Daniel Craig has returned as Ian Fleming’s 007 James Bond on the occasion of the 50th anniversary… not of the first book by Ian Fleming, or of the first movie adaptation (the 1954 TV version of CASINO ROYALE) but of the first theatrical movie DR. NO. Don’t hate me for this, but to be frankly honest I’m kind of tired of hearing about these movies these last few weeks. I mean, they’re fun, I like most of the ones I’ve seen, but I guess having not really grown up on them like alot of boys do I just don’t have that connection to them and don’t know how to flip for them. I’m not trying to rain on your piss or whatever the saying is, I just want to mention this so you’ll know why I’m so off the mark in not agreeing with the conventional wisdom that this is an especially great 007 picture. To me it just seems like another Daniel Craig James Bond, but that’s good enough. I like it.

The director is Sam Mendes, more of a nominated-for-Oscars director than you’d think would do a Bond, but also not some visionary genius. I guess similar to Marc Forster, who did the last one. Mendes doesn’t reinvent the series or transcend it or nothing. And I didn’t feel like it was deeper than the others. He’s just a dude who makes okay movies who grew up on James Bond and is now making a James Bond movie. The script is by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade (writing these since THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH) and John Logan (THE AVIATOR, HUGO, GLADIATOR, BATS).

There’s a couple major themes. One is about Bond’s boss M (Dame Judi Dench from CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK) and her responsibility to her agents. She cares about them, but has to coldly make calls that prioritize the success of a mission over their safety. It’s obviously her job and her duty, but that doesn’t feel good if you’re James Bond and you just got shot in the chest and fell off a fuckin bridge and you’re pretty sure if she would’ve just zipped it you would’ve personally beat up that guy and taken the device and everyone would be safe, including you. Later, M and the city of London are terrorized by a former agent (Javier Bardem) who had an even worse experience working for M and takes it more personally than Bond does. He didn’t get workman’s comp so he blows up some buildings instead.

The other theme is this idea of quitting and moving on. Bond could’ve kept playing dead, living on a beach, drinking all day and night except when he’s busy fucking some beautiful exotic mermaid lady who rescued him (judging from the excellent-as-usual opening credits music video). It seems to be a good lifestyle worth sticking with, but his sense of duty brings him back to the ol’ secret agenting. I guess that makes him different from the movie version of Batman, who’s always trying to be happy enough to quit. Bond seems happier when he’s working. In fairness to Batman, Bond is still able to drink and fuck while working, so it’s not all that different, there’s just more gunfights and jumping off moving vehicles when he works, to keep the blood flowing.

(SPOILERING PARENTHETICAL COMMENT: I think ultimately Bond decides he likes being Bond and we’re left feeling like future installments will be more upbeat, less broody. That way Craig can pun it up, people will stop liking the movies again and then he’ll be able to quit renewing his contract and go back to that beach in real life.)

They make this kind of a comeback story for Bond. He returns a little fucked up and fails all his tests. So we know he’s in the field while not at his freshest. Maybe his “death” is a symbol for the MGM bankruptcy and how people were saying there might not even be another James Bond movie, but now he’s back and yes he is a terrible shot and unshaven and drinks constantly (so does everybody else, though) and it’s implied that he also has problems with some other drug (opium I bet) and there’s probly a part they cut out where a beautiful woman is disappointed by his lackluster lovemaking… but don’t worry he’ll go out there and start shooting better and get a woman to shave him and make some jokes and it’ll be okay everybody, let’s all calm down.

I gotta confess mild disappointment with Bardem’s villain, a fake blond gay stereotype who weakly echoes DARK KNIGHT’s Joker when he purposely gets captured as part of his master plan, and then when he dresses as a cop. Bond plays along by doing a total Batman move in one part, jumping up and hanging onto the bottom of an elevator. Good one.

I think they try not to be homophobic with the way Bond responds to Bardem’s super villainous sexual harassment. In older movies and even some newer ones the hero would either be disgusted by the gayness or would make various emasculating comments, calling him a bitch or something. Bond takes a different approach, so I respect that. But it’s still a caricature. I don’t know, I’m not really offended by it, and he’s kinda funny at times, but having seen Bardem in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and even PERDITA DURANGO I know he could be way scarier than this.

The supporting cast is good. Dench obviously knows how to play the tough love boss lady. Albert Finney shows up as Alfred or whatever. I also really liked Naomie Harris, who’s sort of the new Bond Girl because she’s his partner in the field, although he doesn’t do her. I believe he has two trysts, both quick and mostly off screen and with characters we don’t know much about. In one case he just walks into a lady’s shower uninvited and she knows what to do. This fuckin guy, jeez.

Thankfully they abandoned the BOURNE style post-action of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, so I could tell what was going on in the enjoyably over-the-top action scenes. I noticed that the second unit director for QUANTUM was the same one from BOURNE SUPREMACY, BOURNE ULTIMATUM and GREEN ZONE, so that’s kinda his style. For this one the second unit director is Alexander Witte, who actually worked on the less shaky pre-Greengrass BOURNE IDENTITY, plus CASINO ROYALE and other movies with solid action: SPEED, THE ITALIAN JOB, THE TOWN, FAST FIVE (specifically the train heist). On the other hand he worked on BLACK HAWK DOWN and GLADIATOR, so he might’ve started the entire post-action movement by action, I don’t know. It’s possible.

I won’t give away the details of the crazy multi-vehicle conflict of the opening chase, but it’s good shit. I will remind everybody for the millionth time that Bond Girl Michelle Yeoh jumped a motorcycle onto a moving train for real in SUPERCOP, but Bond Boy’s sloppier way of doing it is also cool.

One aspect I was excited about, they got Roger Deakins, the great director of photographing that does all the Coen Brothers movies. I don’t think most people would notice a difference, but there’s some nice looking shots, especially in the last section of the movie, which takes place in a rural area, at night, lit only by flames.

My favorite thing about these movies is Daniel Craig, and the way they glorify everything about him: his swagger, his stoicism, his fighting skills, his confidence, his attracting of women. In this one he even has dominion over beasts, able to have a drink without being stung by the scorpion on his hand, or to use an angry komodo dragon as a stepping stool. He’s so cool he’s like the white man’s answer to Shaft. I’ve already established that I’m not the guy to ask, but personally he’s my favorite Bond. They’ll have some big shoes to fill when he fakes his death.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at 4:01 am and is filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

514 Responses to “Skyfall”

  1. At least,you dont hate it.It is absolutly O.K. to think Daniel Craig is the best Bond.
    Jimmy Kimmel pretty much nails it,when saying,it depends on which Bond you grew up to.
    I guess in youre case,it´s Pierce Brosnan,so no wonder you like Craig.
    Also,i believe Mendes is the perfect kind of Director,for that kind of Movie.
    As much as i like Tarantino,but i think his Ego is much to big,to play after the Rules of a Franchise.


  2. One of the best Bond films ever, in my opinion.

    The Synopsis for Steven Seagal’s new film FORCE OF EXECUTION

    Directed by Keoni Waxman

  3. I wanted to see this but tragically and unluckily my allergies flared up (as they do every November) on the day it came out and I was too sick to go see it (nobody wants to sit in a theater with a constantly runny nose, for example)

    I’m pretty miffed, I still want to see it, but now we got Lincoln coming up, so I ask you guys, is this one worth the extra effort to see in theaters or is it ok if I wait for blu ray?

    in case you’re wondering what the big deal is, let me fill you guys in, I’ve boycotted my local theater due to shitiness and instead I drive an hour plus change to the much nicer theaters in Savannah, the downside is that it’s expensive and time consuming, makes going to a movie an all day affair

    I’m willing to do it because there’s such a quality difference, but I have to make sure it’s a movie I REALLY want to see, no more jaunting down to the local hole in the wall in 15 minutes to see whatever (this is why Wreck It Ralph did not make the cut, though I do want to see it)

    oh and in case you think that’s ridiculous, you have no idea how shitty my local theater got, it’s the one I’ve been going to for as long as I can remember but it got so bad I just couldn’t take it anymore, I’m talking dirty screens (imagine watching a 3D movie with a layer of grime in your way), dirty seats and a general rundown atmosphere and sometimes projection problems that nobody gives enough of a fuck to fix, the last straw was when I saw The Hunger Games and the digital projection was fucked up and it had these weird purple lines all over the screen, I kid you not, I’ve never seen anything like it and it was that way for the whole movie (if you’re wondering why I didn’t complain, it was because it was The Hunger Games, but I don’t want that shit happening to a movie I care about)

    I can only assume it has something to do with the economy since I noticed it really start to go downhill around 2010, or maybe they went broke buying the 3D cameras, I don’t know

    p.s. the mall it’s located in has also largely become a ghost town

  4. Solid review, Vern — it’s definitely not the amazing post-post-action flick we’re all waiting for, but it’s a good movie and I liked it a lot. Especially the silhouette ass kickin’ scene, which pretty much caused my jaw to fall off and roll down the theater aisle from pure human amazement.

    @Pike Bishop: buddy, listen… You gotta put spaces after those commas, brah. And, also, for reals… learn how to use them properly?

  5. @Griff: you should totally see Skyfall in theaters. It really is beautiful.

  6. Gosh, I pretty much hated this one and I was looking forward to it, too. Couldn’t understand the reviews at all, but maybe it’s just me – heck, my girlfriend loved it.

    Vaguely spoilerry

    For me, the tone was all over the place, the misogyny felt real (most mistakes or errors of judgement, such as they were, appeared to be perpetrated by the women in this film, and perpetrated on men – maybe revenge for years of condescending one-liners and pun-filled names), the plot is nonsensical, the bad guy was disfigured, it had the equivalent of a shark tank (a komodo pit!!!), Bad Guy Island, machine gun Aston Martin (which was the one from GOLDFINGER not the one Bond won in CASINO ROYALE, apparently, so screw continuity), and a ridiculous gun that existed for no reason other than to do what it was lampshaded to do for one instant. Jeez. Even the song was a throwback. I thought they had left all that crap behind on purpose with CASINO ROYALE.

    I thought Judi Dench was good (first f-bomb that I recall in Bond), Ralph Fiennes was good, Rory Kinnear was good. I liked the end at the house and the cinematography was uniformly excellent, especially the Shanghai neon sequence. The bulldog.

    But a perfectly capable field agent who performed as ordered ends up as a secretary for fuck’s sake. Maybe she’ll be like the one in TRUE LIES with the gun aimed at visitors. And the entire thing concludes with the differences from the past movies essentially eradicated and everything back to the way it was for Connery, Moore et al. Many will love this, I guess. Less BOURNE-y, more classic BOND, and it should be hard to take any movie seriously when the lead has such a swingin’ theme tune (used with unironic bombast in this).

    I’ve seen a lot of deconstruction that posits that Bond is the henchman to the villain (M) in this one. Well, he was a boring thug in that case. He wasn’t even as charismatic as frickin’ Jaws.

    Balls I say!

  7. I’m a huge Bond fan, but I will try not to get too geeky about it. Skyfall IS the best Bond movie ever, and absolutely worth a trip to the theater. Biased as I am I also think it’s a damn fine film on it’s own merits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to see an Oscar nom for Dench this time.

  8. I enjoyed Skyfall a lot, and mostly because of Craig’s performance, but in the end I didn’t feel like it took Bond to a new level. The main theme, that Bond is a dinosaur unable to comprehend this newer, hipper generation, has already been done in Goldeneye, and in the end I think Skyfall talked that idea up a lot more than it earned it. We’re literally supposed to believe that the entire nature of espionage and MI6 had changed during the period that Bond was away. When he recovers from being shot, doesn’t Bond just hide out drinking for a few months before Silva’s terrorist attack?

    The similarities to Dark Knight were distracting, but then again they were worse for me in Law Abiding Citizen and even The Avengers, in its use of the “criminal mastermind who gets intentionally caught at around the halfway point in the film, is underestimated by the heroes, causes chaos” template. But that single introductory shot with Bardem telling his anecdote about the two rats went pretty far in selling the character, as well as his performance in the final scene with M.

    The movie was a great ride. I liked how it went for a more classic action style instead of leaning on embarrassing shakycam. It’s pretty much exactly the movie I wanted for a Friday afternoon, but I nitpick because I truly believe a Craig Bond movie could also be a great film, and this fell short in a few critical areas – in the end, I still think Casino Royale was a better action film and a more emotional story, but most of the reviews are acting as if Skyfall is the first legitimately great one starring Craig.

    I like what Sam Mendes said in that new interview on Aint it Cool: “…The key with CASINO ROYALE is that we couldn’t have made SKYFALL without what Martin Campbell did on that movie. It’s brilliant. It removed pastiche away from the movies. It took away that self-referential humor. It used to be, “Oh, it’s okay to laugh. It’s a Bond movie.” Suddenly, it wasn’t okay to laugh. And in the process, he removed Q, Moneypenny, and that sense that you had with Bond movies that there would always be the same scene played in every movie. “Here’s the early scene where Bond is getting up to no good with some girl. And now he’s brought in and chastised by M, who also gives him his mission. Then the next scene would traditionally be, ‘Pay attention, 007! Here are your gadgets!'” Suddenly, all of that was gone, and that was Martin – and the producers and Daniel – starting from sea level again.”

    Skyfall is a cool Bond movie, but I’m with Vern. I don’t think its necessarily better than a lot of other Bonds or set new trends, like Casino Royale, Goldfinger, or even The Spy who Loved Me” was so daring to do.

  9. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 14th, 2012 at 6:30 am

    I thought this was a terrible, terrible movie. They fucked up all the steps in the right direction they took with the first two Craig movies to arrive at the tired old formula they had going for 20 movies before in the end. Gone are the idea that the job this guy is doing is taking a toll on his interior, he is back to making really bad jokes after cold bloodedly murdering people, or worse: letting people be killed in front of him and then overpowering the bad guys afterwards, even though he could have done it before and saved that life, just because then he wouldn’t have been able to say the one-liner.
    In the last two movies the women around him were complex characters the viewer and this guy had a connection with, this time around they are 60s Bond girls again: disposable bitches that fit better in the position of a secretary or a sex slave than as an equal human being. The way Bond treats that woman he meets in the Casino in Macao is especially disgusting. She has been forced into prostitution since she was 12 years old, is obviously extremely scared of the bad guy and sees Bond as a way of getting him killed. So Bond’s reaction is to take advantage of that damaged person as soon as he can, because hey, she’s a whore anyway.
    “he just walks into a lady’s shower uninvited and she knows what to do.” Of course she does, she’s a sex slave and knows that she has to subject herself to the man that has control. The Bond from Casino and Quantum wouldnt have fucked her just to get his rocks off. He would also have been at least a little conflicted about letting her die senselessly afterwards. (if he could overpower the bad guys that easily, it should have been even more easy with a loaded gun)
    The action is not disorienting like Quantum (although having watched that again, i start to dig the opening car chase of that one. it doesnt make sense the first time you see it, but it’s at least exhilarating, and on repeated viewings turns out to have an understandable geography) – the car, motorcycle chase in this one is just a fucking joke. It looks like it’s 1976 on TV – crashing through fruit carts? Really? Understanding whats going on the first time is nice and good, but that doesnt mean it has to be this boring does it?
    There also seem to be the same people who complained about the incomprehensible action of the last one who suddenly love the scene in the skyscraper in Singapore, that’s basically two dark silhouettes in front of a videoscreen pretending to punch each other for minutes. I couldnt tell who was who until they finally showed the face of the person hanging over the side.
    Bardem’s weird camping it up so the dumbest assumable viewer can tell he’s “a gay”. The chasing the bad guy through London sequence where we find out that in the whole of MI6 there is exactly one agent who has to track the guy alone. The fucking “hacker” who can push his keyboard randomly and control the whole city like it’s Superman 3 and no-one in the audience has ever seen a computer. Fucking Q – another button pushing computer genius. Oh god, the scene where they crack Silva’s password by seeing the letters on the screen, but they are not all in one line so it’s hard.
    Don’t even get me started on the politics of this piece of shit, where in the last ones they arrived in something of an interesting, reality like area, where there are no good or bad sides really anymore, but different interests of powerful entities that need to be balanced it’s back to west good, brown people with accent bad, everything for queen and country, yes ma’am. You’re too old for this shit, “You’re a dinosaur Bond!” – doesn’t anyone remember they been there and done that almost 20 years ago already?
    The worst was the last sequence in the good old MI6 headquarters that look just like in the old days, where the woman who was basically a female version of Bond has finally gotten the good sense to become a secretary that he can look down upon and then he enters the office and they shot it very beautifully to look dusty and you can almost tell how stuffy it must smell in there.
    Back to the old shit, that has been there for almost 50 years and more than 20 movies before. Thank god.
    In case you couldn’t tell from this: i don’t think Skyfall is in the top 3 Bond movies ever made. I think it might not even be in my top 5.

  10. @ Newbs

    Look Buddy(giggle) I am a Dyslexic(Is that right ?), and i have real Problems with Grammatics.
    Also i am not writing in my own Language. But i hope a Genius like you,understand me anyway.
    If you find some wrong Commas,,,,,,, feel free to behold them.

  11. @Pike Bishop: Hey, far be it from me to make fun of somebody’s handicap… but how are you able to put spaces between every word except when you’ve inserted a comma in the wrong spot? You need spaces after them, too, dawg. Like so. Simple fix, and I’ve changed your life forever! You’re welcome!

    For my next trick I’m going to set out to prove that black is white and get killed in the process.


    @One Guy From Andromeda: I don’t know if I can agree. It sure seems like those moments when Bond just lets people die are a stark and direct consequence of his internal (mental) injuries. I thought it was a real nice followthrough from Vespa, and a sort of mature take on Womanizer Bond… he is actually able to sleep with that woman and then allow her to be killed hours later, because he’s dead on the inside. I found it exceptionally powerful and emotional, and it seems like an attempt to balance out the awe you feel for Bond when he’s kicking ass, because you are forced to question what kind of human this is who just watches an assassin set up and murder a guy before taking action. Bond doesn’t give a shit!

  12. I thought it was decent but unexceptional, which is how I feel about most of the series. I mean, we are talking about the original PG-13 action franchise here. It can only be so good. Everything about these movies is just so goddamn calculated, from what the character is supposed to SAY ABOUT THESE TIMES WE LIVE IN to what products he endorses, that it’s hard to really get swept up in them.

    But there’s a lot of good stuff here and I liked it. I do agree that CASINO ROYALE is way better. I could have lived without all the referential stuff, the restoring of all the safe and cuddly clutter that the other Craig films so successfully excised. And I didn’t really notice it at the time, but yeesh, you guys are right: There’s a lot of misogyny in this thing. I mean, the basic plot is like some post-PSYCHO slasher flick: Mommy was a lying whore so it’s her fault that I have to kill everybody. Then at the end we’re supposed to be super psyched that finally we got a man in charge and women are back to being secretaries instead of endangering men with their lousy driving. I don’t think the filmmakers really understood what they were saying with these choices that they made.

    But as a counterpoint, I would like to say that on initial viewing I liked that there wasn’t really a “Bond Girl.” (Once you realize that Eve is Ms. Moneypenny she clearly doesn’t count.) Sure, he nailed a couple chicks, but they were in the movie for all of, what? 12 minutes? All other Bond movies make a big deal about his female co-stars but this one mostly stuck to the business at hand. I liked that. Then I figured out that the real Bond Girl was M. She’s the one he shares this adventure with, and it’s their relationship that’s the interesting part of the movie. Too bad he didn’t shag her.

    All in all though I think we got too many themes working here. I’m not really sure what Bond’s supposed obsolescence has to do with intelligence community blowback and what that has to do with his childhood in Scotland and what that has to do with everybody being cool with being corny and sexist again.

    Still, I had a good time. Like every Bond film, it’s 20 minutes too long and wears out its welcome long before the credits roll, but that’s par for the course. They’ve been getting up in the morning and making this same donut for 50 years now. Kind of churlish to complain.

    Seriously, though, who the fuck stirs a martini? What kind of asshole feels the need to tell a bartender how to do this exceedingly obvious part of their job?

  13. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 14th, 2012 at 7:10 am

    But the thing is that oppposed to the other two Craig movies they do not question or explore him being dead inside. He just is a monster now. That character never was more unlikeable. A sociopathic rapist, a cold blooded murderer with a bad sense of humor. A person who is incapable of deeper thought and follows any order he gets from his superiors without question. Basically the Gestapo guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I can’t see anything cool or entertaining in that anymore.

  14. If pegsman is praising SKYFALL, I definitely need to see it soon. I also have a big connection with the franchise and I can´t get Adele´s theme out of my head. Its one of the best Bond themes ever.

  15. Griff – I would suggest seeing it in theatres, mainly for the Shanghai neon sequence (don’t want to explain it, but it’s the first sequence in a LONG time that caused me to grin ear to ear in its concept and execution). Plus, I would say see it in theatres because stuff will definitely be spoiled by the time it hits DVD.


    The Limey – I’ve heard many people complain about the character who ends up being a secretary, and I totally understand why some people think it’s sexist and backwards. But almost the whole movie hammers home the theme that the life of a secret agent is absolutely terrible and thankless, not glamorous and fun like the days of old. I don’t think it’s a failure on Moneypenny’s part or a knock on her character that she leaves the field – the life isn’t for her, she’s still contributing to her country and she won’t have to go to sleep at night hopped up on pain meds with PTSD.

    Alot of your complaints are valid, though – I’ll add to the list that Silva’s grand plan makes zero sense – the “villain getting captured on purpose” thing makes even less sense here than it did in Avengers. I mean, that’s ALOT of trouble and travel to go through when his endgame was to uh….walk through a door and try to shoot someone with a pistol. The last 1/3 runs a bit out of steam. The final confrontation seems anticlimactic.

    But I do disagree that it was too much of a throwback – I actually think it turned a bunch of Bond conventions on their heads – the fact that the finale is Bond defending HIS fortress, Straw Dogs/Home Alone style, instead of him raiding the villain’s lair. The fact we actually hear about his parents/childhood. Him getting shot and being out of shape. The fact that M is the Bond girl this time.

    It’s definitely not as good as I’ve heard, (I still liked Casino Royale better) but it’s still a great prestige action flick and easily in the top third of Bonds.

  16. One Guy – that’s weird, i actually felt this Bond was the most likable portrayal I’ve seen in a while. Even from the first scene, showing compassion for his dying fellow agent (older incarnations probably would have just stepped over him), they seemed to be softening him up.

    One of Bond’s trademarks that I never liked was killing an unarmed guy or someone who had already given up. Moore did it all the time, which is funny since he does it in FYEO WHILE giving the girl a speech on how revenge and cold-blooded murder is bad. I’m pretty sure Brosnan did it in all four of his movies. (Don’t get me started on Brosnan killing all those innocent Russian soldiers in that office building) Craig’s Bond is positively humane in this one. (I see what you mean about saving the girl, but in his defense he did have a gun pointed at his head while his gun was still loaded, I’d like to think there was nothing he could do)

    And c’mon, Bond’s not an emotionless monster. He *SPOILER* cries for like, the second time in 23 movies here. I like the theory that he’s the henchman to M’s supervillain, but you wouldn’t catch Jaws or Oddjob giving a fuck about their employer’s fate like that.

