences and suspense thematics from other recent Hollywood blockbusters, but it only borrowed from the very best, so it works. Here is my list although I am sure I am missing a few:

Bourne Ultimatum: the opening sequence’s stair-climbing motorcycle chase across the rooftops of an eastern market. (See also: a missing agent pulled from the water.)
Mission Impossible III: Shanghai sequence. (See also: The Dark Knight.)
Inception: Macau sequence.
The Avengers: glass prison sequence and thematic of a villain who gets caught on purpose.
Die Hard 5: super-hacker villain “fire sale.”
The Dark Knight: not that the Dark Knight invented this in any way, but it is the most recent referent for an evil villain who sees the darkness in our hero and tries to prove they are cut from the same cloth (see also: the destruction of Wayne Manor and also orphans.)
Home Alone: James Bond, go easy on the Pepsi! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA FOR REAL THOUGH.

These are all fairly loose comparisons, and it did not bother me in the slightest. Those are all great movies! And this was a great movie! I just noticed it. So sue me. “Your honor, we sue him.” I know how court works. Also, there was plenty of stuff that was different. God! Why won’t you get off my case! Let’s move on.

This is embarrassing, but a couple months ago I went to see the movie Lawless with my friend Alex (who also attended Skyfall with me. We are a couple of real movie buds!) and they showed a trailer for Skyfall and I leaned over to Alex and whispered in his ear, in all sincerity, “It’s crazy how James Bond has always been considered cool, considering how much cooler Daniel Craig is than all the other ones.” YEAH, GABE, IT’S TOTALLY CRAZY, YOU FUCKING WEIRDO. Can you imagine? Being my friend in that moment? And having to respond to me one way or the other? I’m sure Alex just smiled and nodded the way you do with any idiot, but even that must have been taxing. ANYWAY: seriously, though, Daniel Craig! He should never do anything else, no other movies or hosting SNL or anything, because every other thing he does makes James Bond seem a little less cool and I do not want that to happen. Stay cool, Pony Bond. That part? In the beginning? When he drops into the sawed off train car and then immediately adjusts his shirt cuffs? COME ON, MAN!

And then, of course, there is Javier Bardem.

Who is that guy’s barber, and why doesn’t he fire him, AM I RIGHT?

There was so much LAUGHTER in my audience. Did your audience LOVE 2 LAFF?! That’s correct, though. I mean, it was supposed to be funny. I think? Although sometimes it was a bit too much. I’m a fan of campy, over-the-top performances as much as the next Angry Inch, but sometimes it is like, let’s just get through this scene, huh, how bout it? Still, though, the part where he took out his teeth? Ahhhhh! And the final scene in the little church? Ahhhhh! What a creep. Hahha. After the movie ended your mom turned to your dad and she was like “I didn’t care for him, he was such a creep.” Also the whole scene on the island was pretty great. I very much “enjoyed” (that cannot possibly be the right word, please do not put me in jail) the red herring of the new Bond girl and the William Tell whiskey glass. “Your lovers are here!” Gross, you creep. No one’s mom likes you.

Other things that were good: Dame Judi Dench 100% beginning to end. Also the running through the night field with the backlight of the fire. (See also pretty much everything in the Scottish highlands. That was a real pretty part.) I’m pretty sure that entire sequence was shot by DONDA. Ben Whishaw as Q, and please watch The Hour on BBC it is pretty good. The part where James Bond finally gets serious because you do not blow up another man’s automobile was a little bit corny but also YOU DO NOT BLOW UP ANOTHER MAN’S AUTOMOBILE! On that note, actually, the part where he kidnaps M and explains his plan and they get the hot new ride and stuff was a very good example of this very specific thrill that is offered by all superhero movies (and I am lumping James Bond and Jason Bourne in with the Iron Men) where you delight at seeing them just fully enter their invincible kick-ass mode. It’s interesting because it kind of drains all of the tension from the movie, even though you know they still have a final battle or whatever, and even though you probably expected you had a very good idea of how the final battle was going to turn out even before the movie started, this telegraphs loud and clear that we have a real hero on our hands who is about to do some real hero stuff, no doubt, and yet somehow that is equally thrilling. Yes, the key to drama is watching someone struggle to get back up after they have been knocked down, but sometimes it is weirdly just as fulfilling to watch someone DO THE KNOCKING. (On that note, Javier Bardem actually won, though. Right? Mommy died and he was ready to lose his own life in the process. So, congrats, my man.)

Good movie, I liked it. A++ would do business with James Bond again.

Comments (51)
  1. I did not see this because I hate family togetherness apparently, but if anyone wants my opinion on Wreck-It Ralph, here goes: I really liked it!

    • You beat me to the punch. I wanted to ask everyone why we didn’t all go see Wreck-It Ralph. My favorite movie of the year AND my 11-year old son’s favorite movie of the year!