  17. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 7:49 am


    “The way Bond treats that woman he meets in the Casino in Macao is especially disgusting. She has been forced into prostitution since she was 12 years old, is obviously extremely scared of the bad guy and sees Bond as a way of getting him killed. So Bond’s reaction is to take advantage of that damaged person as soon as he can, because hey, she’s a whore anyway.”

    HELL YES. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was a little icked-out by this.

    I largely agree with Vern’s review, but then I think I said many of the same things in my own. It lookedbeautiful, especially with the bits at the end (I noticed those as well Vern), but it was dumb as hell. The most idiotic thing that occurred to me (out of a LOT of idiotic things): if the villain’s a computer mastermind, you don’t just plug his laptop straight into the protected network within MI6! Especially this character (Q) wouldn’t. I mean, come on!

    I still thought it was better than both “Casino” and “Quantum” though. Although I have to say that just about everybody I know absolutely hated this one. One of my friends called it “in the top ten worst movies I’ve ever seen, easily.”

  18. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Neal – yes, but look at how Bond acts when faced with a wounded friend in the opening of the movie, compared to how he acts in the same position at the end of it. Total discrepancy and it’s not in any way earned by character development, etc. It’s just lazy writing. We’re supposed to have an emotional attachment to one of those two wounded people, we haven’t had time to form one with the other, so screw character consistency.

  19. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 7:56 am

    And it’s about fucking time they got rid of the whole “Xanatos gambit” thing of letting your enemies capture you, especially when it achieves pretty much nothing that you couldn’t already have done without putting yourself in that position.

  20. Yeah, put me in the camp of “eh, it was okay.” There were bits of it I loved (the neon fight was top notch) and I agree with Vern in that it was nice to have action that can be seen and not implied ala shaky cam fights we usually get. It LOOKED great the way the entire movie was shot. But…the story left me cold. I am with the folks on here kind of upset by the kind of old-school treatment of the female characters…women suck at being spies…bring on the guys! Judi Dench’s M goes out cocking everything up and then dying anyway. Moneypenny is an ace shot but decides being the sexy secretary for the Man is a better use of her asskicking skills. Never mind that Bond sneaks up on a frightened sex worker and sneak-fucks her in the shower. Yeah, I can’t figure out the gender points in this movie.

    But that aside, it is wild that this is garnering “best Bond ever!” level of praise. It isn’t as good as Craig’s first outing in the least (though better than the last). But really…On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the best Bond movie. Every Bond fan knows that.

  21. Guys, Silva explains why he let himself be captured: He didn’t want to kill M until he’d seen her face-to-face one last time. It’s the kind of bullshit “Fallacy of the Talking Killer” stuff that turned the Bond films into jokes decades ago, but it’s not a plot hole. I did think it was highly unlikely that a couple dudes with pistols would be able to just storm into a government building where the PRIME MINISTER OF FUCKING GREAT BRITAIN was in attendance but what do I know, I guess they do things differently over there.

    Also, what’s up with there being a completely empty train right in the middle of London rush hour? One second everything is shoulder-to-shoulder and then all of a sudden it’s the Midnight Meat Train, hold the meat.

    Paul: Seriously, though, it has been well-established that you hang out with lunatics. The “Everyone I know hated this and it’s weird to see that people outside of the biodome for people with bizarre opinions where I grew up feel different” argument is really not an effective one, in my opinion.

  22. @ fil

    I think the whole Point with Naomi Harris, is (Hey) to bring Moneypenny back. It is not meant to be Sexist.
    “OHMSS” is great of course. But rewatched them recently, i have to say “Goldfinger” is still the best.
    Followed by “From Russia with Love”. Opinions are like Assholes of course.
    But watching “Skyfall” in a Cinema was the greatest Bond Fun i had, since i saw “The Spy who Loved me” at a London
    Cinema on Premiere Weekend, with the Age of 14.

  23. The winner in this movie is Roger Deakins. Amazing work.

  24. @ Mr.Majestyk

    Yeah, that empty Train was stupid. A PG-13 Train i guess.

  25. From earlier debates about agent 007 we know that there are a lot of people on this board who say that they couldn’t care less about the new Bond movie and then talk an awful lot about what they didn’t like about it. Fair enough. But if you haven’t seen all 26 movies 10-15 times each your opinons doesn’t amount to much on this particular subject. If you’re into Bond you’ll see that SKYFALL is one of the best. Perhaps THE best. If you don’t see that, there’s nothing I can say that you would understand. In fact I’m surprised that it’s such a huge hit, given that it’s more or less tailor made for the die hard fans with all it’s inside jokes and references.

  26. Skyfall is a terrible movie. I understand Vern’s review and I see where the Bond fans are coming from but shheez, wow, this is a bad bad movie, esp. by big budget “classy” movie standards.

    I agree with One Guy Andromeda on pretty much all points, and I’d add:

    >Did 007, automatic firearm in hand, not have a clear shot at Silva and all his henchmen as they dismounted the helicopter and walked slowly toward the house?

    >Did Silva want to see M alive at the end? Because he seems intent on one last confrontation to fulfill his suicidal plan, except….. Did he want to blow her up with grenades? Or did he want to shoot her in the courthouse? (Terrible, laughable security, by the way, like Majestic said) Or did he want his helicopter gunner to shoot her? Or have the mansion fall down on top of her? Or have her fired because of gross incompetence when he escapes?

    Oh whatever, he’s crazy. Gay and crazy, of course.

    >Did 007 seriously just miss Silva 3 times with his pistol from Ohmygod that “hacking” scene! Ohmygod Q the computer genius! I read somewhere that those scenes might remind the audience of something out of the awful movies Swordfish, or the end of Independence Day, or a bad video game. Ohmygod they are right; that was terrible, like some hi tech movie scene my grandparents might attempt to write with their limited computer literacy 25 years ago.

    All the techno-geekery (handprint recognition gun, computer security), even the lo fi stuff (like radio signals and cell service that works even in the subway! Now THAT’S hard to believe even in a sci fi movie), in this movie is insulting, stupid, shallow, embarrassing, and somehow made worse by the fact that they deliberately try to insult previous Bond movies by referring to and winking at MORE ridiculous hi tech stuff.

    >Did 007 just kinda rape the lady in the shower?
    And by “kinda rape,” I mean rape.
    Maybe consent laws are iffy when the act involves a desperate sexual abuse victim.

    Anyway, she gets killed off in a misogynistic ceremony shortly thereafter, so who cares? F*ck her, and then… ah f*ck her.

    Skyfall is a terrible movie. There are 2 & a half good action scenes and some Deakins visual richness, and the rest of it is, at best, mediocrity sprinkled with offensiveness and stupidity.

  27. I guess we’ll all just shut up then. Quit discussing the film you paid good money to see, folks. We’ve got no jurisdiction here.

  28. Just to be clear, I was responding to pegsman, not you Liquid Sword.

  29. And I was just joking. No hostility here. I get what you’re saying. I’m not really interested in the opinions of people who aren’t big fans of the serieses that I love, either.

    But we are gonna unpack this movie because it’s definitely ripe for it. The in-jokes were the least of it.

  30. Being a Bond-fan myself, I´d take pegsman´s word over any of you n007bs anytime. Haven´t seen it yet, but I will
    when I can afford it. The ticket prices are obscene over here.

  31. EDIT:
    >Did 007 seriously just miss Silva 3 times with his pistol from 50 feet away?
    I get that Bond has the shakes, he’s not at his best, but seriously the bad guy just used 8 square inches of metal to shield himself from multiple bullets. What am I watching, “Police Squad!?” At least when Tom Arnold did this in True Lies (hide behind light pole and get shot at), they played it for laffs.

    Anyway, Bond conveniently pauses and lets the train crash behind him so Silva can get away. Makes sense. Yeah, Skyfall, go ahead and mock all the other Bond movies for their ridiculous gadgets; sure go ahead and make this another “dark and gritty and artsy reboot” type deal, but make sure you’re so self-aware that you go blind not realizing how stupid and wrong your own movie is.

  32. You should take another hardcore Bond fan’s word for it, ShootM, because this Bond fan had a hard time getting past the stupidity and the rape and the misogyny.

    Oh yeah and did I mention the rape and misogyny?

  33. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 14th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    @pegsman: I have been a fan of these movies and have seen a lot of them a lot of times. Maybe not Die Another Day or Tomorrow Never Dies and shit like that though, sorry. Liking these movies and blindly loving anything that says James Bond on it are two different things i think. And my liking of them is exactly the reason why i found this last one such a terrible, self indulgent mess. Full of lazy callbacks to the days of old (look it’s Q! But a new Q!! Look, Connery’s Aston Martin! Look, women are incapable of anything except being either whores or mothers!), full of tired clichees and empty of excitement.

  34. I wouldn’t say I’m a Bond noob. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all of them except for a few of the Roger Moores. I’ve read more than half of the books. I have a select few DVDs of my favorites: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, LICENSE TO KILL, CASINO ROYALE, GOLDENEYE, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (really underrated, in my opinion. It’s too bad all anyone remembers is Denise Richards playing a scientist named Mary Christmas), and, um, DIE ANOTHER DAY (It was very cheap. I still regret the purchase). I’ve never really hated a Bond movie, but I’ve never really loved one either. I’m always up for more and hope that each new one is the best yet. I’ll happily add this one to my collection. It’s stupid in ways it hasn’t even begun to comprehend, but I had a good time with it. I particularly liked the climax with all the booby traps. Felt kind of like a Wes Craven movie.

  35. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Pegsman – I’ve seen every single one, and I’d put “Skyfall” solidly in the middle-rank. Much better than the likes of “Thunderball”, “Die Another Day”, “Moonraker” or “The Spy Who Loved Me”, but not as good as “Goldfinger”, “OHMSS”, “From Russia with Love” or either of the Daltons.

    Majestyk: 1) I’m not really making a point with the whole “my friends hated it” thing, just an observation, and 2) these are the same friends that universally loved Michael Bay’s “Transformers”, so I ain’t disagreeing with you about their collective insanity. (Also the same ones who hated “Saving Private Ryan”, which I also disagree with, although I at least find it more understandable than devoutly defending “Transformers”.)

    Liquid – I didn’t like all of “Skyfall” but I don’t think it was MOCKING the other Bond movies. Heck, the mostalgic stuff worked probably the best of anything in the movie in my opinion. At worst I’d call it an affectionate homage. Not that that excuses “Skyfall’s” other faults, but bearing in mind the massive problems I had with both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace”, I thought it at least worked better than its two predecessors.

  36. Oh, also, I was a bit confused as to why Bond would such a cock as to let that guy get snipered when he had the drop on the assassin. I figured out that he didn’t just kill him because he needed to get some info from him, but it wasn’t until a few minutes later that I figured out why he let the hit go through. He was thinking a few steps ahead, figuring that even if he didn’t get anything from the hitman (a likely outcome, given Bond’s murderous nature) he could always track the job back to the source by going undercover to collect the payment himself. It was cold-blooded, sure, but a means to an end, not just rampant dickery.

    Or maybe Bond just wanted to see if the guy could make the shot out of professional curiosity.

  37. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Also Majestyk, I think Pegsman was being seriously sarcastic. (At least, I hope so, because that particular post was very very snarky indeed.)

  38. “But if you haven’t seen all 26 movies 10-15 times each your opinons doesn’t amount to much on this particular subject.”


    I personally can’t hardly imagine any worse cinematic torture than being subjected to a single Bond film, once. These movies represent everything that is perfunctory and droll about cinema in my mind. Have fun with your 390 Bond viewings guys.

  39. I’m just busting balls, Paul. I’d actually like to hang out with these friends of yours. Sounds like we would get into some excellent drunken arguments.

    They’re not these weirdos who don’t get that STARSHIP TROOPERS was satire, are they? Cuz I almost had to fight some ponytail-wearing chinbeard stereotype motherfucker at the bar last week who was convinced that Verhoeven cut out the book’s robot suits and rah-rah warmongering to make it “more commercial.”

  40. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    And one other thing (damn these short posts!) – occasionally a movie is so uninteresting that basically the only interesting thing about it is to do with the audience reaction to the movie, not the movie itself. (Hello, “Prometheus”.) Not really the case with “Skyfall” but I find the level of hate directed at it a little bizarre coming from some quarters.

  41. Majestyk: it’s hilarious that you bring that up, cuz years back I was at this indie video store in Richmond, VA and a couple ignant hipsters were talking STARSHIP TROOPERS: One hadn’t seen it, and the one who had was basically like “AVOID it bro, it’s just based on this ultra-right-wing pro-fascism sci fi book and it’s like even MORE ultra-right than the source.” It made me wish I was the type to approach strangers and harass them for construing fallacious opinions.

  42. I really liked Skyfall, easily the best bond in years after Casion Royale. I love the fact that they brought Bond back to actually enjoying being Bond. I don’t mind the brooding Bond, and it’s good to give him some depth, but who the hell goes to a Bond movie for a message or depth of character? These movies should be fun, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    I’m not sure what the hell One Guy from Andromeda is talking about. I really hated the heavy handed bullshit they pulled in Goldeneye when they had Moneypenny telling Bond he was sexually harassing her so we could all feel better about liking a misogynistic womanizer who drinks and kills people for a living. I like Bond for all his Bondness. I want him to be the womanizer he is. I want to see him allow someone to be killed because he knows he has to in order to finish his job. I want him to treat women the way he always has because that’s who he his as a character. I want him to drink martinis like a fish. They already tried to change him into Jason Bourne in QUANTUM OF SOLACE but we already have a Jason Bourne and I like that guy too, but Bond is not Bourne.

    When I see a Batman film I want Batman to follow the rules that have been set for his character. I love Bruce Wayne because he will not willingly kill his enemies and follows his code as much as possible. I love Bond for all of the exact opposite reasons. I want Bond to be a cold blooded, but charming bastard. People who complain that his character doesn’t belong in this era are the same people trying to act like their are no misogynistic womanizers in the world anymore and woman are so empowered now that they could never fall for that. I’m not sure what world you live in but I’ve known plenty of men who are just that and plenty of women who fall for them. This new era of political correctness is nothing but bullshit disguised as truth. Sexism still exists, homophobia still exists, Alcoholism still exists, corruption still exists. Does that make it right? No It doesn’t make it wrong either. It makes it a fact of life that’s not going away anytime soon even if some movies want to act as if it doesn’t exist.

    Btw, I’m sure General Petraeus would agree that womanizers do still exist in the world and that smart women still fall for them.

  43. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Majestyk – no, we all love “Starship Troopers”. We’re not THAT insane. :)

    Like with this board, I find myself agreeing with the popular opinion probably 90% of the time. It’s just that the other 10% seem to get the most attention. That’s usually the case when I discuss other people’s reactions to films as well – unless they’ve got something to add that I don’t (which usually amounts to a difference in opinion) I won’t bother to add what other people have said about a film. What’s the point in saying, for example, that the one person I know who’s also seen “Dredd 3D” agreed with me about pretty much all the essential stuff?

    You’d like my friends. We’re all unashamed geeks of various sub-strata – I’m probably the biggest film fan among them, but I know a guy who can list the name of every “Star Trek” episode in the order they were released, and another who can tell you the name and artist of just about any pop song you can hum from the mid-nineties onwards.

  44. I can easily see this thread turning into PROMETHEUS part 2, so count me out. But if you’re gonna debate the film, please get your facts straight. Severine was luring Bond into Silva’s trap, they both knew that they might die so they shared a tender moment in the shower. There’s no rape involved. Judi Dench was written out of the franchise because she’s rapidly losing her sight, not to give way for a man as M. The list is long. As I see it Bond is a genre of it’s own, and the movies can only really be compared to other Bond movies. In that respect SKYFALL’s defenitely a good one.

  45. In my opinion, sexism, homophobia, alcoholism, and corruption are facts of life and are also “wrong.” I’m no political correctness fanatic, just a person with a sense of morals and a belief that just because a movie character was formed and accepted during the good old boy Mad Men era doesn’t mean he is still acceptable as such in today’s times.

    But anyway, what disturbed me was, the audience for Skyfall actually cheered when Bond raped the lady in the shower and cheered more loudly when he delivered a one-liner after the same lady was murdered.

  46. pegs: I agree that there’s no rape involved. She clearly wanted him because a. She is a woman, and b. He is Bond. It’s just kind of creepy that he didn’t seem to give a single fuck about her when she died because of him, even throwing in that glib “Seems like a waste of good scotch” line. He promised to protect her, he failed, he didn’t show one single ounce of remorse about it. And sure, there might be extratextual reasons why Judi Dench was killed off that have nothing to do with sexism. In truth, I don’t think any of the misogynist elements in the film were in any way intentional. A couple of incidents, sure, you’re grasping at straws. But once you add them all up you end up with a movie that is surprisingly nasty below the surface.

  47. And yes, Paul, I was being sarcastic. Don’t know where it came from…

  48. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Holy shit, I disagree with everybody. Let’s take it a bit at a time…

    Pegsman – I don’t care why Judi Dench was written out of the franchise; I do care what they make of her departure in the story. Now I have no problem with Ralph Fiennes’ entry into the series (heck, his character was probably the best of the whole lot in my opinion), nor do I agree that Dench’s giving way for a man is evidence of “misogyny”. But I don’t agree with you that Bond movies can’t be compared to other types or movies, or (more to the point) taken on their own merits.

    And if they didn’t want the shower scene to be viewed as “rape”, why on earth make the point that Severine was formerly a child sex slave? It’s established just how afraid Severine is of Silva, and how desperate she is until Bond comes along and talks her into helping him. The only thing she knows how to do, or is even allowed to do, is be a sex object. Bond absolutely takes advantage of that. It’s a fine distinction because the sex wasn’t “violent”, but does it matter? If somebody perceives that their only way of survival is to have sex with a man, and that man takes advantage of it, IMO it’s rape.

    Chitown – I’m with you up until this point:

    “People who complain that his character doesn’t belong in this era are the same people trying to act like their are no misogynistic womanizers in the world anymore and woman are so empowered now that they could never fall for that.”

    Erm… nope. I don’t think anybody’s saying that Chris Brown, for example, doesn’t exist, just because this film does. That’s one hell of a stretch for you to make.

  49. Majestyk – the trains in london run through inactive sections of Tube, pre/post passenger bearing runs. It could have been one of those. They did clearly have the driver in it though, so it wasn’t TOTALLY PG-13.

    My issue with Silva – I get he wanted to speak with M before killing her. Is there any reason he couldn’t have just wandered into her house like Bond did, had the conversation, but finished with a bullet?

    For the head of MI6, her house seems like more of a bed and breakfast.

  50. I was shocked at the blunt dickishness of the one-liner after she was murdered too. But it was pretty obvious that he said it solely so those goons would drop their guard for that split second he needed to surprise them, like Joe Hallenbeck would in The Last Boy Scout.

    That scene actually sums up the entire character of Bond, that he has to keep up this emotionless, untouchable facade to have an advantage over his enemies.

    But yeah, an audience cheering at the one-liner probably would have pissed me off and taken me out of the movie for the rest of it.

  51. Paul: I’m still not sure it’s rape, since we get no sense of what she really thinks of Bond. The legend of the character is that he’s so outrageously sexy that every single woman wants to fuck him, not matter what her situation is, so even if she’s clinging to him as a means of survival, that doesn’t necessarily means she’s only having sex with him out of obligation. It’s likely that we are intended to believe that she is legitimately aroused by him and was hoping that he would do exactly what he did. It’s still definitely creepy of Bond to take advantage of the situation the way he did, though. In the context of Bond mythology, of course they had sex. It would be weird if they didn’t. But in the context of the actual story being told in this particular film, it’s just another piece in the overall misogynist mosaic of SKYFALL.

  52. Majestyk, Bond movies have always been nasty. They’re about a professional killer working for a falling empire. But we like to see 007 do his job, in the same way as we do with The Man With No Name or Paul Kersey (I still think Bond acted tough in front of Silva during the whole Severine affair, though). I don’t see the movie as being more (or less) misogynist than the world we live in, and I find it strange that people are more upset about that than the violence. But again, that’s the world we live in. The mass murderer Petraeus was just fired because of an affair, for pete’s sake!

  53. The Original... Paul

    November 14th, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Majestyk – yeah, I pretty much think you’re spot on there. The thing about every woman wanting to fuck Bond wasn’t much in evidence here, so the sex scene felt “unearned”. (Come to think of it, “Quantum” had exactly the same problem with Gemma Arterton’s character – they meet, then they’re in bed, with almost no buildup to justify it.) As I said, it’s a fine distinction – but even if it’s not technically rape, that doesn’t make it any less “icky”.

  54. Majestyk, I don’t see it like that. Bond tried some of his amateur psychology on Severine, but she never answered him. We don’t KNOW if he was right. And if he was I don’t think she would have had sex with him. In the shower scene it’s actually Bond who’s the whore. He offers her his body to please her, just like Bond girls have been doing to Bond during the last 49 years.

  55. pegs: Kinda reaching on that last one, aren’t you? There’s no indication that we were intended to suspect that Bond was wrong. If she was playing him, she managed to keep a straight face right up until she got killed. Fuckin’ Meryl Streep over here.

    I do kind of agree with your previous point, but I think you can only stretch it so far. Nine out of ten Bond films are campy action-adventures that ask you to take them about as seriously as those cartoons in Playboy. They’re full of hat-throwing mongoloid henchmen, jetpacks that don’t wrinkle your tux, and one-dimensional sex kittens with double entendres for names. You remove all that silly stuff but leave the killing and womanizing set in a more realistic situation involving child sex slaves and contemporary politics, it’s not so cute anymore.

  56. There was no rape. She invited him back to the boat. When the captain came down to inform her the ship was taking off you can see she had set out champange for two. She clearly looks disappointed when the captain came into her room and not Bond. So she took a shower. Bond hopped in, and gave her suprise sex. Not rape.

  57. I loved SKYFALL, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in an long time.

    I obviously have very different opinions about what it takes to create a good movie or action movie than most of the commenters here. I still have a hard time understanding how somebody could think UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING is a good movie and SKYFALL a bad or mediocre one. Do we all talk about the art of filmmaking? About directing, editing, cinematography, writing or scoring?

    But in the end it’s the misogny that kills the enjoyment in SKYFALL, right? That’s hilarious, especially after all the problems the same people have with the sexism in many movies that are discussed on this website. Has SKYFALL crossed the invisible line that all the slashers, horror and action movies that were discussed here by you haven’t?

  58. Liquid Sword-What makes you the the true judge of “morals”? I heard that crap more then enough in last election from republicans and tea party types. I believe everyone has a right to live the way they want as long as they don’t force their ideals on others. James Bond is a fantasy character and I want him to stay that way. There are a lot of people who agree because there is zero to none real backlash against the drinking, misogynistic, ruthless killer Bond that’s being portrayed. I could care less whether Bond could exist in the real world. Batman couldn’t exist either but who cares.

    Original Paul-It was basically an extreme point made to counter the absolute silliness of calling the shower scene rape. I have to wonder what the agenda is for someone who thinks

  59. That’s rape

  60. Is there anybody who thinks this is one of the best Bonds, but disagrees with Pegsman that it’s only for secret reasons that nobody who’s not a super hardcore Bond Trekkie could ever understand, or SHOULD ever understand? Neal’s post helped me to understand some aspects to it but I’d be curious to hear other explanations of what makes it stand out. It can’t really be just that there are in-jokes, can it? It’s better than the other ones because it makes references to them?