  2. Ugh, people in my audience were the WORST during the “interrogation” scene. It reminded me why I hate PG-13 movies on opening weekend. Five seconds into it someone in the theater said an effeminate “heeey” which was quickly followed by “What a fucking homo!” and then everyone laughed like little assholes while various “SO GAY!”s were yelled at the screen, interrupting the whole scene. It was horrifying. Way to be progressive NYC.

    Fucking loved the movie though. Roger fucking Deakins, right? The silhouette Shanghai fight and that whole third act was just beautifully shot. I couldn’t believe I was watching a James Bond movie at times.

    • I’m with you! There were so many gorgeous scenes that I thought couldn’t be topped and then they topped them. I will say that it had a couple of Brock Sampson moments, especially when Bond had to retake his tests and then when they shot up his car. He reacted just like Brock would, and for some reason, that made me very happy!

      • Ha! Yes exactly. That was great. I thought the whole film was a perfect mix of outlandish Bond and gritty reboot Bond. It was very fun but not too silly.

        In a way, I’ve been thinking of it as From Russia With Love : Casino Royale :: Goldfinger : Skyfall w/r/t how they treat Bond.

        • Yes. I didn’t mind the occasional LOL moments in the midst of all that True Grit. Combined with all of the EXTREME prettiness, it helped to keep it from being all gloomcore.

    • It’s crazy to me that that happened to you here–no one ever talks when I go to the movies, and i once heard an older man yell at a 20-something guy for talking during the previews. It was the older man’s Me Time, I think.

      And, yes, best Bond.

      • Some guy next to me was also texting every 20 minutes which was infuriating. Usually, I have nothing but good experiences at NYC theaters (minus the Regal Union Square one because, as Gabe said, let’s just burn that bitch down), so I was kind of thrown off for the general awfulness of the crowd. I’m going to chalk it up to having to see it at the AMC Times Sq theater and assume it was filled with awful, awful tourists.

        The last time I went there, it was to watch a midnight presentation of Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX with my girlfriend and only five other people were in the audience.

        That was much better.

  3. The worst part about theater-going is that moment after the film when you’re filing out of the theater and you’re still just re-acclimating after whatever it is you just saw and maybe you just want to digest for half a second, but instead you have to hear fragments of a hundred loud-talked insta-judgements about the thing. #getoffmylawn

    Also, ‘missed opportunities’ is the biggest non-opinion feint out there.

  4. Gabe, all of your LA dreams are coming true!

  5. As a Lady, I’ve always had some affection for Daniel Craig’s Bond (and Brosnan’s, too) for being a real person and not an aggressively heterosexual, charmingly misogynistic bag o’ dicks. And this movie? This movie was the best! The villain had depth, one of the action sequences had a whole bunch of komodo dragons, and Moneypenny is almost a competent field agent! Also, new Q? So good. A friend of mine pointed out that they had to totally flip the switch on Q so it didn’t just look like a cheap imitation of the old Q. And that friend is right, and knows more about Bond than anyone else in the world (probably).

  6. Gabe, also bad guy dresses up as police officer and blows up subway (Die Hard with a Vengeance).

    Thumbs up to Bardem’s weird intoned interrogation noises.

    Thumbs down to computer-animated komodo dragons! (computer animating exotic animals in live action movies these days is a lot like in old animation when you could tell a door was going to open on a painted background because it had inked holding lines – you KNOW something is going to happen with that door.)

    I enjoyed the flick!

    • More of those plot elements could also be said to have been borrowed from The Dark Knight too.

      Mendes mentioned he only took this film after seeing The Dark Knight and what Nolan did with Batman, so it makes some sense.

      • I was also going to mention the Joker in police garb, but then remembered the subway and thought I should throw DH3 some love.

        I also really liked Adele’s Skyfall tune, and I keep forgetting that the Craig-Bond intros are heavy on foreshadowing scenes from the film itself, and that I like that. (when the camera panned up to the big elk statue in the film I was like , “GASP! That was in the opening credits!”)

        • I dunno if this has already been mentioned, but the part where we find out Naomi Harris is Ms. Moneypenny was very Dark Knight Rises.

          Overall, a good movie and with that rarest of creature, a Bond flick with a female protagonist (I’d say both 007 and M shared the spotlight).

  7. DAMMIT, shortly after the appearance of the load-bearing pillar in the article above, I had to jump out of this post for fear of SPOILERS, as I did not get to see this movie yet.

    Maybe I should re-start 2011′s project of watching all the James Bonds in order. I only got up to the last Connery before I wanted to hang myself. There’s a lot more to go!

  8. I thought this was better than Quantum of Solace but no where near as good as Casino Royale.

    Also the lameness of Javiar Bardems character having planted the bombs in the various tunnels years in advance in just the exact place where he knew Bond would be standing eleven feet behind him just moments before a train would be passing by… or his buddies pulling up in their car right when he gets out of the tunnel at that exact moment, etc, it just strains credulity beyond anything acceptable even for an action movie that asks you to suspend your disbelief.

    Despite all the action scenes I was kind of bored. The seamlessness by which Bardem’s character pulled off his schemes, the omnipotence, made everything seem inconsequential. So I ended up feeling bored.

    Also hated the cutesy pie references to Bond fandom. Casino Royale was so much better than this.

  9. First off, I’d like to say I loved the flick. I agree with Kajus X about the animated oversized man eating Komodo dragons, this isn’t Anaconda.

    Also, this movie seemed to be all beginning and end without much middle if that makes sense to anyone.

    Ben Whishaw as Q is great, A++ Ben Whishaw!

  10. I hated it, because, yeah. Javier won. And also, why not root for him. Bond’s supposed to kill who he wants and sleep with who he wants and he not get on with his boss but that’s fine because he saves the world. Here, James Bond didn’t save anyone – I mean ANYONE. I mean, he specifically waited for the bad guys to carry out their hits before having a fight. And the fights were mainly terrible… “These three men will not let you leave here alive” How? They’re not armed? What was the plan, surround him to death before he had a chance to jump into the lizard pit. And what was Bardem’s plan? Get captured so why? And Eve was rubbish as well, and what was her job, trans-world pampering? And teh Bond car so you couldn’t be traced but then they know where you are. And all the stuff about Britishness and the old fashioned way (when what made Bond great was the total rejection of that idea of Britishness, the technology, the internationalism) and this is 2012! So M’s whole “there is a new enemy in the shadows” speech was a bit sardonic Wonka meme. It was pretty though.

  11. I enjoyed this movie, it was fun. But I’m also no Bond aficionado, so can anyone tell me if there is a history to the thing where Bond waits until AFTER the bad guys have killed someone before jumping into action? In Shanghai in the tower he waits until the assassin shoots, then starts a fight? On the island waits until Silva shoots the woman to start taking down the henchmen?

    And then M basically staying in court to protect her pride when they knew a crazy guy was coming to kill her, leading to a bunch of other people dying as well? I guess over-thinking the morality of civilian casualties in Bond movies is why the Bourne movies exist, but still.

  12. Also, because there was never a thread about the Elmo thing, but I wanted to post this anyways–this is what Sesame Street needs:

  13. Plus I’m getting pretty sick of the internet saying “the new james bond movie is sooo deep and dark that it reminds me of how great those christopher nolan bat-man movies were also great for those same exact reasons.” No. If “The New Bond Movie = All Those New Bat-Man movies” than that equation means it sucked.

  14. Gabe, I can’t think of an appropriate or non-creepy place to mention this, but I think I see you at my jiu-jitsu academy sometimes and I kinda want to say hi and like “I know who you are from the internet,” but anyway if that’s actually you then hi.

  15. Well. It was no Spiderman 3.

  16. I liked how javier bardem enacts an incredibly complicated and multifaceted plan for like most of the movie for the purpose of gaining access to judi dench at a public hearing he can just walk into with guns at any time when no 007s were chasing him?

    • EXACTLY. Even by Bond movie standards – where you expect some goofball beyond realism and incredulity – this is just pushing it and forces you to roll your eyes and say oh whatever

  17. Freddy from The Hour as Q! It’s really cute because the Ben Whishaw and Romola Garai call each other Bond and Moneypenny on that show.

  18. So I have only ever seen the Daniel Craig Bond’s, and I had to google Moneypenny because I didn’t understand why that was a big deal, but I loooved this. Mostly for aesthetic reasons, Craig & Whishaw & the pretty ladies & the whole thing at Skyfall. Especially the whole thing at Skyfall.

    That’s it. I have no complaints. I was thoroughly entertained and did not feel like I’d been sitting there for 2.5 hours.

  19. So nice to hear that Topher Grace is doing well!

  20. Hey, I know I’m late to the party, but I really enjoyed this movie!! It was a fun thrill ride! Ben Whishaw as Q was a QT IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN ( uhhhh I’m the worst.) I was super afraid they were going to kill Albert Finney and I was going to be upset but then Judi Dench died and I was still upset… Everything at Skyfall itself was really cool and incredibly shot. I was upset about the house getting blown to smithereens though, because that house was so cool and pretty! Anyway, my two cents: I enjoyed it, it was fun and cool and pretty to look at.

  21. the dad from big fish really did live the most exciting life!

  22. I thought “Skyfall” was gonna be some satellite or something!!

    Similarily half way through the movie I took pause and thought “wait what’s Javier doing? Is he going to hack some nukes?” because in Bond movies I always get a little confused about the villain’s objectives because they’re pretty interchangeable; but this was a tight character story! Javier was personally hurt by M, and wanted to kill her. M was great! Javier and M’s interactions were great, Javier and Bond’s interactions were great. And EVERY shot at the end with the orange glow of the flame fading into the darkness, beautiful!

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