  61. Andreas: The difference is that horror movies are supposed to be HORRIFYING. You’re not supposed to look at rape and torture and think, “Wow, that’s one cool guy right there” the way you are when Bond tosses aside another disposable wench. Besides, horror movies are just about the only form of popular entertainment where women get to be heroes and save their own asses and not wait around for a man to do it. Sure, they get murdered and mutilated, but statistically speaking, not in any higher numbers than male characters. They just tend to be the ones who last longer and thus get tormented more because our society still sees them as weaker and more vulnerable, which makes it more suspenseful and exciting when they have to square off against a killer or monster or whatever. There have been reams of essays written about the feminist themes buried in horror films. Nobody has ever written one of those about Bond films.

  62. “I believe everyone has a right to live the way they want as long as they don’t force their ideals on others.”

    I think it’s perfectly fair to object to a culture that upholds Bond as an ideal. You don’t people who obey the “ideal” of misogyny regularly “force” this ideal on others? Like, every time they vote on a ballot, serve on a jury, voice an opinion in public…?

  63. Good review.

    I saw it last night and it really pissed me of. I might have enjoyed it more, if everybody and their grandma hadn`t declared it the best bond ever. I might be able to accept the blatant fanservice, stupid plotholes and The Dark Knight-“homages” (cough-cough). I might even be able to ignore that Bond has an Aston Martin which either means that he is 75 years old or Casino Royale is a reboot after all or something. Or that the entire movie appearently takes place in a universe where people, who are not related to the plot, doesn`t exist. Maybe they couldn`t efford extras.

    No, what really pisses me off is that they don`t get what makes Bond a great action-hero. He is the guy who keeps cool under pressure and overcome the obstacles by being smart. Everything he does in this movie is following orders and run after people.



    And when he finally takes control over the situation in the end, he gets his boss killed. His masterplan is going to an empty house, far away from everything, without weapon and back-up, so he can fight the bad guy and his henchmen on his own. That´s not a very good plan imo, especially for a superspy. And M, who should be the smartest girl in the room, gives away her position by flashing a flashlight. Or how about the bad guy blowing up MI6 with a computervirus (??!).


    It was an okay Bond, I guess, but nowhere near my top 10.
    (which is From Russia with Love, OHMSS, The Living Daylights, Casino Royale, For Your Eyes Only, The World Is Not Enough, License to Kill, Thunderball, Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

  64. You don’t THINK people*

  65. Oops, forgot to make my point, which is that Bond doesn`t make even one smart decision in the entire movie. He is just a blunt tool, who follows orders.

    (and yes, I`m a bond-fan, have been since I was a kid and read all the books, bought the soundtracks, collected the comics and re-watched all the bond-films I could, even if they were taped from german television and dubbed.)

  66. Well Rensfeld we will agree to disagree. The human being I admire most was a misogynist, Ghandi. Does his love of women make him a bad human being, not at all. I want my Bond as a rough alpha male and I’m glad I got it.

  67. Mr Majestyk: I’ve heard that theory about the feminism in horror movies a lot, it’s based on the final girl. I understand the theory the whole concept with the female victim. In a De Palma interview book I’ve read he had to defend himself and to argue that he is not a pornographer, which is a pretty stupid assumption.

    But come on, all those other girls in the slashers are most of the time basically a piece of flesh that is shown having sex and being murdered. And we all see if the director films the tits and asses of these women to make a feminist argument or not. I would argue that it’s not even thin ice under this whole feminist theory. That doesn’t mean I’m against slashers or horror movies because of that. Voyeurism is a basic part of the movies.

    If you look at the role that women are playing in most of the action movies you barely will find one that will be classified as feminist. Are those also supposed to be horrifying? Had the directors of all these action movies with pointless sex scenes and weak female characters the goal to disturb us? I really don’t think so. Do all the women in horror movies wear tight tops with a lots of cleavage to further express their vulnerability? I also don’t think so.

    Should the whole FAST FIVE safe stealing scene make us hate the protagonists because they risk the life of literally hundreds of innocent pedestrians and car drivers? Should we really hate John McClane for his one liners after killing a human being? Is every death in the LETHAL WEAPON movies there to make us think about the value of life?

  68. In response to the above queries: It’s up to you whether or not you object to such and such behaviors. I just don’t get the whole “how dare you judge me” attitude. If Bond can judge a woman to be an object and quip on her death after fucking her, Liquid Swords can judge him to be an asshole. What’s unfair about that? Poor misogynists, so oppressed by the fascism of being civilized.

  69. Vern, that’s an…er…interesting way of putting it. But if I’m allowed to answer your question I can tell you that what makes it so good and/or different in my eyes is that they’ve dared to make it so different from the rest this time. We must remember that this takes place before DR NO (symbolized by the gun barrel sequence being at the end), and it’s only fair to assume that he would hav hd some failed missions and som serious set backs before he got that assignment. In this movie he gets shot several times, he suffers from alcohol and drug abuse, he have to come to terms with the fact that he’s ben brainwshed by the only person he trusts and he has to face his childhod horrors of losing his parents at an early age. There’s a lot of heavy psychology in this movie, in addition to the usual action. The Aston Martin he won in a card game, Q, Moneypenny and a new M are just sprinkles on top. SKYFALL is about the English empire coming to terms with the fact that they no longer can roam the planet killing everyone they don’t like, at least not on the same scale (symbolized by the handing over of the Bulldog from M’s desk). All the inside jokes and gadgets are there only because it’s the franchise’s 50th anniversary, and not to alienate those who aren’t huge fans (it’s the sarcasm Paul mentioned, I know you don’t have it in the USA, but it’s big over here). All in all it’s a movie we the fans believe Ian Fleming would have liked, and thus a very good Bond film.

  70. I don’t think anybody has said that they hate SKYFALL because of the misogyny. In fact, most of the people who really hated it did so for the usual reasons: They found the plot unbelievable. I’ve said multiple times that I liked the movie, more or less. But does that mean I’m not allowed to criticize it? It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. I actually find the misogyny kind of fascinating, because I doubt it’s intentional. I’ve said it before that the filmmakers don’t seem to have a firm grasp on what EVERY SINGLE scene, theme, or idea involving a woman in this movie is saying: Women are disposable, incompetent liars, only good for a shag or some mothering. I know most action movies are not exactly paragons of feminism, and they don’t really have to be. Trying to awkwardly shoehorn a feminist approach into a story that doesn’t merit is just as bad. I’d rather have them ignore women altogether than give me a token “tough chick.” But there’s clearly something ugly going on in SKYFALL. It’s got a sickness at its core. But just like Gandhi being a horrific misogynist who believed that women who used birth control were whores and that a woman who has been raped has lost all value as a human being doesn’t automatically negate all of his good works as a person, SKYFALL’s subconscious hostility toward women doesn’t make it a bad movie.

  71. I am a Bond fan (one who thinks even Roger Moore had his moments – check his ‘It’s not mutual’ response to Zorin after Patrick McNee’s character’s murder in A VIEW TO A KILL, a fairly risible movie). I’ve even watched DIE ANOTHER DAY more than twice. Read all the Fleming books. Bond may reflect the overriding masculine attitudes of his day but he’s not always unsympathetic towards women, although he can ‘cure’ lesbianism according to Pussy Galore.

    My original point about the misogyny (you may have your own!!!) was that the *filmmakers* appeared to be misogynistic in the choices they made for their female characters, not necessarily Bond himself. And that’s not to mention evil gay – and gay characters in Bond do tend to be at least initially on the side of wrong, until killed or ‘cured’.

    And I just realised in SKYFALL, Bond is the Bulldog.

  72. Vern, I’m not ready to place this movie on the mantel as Best Bond Ever, but as someone who grew up watching the films I enjoyed it a lot, and maybe can offer some perspective on what makes it unique.

    First, as others pointed out, it’s not the “old spy being told he’s obsolete” angle; this has already been done in GOLDENEYE, amongst other films. Moreover, given that he’s only been out of action for a few months it’s laughable that we’re expected to believe the entire spy game has changed. At best, Bond’s obsolete, not the entire notion of feet on the ground operatives, and if anything, my knowledge of other Bonds actually diluted this impact, as it felt like a retread of previous themes.

    That being said, this film made up for this issue by giving us something few Bonds have: personal details from Bond’s past. I dug what SKYFALL provided by way of historical background despite its shamelessly aping the Batman myth. It fit into the overall damaged psychology of the character, making him reflect on the course his life took to get where he is. Better still, it gives him a Dark Bond as warped reflection for why he does what he does (again,this was done in GOLDENEYE, but to better effect here). By the end of the film it’s less about Bond, and more about the job and why he does it. I liked that, and I liked that they gave us enough details to fill in the blanks, but left the mysteries more or less intact so that future filmmakers have something to play with. Historically, few other Bonds truly touched on Bond’s personal life, the other most memorable being ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, where Bond got tragically married to an Avenger (insert obligatory Iron Man joke here).

    As for the rape and misogyny issues, I’d like to offer a thought: Bond is the original TWILIGHT. It’s lifestyle porn for hetero males, with all the payoff and baggage that entails. In short, I think Bond walking into a strange woman’s shower and having his way with her is the pornish thrill we paid for, while the subtext that comes with it is the bill we have to pay. We know from the champagne and disappointed look that she was waiting for Bond, so the lovemaking isn’t a surprise; only the lack of foreplay is. But porn is all about lack of foreplay, so this is again par for course. As for Severine’s past, I believe this dovetails one fantasy into another: the myth of the convalescent cock, a.k.a psychic healing through world class loving. Case in point, the GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, where year’s of trauma and abuse can be lifted at the touch of a certain journalist’s experienced hands. Bullshit? Oh yes; popular, undoubtedly. Within the context of the film it’s sold as two people enjoying one last moment of pleasure before facing certain death, and on a fantasy level its the delivery of the notion that you’re so good, so sexy, that a woman who’s entire past is riddled with abuse from the sex trade can release her scars and proclaim you king of the mountain.

    And the bill? Whoa, yes, there’s a bill here. That some of these notions are fucked up is undoubted. You can spend a lot of time unpacking why things are they way they are (the way of the world, the undying strength of certain narrative stereotypes) especially regarding rape and sexual power dynamics in general. Rather than get into that, I’d like to say that we should be more careful about proclaiming what is and isn’t rape, and the different ways sex is used in the world. To really explore this I have a little thought experiment I’d like to try.

    In terms of rape, the most shocking definition I’ve ever encountered is in the novel WOMAN OF THE DUNES. Long story short, a guy gets stuck in a seaside hut that’s inundated by sand dunes on all sides. His only companion is a recently widowed woman. Eventually they do it. And not just do it, but have sex at a level which has our narrator declare that, “all the other sex before was rape.”

    Now, what does this mean? Well, in the context of the novel, it means that for the first time this man has had sex for sex’s sake. All other times before there were strings attached; the woman wanted something, money, a child, power over him through her womanly charms. Only now, in the pit, did he truly have sex. If you’re like me, you didn’t agree with this. At all. But if you’re like me you started to think that there are degrees of sex, with different motivations going into why the act’s performed at certain times, between certain people.

    Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most of us here have had sex (insert favorite Vern commenter as exception here). Some of these occasions have been better than others. There have times where it’s been awesome, and maybe times where it’s been more of a chore (maybe you’re dead tired with half a dozen broken bones, but she’s ovulating and you’ve got to GET IT DONE). In other words, world class Olympic sex rises several strata over, “I have a headache but here’s a hand job for the hubby so he can go to sleep” sex . Now, is the latter 100% sexy. Probably not, but just because you’re barely in the mood, or riddled with tones of traumatic baggage, doesn’t equate that particular act to rape either. You’re still consenting, no matter what reason you may have.

    Rape, in my mind, is a very specific thing: you don’t want to have sex. At all. The person attacking you doesn’t have your consent. It’s not a gray area, but the very bottom, and worst part, of the sex stratification. Maybe Severine has severe issues with sex, but she was very much consenting in that scene for the reasons mentioned above, and I think throwing the phrase rape around is messy at best, and deeply problematic at worst. I’d suggest we stop doing it, and instead discuss the scene as two fucked up people definitely having consensual sex, and let their reasons for doing it be a cause for discussion, not a cause to file a police complaint against our hero.

  73. Rensfeld-I can also judge Liquid Swords comments to be a complete overreaction, and will. Regardless of your feeling what is civilized and what s not. It’s funny to me that this conversation involves the “civility” of a fictional British spy when the British spent years taking “savages” and making them “civilized”. It’s funny to me how snarky you try to be with your comments about mysoginsts feeling oppressed. I would say it’s just the opposite because they really could give a shit about pc police and continue to live as they please. It’s the pc police who continue to whine when things aren’t the way they feel they should be and are actually the ones who feel oppressed.

    Majestyk your are dead on with all of your comments. Not that I agree with all of them, I
    Ferrell like it was done purposely. There’s to much of it not to be. With that said, I have zero issues with it. I have no clue what people who have an issue with it were watching when they saw previous Bond films. They act like it’s some huge surprise. James Bond s a ruthless killer who drinks and has sex with multiple women? Really? I can’t remember that happening in a single other James Bond movie in the entire 50 year existence of the

  74. franchise

  75. – bad seed

    I totally agree with your view on Bond as a sexist character.

    I`ll add that women think that James Bond is sexy. Even my mum, who was a raging feminist who forced me to burn my porn as a teenager because she felt it was degrading towards women. She was also a massive Bond-fan, who never thought less of Bond because he blackmailed a nurse into sex (thunderball), ripped off a girls bra and tried to strangle her with it (Diamonds are forever) or slapped a lover around (From Russia With Love).

    Also, girls who has been abused are as sexual beings as everybody else. And they often have a bigger sexual appetite than non-abused girls. It`s often their way of reclaiming ownership over their body and sexuality.

  76. I found SKYFALL to be completely enjoyable but also equally unexceptional. I don’t have any complaints. It a good time at the movies, but I don’t see how SKYFALL is significantly better or worse than either of the other Craig “Bond” films. However, I do think it is the best looking Bond film. It features some gorgeous photography, including the aforementioned Shanghai Neon sequence and the flame lit climax in the dark with the fog is hauntingly beautiful. I also see pegsman’s point that the film could be looked at as a metaphor for the UK’s (and the US) need for a reformed and more progressive approach to intelligence and national security, but that in no way impacts how enjoyable the film is. In the end SKYFALL surfers from the same limitations any franchise film like Bond is hampered by. Most franchise films have to follow a template for it to fit with the rest of the franchise, and that template is there to provide continuity and familiarity to returning fans but also limits the type of story you can tell. SKYFALL is an exceptionally well crafted and executed Bond picture, but there is not much new in the way of story or characters. It all feels pretty familiar at this point.

  77. Mr M — I just want to respond to your comment from above about stirring a martini. Actually since a martini is only liquor and vermouth, it’s standard practice to stir it. You usually only shake drinks with juice or a non-liquor which might have a different consistency. Shaking it waters it down because the increased friction causes the ice to melt. Some assholes like Bond believe it also “bruises” the liquor and changes the flavor, but they’re idiots, especially if it’s a vodka martini.

    As for the movie, I was personally pleased they’re moving back to the more fun James Bond of the past. When he uses the komodo dragon as a step-stool, I was relieved to know I was in good hands. It gets a little unnecessarily emo at the end, but at least Roger Deakins makes it look pretty. And I don’t know what Bardem was trying to do, but his plan was literally the worst ever. Spend 10 years making sure you can escape from secret prison, so you can walk into a well-guarded tribunal with two other guys and try to shoot your target? Didn’t really think that one through. Didn’t find it especially homophobic, though, which is good news; at least Bardem is treated as a serious threat with a genuine motive even if his plan is stupid. It’s nice to have lots of different characters that are gay, especially if it’s not a major plot point. He reminds me more of the second-in-command from THE LAST BOY SCOUT.

  78. “SKYFALL is about the English empire coming to terms with the fact that they no longer can roam the planet killing everyone they don’t like, at least not on the same scale (symbolized by the handing over of the Bulldog from M’s desk).”

    I agree with pegsman’s point, and I believe that was the intent of the film makers, but the more I think about it you could also read the subtext in a different way. SKYFALL is about Bond/the English empire coming to terms with their place in a rapidly changing world, and how they are going to adapt to deal with changing threats, but you could also read it as a metaphor for the Bond franchise. SKYFALL could be viewed as being about how the Bond franchise must adapt to stay relevant when faced with the numerous other spy/action thriller films that have been/are being made (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and BOURNE). The Bond franchise must embrace it’s past to help define it’s identity, but also be progressive so that it does not seem stale when compared to its contemporaries.

  79. Vern — I’ll go out on a limb and say that yeah, I’d say this is one of the best Bond films. That may not be saying a lot; I enjoy all the Bond films but they’re mostly pretty bad with a few fun elements tossed in from time to time. This one happens to nail all those fun elements (the dry humor, the ridiculous sexuality, the absurd action setpieces, the colorful villains, the suave silliness of Bond himself) about as well as they’ve ever been nailed. The action is well-orchestrated and occasionally inventive, the sets are elaborate and colorful, Craig effortlessly lands both Bond’s badass mojo and his humorous side. I have some issues when it lapses into seriousness towards the end, but overall I can’t think of another bond movie that looked this good and still got the rest right. Bond is, was, and in my opinion should be a very specific formula, and this time they got the balance pretty right. Consistently entertaining, never slow, always pretty to look at, gets the most mileage from all it’s ingredients. It’s pure escapist fantasy of a very particular flavor, but generally executed to the hilt. Which makes all the difference in a film like this.

  80. Mr. S: Every martini I’ve ever had has been shaken, not stirred, but I suppose that could be because nobody wants to be the guy who doesn’t serve it Bond-style.

    In any case, it’s been about 10 years since I’ve had a martini, on account of martinis are disgusting. I’m convinced nobody would drink them if they came in a regular old glass and not that completely impractical Art Deco thing that’s almost impossible not to spill all over yourself.

  81. I really liked the movie, probably at least as much as CASINO ROYALE. Maybe all the youtube leaks/public enquiry stuff was a bit on the nose in trying to be relevant, but I like the film having a bit of fun with the implication that MI6 being shaken up due to the modern way of doing things leaving them so vulnerable has meant by the end they’re going to a more old-school approach with things. The references to the past movies were maybe a little unneeded, but I didn’t feel they were as groan worthy as the stuff they did in DIE ANOTHER DAY. I’ve seen a lot of fans online wondering if the Aston Martin and the references to what Q Branch used to make means the old movies are canon, while I’ve just viewed it as that’s just what MI6 used to do, not Bond himself. And while I do like that things seem to be aligning more with the classic movies, I also appreciated how different to that old formula the movie was, especially towards the end with Bond taking a stand and them revealing something about him rather than going after the villain.

    I also can’t really say I saw Silva a gay caricature(not least of all because the mention of him and Severine being involved suggest he’s possibly bi). He’s a Bond villain. They’re all pretty flamboyant and eccentric. Le Chifre was firmly established as straight, but he still stripped Bond naked, commented on his physique and then proceeded to fixate on Bond’s junk. And I don’t know how much of how Silva acted I’d really chalk up to “camp” as I would the fact he was fucking insane.

    I do agree that the handling of Severine’s death was pretty mean spirited by the film. It would have kinda made more sense if she had been in on his plan and been “saved”, only to later do something to aid his escape.

    And yeah, Silva’s plan was really convoluted, but it’s a Bond film. Arguably the whole second half of CASINO ROYALE was unnecessary since, well…

    Majestyk-“Oh, also, I was a bit confused as to why Bond would such a cock as to let that guy get snipered when he had the drop on the assassin. I figured out that he didn’t just kill him because he needed to get some info from him, but it wasn’t until a few minutes later that I figured out why he let the hit go through. ”
    Thinking back on it, I don’t believe he LETS the guy get snipered, he just didn’t get to the assassin in time to do anything about it because he was being careful to sneak up on him real slow.

  82. Mr. M — I don’t like them either (although a gin martini isn’t so bad with an olive or two), but at least you gotta respect that they’re almost all alcohol. People think they’re a little fruity because of the glass, but actually they’re one of your best options to get wasted if you’re gonna go into mixed drinks territory. Of course, it seems like Bond just drinks Heinekens these days anyway. Standards slipping everywhere, man.

  83. Yeah, I don’t think they’re fruity, I just think they’re gross. If you’re gonna drink a glass of liquor, have a whiskey on the rocks or something. Drinking clear booze with no mixer is just revolting.

  84. I very rarely get a chance to go to the movies these days and so I made plans to see SKYFALL way in advance (it comes out here next week). I’m not a huge fan of the Bond series but I loved CASINO ROYALE, so I hope I’ll enjoy it. I know I shouldn’t let it affect me, but it bums me out to see so many people here who dislike or are indifferent to it.

  85. “Of course, it seems like Bond just drinks Heinekens these days anyway. Standards slipping everywhere, man.”
    Well he’s only shown drinking it when he’s washed up and depressed.

  86. DNA: Dude, same story, my mom was the Bond fan in our family. Dad could never get into them. Secretly I think he was jealous of Mom’s crush on Sean Connery.

    General Outlaws: I’d concur with Severine’s death being cruel in the film. While Bond’s line, “waste of good scotch,” was a fuck you to Silva and not a true expression of his thoughts, the fact that there’s no sadness at her loss at all in the film really drives home the misfortune of her life. Her only bright spot in the whole movie was that shower, which I guess backs up my fantasy argument.

  87. There are a lot of plot elements lifted from other movies in this thing. The whole “villain gets captured on purpose” bit is straight out of Dark Knight. The ending is almost Home Alone-ish, which I never thought I’d see in a Bond movie. Even the whole “does the world still need Bond?” angle has already been done in other Bond movies. The line “Think on your sins” is also lifted from Sweeney Todd, which John Logan wrote the screenplay for.

    As for the Severine/rape question/controversy, I think I come down on the side that its not quite rape….but given the character’s backstory, it’s pretty gross. Usually I’m down with Bond getting his fuck on but this made me feel icky.

    So it’s an okay movie. Not the best. No where near the worst.

  88. chi the point is this:

    “This new era of political correctness is nothing but bullshit disguised as truth. Sexism still exists, homophobia still exists, Alcoholism still exists, corruption still exists. Does that make it right? No It doesn’t make it wrong either,” you said.

    Homophobia, sexism, corruption, all this manifests very clearly in society as people forcing their opinions on others. My fellow citizens of California voting to ban gay marriage for example.

    Political correctness is about telling people they are assholes for behaving like assholes. What Orwellian nightmare are you living in where political correctness is equivalent to people limiting your freedom?

    Your point seems to be “I know James Bond is an asshole and I don’t care.” That’s totally cool. But why the anti-pc backlash? What’s wrong with

  89. … taking a moral stand on shit?

  90. Apparently Bond himself agrees with me when he’s not making movies:


  91. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 14th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    what’s disappointing about the morals of james bond in skyfall to me are not necessarily his morals per se, other bonds before him have been complete assholes as well, sometimes entertainingly so other times not. it is the total assassination of the character that they worked 2 movies on to establish that took me out of the movie.

    he really had entered a more realistic and contemporary (moral and otherwise) setting. a person that _was_ conflicted about the horrific job he was doing, about the results of his behavior towards others, men or women. someone who obviously had his own moral compass and acted accordingly.

    what is this guy now? a mindless goon following orders through headsets. a guy who stabs someone in the back and has him die before his feet, their eyes locked, a guy that could basically be him, that has been sold out just like he will likely be and to a lesser extent already was, a tragic figure, and the next thing bond does is make a really, really lame quip.

    that shit worked in films like on her majesty’s secret service because they are basically fantasy movies. it doesnt really fly in a setting where they work hard on making it seem gritty, realistic and deep. at least for me. the way this film was made gives me the impression that i am supposed to see this guy who heartlessly lets a woman who helped him be murdered when he could just as easily have saved her life as someone to root for, and that just disgusts me.

    and that’s just one of many things. what i understand even less is that someone can see the “hacking”, with all the classic 90s and even 80s clichees of how a computer works and not feel insulted by this film. superman 3 was laughably stupid but this shit gets a pass?
    when javier bardem (made up to look like julian assange, which makes me mad in a whole different way) throws a grenade in a window he does it with a limp wrist because “gay”, and you praise the performance?
    half of the “jokes” can only be understood if you know the movies from 40 years ago and you say it is not just good as a bond film, but as a film in itself? the most memorable piece of action is a two minute fistfight of dark silhouettes you cannot tell apart against a screensaver and it’s exciting?

    i just don’t get what’s supposed to be good about this film.

  92. Crustacean, like you, I made plans months ago. You can relax.. this film is awesome, subtext – which is really not that different from any other Bond – notwithstanding. If I was ranking the Bonds, I’d say Casino, GoldenEye, Skyfall. I grew up with Moore’s bond, but my lord, other than For Your Eyes Only, they’ve not aged well.

  93. I liked Daniel Craig again in this one. I think he’s great as Bond. I loved the first two Craig Bond films. This one, though, was too much about M., and whether or not M. was going to survive, and I just didn’t care about her at all. Also, this movie was about 45 minutes too long. The whole last act needed to not have happened. M. should have taken the bullet at the hearing.

  94. Thanks Darth, I appreciate your recommendation. I hope I don’t give the impression that I need a chorus of agreement that it’s the best Bond ever. With Roger Deakins as the cinematographer it’s bound to be gorgeous to look at, if nothing else.

  95. Boy, I’m so glad I can come here and talk. My reservations about SKYFALL have been published and podcasted by now, but Limey pretty much summed it up in his first post. As Franchise Fred, I’m the guy that didn’t like the references this time. Certainly there was a better GOLDFINGER reference in QUANTUM.

    I just think it’s so reactionary. People didn’t like QUANTUM OF SOLACE so they made it more like the old ones. That’s how we get from BATMAN RETURNS to BATMAN AND ROBIN in three films. I’m worried the next one will squander all the edge Craig has worked so hard to restore, but I guess I shouldn’t worry. They my have all new surprises, and in another few Bonds they’ll have to reinvent again.

    Pegsman, I have seen all the Bonds many times and will continue to do so, including SKYFALL. I bet it’ll sit better with me after I take some time to change. I never used to like LICENCE TO KILL but I kept revisiting it and it has grown on me. More likely, in a few years, without the hype of 50th anniversary and public circle jerking, it’ll just be another Bond film independently.

    It’s a shame some of these recent ones have soured Vern on the series. It is an important series in action and obviously I love it so I’d hope to share that, but it’s ok. We still have UNISOL and UNDISPUTED.

  96. Tom: I’m the guy who thinks every single Bond film is 20 minutes too long, but the ending was my favorite part. It was just a solid action scene, not too overblown, with lots of dudes and vehicles getting blown up in a variety of ways. Plus I really appreciated that they used miniatures for the special effects. Or at least I assumed they did. They had a miniatures guy listed in the opening credits, and it looked like UNDER SIEGE 2 quality miniature pyrotechnics work.

    If I had to cut something, it would probably be the whole Shanghai part. I know everybody likes that thing with the neon and glass but the fight was nothing special and it led directly into the oogy part of the plot, so I’d have just skipped it and had Bond make it to the island faster. Also basically everything with Moneypenny, especially the shaving. That was gross. Like, touchy-feely uncle gross.

  97. caruso_stalker217

    November 14th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Needed more Komodo dragons.

  98. Why this subpar movie deserves this scrutiny, I don’t know, but it’s queerly fascinating to me to figure out why Skyfall is acceptable and regarded as an entertaining movie while I think it’s quite the opposite, so I’ll try to convince somebody here of my argument.

    When you consider the situation Severine is in, her being forced to serve Silva and his henchmen, her history, her desperation, her distress, the confinement and razor’s edge danger that defines her life, her lack of clear consent, the absurdity of the notion that she would feel confident saying “No” to the muscular naked killer suddenly in her shower, the transactional expectations of sex in return for helping/saving her, and the lack of emotions expressed by Bond before/during/after he rapes her and before/during/after she is murdered, I think the evidence is damning. More than circumstantial, more than flimsy overreach by PC police.

    Maybe not enough to get a conviction in court, but probably enough, with witness testimony, to at least get him to plead to some lesser charge of sexual assault, and certainly enough that 007 would forever be labeled a creepy, victimizing deviant by his peers. Not just a cad, not just a slutty womanizing playboy, but a full on sexual deviant with a proven carelessness toward damaged women and a rape-y streak.

    Here’s some google research that might interest you and might show I’m not all alone with these concerns, and then I’ll probably suspend the case and try to forget about this stupid movie –

    Forbes magazine’s Jeff Bercovici:

    Noah Berlatsky in The Atlantic:

    Séverine (Bérénice Marlohe) seems sexy and dangerous—but Bond deduces that she is in fact a sex-slave who has been brutalized since her early teens, and that she is in fear for her life. The short conversation between Craig and Marlohe is perhaps the most realized sequence of the movie: The actress conveys both terror and vulnerability, and Craig comes across as concerned, competent, and empathetic.

    But then, of course, Bond slips into the room of this sexually traumatized woman and casually screws her. Shortly thereafter, she is brutally murdered in front of him; his only reaction is a callous joke. I guess you could argue that Bond was putting up a tough façade—but there’s little evidence for that in the film, which utterly forgets her existence and her trauma the instant they have served their purpose. Séverine is just a body and a plot point, there to lend weight to Craig’s perspicuity, sexiness, and imperviousness. Same goes for M, who, with her last lingering look and her final benediction, testifies to Bond’s fitness for duty and inarguable adequacy. No woman is too old or too damaged to bolster Bond’s swinging psychodrama.

    From Giles Coren, in an imperfect piece written for The Times but then not published:

    There is a moment in the new James Bond film so vile, sexist and sad that it made me feel physically sick. If you have not seen the film and fear a spoiler, then look away now. Or cancel your tickets and do something less horrible instead. Like pull all your fingernails out.

    In short, there is a young woman in this film whom Bond correctly identifies (in his smug, smart-arse way) as a sex-worker who was kidnapped and enslaved as a child by human traffickers. She is now a brutalised and unwilling gangster’s moll. She gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond, merely of being incredibly scared and unhappy. So he creeps uninvited into her hotel [sic] shower cubicle later that night, like Jimmy Savile, and silently screws her because he is bored.

    Some blogger named SGM:

    I have been getting crosser and crosser about Skyfall. I have been in such a rage that I haven’t quite worked out what pissed me off the most. Last night, a friend posted on FB and pointed out that the woman who is punished with death for fucking Bond isn’t just a ‘woman’. Severin’s back story involves being sold to a brothel at the age of 12. She is raped and tortured repeatedly. Her escape route is the official ‘bad guy’ of the film who is still raping her. As she says, he frightens her more than anyone she’s ever come across before. It is a deeply abusive relationship. Bond’s response to this story of child rape is to push Severin into helping him. He does so by climbing aboard her boat and getting into the shower with her. Without asking permission. Bond has sex with a terrified and abused survivor of child rape. She dies because of this. This is why Skyfall is more than a return to old school Bond misogyny. It glamourises and eroticising child sexual abuse by keeping the adult woman as nothing more than Bond’s sex toy.

    And another interesting, largely disheartening forum discussion:

  99. Well, add the Bond series to the list of things I oughta watch and write about. Some time down the line I’ll at least try to do DR. NO and see where it leads from there.

  100. I was more concerned that his knowledge of her sex trade history was pure exposition, badly written. None of the dialogue was clever innuendo or revealing banter, except maybe Silva interrogating Bond. It was just bad writing.

    Vern, you should probably start with GOLDFINGER and if that does anything for you, go back and see what led up to it.

  101. Liquid Sword, that’s some nice, convenient clippings you have there. They’re all wrong, but I guess that’s beside the point…

  102. I plan to see Skyfall, and have been revisiting the series again in order so Vern, while I’d love to hear your take, I gotta warn you about a disturbing trend in these comments. Bottom line, the entries pre-Thunderball are a different kind of movie, and while I’m sure you’ll appreciate them (unlike me) they shouldn’t be the barometer of whether to continue checking out the series.

    I see a bunch of people saying Goldfinger and From Russia with Love are the best or two of the best. They are not. They are insufferable bores that perhaps better reflect the books but in no way represent the bulk of the entries and stand out like a sore thumb, or that pain from falling asleep on your side so you wake up and your arm is still asleep. Goldfinger has a decent climax but the journey will be filled with the kids in that Ice Cube movie saying “Are we there yet?” over and over and fucking over. That’s a lot better than From Russia with Love which has no such payoff, meager as it is. Both movies are “spy intrigue discussions” not action movies. Things pick up with Thunderball, crash and burn with the insufferable “comedy” Casino Royale, and then finally begin the formula with You Only Live Twice.

    GoldenEye remains the standard for me, and from those here both slamming and praising Skyfall, it appears a fair number of its themes came from the first Brosnan adventure. GoldenEye has the gadgets, the globe-trotting, the humor and the worldwide threat formula that you’ll find in most of the series. It also has the tank scene, a great villain with an interesting grudge, introduces several running characters and just feels like the standard, taking the breadth and ridiculousness of the Moore’s but removing most of the silly.

    It’ll be a wild frustrating ride if you decide to take it.

    Also, for everyone else, what’s with the “James Bond canon” shit? Bond doesn’t have a canon, despite world building and returning characters, the series starts over and rewrites the past constantly. It’s a series with touchstones, not a continuous arc. The Craig Casino Royale may have been a reboot and the subsequent films a Craig-based arc, but trying to imagine where they fit in an imagines series timeline or character evolution just doesn’t make any sense given how On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Living Daylights were abrupt changes rather than smooth new actor transitions.

  103. Clubside, did you just include the comedy CASINO ROYALE in the James Bond series? What’s next, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN? :)

    Having some fun, but interested because these films, even the Connery one, are generally not considered official since they were not produced by EON and are both not well liked. However I would love little more than a Vern review of NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.

    I think one thing that makes Bond films so interesting is the history. Once you have more than one actor play the same character and do so several times each, it creates a rich history of similarities and differences, not to mention aesthetics of different decades.

  104. Of course Fred, and your third paragraph is exactly the reason why lol.

    Besides the ironic title Never Say Never Again is real interesting because it was released the same year as Octopussy rather than an “off year” like the original film Casino Royale.

    As a fan of studio history as well following the decline of United Artists is a rich topic (plus the short-lived golden exile that birthed Orion) and there are even a few bits about Bond in Final Cut, the brilliant book on the unraveling of United Artists thanks to Heaven’s Gate. Fuck, even some of the dry finance articles about MGM’s troubles and the Bond loyalty/legal shit are compelling. Man I miss Orion.

  105. The legalities that allowed NSNA to exist are fascinating, and would be even better if it had generated a good movie. Imagine the conflict if there had been a legitimate rival franchise.

    And what if Timothy Dalton had done Goldeneye in 1991 had the studio issues not held things up?

  106. If you took a shot every time something either reminded you of or was DIRECTLY lifted from the dark knight you’d wake up in an AA meeting. Best Home Alone sequel since the second one.

    Also, Liquid Sword’s post officially made me sick of this movie. It was entertaining enough my first watch for sure, but there’s waaaaay too much meat on those bones.


  107. Just some thoughts on Silva’s plan:

    I’ll have to watch the movie again to confirm that I’m right, but it seemed to me that Silva, while he clearly hates M and wants to punish her for her betrayal, also loves her very much. She is as much a mother figure to him as she is to Bond. That is why he drags out the business of actually killing her, he wants to drown her in guilt first by killing all those listed agents that she is responsible for.

    When he does finally have the chance to shoot her in the courtroom, he hesitates and misses his chance. He wasn’t ready yet. Even at the very end in the church he wants to kill himself and her with the same bullet because even though she has to die, he can’t stand the thought of losing her.

    Of course, he could’ve killed her “by accident” just by spraying the mansion with gunfire from the chopper or throwing the grenades, but I guess it gets more difficult to pull the trigger when he’s looking her in the eye.

  108. As for Bond reacting with a quip after Severine’s death, I think that is perfectly logical after the way the built up Craig’s Bond in Casino Royale. At the beginning of that film I remember M making a remark that he’s a bit of a sociopath and didn’t care about the woman dying on the beach after he fucked her. After that he does fall in love with Vesper, but got broken even more by how that ended. So why would he show remorse for the death of a woman like Severine who dies in less than 24 hours after he first meets her?

    And you know, maybe he did feel something, but it”s a logical reaction for a guy in his profession to shrug it off with a quip, as a fuck you to Silva but also to not let it get to him and be able to move on. People die every day around this guy, if he stops to mourn all of them he wouldn’t be able to do his job.

    All in all I’m a huge fan of the way Craig portrays Bond and in a lot of ways he is the most emotional Bond to date. Even when he acts unemotionally, you get where it’s coming from because it’s been established so well that he’s a broken individual.

  109. Was the GoldenEye script ready that early Fred? I always thought the long hiatus is what led to Bruce “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” Feirstein’s entry to the series. Given his later work Dalton could have pulled off the comedy (something seriously lacking in an intentional way from his two entries) but I think audiences just found him cold. It’s as interesting a What If? as the one with Brosnan coming on board for The Living Daylights instead of remaining on Remington Steele.

  110. clubside, interesting take on From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. But unfortunately I have to say to Vern; Don’t listen to him!

    I don’t think Never Say Never Again is that bad, actually. It has a game Connery, some decent action scenes and one of the best female villains ever in Barbara Carrera. And the sex scene between Connery and Carrera is perhaps the most graphic and direct in any Bond film.

    Casino Royale was released two months before You Only Live Twice in 1967, while Broccoli managed to get Octopussy out four monthes earlier than Never Say Never Again in 1983. Not that Casino Royale was in any way a match for You Only Live Twice.

    It’s a shame that Dalton didn’t get to do more than two movies. If his take on GoldenEye had been even remotely similar to Brosnan’s I’m sure he would have stuck around for several more movies. But then again, The Living Daylights was written with Moore in mind, so you never know.

  111. Other interesting “What if’s”;

    Timothy Dalton could have been Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but felt he was too young.

    If Connery had turned down Diamonds Are Forever, John Gavin would have been Bond.

    Director Guy Hamilton wanted Burt Reynolds to be Bond in Live and Let Die.

    If Moore had turned down Octopussy, James Brolin would have been Bond.

  112. Assuming whatever script they started after LICENCE TO KILL would’ve become some form of GOLDENEYE. And yeah, if Brosnan had done DAYLIGHTS he would’ve been stuck after two.

  113. Wow !!
    I learned so many things from this thread.
    That i cant hold my commas, that Goldfinger and From Russia with Love are bad Movies and that there is a Rape
    Scene in Skyfall.
    Anyway, for those who love the Movie like i do, i just found something.


  114. Why are we zooming into Boris Becker’s eye twice during these opening titles? Is that guy supposed to be Craig? If so, why isn’t it him and couldn’t they hire someone who looked more like him?

  115. Mike A’s comment reminds me – at the end of Casino Royale, when M asks Bond if he’s ok after he was betrayed by the love of his life, and her subsequent death, Bond’s response is something like “I’m fine. The bitch is dead”

    It’s pretty obvious he’s not fine and he was putting on the front that he needs to put on to M and the rest of the world. (The whole “I act cold to stay alive” thing was literally stated in Goldeneye too) And I’m guessing there wasn’t an endless succession of debates and posts back in 2006 about how Bond suddenly became a callous dick about Vesper’s death. I guess the Skyfall filmmakers should have made it more obvious to the audience that Bond was just putting on airs for Silva and also hoping to make a split-second distraction.

    But in Liquid Sword’s defense, I’m sure there are some audiences who laughed at the Skyfall quip, and that would have definitely put a bad taste in my mouth. I was fortunate enough to see it with an audience that hooted and hollered at the right moments, and knew that Severine’s death was not one of them.

  116. You know, it’s not so much the quip as the aftermath. If there was even one shot of Bond looking back at this poor woman’s corpse and silently processing the sacrifice he’d forced her to make so he could achieve his goal, it would be fine. But instead it’s all, “Hah! I beat you, man who has challenged my ego! My plan came together perfectly!” She’s just discarded and forgotten, without even a stoically sad-eyed reaction shot to mourn her passing. It’s one of the most callous things I’ve ever seen in a mainstream action movie. I can’t help but think about how we’re intended to view this scene. Are we supposed to hate Bond a little there, or are we supposed to worship his awesomeness and not give a shit about the innocent victims? I wonder if we’re reacting not so much to the character’s actions (which, if they came from, say, Parker, we would be applauding as admirably hard-edged and unromantic) but because they come in such an unironically celebratory package. Where Craig’s other films explore the monster lurking beneath the sex symbol, this one wants to have it both ways, showing him being the world’s biggest bastard while also being all nostalgic for the one-dimensional demi-god he used to be. The disconnect between the two approaches is often queasy-making, but in the end I think it’ll make SKYFALL a consistently interesting entry in the series.

  117. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 7:18 am

    @neal2zod: two very, very different moments. in casino royale it was ABOUT him being like that and how he had gotten to be like that. in skyfall it was him simply being like that. he tried to save vesper’s life, he let the other woman die just because he didnt like to have a bullet in his gun or something, no idea. all i am saying is that to me a movie character just being an asshole is not as interesting to watch as a character story of why he is an asshole, or at least one that explores what him being an asshole leads to.

  118. The basic question, I think, is this: Does SKYFALL see Bond as a hero or an anti-hero?

  119. My favorite “what if”: Adam West was a legitimate candidate to replace Connery.

  120. – clubside

    Oh man, you almost made me cry. From Russia with Love is boring?

    I guess you can roughly divide bond-fans into two catagories; the ones who like the ones based on the You Only Live Twice – template, and the ones who like the less campy and more serious spy-adventures like From Russia With Love etc. I mostly prefer the bonds that doesn`t seem like shallow copies of You Only Live Twice. I actually strongly dislikes Goldeneye when it premiered, it seemed to me that it took all the familiar beats of the most popular Bonds without trying to add anything new.

    From Russia, Her Majestys secret service, Living Daylights, For Your Eyes Only and Casino Royale are all good spy-adventures for grown men with a refined taste in classic action (in my opinion, off course…). The ones that stick to the formular are campy silliness for kids, with lame puns and toyish gadgets. I have a strong feeling that those are the elements that turns Vern off Bond, so I would strongly suggest that he started with From Russia With Love.

    Oh, did I mention that I love From Russia With Love? Great story, great characters, great score and solid action (before action was even a genre). I`m pretty sure that it would be considered a classic, if it didn`t happen to be a Bond-movie.

  121. One thing’s for sure, Severine has really gotten under your collective skins. So kudos to Mendes for that. But again, I think you’re reading something into the character that just isn’t there. Severine is a strong woman who has fought her way to the top. She’s tough. A survivor. Who knows how many men she has killed to get to where she is today? You see her as a victim because of something that might or might not be true. That’s sympathy, not emapthy, and really not something to bring along to an action thriller. The bad guy’s girl almost always dies, not just in Bond movies, and if we start making up sad back stories for each of them soon we won’t be able to watch anything.

  122. Mr. Majestyk: “It’s not so much the quip as the aftermath.”

    This. You can tell from my earlier posts that I don’t buy the rape argument, but there’s no doubting Severine’s been a victim most of her life, and the cruelty of just leaving her there as the choppers descend reinforces the savagery of what’s happened. That the film doesn’t seem to quite recognize this proves to be a problem. My read is that they didn’t want to dwell on it, but instead raced to the heart of the movie: the villain versus M. In the process they created an event that invites your question, and to answer it, I’d say that the movie thinks he’s a damaged hero, one whose psychic baggage makes it tough to connect to people, but a hero nonetheless. However, the decision the film makes to not offset his callousness creates a more potent subtext: that he’s really an antihero, more fucked up than even the movie realizes, and that creates potential problems for viewers sensitive to the gender politics on display here.

    For me, I think it gets back to the fantasy aspect I was mentioning earlier. The femme fatale in need of rescuing is an old trope, but in this case the writers married it with a particularly brutal piece of real world abuse. In the process it throws the fantasy out of whack, and the film doesn’t do justice in the end to Severine’s story. It doesn’t seem to know that its presenting nothing less than a tragedy, and its real misstep isn’t making this choice, but instead not exploring the ramifications of it. If he’s truly a hero Bond should have gotten pissed off, or at least have used the brutality of the act against Silva. How long was he abusing Severine, and how does that abuse undercut the supposed purity of his revenge against M? You complain about being tortured for months, but see no hypocrisy in extending that abuse to others for your own warped gains. You know, something like that.

    At the end of the day she’s dead, but a hero will remember and rage against its loss, while an antihero will move on, because that’s what sharks do.

    P.S. I did have a thought for those of you who are still uncomfortable with the shower scene. It’s already been established that she was waiting for Bond with the champagne and was obviously disappointed when he doesn’t arrive. Also, some of you have questioned the sniper scene and its purpose. Here’s what I think about the latter, and how it plays into the former.

    Severine sees Bond kill the assassin in the building across the way, giving her a hint of his capabilities. These capabilities are reinforced after he fights his way through the three henchman who are supposed to kill him. He’s now established himself as someone with the potential to free her from servitude, and to solidify that promise she uses the only means she can, her body, in the hopes that he’ll follow through.

    Now, is this less than ideal? Oh yes. But as I tried to establish in my first post, just because a particular sex act doesn’t stem from the purest of motives doesn’t make it rape. Instead, it’s one of those sad reasons people sometimes engage in sex. Sometimes sex is for sex’s sake; other times its a means to an end: a form of currency. Food for thought.

  123. Mr. M, I do think you are supposed to hate Bond a little in that scene, but at the same time what was Bond supposed to do? It is not like he could sit around and cry about it if he wanted to live. I am sure it hurt Bond to watch her get shot like that, but even if he was not preoccupied with saving his own skin Bond would never show that pain. He has to stay as cool as the other side of the pillow at all times no matter what, that is part of what makes him Bond.

    I also think the film does try to paint Bond as a bit of an antiquated thug and a sort of necessary evil.

  124. Though I’m one of the few defending the Severine subplot, I wholeheartedly agree w/ Majestyk that a single shot of Bond being concerned over her (or even checking on her – I’m pretty sure she got shot somewhere in the body, not in the head) would have done a world of good.

    Or maybe a good pistol whip to Silva – the “bad” girl in The Man with The Golden Gun was killed just as suddenly and unceremoniously, and the fact that Bond (who had earlier used and abused her as well) showed fury towards Scaramanga about her death went a long way.

    It is fascinating how moments like this can ruin entire movies though. (I know some people who couldn’t get over the fact that those poor cops in T2 will have to spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs.) The Bond series actually has a ton of these moments, which like it or not, is a pretty impressive feat for what is supposedly a crowd-pleasing popcorn series. Besides the aforementioned “Bond shoots a bunch of innocent Russian soldiers” in Goldeneye, I never got over him shooting an unarmed woman in The World is Not Enough – another moment that I feel was written and conceived to be tragic, but just came off as dickish wannabe crowd-pleasing.

  125. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    @pegsman: i honestly have no idea where you saw these qualities in her character. she was obviously a victim. you think she killed many men to get into the coveted position of disposable sex slave?

    @Mr. Majestyk: Absolutely. I got the impression i was supposed to be on the side of Bond, that the film wants me to empathize (like when he out of character-ly cries at M’s death). I don’t think the authors that came up with the magic computers that can blow up MI6 and make trains derail came up with much of a character study here, at least not a very thought through one.

  126. I don`t think that Bond is portrayed as a sociopath in this movie. If he didn`t behave the way he did, he wouldn`t be able to do his job. Yes, he is a ruthless assassin, who can`t be bogged down by the corpses in his way. The last two movies have shown how he has reached this point. But he still hesitates when he has to kill severine, has a gun to his head and misses. The bad guy, who has been trying to “seduce” him to his side, is clearly testing him. Bond keeps his cool and disarms the situations and takes advantage of the situation. Had he shown feelings of anger or sorrow over Severines dead, he might have been shot. He acts like it doesn`t bother him, that`s the way he have been dealing with life-threatening situations for the last 20 movies, and Casino Royale and Qunatem of something showed how he learned how to act.

    In Casino, he utters the infamous line “the bitch is dead”, but the audience knows that he is only saying it to convince M that he has what it takes to be an agent; the ability to keep his feelings in check.

    The scene didn`t bother me at all, especially since we already saw Severine partipate in a coldblooded murder. Severine and Bond are both damaged characters in a lifethreatening situation, doing whatever it takes to stay on top. Even quipping.

  127. Bond is a professional Killer for Christ Sake. He is a cruel, arrogant and mean Bastard.
    He is no Knight on a white Horse. If you dont like this, dont watch Bond Movies.

  128. It’s not so much that I have a problem with the way Bond behaves. It all makes sense that he would have kind of a sociopathic bent to even want to do this job. I have a problem with how the film presents him.

  129. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Then don’t watch On Her Majesties Secret service Pike, you might be shocked at the things he does in that one. I honestly can’t recall any moment in the history of Bond where he just doesn’t save an innocent because he doesn’t feel like it, as he does in Skyfall. Remember how easily he overcomes the bad guys just minutes after Severine has been shot, without the advantage of a loaded gun that he had before. There was no in character reason for her to die, just a screenwriter reason to show what an evil bastard Silva is, a badly written one, because it paints the supposed hero in a bad light as well.
    There were just too many moments like these were you can hear the script pages rustle for me to enjoy Skyfall.

  130. I do agree that he is an anti-hero; it was appearently pretty shocking when he killed an unarmed man in Dr No by shooting him in the back. When Goldfinger came around, he was too cool to be an anti-hero, curing lesbians with his magic penis and stuff.

  131. He did not cry when Severine died. Of cours not. He is a fucking Prick. And i like him that way.
    The PC Police already gave us a PG McLane. Please !!! Leave Bond alone.

  132. And of course i watched OHMSS. It is one of my favorite Bond Movies. Lazenby was a more gentle Bond.
    But i have to say, i prefer the early Connerys and the Daniel Craig Version.
    The final Fight, between Shaw and Connery in “From Russia with Love” is a Masterpiece of Badass Cinema.
    And “boring”, as i heard the first time in my life today.

  133. Who asked for him to cry? All I asked is for one reaction shot of him looking at the corpse. He could be pissed, regretful, sad, whatever. Even having no reaction at all would tell me something. I don’t really require Bond to do much of anything. I want the MOVIE ITSELF to give a single fuck that this poor, tragic woman has been senselessly slaughtered.

  134. Mr. M, actually I kind of like the fact that SKYFALL doesn’t try to humanize Bond or hide the fact he is a cold blooded bastard. Bond might have had sympathy for Severine, but he never really cared about her. She was a merely a tool he used to further his mission that ended up as collateral damage. Also, if I remember correctly there was much more on screen collateral damage in the opening action sequence then there normally is in a Bond film. Did anybody else notice that as well or am I imagining things?

  135. I thought it was alright. 3 out of 5 if I had to rate it on a scale. Better than the last POS shit entry in the franchise; not as good as CR and I’m still unimpressed for the most part by Daniel Craig’s Bond movies.

  136. Since it’s okay to invent stories about Severine, here’s my take on her; Being an aggressive sociopat who tortured and killed all the farm animals from a young age, Severine was kicked out by her parents at the age of 12. After earning a living as a thief for a few years she was picked up by Madame Zora, a ruthless brothel owner, and trained to kill rich customers during sex. And yes, Severine is a she-male (that’s not a gun she has taped to her thigh, guys) who catered to a certain clientel. When she met Silva he quickly became her sex slave, and suffered horrible games which nearly killed him a few times. But Severine soon got tired of the blonde wimp, and searched for years for a man who could kill Silva and give her full control over his evil empire. Bond was actually the 13th hired killer she seduced in that same shower, but he was the only one who didn’t get freaked out by her huge schlong. And the rest is history, as they say.

  137. Charles – I don’t think any civilians were actually hurt or hit in the motorcycle chase (besides the cops the assassin shot), or the ensuing train sequence. They basically pulled a Fast Five where SOMEONE should have been hurt or killed but miraculously nobody was. I did think it was insane how Bond did just smash that back-hoe(?) into the back of the train without any thought or care about whether or not there were passengers in there.

    On a related note – am I the only one who noticed Adrien Brody literally runs a poor woman over in King Kong during the big New York chase finale? That seems to be put in as an in-joke or Easter Egg, surrounded with so much chaos on the screen, but it’s so blatant you don’t even need a freeze-frame or slo-mo DVD to see it.

  138. I would take all this much more seriously if there was an iota of truth in the entire premise of Bond. It’s so ridiculously far removed from anything remotely resembling reality at its most fundamental level that moralizing about it almost seems meaningless. I agree that the movie is weirdly dismissive of (SPOILERS) Severine’s death, particularly since they also take the time to humanize her and show us how scared she is a little earlier (in fact, I didn’t even realize that Silver had already shot her, all you see is the glass move and I thought maybe she had flinched or he’d shot her in the arm or something). One reaction shot would be nice, but honestly, there’s basically not a single aspect of Bond that isn’t an antisocial fantasy, so it’s hard to get too worked up about any one particular part. The bigger concern for me is the movie’s lack of communication regarding what we’re being shown. It seems weird to have this big setup for her death and then derive zero drama from it whatsoever.

  139. Sorry if somebody already posted this (I swear I read through all the comments but I’m not so good at reading), but what actually makes me really uncomfortable about Severine’s death is that it’s been mostly men I’ve heard lecturing people about it, and every woman I’ve talked to about it is, well, kind of turned on when Bond gets in the shower with her.

    Most of what I’ve read comes from the perspective of the scene being a total misogynist male fantasy, and I don’t know how to reconcile that with the fact that it’s also a female fantasy. I mean, my own wife told me if some guy came up on her in the shower, she’d of course be all “what the fuck get away”, but if it was Daniel Craig, she’d be more “Oh, geez, sorry I scared you, carry on”.

    One thing I love about this site is that everybody is extremely socially conscious, so hopefully one of you guys can help me wrap my head around this.

  140. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    i have no idea what you are trying to say pegsman.

  141. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @Commodore 64: It’s not like that scene is about a pretty young woman getting surprised in the shower by Daniel Craig. Is it really a female fantasy to be forced into prostitution from age 12 in your opinion? A quick google search i did found many articles by women who have a problem with the way women and severine especially are portrayed in this film as well.

    I understand that an attack on the morals of a movie can lead to very emotional defenses by fans, but please guys, take a step back and just have a look at what is being portrayed here and if its really just a bit of fun at the movies and not something a little bit weird, a little bit off. it obviously, as can been seen from this discussion, is something the film spent far too little time on exploring. the script here opens a can of worms that it is not remotely capable of closing again, it apparently doesnt even realize it did open it. it’s weak.

    the reactions to this have been more shocking to me than the scenes themselves after all. they were just bad writing.

  142. Just that I love the new Bond movie SKYFALL…

  143. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    The more i think about it, and i think i may have thought about it too much, maybe the film isn’t on the side of Bond after all. Why would he be presented as being so unsympathetic, the makers of the film are smart people after all. Craig makes no secret of how much he detests playing the character.
    Isn’t what Severine is to Silva a mirror of what Bond is to M? Like Bond she is an Oprhan that has been taken by the powerful person to be turned into an object (a whore and a gun respectively)? M even says that orphans are easier to be turned into mindless killers. Silva throws Severine away in the same way as M threw Silva and Bond away. M shows Bond repeatedly and even tells him how expendable he is and that she finally does not care about his outcome. When she dies he cries for the first time ever, he didn’t even have a tear in his eye when his wife got shot in the face – a great case of Stockholm syndrome. She takes people and nonchalantly has them destroyed from the inside (in Silva’s case literally, in Bond’s metaphorically), that’s why the attack on the lair is an attack on a place that M rules and Bond guards. M is the true villain. In the end Bond escapes out of reality into the old movies, a world of fantasy where it is desirable to be like him. Seeing it like this it also suddenly makes sense that Bond is so impotent and worthless this time around. He fails every test, doesn’t get the hard drive back and gets M killed. Maybe the movie hates him just as much as i do. I can even sympathize with Moneypenny – she may not be enlightened enough to stop working for this murderous organization that rightly gets attacked in the movie as being worthless, but at least she got enough sense not wanting to end up like Bond.
    That Hacking stuff was still shit though.

  144. pegsman, you already tried out one ridiculous interpretation of the shower scene.
    “He offers her his body to please her, just like Bond girls have been doing to Bond during the last 49 years.”

    No. No one else thinks that but you.
    We’ve both offered evidence and counterevidence, and we both have strengths and weaknesses in our claims. The movie tells us she’s desperate to escape Silva; the movie has Bond surmise that she was a sex slave. I guess it’s your prerogative to say that the world’s greatest superspy and ladies’ man was wrong about his conclusion in the movie’s script, that it was a non sequitur or something (a bizarrely extraneous piece of dialogue in a movie that otherwise is minimalist enough with dialogue and editing continuity that it doesn’t even show how Bond got on the boat, or how Silva escaped the cage, or the point of impact of Severine’s kill shot, or a full shot of her corpse, or the “shaken not stirred” line, or etc.), but that still leaves only you as the guy to have offered distracting fantasy nonsense that has no relation to anything.

    Instead of linking to lots of other interesting online analyses you can pretend have no basis, I’ll leave it up to whoever so desires to GoogBingHoo “skyfall rape shower scene.” The results aren’t yet overwhelming among mainstream media sources, but lots of commenters and people with blogs evidently agree with me.

    Well, this one’s pretty succinct:

    *Now I can foresee getting some stick for saying that Bond rapes Sévérine. But he breaks onto her ‘boat’, lies in wait until she is at her most vulnerable and then sneaks up on her in the shower and overpowers her. She plays along, but what choice does she have? Bond is monstrously muscled, she knows that he’s killed before so as far as she knows if she fights back he’ll kill her too. We cannot know what Sévérine is thinking at that moment, and the fact that she’s a prostitute indicates that she’s probably a good actor when it comes to sex. I think it’s reasonable to conclude that this is a rape.

    Remarkably, this person doesn’t realize that having 2 glasses on your dinner table must be the equivalent of “Please sneak into my shower after I’ve given up on my expectation that you were coming over for dinner later.”

  145. One Guy from Andromeda

    November 15th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    thats a spot on review

  146. The Original... Paul

    November 15th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I agree with Mr. Guy from Andromeda.

    May I repeat my point from my review here, that M, Q, Moneypenny and Bond – the four principal characters of MI6 – are all totally incompetent? M’s job, as we see it, is to recruit agents and run missions. We see three such agents and two such missions, all complete failures. Q is a computer genius but manages to plug the bad guy’s laptop straight into the MI6 network that also controls the prison doors (d’oh!) Bond fails to save the information at the start because Moneypenny fails at her shot; he then fails to stop an assassin from killing a completely unknown guy (I know there’s some debate over his REASONS for this, but bear in mind here that the one thing we know about the assassin is that he definitely killed a British agent), fails to save Severine, and fails to save M. Hell, the only competent guy is Mallory, and M directly opposes him.

    What I guess I’m saying is that calling Bond the “hero” when he accomplishes pretty much nothing he’s trying to accomplish during the course of the entire movie is problematic, to say the least.

  147. I said earlier that I saw this thread turning into PROMETHEUS part 2. I was wrong. It’s LEON part 2. So count me out.

  148. Liquid Sword, Bond does not rape anybody in SKYFALL. The problem is your trying to frame a scene from an unrealistic fantasy film as though it were part of a serious picture. Bond is supposed to be a larger than life alpha male, the whole point is that Severine was ready to bone him the minute she got a whiff of his pheromone back in Shanghai. Bond didn’t wait for her to get in the shower so he could take advantage of her, he waited to make his move until she was in the shower because he likes to make an entrance. Also, let’s be serious Severine is not a sympathetic character, we already now she is a killer, and she is most likely using Bond the same way he is using her.

  149. Meh, I give most of the plot holes a pass. True, Silva couldn’t have known there would be digital remote locks on his cell and that he wouldn’t be more tightly shackled, couldn’t have known the elite MI6 guards, um, guarding him would be so easily overcome (happens in all the Bonds, no biggie), couldn’t have known Q and Bond’s magic Boggle skills would crack the virus’ code at just the right time to let him escape within the time frame that lets him idiotically charge into M’s court hearing while she’s right there to be shot at, couldn’t have known that his henchmen wouldn’t search Bond’s pockets and find the radio transmitter (Silva wanted to leave the radio signal and be caught, but I wonder what his employees would think of this part of the plan?), and maybe Bond wasn’t the best choice to go after the other agent with the hard drive again since they’ve seen each other and M knows Bond is shaky and since Bond already got beat by the guy once (and by his partner’s bullet… she’s no Tom Berenger, I can tell you that much), etc.

    But there’s probably explanations for most of that stuff. I wouldn’t want to nitpick a decent action movie with this level of scrutiny, and 007 movies are indeed famous for their twisty contrivances. Guy from Andromeda, Paul, and me are still right about the terrible computer hacking stuff, though.

  150. Paul, I had a similar thought. If you really take a step back and look at SKYFALL (BIG TIME SPOILERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS……………………………………………………………………….) Bond fails at his main goal of trying to keep M safe. Silva might have died but he got what he wanted in the end. All Bond did was survive, and when he kills Silva it is not in a heroic confrontation but instead he sneaks up on him and knifes him in the back from the shadows.

  151. Andromeda – your comparison that Bond is to M, as Severine is to Silva, is genius. Speaking of which, I’ve heard some complaints that Bond takes too many orders in this one, that he’s perpetually shackled to that earpiece of his. But I believe that’s on purpose and that’s one aspect of his character I kinda loved – to us he may be a superagent who’s saved the world dozens of times, but at the end of the day he’s still a foot soldier, a replaceable cog in an uncaring machine. (I think Living Daylights touched on this aspect alot too)

    I think a good companion piece would be Troy, a movie that nobody else seems to like, which is all about young men fighting and dying for old men’s profit (or Phantom Menace from the perspective of Darth Maul, as it’s been called)

  152. caruso_stalker217

    November 15th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    This is definitely Bond at his most incompetent, with GOLDFINGER a close second.

    I loved this film, by the way.

  153. Oddly, the shot glass shoot out was one of my favorite scenes. We knew what was going to happen but it was built up and played out with clas, sort of like moments in Connery movies like the sniper scene in FROM RUSSIA. And there are enough of those moments in SKYFALL to make a great movie if I self edit all the stupid parts.

    Funny thing about FROM RUSSIA, it’s a classic and I love it and it has great action at the gypsy camp, the train, the helicopter vs boat… But the story, which is based on the book, is that a Russian woman promises to defect and bring a cypher with her because she’s in love with Bond. Is this something that really happened during the cold war, or at least that red scared Americans thought was possible? It’s the most unbelievable plot of any Bond movie to me including MOONRAKER. I believe some supervillain can steal a spaceship.

  154. So I guess I’m the only one way more excited about LINCOLN than SKYFALL. You guys are making me want to see it again, though, bringing up so many aspects (even in criticizing it) that I didn’t pick up on. Seems like there’s more going on (whether intentional or not) than I realized.

  155. Sadly I haven’t seen LINCOLN yet. Even sadder, I’m contemplating seeing SKYFALL again before I see LINCOLN. But then, I am Franchise Fred.

  156. It’s also weird to be in a place where Daniel Craig has done three Bond movies. I remember when Pierce Brosnan was new, then we got used to him and he was just the James Bond. Then it was shocking that they wanted to change but Daniel was so great, and now he’s just our James Bond and we’re used to it. I’m glad I have three Daniel Craigs to watch now, especially since the most recent one disappointed me. But I wonder how long before we go through this whole cycle again?

  157. Saw this a couple of days ago. I find it funny the my mom is also a huge bond fan. Maybe “moms” dig bond because they grew up in another era?

    I’m surprised with the reaction here about the shower scene. Bond has done this thing about a thousand times over. Connery does the old “You’re saying no now, but I’m going to kiss you and keep kissing you until you come around,” maneuver at least twice (Pussy Galore in Goldfinger and the nurse in Thunderball) which is way more heinous in my opinion. Moore actually tricks Jane Seymour in Live and Let Die into having sex with him by stacking a deck of tarot cards with love cards. In Skyfall, you can tell Severine is clearly into bond from the moment she’s see’s him in Shanghai by the look she gives him. This is taken up a notch later in the casino. She clearly wants to sleep with him regardless of whether or not he can help her. It just so happens that he can help her. With bond, he’s willing to sleep with her to further the mission, but it just so happens that she’s hot and they have nice chemistry. Calling this rape is absolutely ludicrous.

    As far as her back story, the fact that she was a sex slave probably increased her attraction to Bond. All her life she’s been surrounded by sleazy guys who abuse her and have to pay for her. I doubt any of those guys that paid for her could have picked her up at a bar or the grocery store. Here comes Bond walking through the casino wearing a tuxedo, oozing masculinity and sex. They have conversation and Bond can hold his own. He’s confident and witty. He’s also shown he can kick some ass and he may be able to help her. Why wouldn’t she bang this guy?

    The actual act of Bond walking into the shower with her really shouldn’t be shocking. So many men have forced themselves on her (or paid for the privilege) that when she meets a man who she actually wants to have sex with, rational thoughts go out the window. Especially since she was disappointed because she thought he wouldn’t show up. Many women fantasize about someone like Bond being the aggressor and just taking over. In the real world most men are insecure pussies when it comes to beautiful women. They either overcompensate by being overly alpha male or just cower in fear. Women can live vicariously through the bond girls i guess. Of course in real life, 99% of the time the “just walk in the shower” thing would never fly and should stay a fantasy, which is what the Bond movies are. I’m curious, if had been the other way around and she walked into his shower, what would everyone’s reaction be?

  158. My recollection of the GOLDFINGER scene is that Bond lays on top of Pussy until she’s too weak from struggling and then she finally gives in to his Scottish schlong.

    Also, a guy threw a hat.

    I agree with ThomasCrown’s assessment. That’s pretty much how I viewed the Bond/Severine dynamic. I’ve enjoyed the discussion here, although I disagree with a lot of what’s been said.

    I’m going to see this a second time tomorrow. Maybe the magic will have worn off. Maybe not.

    Komodo dragons.

  159. A Question to he “Cry Rape” Fanatics.
    Did you really never, ever surprised your Lady, or Gent with a Fuck ?
    Under the Shower, In the Kichen or when she is at the Telephone, talking with her Mom.
    And yes, even at first Dates.
    Believe me Guys it´s Fun. And i never was accused to be a Rapist.
    Geez i may never learn where to put my commas,but at least i had a fun Sexlife.
    And by the way. Even a Woman who was abused when a Child, can become a Person with Sexual Desires.
    She dont have to stay a Victim for the rest of her life.

  160. Vern,

    Sam Mendes mediocre? I would have to say AMERICAN BEAUTY is one of the greatest films of the last 20 years, both visually and conceptually. Nothing mediocre about that.

  161. – franchise fred


    The russian spy pretends she is in love with Bond in order to lure him into a trap. Bond and M even comments on how silly and obvious the russians trap is. She later falls in love with him for real when she realizes that Smesh are using her. It´s all about Smesh getting revenge for Dr No and stealing a machine from the russian intelligence or something.


  162. There are some similarities between DR NO and CASINO ROYALE, and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and SKYFALL, so I guess in an ideal world SKYFALL would have been Craig’s second Bond adventure. But on the other hand there is that old belief that the actors only really find their feet in the third movie – Connery in GOLDFINGER and MOORE in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME – and we all know that QUANTUM OF SOLACE would have been a let down after SKYFALL. Now if Craig can only avoid the usually disappointing fourth movie – THUNDERBALL and MOONRAKER, anyone? – he might really be on to something.

  163. Pike, I think the shower is the best place in the house for those kind of surprises. When I first started dating my wife she had this huge shower room in her appartment, and I think we spent more time toghether in there than in any other room.

  164. Briantasm – I don’t know, maybe “above average” would be a better description, but I thought AMERICAN BEAUTY was a little overrated at the time, and am surprised if anybody has watched it in the 2000s. Maybe it’s better than I remember. ROAD TO PERDITION is beautiful and in some ways great and also doesn’t work. JARHEAD I kinda liked actually, but most people didn’t. AWAY WE GO was pretty good. Didn’t see the other one.

    I would say that he’s a consistently not-great director, but you’re right, “mediocre” is too harsh.

  165. caruso_stalker217

    November 16th, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Best place for surprise sex is on the toilet when one party is taking a massive shit.

    Because let’s face it, that’s very surprising.

    Also, when I flex it feels like I’m CAHMMING like I am having sex with a woman and CAHMMING!!!!

  166. caruso_stalker217

    November 16th, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I’d like to apologize for my last post. It’s late. I’m tired.

  167. One Guy From Andromeda

    November 16th, 2012 at 2:32 am

    i dont even understand what you mean with surprise sex. you guys usually have to do it by schedule?
    and surprise sex on the first date? so you’re having sex with a stranger you just met without them expecting it? that’s basically the definition of rape buddy.

  168. No it is not.

  169. Well maybe on Andromeda.
    Here on Earth we learned to Flirt(some of us) and how to read Signals. And that we of course listen, if a Woman says
    Stop. But maybe i just dated wilder Gals than you did buddy.

  170. I can tell that you don’t get out much, One Guy, but at least now we know why we don’t see eye to eye on this.

  171. Wow, such an in-depth discussion on a movie so blatantly shallow! Fascinating. And fun (mostly).

    I liked Skyfall very much, and it seems a tiny bit malevolent to characterize the shower scene as “rape” — we can see what we want to see, I suppose, but it seems clear that the intent behind the scene was not that Bond is raping this woman. Perhaps it was a little clumsy and weird (it was), but the evidence so far presented in this thread for deliberate, active misogyny is a little too speculative for my taste.

    Yet, if we must discuss it, the key to classifying Bond’s behavior as rape should be in the projected motivations of the character. Do we believe A) he actually did sneak in uninvited and force her to have sex with him against her will, or B) Bond is not meant to be a rapist and if she’d resisted he’d have behaved as a gentleman?

    I mean, obviously this wasn’t a case of “Okay, next Bond jumps on the boat and rapes her!” So even if we can read that situation into the subtext (and I’d agree it’s possible), aren’t we ignoring the facts if we do?

  172. One Guy From Andromeda

    November 16th, 2012 at 2:58 am

    uuuh, your internet sexual prowess really impresses me pegs and pike, i stand corrected ; )

  173. I would soften my analysis of the rape scene based on the fact that there are other factors that we don’t explicitly see in the movie. Based strictly on the information, and lack of information, we get from the movie, it’s obviously easy to interpret as rape or something like sexual domineering/assault.

    But, like, if you allow your imagination to fill in the blanks and determine that she invited Bond in to fuck her
    (“Yeah, it’s just like my wife at home, or it’s just like that other sex slave victim I used to go out with – she knows what might happen when she’s in the shower, wut, hehehe”),
    that her eyes somehow conveyed 100% consent and desire during their 5 minutes together in the casino before he crept up behind her naked in the shower,
    and if the filmmakers were just stupid and creepy and bro-ish enough to make it so the scene is like “Yeah, Bond is going to show up all silent and creepy and then they’re going to fuck, yeah bom-chicka-baw-wow!”,
    then yeah I can see how it seems like a perfectly normal, uncontroversial sex scene.

    The problem isn’t with you, guys. The problem isn’t with the 007 history and record of rape. Nah, the problem is with the rest of the world that thinks this is weird and wrong. Sure.

  174. You guys really have a strange way of looking at perfectly normal sex…

  175. Great discussion. I`m looking forward to revisiting Skyfall. It seems there`s a lot more going on beneath the surface than I initially thought.

    I`m one of the posters that brings my soapbox everytime a discussion about a movie turns into a debate about sexism. I guess I intrigued by men, who gets offended on behalf of women. The most female friends I have get turned on by abuse- and rape-fantasies (also as presented in novels, porn or movies). They are attracted to strong men who takes what they want (as long as they are also sensetive and caring guys who marvel at their girlfriends wit, beatuy and emotion). Most elder women I know (including my mum) are attracted to James Bond, even if he is a coldblooded misgynist who uses women. Or maybe that is the excact reason they are attracted to him.

    My female friends are also quite intelligent and knows right from wrong, especieally when it comes to fiction vs reality. But they enjoy movies that represent their own conflicted feelings about sexism, abuse, rape, power and sex as a way of getting what you want.

    I guess that calling Skyfall rapey or sexist seems like sexism to me, cause some of you guys are defending women based on a very black and white idea of women wants, how men needs to protect them and how different and complec female sexuality can be. (and yes, I`m totally aware that I`m also generelizing right now).

    Or my female friends might be bonkers. Who knows. It`s an interesting topic anyway.

  176. It might have been “perfectly normal sex,” but the movie doesn’t show the parameters that would make it so.

    The movie, bafflingly (due to sheer filmmaker negligence or carelessness or due to a desire to edit out all unneeded dialogue and all perfunctory scene introductions, which could be decisions that are innocent enough), doesn’t present it as such. I don’t think Sam Mendes and his editors are monsters; I just don’t think they thought this one through. At least, I hope they didn’t. I hope it was just an accident and not a deliberate depiction of a non-consensual sexual assault. It probably *is* “normal” Bond sex in their minds, but unfortunately they left the exculpatory evidence on the cutting room floor.

    Oddly, I recall Sam Mendes making a pretty big deal of Kevin Spacey’s Lester Burnham saying quite clearly “No” to a sex-curious Chris Cooper in the garage, and Annette Bening totally denying her sad husband’s sexual desires, in American Beauty, so now I don’t know.

  177. You know, if the makers intended all of this meta-deconstruction of Bond, then SKYFALL becomes an awesome movie. Not an enjoyable watch (not for me at any rate) but certainly intriguing.

  178. Also, it was not Ian Fleming’s intention to make Bond an icon to be worshipped, indeed this worried him a bit. Bond is not simply a machine in the books. Read THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, all written from a woman’s point of view. Bond is presented as heroic, but also as dangerous (in the pejorative sense) and part of the same sinister world as criminals.

  179. Interesting point, dna. If you see women as fragile, little creatures without a mind of their own, I guess the critics have a point – within their own universe, that is. But we’ve come a bit further than that – at least here in Europe.

    I noticed that Berenice Marlohe and Sam Mendes at the press conference in London said that they saw Severine as a hunter based on Christopher Walken’s (!) screen persona. They clearly didn’t see her as a victim of any kind, even with the sad back story. Which could just be Mendes’ way of paying tribute to the darker side of Fleming’s books.

  180. pegsman

    Thanks. I know quite a few women who has been abused and they fucking hate being percieved as victims. Cause it is conscending and stuff. Yes, they might have been victims when they were children, but as adults they strongly dislike being treated different from everybody else just because they had a traumatic upbringing.

  181. Liquid Sword, Mendes adresses your concerns at the same press conference. He explains that they wanted to take everything down to a bare minimum. The scene where Bond and M arrives in Scotland for instance had a lot of dialog, but after an on-location desicion Bond only says “Mm” in the finished movie. Perhaps the director got to creative for his own good, but I had no problem with imagining Bond coming into the room as Severine got into the shower, having a zip of champagne, getting undressed and THEN getting into the shower with her. As me and Pike do on a regular basis (not together, though), only I drink Guinness and not champagne.

  182. Very few PG-13 action movies are “awesome,” and this is not one of them.

    The Bond movies in the 60s and 70s were awesome because they broke ground on action cinema. No one else was doing what they did at that time, with the explosions and car chases and sharks and lasers and judo…

    They more than paved the way to BADASS CINEMA, as we all know and love it. And they transcended their genre and expected audience by somehow magnetizing a heavily female, and thus generous worldwide, audience. Good for them, good on ya Ian Fleming and Albert Broccoli and company.

    But Skyfall’s action in the year 2012 just isn’t hardcore enough or unique enough to merit being called “awesome.”

    If it weren’t for my anger at the misogynist subtext, I’d have already forgotten about this thing, though I admit that the climax’s helicopter approach and shootout at the end (except when Bond could have easily mowed down all the bad guys and chose not to) was well-shot and interesting enough (except the dumb “fiery explosion in the tunnel”) to remind me of the best parts of the movies Home Alone, The Aggression Scale, Death Wish 3, and parts of No Country for Old Men. Subdued shootouts in the half-dark and homemade bombs and contraptions and all that.

    And yes, Komodo dragons. Yes.

  183. Very well, pegs. We have reached the peace part of our agreement, I think. If only Mendes and his editors had included a bit more of a visual or dialogue-ical indication that Bond and Severine were ready to mutually consent to bone, then there would be no problem. As is, the movie doesn’t show the parts (call it foreplay or whatever) that lead to the sex, so the interpretation, sadly, is left to most reasonable people to conclude that it looks a lot like rape. Again, I hope it’s not, but that’s what’s in the movie, minimalist as it is, and as Mendes apparently wanted it to be.

  184. But as family movies go, Liquid, it’s not bad, huh? Let’s agree on that at least.

  185. To clarify: I didn’t mean awesome in the sense that it is commonly used (i.e. spectacle and amazement) just that if it was the filmmaker’s intentions to deconstruct the Bond persona and tropes *on purpose* then I am in awe of their achievement.

  186. It could accurately be said that James Bond has forced himself on several women throughout the series. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) in Goldfinger. Patricia (Molly Peters) in Thunderball. Solitaire (Jane Seymour) in Live and Let Die. (By tricking her with tarot cards that they were to be lovers.) May Day (Grace Jones) in A View To A Kill. He slapped and almost broke the arm of poor Andrea (Maud Adams) in The Man With The Golden Gun. There are other examples. Bond IS a misogynist. Why is his treatment of Severine news?

    Usually, Bond has shown some emotion and surprise when the “sacrificial lamb” (a sympathetic character and ally of Bond) has been killed. This is in just about every film in the 007 picture series. Quarrel (Dr. No), Kerim Bey (From Russia With Love), Jill Masterson (the “golden girl” in Goldfinger), and on and on. It provides Bond more resolve and the audience the excuse to cheer on as 007 kills the bad guys. Bond was especially taken aback by this plot device in TMWTGG, which mirrors Severine’s death in that she had asked for Bond’s help in getting away from/killing Silva, as did Andrea from Scaramanga.

    Bond’s “Waste of good scotch” retort was to perhaps throw SIlva and his guys off. To demonstrate he was not affected. Similar to the possible reason for Bond’s line to Silva as Silva caresses his chest. “What makes you think it’s my first time?” It’s a head game.

    Oddly, “sacrificial lamb” Severine was never mentioned or referred to in any way again. A missed opportunity in that the usual show of emotion was never depicted. It was not fully fleshed out. Usually Bond has that moment.

    Berenice Marlohe impressed me as an actress, and geezus she’s gorgeous. The scene in the casino where she shows her fear of Silva is quite effective and well done. I wanted to see more of her.

    “…Bond’s eyes narrowed. He knew, at some point, he would have to slay this particular dragon. He settled back in his chair, removing a Morlands’ three ring special from the gunmetal cigarette case. As he waited for the delicious Balkan/Turkish blend to take effect on his lungs, he reflected that Severine deserved better…”

  187. Tom’s Crown and Z: I’d also add the part in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE where Bond, after his Japanese wife is poisoned by an assassin, immediately switches to a bikini-clad beauty in order to attack a volcano fortress. During this time he doesn’t so much as blink, much less mourn her loss. I mean, I know volcano fortresses take priority, especially when the ninjas are restless, but come on man, at least fold her a crane or something.

    Part of what makes these films so much fun is all the bad behaviors Bond displays with the opposite sex; the shit this guy gets away with, us mortal men think. However, although some are more shaky than others when it comes to the uh oh factor, and I think it’s worth discussing those more unsettling incidents. All in all a very interesting discussion, this thread is.

  188. A couple things, BS. Bond’s marriage in You Only Live Twice was a cover; to say Aki was his wife is not really accurate. Also, and I haven’t seen the film in a couple years, it seems he did mourn her for a moment when he sees she has been poisoned. Granted, it was a SHORT moment.

    Completely agreed on this thread being a very interesting discussion. Well done all around.

  189. I take it that link was for me, Pike?

    It sure seems to stick in your craw that someone doesn’t like or appreciate the same movies as you do, might want to get that checked out.

    I certainly never intended to derail this flabbergasting rape debate with a comment on From Russia With Love (or Goldfinger), and if you read my comment it was mostly to encourage Vern to not give up on the Bond series if he chose to start reviewing them from the beginning and didn’t enjoy the taste.

    But getting poked at fom the side on more than a few occasions well after it was apparent I wasn’t commenting due to not having yet seen Skyfall, I have to do this. Don’t wanna. Not gonna lose any sleep over it, but still not at the top of my to-do list (like finishing the Timeline this weekend).

    From Russia With Love may be all those things mentioned in the concise paragraph Pike linked, part of a review of the new Bond 50 Blu-ray box, but it still sucks. It is a boring sloppy mess with a ridiculous awkward fight on a train that approaches slow-motion slap fights occasionally used in comedies to indicate non-badassness. There is one actual action scene of note, a night time raid of a gypsy encampment which is the only tolerable part of the entire mess. And this comes after Bond is asked to watch two gyspy chicks wrassle. High-larious.

    In addition to the primary female protagonist being bland looking (and she was supposedly a Miss Galaxy or something) she’s dubbed hilariously which is even more apparent on the Blu-ray. Yeah, that’s right Pike, I own this film. I own all of the Bond films. Own most of them in multiple configurations as they’ve been remastered and had additional features added. I’ve now seen it three times, twice only because I wanted to watch the whole series from start to finish. The first viewing was more than enough though, thank you.

    There are some cool things about From Russia With Love as mentioned in the link: a sorta continuity from Dr. No, better fleshing out of the agency and the role of allies, bigger scope, tiered villainy. All those things are great. Or more to the point, they SOUND great, but they are just frosting on a shit cake. If ou like watching people stand, sit or lie around for extended periods of time talking about said shit, more power to you. I’d rather be tied to a chair and watch Moonraker on a loop than watch From Russia With Love again. I’d like Chrisopher Reeve to rise from the grave, don the tights and spin the Earth back around and undo my last viewing of that tedious mess.

    I like my Bonds with more action and fun. They made over a dozen that qualify and while Bond may not be my go-to franchise for action viewing I don’t regret watching any of them or talking about them. But that’s me, the guy who enjoys Bond running over shit in a tank to slowly missing the chance to step on some other dude slowly rolling away on the floor of a train.

  190. Tom Z: True, it was a cover, but a cover with benefits. It wasn’t in the same league as Diana Riggs in OHMSS, and I acknowledge that. Still, he sure moved past it quickly. Like you said, if he mourned her, it was for a very short time. I don’t really hold this as a negative, more a amusing example of how cavalier this series can be at times when it comes to his relationships.

  191. Bad Seed, the lack of emotions in YOLT might be down to Connery not giving a shit anymore at that point.

    clubside, I’m curious, what Bond movies do you like?

  192. Pegsman, YOLT is the first Bond film (fifth entry of the series) that moved away from Fleming material. I’m surprised many people like it as much as they do. Roald Dahl was not the best choice for screenwriter after Richard Maibaum nailed the first four. I’d pin a lot of the lack of emotion on that misstep, but yeah, Connery was ready to leave in 1967.

    I’m curious about Clubside’s favorites as well.

    Finally, I saw way up in this thread that Thunderball got dissed a bit. It’s one of my favorites. Have you read Vern’s excellent review of Thunderball (and GoldenEye)? Highly recommended. He’s spot-on, per usual.

  193. The Original... Paul

    November 16th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    “From Russia With Love” isn’t an action movie, it’s a spy story. I love it but I can see why others may not. It’s still in my personal top five Bonds (the others being “Goldfinger”, “OHMSS”, and the two Daltons).

  194. I personally enjoy the fantastical Bonds more than the smaller spy story Bonds. I like watching Bond save the world. Lately though, I’ve come to appreciate the smaller scale ones like From Russia With Love, For Your Eyes Only, and the Daltons. Just good solid spy/action films.

    Anyone else a tad disappointed that Skyfall didn’t mention the QUANTUM organization at all? They made a big deal out if it in Solace, like it was going to be some SPECTRE like group that had its hand numerous world events culminating into an eventual ploy for world domination. Then, nothing. Every bond from Dr. No through Diamonds are Forever (except Goldfinger) dealt with Bond interfering with SPECTRE. Hopefully Skyfall is Craig’s Goldfinger and Bond can get back to battling the nefarious Quantum organization.

  195. The first Bond I saw was in the theater, For Your Eyes Only. Let that color the following.

    I can’t say I remember much of the early Bonds that I saw. I didn’t go to the movies much when I was young unless something really jumped out at me like Airplane! That should color my response as well, as much as I love action, comedy is my genre. Like a child I love repetition so all of my favorite movies are ones I could watch again and again. As a TV watcher I was already plenty entertained by stuff that nowadays I look back at in horror, but I was your typical knowitall kid. I was excited to see my first R rated films back then, for the blood and the boobies. Outland and Mother’s Day were the first. Commando stoked my action fires. Being older than most people here I only add these tidbits to discredit my Bond impressions.

    Since I wasn’t imprinted at the age of my first Bond encounter like a lot of people, I let the movies be what they were, and for me the Brosnan Bonds are my favorite and he’s my favorite portrayer. Having started with Moore Brosnan was like the non-fuddy-duddy version of Sir Roger. While I liked Dalyon and his movies had a fair amount of good action, I found him “off”. When Dalton smiles in his two entries he looks pained, the fun of Moore (and the general campiness) was gone. Brosnan came off as tough *cough* relatively *snicker* and did some great eyebrow acting. But in the end his entries, even the maligned Die Another Day, were energetic, funny, loaded with gadgets and world hopping and were quality antiseptic action of the day compared to the brutal action I preferred. Actually brutal maybe isn’t the right word. I loved the bullet-riddled boogie, and body counts that required an on-site abacus.

    So I love all four Brosnan entries. I like both Dalton’s. I love Moonraker and like most of the Moore’s more for camp value, though there are set pieces spread throughout his run that are still thrilling today. If the poker part of Casino Royale were something different or handled some other way I’d really love it, as is its still great. Quantum’s plot bugs me. Thunderball is cool but when I watch the Coonery’s I have the Get Smart alternative reality version running in my head. Maybe hats why the Moore’s work, the silliness finally had the right actor. Plus rear projection driving scenes. Always funny. Thank you Police Squad!

    I’ve barely made it through the “comedy” Casino Royale and have only watched Never Say Never Again once since neither were included in the DVD box sets that I started my series from the beginning journey.

    So there’s my shame. Since I haven’t read any of the books and “came of age” during Moore’s stint I’m hardly one to have a relevant opinion. I’ve seen Commando dozens of times. With Bond it’s mostly three except for the Brosnans and Craig’s Casino Royale. GoldenEye, my favorite, I’ve seen more than a dozen times. It’s easier for me to watch the Brosnan entries and think of them as exciting action movies that happen to feature Bond rather than as part of a multi-generational series.

    Nice to see you here again, Tom. I first saw your site after buying the original Special Editions, hoping to find some other articles about the turbulent United Artists times that the book Final Cut (one of my favorites) drove me to seek out. I remember reading the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service article that discusses the placement of that one in the series. Since I didn’t get to see it until the Ultimate DVDs were released I watched that one with some baggage. It didn’t help that the whole notion of Bond getting married seemed like a mistake in storytelling given the 19 Bond films I had seen before it. And I laugh at turtlenecks. Since I was unsuccessful at finding anything from just browsing, are there any articles on your site that deal with and of the United Artists studio brouhaha?

  196. You guys don’t have any clue what “rape” means.
    This would be silly if you guys weren’t so fucking condescending by acting as if she didn’t have any choice or something.
    The movie is clear about her having no problem with Bond entering the shower. And what happens after that.
    Maybe she does it because she hasn’t learned to say no, or has learned to use sex as a weapon. Maybe that’s her being manipulative so Bond would be more inclined to help her. Maybe she was just horny. But it is definitely consensual. Not rape.

    What i really have a problem with is the way the movie/ Bond treats her death. Two minutes later she would have been saved. For a character with a relatively developed backstory (for a minor character) this just feels lazy. The movie doesn’t need her anymore so it just gets rid of her.

  197. BTW i am also in the camp that finds American Beauty overrated. Maybe i don’t get some of it because i am not American, but i think its themes are universal for the western world.
    It feels like the Disney version of the real drama it seems to think it is.

  198. About American Beauty: I saw it in a surprise sneak preview* and I didn’t know shit about it. Note that this was back in 99, where the internet was already established, but it was still pretty common to get your info about movies from magazines, because that was before DSL flatrates and shit. Anyway, the point is: When I saw that movie, I had no baggage with me, because the whole Oscar buzz thing didn’t start (over here) until a few months later. I guess that’s why I enjoyed it a lot more than most of you. Although even then I was surprised to see it winning so many awards. I liked it, but I didn’t think it was THAT good.

    *One of these things where you buy a ticket for a movie, without knowing what movie it is, except that it’s gonna be a new one that won’t start until next week or later.

  199. September 24, 1999. A Friday. I took the day off to play golf with a friend. Weather in Chicago nixed that plan, so Plan B was to go to the cinema.

    I had read Roger Ebert’s positive review of American Beauty, so it was off to a matinee viewing. By myself.

    The film impacted me. Hard. I got emotional as I called my three kids after getting out of the theater.

    “I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time. For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars. And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street. Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper. And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird. And Janie. Janie. And Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.”

    I thought it was brilliant. All of it. That’s what good films of cinema do, right? Make us think.

    I carry the ticket stub in my wallet to this day. To remind me.

    Oh yeah. September 24, 1999 was my fortieth birthday.

  200. And of course, this line of dialogue from Lester Burnham in American Beauty: “Well, I’ll bet money she’s going to resent it, and I’m missing the James Bond marathon on TNT.” I laughed out loud, being a fan of the Bond series.

    And so I was particularly intrigued when Mendes was announced as director of Skyfall. And it turned out to be a good call by EON.

  201. I was 22. The day before, I’d driven my girlfriend to the hospital to get an operation on her ankle. A routine pre-surgery check revealed that she was pregnant. I proposed out of obligation. She said I was sweet, but no. She opted to terminate. I breathed a sigh of relief, but the next day felt like a heel when I realized that I had absolutely no money to help pay for it. She suggested we go to the movies and see this AMERICAN BEAUTY thing we’d heard about, even though it wasn’t really our kind of movie.

    Everything seemed a lot better afterward.

    I realize now that AMERICAN BEAUTY is pretty trite and smug and obvious. I still like it, though. It was there for me when I needed it.

  202. I’m just gonna keep harping on this:

    “The PC Police already gave us a PG McLane. Please !!! Leave Bond alone.”

    It was actually the money grubbing assholes in Hollywood who gave you a PG McClane, because of how much more money PG movies make than R movies.

    Nobody calling the shots in Hollywood gives a shit if stuff is PC as long as Transformers 2 is making a hundred billion dollars.

    AMERICAN BEAUTY isn’t all that. “The homophobe is actually gay?? The slut is actually a virgin?? YOU ARE BLOWING MY MIND!”

  203. I’ll agree with Majestyk. AB was there when I needed it.

  204. This was one of the top 5 Bond films (IMHO) because the bar is set pretty damn low. It is difficult to get through any Bond film without cringing at one ridiculous gag or another, and simply the fact that you aren’t embarassed by anything puts it pretty high up there. The silly gadgets were few and far between, the one-liners were almost nonexistent and actually were plot-driven at times (I firmly believe the “waste of a good Scotch” was meant to be a tactical move by Bond, as mentioned above).

    What was poor about the film was the heavy borrowing from a half dozen other, often better movies. The DARK KNIGHT references were mentioned above but I didn’t see anybody bring up the “NOC list” ripped right from The first MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

    Add to that the numerous head-scratching moments in the film. The tropical island (in Turkey??) where Bond convalesces. The innefective “mastermind” bad guy who doesn’t really do anything. The empty subway train, the silly tunnel fire chase, the flashlight (?!?!?), etc etc etc.

    It was still pretty enjoyable. Better than DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, by a long shot.

  205. @Clubside: is your post directed at me? If so, I appreciate it sincerely. But as much as I enjoy Vern’s perspective on the films of cinema, I have never been a regular contributor of his sight. My website “Her Majesty’s Secret Servant” (www.hmss.com) has had pieces on the UA debacle, but I’m not sure that we have ever corresponded?

  206. Oh as far as the creepy shower scene with the sex trade girl, yeah that was a little creepy. But she was clearly into it, or at the very least we are shown signs (kissing etc) that indicate that she was.

    And as far as her getting raped by Silva(er?)… It is made pretty clear that the guy is gay. Or is he bi?? The girl’s fear of Silva doesn’t seem to be due to rape trauma, more like generic movie-trope shortcut fear. Which, truthfully, does not seem all that justified. Sure, she is callously killed by him (okay perhaps her fear was somewhat justified) but besides that, what do we see him do? Hire a sniper. Attack a hearing (and fail). Hack some stuff. Attack a booby-trapped house and get his ass handed to him.

    In the end, what would have been different if Bond had just let Silva kill M? M dies, Silva dies, so what? The entire movie which is so focused on Silva’s revenge on M ends… with Silva killing M. And dying, but so what? Is it relevant and more satisfying that Silva dies first? Why did M have to die anyway? It seems unnecessary and renders much of the plot moot.

    Perhaps this is part of the point I guess. Aged warrior paying for her sins, loyal lackey questioning his unquestioning loyalty, etc. There doesn’t seem to be much of that on the screen though. You have to sort of inject it after the fact, to make sense of it.

    Hmmmm maybe I didn’t like this movie after all.

  207. I was a certain age. I remember like it was a day that was not today. I saw “American Beauty”.

    It was utter shite, designed to appeal to the most shallow among us into thinking it was deep. But it was terrible, featuring terrible caricatures masquerading as believable humans.

  208. Hmm, the PG vs R issue again. I mean this as a legitimate question, wouldn’t it be equally bad if a sequel shoehorned in some blood and gore and profanity it didn’t need just because its predecessors were rated R?

    Clubside, interesting about the Brosnans, they do kind of feel like regular ’90s action movies that happened to adhere to the formula of gun barrell, prettile action, theme song, gadgets and other Bond tropes. They seem the least like Bond movies per se.

    AMERICAN BEAUTY, I’ve rewatched this several times in the ’00s and found it held up every bit as well as when it first came out. I don’t think it was about any twists or reveals of virginity or sexual orientation. It was the way it dealt with American values that I guess havent changed all that much in ten or so years.

  209. caruso_stalker217

    November 16th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Just got back from watching this a second time.

    The rape comments really are ridiculous and the shower scene wasn’t creepy at all. What exactly is your guys’ definition of ‘creepy’ anyway?

    Also having watched this again, I don’t feel that a shot of Bond being sad or something over Severine’s death was necessary. He is clearly uncomfortable and unnerved (as much as he can be, anyway) when he sees her tied up. He knows where this is going. He can’t save her. He knows this and so does she. But he has to go through the motions.

  210. Sorry about that Tom. Yes, my last comment was in response to you and pegsman. I’m the developer around these here parts so while I came across Vern’s reviews you have on your http://hmss.com site, I had actually been there before when looking for other Bond info. I’m sure you remember MGM’s four box set of slim case releases of nearly the entire series (the one before the Ultimate re-encodes and the additional Moore commentaries). Since I’d never sought out the older Bonds before that point, after digging through all the supplements and commentaries I thought it would be worth seeking out sites that might have additional info on United Artists and Bond which is how I found your site and the great OHMSS article. That’s great you have some more stuff on the studio aspect, could you point me to a starting point?

    That’s kind of what I was getting at Franchise Fred, though I thought that they also sort of represented a less campy refinement of the Moore formula. It’s kind of funny too how Judi Dench as M was the only holdover element into the Craig era. In every way but Dame Judi the Craig Bonds seemed to “start over” unlike previous lead changes. I guess once you’ve got her you want to keep her around. Until this one if I read things correctly. She was no spring chicken when GoldenEye was released but I can see how passing the mantle to Finnes makes sense going forward, and since Skyfall’s trailers have emphasized the Bond elements absent in Casino and Quantum, the return to “formula” has boosted Skyfall to massive box office success. Guess this was Craig’s GoldenEye.

  211. Rainman, I mentioned the NOC list in my review. Very generic.

    It’s so funny how everyone is so glad the Bond elements are back for SKYFALL, like how dare they keep them out of CASINO ROYALE and especially QUANTUM OF SOLACE. Does nobody remember how happy they were when Martin Campbell announced no gadgets, back to Fleming’s portrayal of Bond, serious Bond for the new world. And they loved CR, rightfully. So maybe they didn’t like QUANTUM but it’s the direction the series was going in, guided by the audience who was tired of Brosnan’s invisible cars. I seem to remember it was down to the point where some said Bond was irrelevant after Bourne.

    I guess those trends are just for analysts to assess. The audience just wants what it wants when it wants it. We’re talking about 10 years since DIE ANOTHER DAY, plenty of time to make a full circle. and I guess it’s 16 years since the NOC list. Legend has it that DIE HARD IN A BUILDING got pitched to John McTiernan so stranger things have happened.

  212. I thought that pitch was DIE HARD AT A PUBLIC STORAGE FACILITY. Wasn’t it the one where McClane was back to being a drunk and sick of being blowed up real good so he’s living in a storage unit when the terrorist break in and it turns out that really it’s another Gruber sibling who’s pissed because he needed a liver transplant and McClane had killed both compatible donors? And he has to rescue some hoarders. The cool part was finding the survivalist’s weapon cache. John McClane dual-wielding rocket launchers? Don’t know why McTiernan passed.

  213. But I wasn’t joking. McTiernan said he’d been pitched it and Bruce confirmed.

  214. I thought it was Steven De Souza that told that story when explaining why he wrote KNOCK OFF (which was somehow supposed to “explode” the DIE HARD formula, although I never really understood how).

  215. @ clubside

    No that link was not for you. It was for those, who maybe got unsure about watching “FRWL” or not.

  216. Thanks for the answer, clubside. On my sight I just review old movies, in Norwegian, so I can’t help you out with the information you seek. And clubside, there are quite a few oldies on this sight these days. You’re not alone.

    When CASINO ROYALE came along it was supposed to be the first of several stories about Bond’s missions before DR NO. That’s why they started with no Q, no Moneypenny, no 00 number and no gadgets. And I guess the idea is that before Craig’s stint is over – 2 more movies by the look of it – we will see all the familiar stuff back in place. But what then? A new actor? A new start? Personally I think they should pack it in when Craig leaves. That would leave us with official 25 movies, a perfect number to end on.

  217. Just a word to those, lamenting “Skyfall” steals from Chris Nolan. That is really funny you know.
    Cause Nolan himself said, that he stole from Bond all the time.
    Morgan Freeman´s Version of Q in “TDK”, The Jokers Knife in the Shoe (From Russia with Love).He even went so far,
    to call “Inception” a Letter of Love to his favorite Bond “OHMSS”. Just saying.

  218. @Chuck on AB: Fair enough. We all have different perspectives. Though I like most all of Kubrick’s work, I find his “2001” an utter chore to watch. I’ve seen it a couple times, it is worse each viewing. That surprises (disgusts?) many of my film friends. Blasphemy, they say.

    Hooey, I say.

    Another film that is one of my all time favorites is Cameron Crowe’s “Vanilla Sky.” That film moved me. As did AB. Both are brilliant, but I am but one voice among a sea of voices that have told me VS is shite. So be it. VS was there when I needed it and will always have a special place in my heart.

    “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.” And “Don’t you know that when you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise whether you do or not.”

    Depending on your perspective, this dialogue can be trite, or can be brilliant. Myself, I go with brilliant.

    “Abre Los Ojos” (“Open Your Eyes”) is a must-see if you view Crowe’s remake. (Or even the other way around.) Not quite as good IMO, but you do get the lovely Penelope Cruz playing the same character. Very intriguing.

  219. @Clubside: Thanks for the kind words on HMSS. If Vern will allow me, I can point to the piece on OHMSS that I believe you are referring to:


    Also, for a perspective on how I (and the other editors at HMSS) rate each Bond film, have a look at this survey. Clicking the film title logo will bring up a short synopsis and review of each film. The survey page gives each film a letter grade for a type “snap-shot” review.


    We did this a couple years ago after CR came out, so it does not include Quantum of Solace, and I am currently writing my review of Skyfall. I will assign SF an “A-“, which is certainly among the top, but not quite as good as Casino Royale or most of the early Connery films.

    HMSS has been on-line since 1997 and is a NON-commercial site. My bud Paul and I do it for our own kicks. Vern was gracious enough to contribute two Bond reviews (noted earlier) that I’d welcome you view at HMSS. Paul does some seriously kick-ass graphics that don’t seem to be part of the same reviews here on Vern’s sight. Have a look. (Link below.) Wonderfully witty with great insight, these are a MUST read for any fan of the Bond films. Vern’s stuff is genious.


    Thanks for indulging me Vern, I hope I have not over-stepped here.

  220. Sounds good, Pike. I certainly wasn’t trying to dissuade anyone from checking out From Russia With Love, or Goldfinger. The first three Bonds (and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) are different enough in tone and pace from the rest of the pre-Craig Bonds that I didn’t want Vern to not dig into the rest of the series if Dr. No didn’t end up being his cup of tea. But as I said in that first comment I doubted that would be his reaction. While bits of Goldfinger (“No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die”, lasers, death hat) are more iconic in various parodies, it still fits in with the, er, slower four. But I agree with Paul, they are more spy stories than action movies, so seeing them after two decades of action romps make them stand out. If you liked or loved the spectacle, it’s hard to grasp why you’d pick any of those four as the best of Bond.

    In case you haven’t noticed I don’t comment much except on the technical posts explaining my work. My taste, rooted in comedy, and my arrested adolescence, means I’d rather enjoy sitting back and reading Vern and the regulars. Going on 1,600 entries on the Timeline, however, I’ve noticed a marginalization of contributors to the site, and almost insular metamorphosis that perhaps discourages others from joining in. I don’t know what to do about it, but I am thinking of how to address it, whether others think it’s a problem or not.

    And pegsman, I’ve checked out your site a couple of times, I was referring to Tom’s All Things Bond site when asking about studio-related articles. Thanks for the interest, I didn’t want to get detailed as to throw off the Skyfall discussion or enter spoiler territory, but you really can’t divorce Bond from its history so I ewnjoyed taking a break from my site work to toss in some of my idiocy.

    What I’m most looking forward to is finishing the Timeline and getting a few days break to go after Vern lol. I’ve been counting the digs on a few of my favorites, buddy. You can’t see it but I’m doing that thing with two fingers pointing at my eyes and then yours.

  221. While I was watching AMERICAN BEAUTY, I was very conscious that THE ICE STORM handled similar material much better in every respect (though not without flaws of its own), yet there was something really compelling, even mesmerizing, about Spacey’s cartoonish performance that elevated the whole film (and almost redeemed a very grating performance from Annette Bening). The only other actor I find so watchable in that particular way is Gene Hackman. Remember that scene in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL between Cromwell and Spacey in Cromwell’s kitchen? I could watch two full hours of that.

    I’ve never watched a Bond movie more than once, not because of lack of action, but because the plots are so pointlessly unwieldy. No film series that is as rigidly formulaic as Bond has any business producing such bloated scripts. Jason Voorhees wouldn’t put up with that crap in his franchise.

    Also, I tend to confuse the Bond films with the PINK PANTHER films. Don’t try to correct me; I prefer it this way.

  222. Just found the piece again.
    “I´ve been plundering ruthlessly from the Bond movies in everything i´ve done” said Nolan….I really believe this should
    at least put an end to THAT Discussion.


  223. The Original... Paul

    November 17th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I am thoroughly pro-American Beauty. And it has nothing to do with its portrayal of American sensibilities or whatever, since I have no way of knowing what those are outside of forums, television and Hollywood. Maybe if I rewatched it today I’d find it more Oscar-baity, although given that one if its first scenes features Kevin Spacey masturbating in the shower, I doubt it.

  224. Pike – everybody knows Nolan is heavily influenced by the old Bond movies. Doesn’t mean it’s not distracting when the new Bond has very noticeable parallels to DARK KNIGHT, a recent huge movie that everyone has seen and that in my opinion handles those aspects better than SKYFALL does. I’m not blaming SKYFALL for being derivative. I mean, the new ones obviously took some influence from the BOURNE movies too, but I prefer Bond’s take on it. I just thought in this case the DARK KNIGHT parallels are a weakness.

  225. I saw the parallels also with Silva especially. It was pretty obvious that he was meant to be a chaotic Joker type of character. I still liked him as a villain, but he is definitely a weaker version of the Joker from The Dark Knight.

  226. Pegsman, I cannot condone you suggesting a franchise end after only 25 films. Luckily I don’t think I have to worry about this one. :)

  227. It was stupid of me to even think that way, Fred. I’m sorry.

  228. I’m really not seeing the Joker comparisons. Aside from the getting-caught-on-purpose-then-escaping thing and…dressing up like a cop…and…using bombs? The Silva character is nothing like the Joker in Nolan’s film.

  229. He is, however, a total ripoff of Cesar Romero’s Joker.

  230. Talking of Nolan, kind of, I wonder if the Broccolis will consider him as director of the next Bond film, now that Mendes has done such good work on SKYFALL? They usually don’t hire well known directors, but I think they will have to bring out an unusually big gun next time around. I have my fingers crossed for Soderbergh, or Mendes one more time, but Nolan’s expressed his interest and would most certainly do a good job.

  231. Man, CLOUD ATLAS, a much more interesting film (even if I didn’t really like it) gets thirty-odd comments and the newest Bond feature gets 200+? Guess the Wachowskis needed to put some more scenes of sexual coercion in.

    Anyway, this was an okay movie. The plot was weak, with the computercrap making little sense and Silva’s plans being dumb as hell. But the cinematography… oh god, the Shanghai, Macau boat, and post-Manor explosion scenes all make me want to go and buy the Bluray once it’s out.

    Deakins absolutely saved SKYFALL.

  232. @ Pegsman

    Do you know the Broccolis wanted William Friedkin to do a Bond Movie once.
    They told him, he didn´t have to care about the Action Scenes, cause they have two or three Second Unit Crews.
    Then Friedkin said no, because the only reason for him to do Bond, where the Action Scenes he said.

  233. pegsman – I think for Nolan/007 to happen, there would have to be a financial arrangement both sides would be happy with. If Nolan, at his billion dollar prime of his career, wants a big box office cut, they won’t hire him.

    I’m reminded of that anecdote from Roger Moore’s book where he met Steven Spielberg at Cannes, and Moore was pleased to find Spielberg had a hardon to direct a Bond film himself. But Broccoli didn’t even bother consider hiring Spielberg (according to Moore) because Spielberg would’ve demanded too high of a cut, and to be fair 007 didn’t need him to make money. (C’mon the director of TURNER & HOOCH directed TOMORROW NEVER DIES.)

    Spielberg instead made RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, which honestly is better than all of the Bond films, save maybe for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and GOLDFINGER.

  234. They way I’ve heard those stories are that the Bond producers never give a director final cut, and that’s why they chose never to approach Nolan. Spielberg on the other hand famously said in the late 70’s that he would love to make a bond film, but only if Connery came back to the franchise.

  235. Pegsman, I love you forever for playing along.

    Pike, never heard the Friedkin story. I’ve gotta imagine a Spielberg would cut his rate and play ball for the jollies of doing a Bond movie. They don’t need more money, but then it takes them away from a pet project for two years.

  236. Pegs man is correct. The big hindrance to getting an uber a-list director for Bond is the producers refusing to give director final cut. Maybe they will finally make an exception for Nolan, I don’t know. I could see him directing the last Craig movie… So that if he does something they really don’t like, they can just reboot again with another actor. We’ll see.

  237. I do hope they stick with Mendes (Thomas Newman and Deakins as well, they did outstanding jobs in their respective departments) for the next couple of films, especially since Craig signed on for them and will most likely bow out of it by then. It’s understandable why the producers want final cut but they should at least open up to the idea of giving it to someone like Nolan, who could prove an interesting choice (to say the least) for director.

    I finally got to watch this today. Was hoping to catch it in time for Vern’s review so I can be on top of the discussion going on, but sadly life disagreed with that plan. My immediate reaction was that this proved why the franchise has stayed around so long. Going back to what I inferred to in the previous sentence, this character could be around for a very long time in the rightest of hands. And that’s what happened here. It felt as uncluttered and straight ahead storytelling-wise than either TDKR and PROMETHEUS could have ever tried to be. The film is not as enamored with backstory as some films have been, and thus doesn’t take too much away from the enigmatic side of the character.

  238. If Mendes does another one (I doubt he will) they should definitely get Tom Hanks as the villain. He worked with Craig and Mendes on ROAD TO PERDITION and he’s a big Bond fan. He would totally do it.

    And if Mendes doesn’t do another one they should get Tom Hanks for the villain anyway.

    It would be fucking awesome and you know it.

  239. Tom Hanks as the new Blofeld? I’m there.

  240. Don’t you think he’s reserved that role for Kevin Spacey?

  241. I’m really worried about the James Bond franchise. I really liked the direction of the reboot and I still love QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but they’re not going to go that way anymore. I guess I shouldn’t take it personally, they can make whatever movies they want, but it bums me out.

    I suppose I should also practice Franchise Fred’s appreciation for any direction each entry of a franchise could take. The weird or misguided sequels often make a franchise more interesting. I’m just legitimately sad that SKYFALL will be the direction the last Craig movies go in. But I haven’t seen it again yet so maybe it’ll be all right.

  242. I don’t by it that Silva is gay/bi at all. He just did that to fuck with Bond, and when James responded as he did he backed off from that tactic. People read way too much into that.

  243. I guess since writer John Logan is gay himself it has become a bigger deal than it need to be. But you’re right, according to Logan Silva wasn’t written as gay. Mendes and Logan just wanted to mess with our brains.

  244. “I don’t by it that Silva is gay/bi at all. He just did that to fuck with Bond, and when James responded as he did he backed off from that tactic. People read way too much into that”.


    I thought this was obvious, too.

    And I find it kind of amusing, that people right away assume Silva must be gay, despite having a female lover, because he is a flamboyant and does one humorous move obviously intended to unsettle Bond. Hell, Silva pretty much says aloud that he is trying to fuck with Bond’s mind.

    I can’t help thinking, that it speaks something about your preconceived notions about gay people, if you’re assuming that Silva must be gay, against all actual evidence (Like having a female lover). Not all gay people are flamboyant, and not all flamboyant people are gay. If a man touches another man, it doesn’t mean he is gay.

    And as for the accusations of the Severine sex scene being rape… Jesus, that is pretty fucking insulting towards people who have actually been raped. You people are trying to imply that obvious consensual sex is the same thing as rape. Which is a silly, careless thing to say, because it is ALSO means that rape is a same thing as consensual sex. Which is an awful thing to say.

    And trying to hint that women who have been abused or worked as prostitutes somehow can’t be sexually attracted to men they’ve just met (and in this case a handsome and charming man who says that he wants to protect said woman) … Well, that is degrading towards those women. It’s another way of saying that they must be “damaged goods”. You are trying to take away their sexuality, and their womanhood. That’s not cool.

    I know you people mean well, but this is a case where good intentions are actually working against the desired goals. You are being insulting towards gays, and towards women who have been sexually abused.

  245. I kind of assumed that Silva was just one of those decadent pansexual Freddy Mercury type guys who’ll fuck whomever tickles his fancy on any particular day. Sexuality is fluid for a lot of people so I had no trouble reconciling his passive-aggressive flirting with Bond with his clearly sexual relationship with Severine. It never even occurred to me to try to label him one way or the other.

    Good points, tuuka. We men are often quick to defend poor, helpless women who don’t require it. Just because someone has had sexual abuse in her past does not mean that she can’t have healthy sex in her present. I still hold that the shower scene is creepy, though, because of the unexplored power dynamics on display, but I would never consider it rape. There just isn’t enough evidence on the table. I just think it’s another example of SKYFALL’s strange and often queasy approach to gender.

    I just can’t get over how wrong-headed the final scene is. Since GOLDENEYE, having Judi Dench as Q has served as a corrective to the franchise’s latent misogyny, and this film was very much about her lengthy relationship with Bond and her imfluence on his character, both in good and bad ways. In many ways she brought a conscience to the series, forcing Bond to look at the choices he’s made and the destruction those choices have caused. We get this very emotional scene in which she SPOILERS, and Bond allows himself to get emotional for one of the few times in the series, showing the beating heart behind the icon and sex symbol. And then in the very next scene it’s like “Well, thank God that’s all over with.” It’s back to the Boy’s Club again, with the sexy secretaries and the soulless smirks. I can’t really reconcile it with the arc of the character as he has been developed since the Brosnan years. Are we expected to be happy that Bond has reverted to the smug piece of shit we so recently applauded him evolving past? I find it both troubling and fascinating.

  246. One thing I read that I totally agree with is that Silva knew that kind of thing wasn’t in Bond’s training, and it could have been seen as a possible weakness considering his reputation as a ladies’ man. Oddly enough, the way he responded reminded me of Clint’s response in TIGHTROPE where he says sort of the same thing (haven’t seen that movie in a million years though, but I’m sure someone could back me up on it here).

  247. If they were going to do auteur Bonds why didn’t they just let Tarantino do CASINO ROYALE like he wanted? Would’ve been a period piece with Pierce Brosnan.

  248. Mr Majestyk, Bond stood on the roof looking at London with sadness in his eyes for a long time, smiled sadly when he saw the Bulldog, then went down and put on a brave face for the new M – still with sad eyes. There’s no smugness on display as I can see. Only Craig doing a helluva good job with very small means.

    By the way, it has been said, and this is not my words, but some English actor I can’t remember the name of, that American actors don’t act with their eyes. Could it be that American cinema goers, and this is not directed at anyone on this board, don’t really pay attention to an actor’s eyes as much as they should?

    Fred, because it wouldn’t have worked.

  249. Sure, there’s the sad rooftop scene. All movies have the sad rooftop scene. But if we’re supposed to get a sense of “We must soldier on despite our losses, maintaining stiff upper lip, for that is what M would have wanted” from the big nostalgic dicksuck of a final scene, they failed, because all I got was “Now that Mom is dead we boys can finally have some fuckin’ fun around here. Hey, sugartits, get me and Jimmy a highball, will ya?”

    Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but that last scene seems to gleefully reject all of the soul-searching and gravitas that’s been brought to the character in recent years in favor of a return to a glib and nuance-free status quo. The tone is all victorious, not melancholy, not “We live and learn and fight another day” but “Now we’re finally back where we belong.” As a guy who liked the more human touch, I find that smug and more than a little crass. I’m glad Mendes said that quote about being thankful for all the hard work that Martin Campbell had done in CASINO ROYALE. I’m sure the guy who runs the wrecking ball feels the same way about architects.

  250. Then there’s the fact that, as others have mentioned, Bond has absolutely nothing to be smug about. He’s a total failure as a secret agent. He lost the list, got himself shot, went AWOL, failed his exams, killed the assassin without getting any info out of him, lost the gun he’d been specifically told not to, got captured, got his informant killed, led the bad guy right where he wanted to go, let him escape, nearly got the Prime Minister killed, and executed a plan that got his boss SPOILERED and his car and childhood home destroyed. Where the fuck does he get off even having a job after a debacle like that? He should be the fucking secretary, not Moneypenny. At least she can follow orders.

  251. Again I think you’re utterly completely wrong, Majestyk, but that is of course your right.

  252. But why am I wrong, pegs? I know you’re a fan of the series, but is there any other reason besides nostalgia for a certain wood-panelled office for anyone to feel like Bond has earned the right to that triumphant ending? What am I missing? To me, this is a perfect time for a downbeat ending. Bond has lost the day. He had one job, and he failed miserably. What right does he have to celebrate, which that last scene asks you to do?

  253. I have great respect for you Majestyk, but I just don’t see the things you say you see. You see a triumphant ending, you say. Where? How? You see smugness. A malechauvinist conspiracy. High fiving. The bitch is dead, let’s get out the safari suits, dry martinis and blonde airheads. I exaggerating, of course.

    What I see is see a broken down, sad man that has just lost his mentor and parental figure, a man who looks at his new boss wondering if he will ever trust him in the same way he did the late M. I see a man who know that he has failed, even if he did kill the bad guy, and who’s decided to bury himself in work to hold the pain at a distance. That’s what I see in that last scene. And I’ve seen it three times now.

  254. Really? Wow. Okay. You’re right, I saw none of that. I just saw two bros smirking at each other while a competent byt glass-ceilinged woman looks on from the sidelines, never able to join their party.

    I was thinking that, as a big fan of the series and its history, you were just happy to see all the old stuff back again. Which I can understand. I, for one, would be pretty excited if the next B@+m^n reboot broke out the yellow utility belt. But I have no particular attachment to the Bond series. I like all the different incarnations for different reasons, but tend to think that the campy swingin’ sixties shit should remain in the past. That was a Bond for their times, now we’ve got one for ours. So I only felt insulted when I saw that last scene and it felt like the franchise was trying to reboot itself within the same movie. People were cheering the wood paneling, and all I could think was that they were applauding the death of all the things I’d liked about the recent movies. It felt like we were just getting started turning Bond into a real human being, and now everyone wants him to be a cartoon again.

    You have to admit that Bond was a terrible secret agent in this one, though. I mean, if you can make a case for him doing one single thing right, I’d like to hear it.

  255. Oh, and I just want to mention that your reading is perfectly valid. If the scene had just been between the new M and Bond, without the victory lap of Moneypenny back in her “rightful” place and the old office restored, I might have been able to read more nuance into Bond’s reaction to his new boss. With all that an service going on, though, I could only assume that the filmmakers intended us to see the death of the old M, and thus the approach to the series that she represented, as a good thing.

  256. “Fan service” is what I meant.

  257. I don’t want him to be a cartoon either, and I don’t give a rats ass about the leather door, Q, Moneypenny and a new, male M. I’m the Bond fan who want the Broccolis to go out on a limb and do crazy things with the Bond character.

    There’s a story Tom Mankiewitz told Playboy about Connery getting in touch with him to get him to write NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. And Mankiewitz’ take on the older, wiser Bond was a continuing chase a la NORTH BY NORTHWEST, where Bond and his girlfriend are chased around the Carribbean by some henchmen and really fear for their lives. That’s a Bond film I would watch. Something completely different. Mankiewitz even ran it by Cubby Broccoli, who said “go for it”. But of course they only had the rights for a remake of THUNDERBALL and had to stick close to that story.

    I think what’s most “right” about SKYFALL is that it shows us that a man can’t do what Bond does without failing, without getting shot three times, without getting hooked on alcohol and drugs and without hurting people he cares about.

  258. I agree about that. That aspect was definitely the most interesting and effective. I just felt the fan service stuff was working at cross purposes. Those old movies were selling a fantasy about how much fun it would be to travel the world, fuck whoever you wanted, and kill dozens of people without consequence. The Craig Bonds are supposed to show the real human toll that work takes, so all the in-jokes and references to the old Bonds undercut that. It wanted to have it both ways, so I left not really sure what the movie wanted me to take away from it all.

    Maybe that’s a good thing. I kind of want to see it again, which is not something I can say about most of the other films in the series.

  259. Mr M — Honestly, I think Bond is, and ought to remain, a relic of the past, with all that implies. He’s a particular archetype which doesn’t really exist anymore, an icon which happened to outlive the time where that icon made sense. From a modern reading, Bond does indeed look sexist (if not outright misogynist), ineffectual, ridiculously tied to odd fads and things that are now utterly removed from their original context except in the sense that Bond himself is so recognizable.

    Your criticism is completely valid, but to me misses the point of the series. Which is to say, I think it’s interesting to think about, but to me amounts to criticizing FRIDAY THE 13th for glorifying violence. Of course it does, of course it’s reprehensible in a certain way, and of course I hope to god it never changes. I don’t ever want Bond to change. I think the very notion of updating Bond to be emotionally damaged and addressing modern perspectives that began with CASINO ROYAL was absurdly wrongheaded. Trying to change Bond completely tears apart the particularly absurd but retrospectively almost quaint 50’s white male heterosexual fantasy that he embodies. Without that, there’s literally no reason for Bond to exist. That’s all he is. There is no such thing as a realistic Bond with modern sensibilities. That’s Jason Bourne or something. I’m glad people are interested in deconstructing what’s so inherently monstrous about the whole Bond persona, but personally I’m OK with having this one completely reprehensible artifact of a bygone era still maintain it’s twisted internal logic against all common sense and good taste. Which is a longwinded way of saying, I’m just as happy having the film be a love letter to itself that purposely ignores the obvious subtexts and nuances it sort of almost raises. But, if you’re not already on Bond’s page, I can’t see how it could possibly work for you. Which kind of explains why Bond films as a whole don’t exactly rake in cash like the comic adaptations do.

  260. Mr. S – It’s not like I’m married to the more realistic approach, although those are the Bonds I tend to enjoy more. I’d be perfectly okay if the next incarnation of Bond was a full-on Roger Moore revival full of jetpacks and decoder rings and sex kittens named Rhoda Poncock or whatever. I just don’t think the two approaches can exist in the same movie. You keep your campy throwback out of my gritty reboot and I’ll keep my gritty reboot out of your campy throwback. Then everybody’s happy.

  261. Agreed. I was a bit annoyed by the whole episode at Skyfall itself what with all the pansy emotions and whatnot (thank god for stereotypical Scottish guy to lighten things up). But everything that came before and after it were ridiculous enough that I forgave it. Bond dealing with mother issues probably should not be in the same movie as Bond jumping off the back of a komodo dragon, but at least the movie has the decency to make the final battle a big spectacle with a helicopter and all that.

  262. The helicopter was cool, especially the little nod to APOCALYPSE NOW with the song playing as it entered. One thing I liked about this was that it referenced several non-Bond films as well. Silva’s island was something straight out of INCEPTION, and the cage he’s in is definitely a wink at the Hannibal Lector character. Not sure if Vern spotted it, he sure didn’t mention it, but the whole train sequence owes a major debt to DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE.

  263. Just watched THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY with Henry Cavill. You know, the guy who almost beat Daniel Craig to the role as Bond, but were too young. My guess is when Craig leaves Cavill be just the right age. And he is the tall, dark and handsome guy enemies of Daniel has longed for all these years. So maybe they’ll go in the opposite direction next time, with safari suits and lasers and invisible cars?

  264. Could be a conflict of interest since Henry is the new Superman.

  265. Isn’t that guy the new Superman? I don’t think you’re allowed to be both Bond and Supes. That’s too much icon for one man to handle. Look what happened when Christian Bale tried to be Bruce Wayne AND John Connor.

  266. Damn. Too slow on the draw. You win this round, 2983.

  267. Mr. M, you’re expressing all of my disappointments and sadness with SKYFALL. Thank you for articulating it.

    I guess I shouldn’t take it so hard. One of the great things about Bond is that it can be so many different things. So this one was vastly different from the last two but I should enjoy it as much as I do A VIEW TO A KILL and ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE.

    I’m just bummed. We got 7 Roger Moore options but there’s only two hardcore Daniel Craig ones. But better than the Lazenby or Dalton fans have it though. And there’s always a chance the next two Craig’s will have some nice elements.

  268. *blows whistle*

    Fred Topel, who liked the new RED DAWN movie, I think you’re reading Chinese and I’m just making Low Mein noodles when it comes to SKYFALL. Hey you know who mixed sillyness with the serious? William Shakespeare, and man that was used against him for centuries, as if there is a rule against it or something from the Bible or something.

    SKYFALL was pretty good. If I have any problems with it, its not because it had a cheeky, total Roger Moore-esque moment that I adored inbetween the badass Bond stuff.

    Why do we fanboys are for segregation? I thought we were over that.

  269. Come on guys, we all know that the new Supe movie will be a gigantic flop, and that Henry will need a backup plan.

  270. RRA, fair point, you and the community deserve more explanation. I shouldn’t assume you’ve all read my 1400 word review (an uncharacteristic record for me. I’m usually 500 and out). It’s not the inclusion of humor itself, but that a lot of the humor in SKYFALL was not celebrating Bond but rather apologizing for it. Smarmy new Q shitting all over gadgets, but also look how cool the Goldfinger Aston Martin is. You all hated it when we had Rosa Klebb’s shoe an the briefcase in DIE ANOTHER DAY but now it’s cool to reference the old ones, right? I know, times change, but when it’s this fickle within 10 years I really start to feel like I’m too old for this shit.

    It’s also so weird to me that people act like there was no humor in CASINO ROYALE or QUANTUM OF SOLACE. He’s quipping in QUANTUM OF SOLACE. He seduces Strawberry Fields for no reason. He’s doing all the Bond stuff, it’s just consistent within the tone they were setting with CASINO. But it’s also the idea of a re-reboot. Vern, can we officially add re-reboot to the canon of preboot, unboot and rebootquel?

    SKYFALL feels like a James Bond fanfic film made by someone who’s only seen one James Bond film. GOLDFINGER is the film Mendes saw. But, franchise entries are not so much made for existing fans as they are attempting to gain new ones, so in that SKYFALL succeeded entirely. All the people who didn’t usually like James Bond, the people who didn’t like the recent ones, and people who liked the old ones were won over for the biggest box office success of the series. The people who stuck with it for 50 years (retroactively at least. I’m still only 35!) and loved the new direction it was going, we may feel a little left out. I know, I shouldn’t take it so personally.

    That’s why I’m so grateful when series like UNIVERSAL SOLDIER can really fuck with things because they don’t have to answer to a massive audience base. The DTV era Unisol fans are enough for them, but I also realize we can’t have Batman or James Bond movies at that scale.

  271. “He seduces Strawberry Fields for no reason.”

    no reason? she was hot and he wanted to bang her, what more reason does a guy need! am I right fellas?

  272. That’s what I meant. That’swhat James Bond does. QUANTUM OF SOLACE was greatl

  273. Since I said early on that SKYFALL’s not only a good Bond film but also a great movie in it’s own rights, I feel almost obliged to defend it some more. SKYFALL is that rare beast that caters to both life long fans of the series AND completely new ones. In the discussions I have on the Bond boards it gets praise from both those who have longed for more humor and from people like me who dig the more gritty approach. Looks like Mendes have hit the tone just right. But I don’t agree with you in that it’s his take on GOLFINGER, Fred. It’s mostly stuff from FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE here, and a little bit from GOLDFINGER.

  274. If this thread proofs one thing, than that there will never be a Bond Movie, loved by all of us.
    I am with pegsman on this of course, but it´s like fighting Windmills.
    And Franchise Fred, maybe i am a rare breed, but i loved Skyfall and John Hyams DTV Classics.

  275. The more I think about Skyfall, the more I dislike it. It wants to have its cake and eat it too with the homages to the old days and the grim gritty reality. And it’s fairly misogynist, at least to me (I know others disagree). Bond is incompetent from A to Z…. No, this is not it. Casino Royale remains the gold standard of the modern era of Bond.

  276. The Original... Paul

    November 20th, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Griff – my problem with the Gemma Arterton thing was that Bond DOESN’T seduce her. There’s no flirting, no foreplay (well, very little). One minute they’re working together, the next they’re in bed. It felt like they put that scene in because people expect Bond to sleep with every beautiful woman, not because it was justified by the story or characters.

    And for everybody saying “it’s not as good as Casino Royale” – may I once again point out the massive failings of “Casino”‘s story? Yeah, it has great production values and superior acting and direction. So has a Sony advert, which is basically all “Casino” is at its core. It’s the origin story of James Bond the brand – NOT James Bond the character, as others would have you believe – and remains, to me, a cautionary tale of what happens when you let your poker website sponsor dictate what happens in your film.

    Look, I’m not going to repeat my points – I’ve laid them out in great detail elsewhere, and this is the “Skyfall” review, not the “Casino Royale” thread. But “Casino Royale” is not the gold standard of anything. A huge amount of very talented people obviously worked very hard on that movie, and I respect that. I can’t, however, respect the outcome, as good-looking and sounding as it is. For all its flaws, “Skyfall” is IMO still the best Daniel Craig Bond movie.

  277. Explain Paul.

  278. The Original... Paul

    November 20th, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Chuck – I’ve gone into this two or three times elsewhere on this site. I’m not going to do so again in any detail. I just think that everything that worked in the novel is missing in the film, which offers up nothing of its own either.

    But specifically regarding the “poker website sponsor” comment, just swapping out the tense baccarat scene from the original novel (not as good as the bridge scene from “Moonraker”, but still a great scene) with texas no-limit holdem poker, specifically because the sponsor doesn’t do baccarat games, is a great example of what I’m talking about. That poker scene is awful – nobody who doesn’t understand the game would understand it, nobody who DOES would believe in it! Whereas baccarat – I don’t think I know anybody who hasn’t played either baccarat or blackjack, and those who haven’t can pick up the game’s ruleset in thirty seconds flat. There is simply no artistic reason to make this change. (Well, it wasn’t made for an artistic reason – hell, it was publicised enough exactly why the change WAS made.) It’s all sponsorship.

  279. I read your review Franchise Fred and one thing jumped out at me: “Every Bond film since Licence to Kill has had some sort of personal connection to Bond. We really need to have a Bond movie where it’s just a mission again.” I’d have replied over there but the Facebook commenting system doesn’t work or look properly on an iPad so I’m adding it here, to a review of a movie I haven’t seen amongst a den of lovers of the boring Bonds.

    I kind of see what you’re saying, but your hypothesis is kinda strained. In GoldenEye the antagonist turns out to be another 00, presumably a friend, but it’s not really a personal connection as much as a casual business one. And if you can watch the movie without foreknowledge (a skill often as important as suspension of disbelief) it really is just a mission. Tomorrow Never Dies is very much a mission that leads to a connection from the past, but is certainly not focused on that aspect before or after the reveal. The same conceit exists in The World is Not Enough. Only Die Another Day really is about a personal grudge on Bond’s part. Even given all that I’m not sure how you can view it as radically different from the extended throughline of the the first seven entries from SMERSH to the multi-movie hunting of Blofeld for reasons more personal than buisiness.

    Oh yeah, and Paul, yoo hoo, BAD BOYS 2 is AWESOME!

  280. Paul, I could not disagree more.

  281. Paul, wether or not you personally find poker fascinating, millions of people all over the world are hooked on it. It’s mentioned in TV commercials, online, in movies and even on radio every day of the week. Switching to poker in CASINO ROYALE was a VERY smart move.

    clubside, I have to give my points to Fred. Ever since Dalton came along it’s been personal in one way or another; Wether it’s Bond falling in love, Bond revenging a friend, Bond helping a girl to get revenge, Bond killing his ex’ husband, Bond revenging an old friend again, Bond getting revenge, Bond getting pissed because he dies, Bond revenging a dead girlfriend and Bond just basically being fucked up. There has been a lot of feelings over the last 25 years, a lot of drinking and soulsearching and even a few tears.

    He has of course been out for revenge before, but even when they killed his wife it took about five minutes before he was up to his old tricks again.

  282. The Original... Paul

    November 20th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Pegsman – I’m an avid poker player. It’s an involving and complex game that always seems to get boiled down to “OMFG I GOT A STRAIGHT FLUSH!!!” whenever it’s portrayed in a film. As was the case in “Casino Royale”. Seriously, that last hand was cribbed right from the Lindsey Lohan version of “The Parent Trap”, even down to a character doing a horrendous slow-roll while holding a straight flush. That’s a fucking embarrassment.

    And who doesn’t know baccarat or blackjack? “You have to make the cards add up to 9 / 21.” That’s pretty much it. A ten-year-old could pick it up in two minutes flat. Could a ten-year-old pick up texas hold’em poker in two minutes flat?

    But even regardless of that, They didn’t change the game because it was “popular”, they changed the game because PartyPoker doesn’t “do” baccarat. Whether you agree with me or not about it sucking (and as far as the poker goes – yes, it sucked, even having a character suffer a heart attack in the middle of it didn’t change that), that’s not an opinion, it’s a simple fact that was reported on at the time (and got a lot of fans up-in-arms).

  283. Poker is always stupid in movies. They make it seem like you can magically make any card you want appear as long as you’re awesome enough. Plus, straight flushes and four of a kinds only appear once in a blue moon, yet in movies you routinely have them going head to head with each other. Every single hand of poker ever featured in a motion picture would be the single most incredible hand of poker ever played, yet they are treated as a matter of course.

    Also people sitting there tossing little pieces of cardboard at each other is not inherently cinematic. I keep wondering what the attraction is for filmmakers.

  284. When it comes to poker in movies, MAVERICK is probably my favourite and THE CINCINNATI KID my least. CASINO ROYALE is fun because it actually mixes it up a bit, throwing in some action-scenes and other stuff in-between the “pokering”.

  285. The great thing about the poker aspect of Casino Royale is the betting part of it. With baccarat its one bet, the cards come out, you hit or stay, you win or lose. With Hold’em, there’s three betting rounds and bluffing which has more potential for drama. You can outsmart the other player in a poker game whereas im not sure how you outsmart someone playing baccarat. Its kinda like how Vern criticized the first Fast and the Furious for having the cars race in a straight line while the later ones involved turns, which made the races more cinematic. Baccarat is a straight line, hold’em adds turns. Also, as someone who resides in the U.S., baccarat is practically non existent here. Hold’em poker is infinitely more popular here as well as being popular worldwide (just watch the world series of poker for proof). So even if they did change the game just because of Party Poker, I think it was the right choice.

  286. I don’t know shit about any card game, but it worked for me in CASINO ROYALE. The tension didn’t lie so much in the game as in the action between rounds. And that’s a fact.

  287. The Original... Paul

    November 20th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Ok then. Here we go again.

    So Shoot thinks the scene works because of the other stuff in between the card game, Pegsman thinks the tension wasn’t so much the card game as the action between the rounds, and Thomas Crown thinks it’s a game of wits (which were NOT on display in “Casino Royale”, unless you count four players all failing to bet monster hands in a multi-way pot as “wits” – this is not a winning play, guys) and complexity. (Again – I know poker is popular, but of the majority of Americans and other people who DON’T play it, how many would be able to pick it up easily?)

    But let’s go into the question of complexity for the moment. The reason why that Baccarat scene is so great in the novel is that it offers us an insight into the mind of a professional gambler – the highs, the lows, the emotional swings. None of which you get with poker, which is largely a game of making mathematical decisions while hiding the strength of your hand. The kind of stuff that you’re unlikely to be able to fit into the format of a film even if you assume all of your audience are poker experts (and TC, even given the popularity of the WSOP, most of them aren’t).

    In the novel (and again, I wouldn’t be making these comparisons if the film offered me something, ANYTHING, to replace the stuff that’s been lost in translation; apart from one good action scene, it doesn’t) Le Chiffre is a wily thug with a physicality to match (something that’s dwelt on at length, as with most of the Bond characters from the novels), a rapacious but posturing bluffer, whose gambling is the last resort of a drowning man and who is trying desperately to hide that fact. In the movie they try to turn him into fucking Blofeld or something – he’s a creepy-looking thin dude with an “evil scar” and a permafrown. He’s totally miscast – another way in which the movie doesn’t “get it”, but then if I were to list every example of that, we’d be here all day.

    He’s eventually defeated, not by Bond, but by an assassin who is never identified or seen from again, and becomes the catalyist from Bond’s transition into fully aware servant of the unfeeling bureaucracy that eventually claims both Vesper’s life and Bond’s humanity, hence his final line, “The bitch is dead”, which is an affirmation of his new life and his rejection of the old sympathies that had affected him earlier in the novel. (In the movie this assassin has a face, a name, and ends up in the boot of Bond’s car. And Bond’s final line is “Bond. James Bond.” A massive cliche that serves only to provoke nostalgia – or rather, to remind the audience of older, better Bond movies.)

    Oh yeah, and remember that thing about the emotional rollercoaster of a professional gambler? Well, the makers of “Casino Royale” couldn’t even write a bunch of scenes of two spies falling in love in an exotic country without it being stupefyingly boring (did I mention that I got more of a sense Vesper and Bond’s relationship from the epilogue of “Quantum of Solace” than I did from the entirety of “Casino Royale”, including the moronic tacked-on action scene at the end?) so I’m guessing the filmmakers weren’t exactly feeling up to the challenge of trying to extract high emotion from a poker game. So they do the next best thing: they poison the fucker. I can’t accuse them of not following the plot of a Bond novel there, by the way, since the exact same thing happens in the novel “From Russia with Love”, and the Bond films are famous for patching the best bits of different novels together. And I will grudgingly admit – because if it’s not obvious enough by now, I really DESPISE this film – that Bond’s death and recussitation are pretty damn tense, even if the rest of the scene is just stupid shit with stupid characters who are supposed to be some of the best poker players in the world but who act like idiots.

    So how much of this is down to the difficulty of translating a very action-lite book into a franchise which, almost more than any other franchise, is all about action? I’d say the book, “Casino Royale”, is pretty much unfilmable – but so was “Goldfinger”, and the huge liberties that they took with that book’s plot actually made the film much better than I think it would have been if, say, that’d kept Jill Masterton (a fairly unlikeable character in the book, much less so in the film) alive until the final act, or had Goldfinger try to transport Fort Knox’s entire supply of gold out of the area by train. But then “Goldfinger” was a film made at a time when story and character meant more than keeping Sony or PartyPoker happy with repeated intrusive references to their products.

    TL:DR version:

    I was so bored of this movie that about three quarters of an hour in, I started counting the Sony references. I think I got to about seven before my brain started to collapse in on itself. Yes, it looks nice, it sounds good. A lot of very talented people went into making this two-hour exercise in product placement as pretty as it could possibly be. That fact alone depresses me. “Casino Royale” wouldn’t be on my “worst films” list because it barely counts as a film. It’s the inevitable product of a system that gives source material to people who lack any respect for or understanding of it, and tells them to make a moving picture of it in such a way that the primary concern is making their sponsors’ products look good. And they succeeded. They succeeded to a marvel.

    In short – yes, I think “Skyfall”, with all of its faults, is a better movie.

    Holy shit, I’m sounding like Asimov here. I’m gonna shut up now. G’night.

  288. Paul, I cannot reconcile your account of CR with the actual film. I think we saw different movies. If you ever do get a chance to see Casino Royale, you should… It’s excellent.

  289. Clubside, I really appreciate you reading my review, and thanks for getting my back, Pegsman. I’m going to go see SKYFALL again this weekend and hope to like it more.

    One thing I maybe can look forward to is if they really do the next movie with the M, Q and Moneypenny formula, maybe it will be just another mission again.

  290. Paul, I’m glad you mentioned The Man From Portugal yourself, because for a moment there I thought he had used your name for that piece of slaughter.

    Obviously I don’t agree with you, on any of it really, but I can realte to the part about the poker game. My dad, who worked as a mechanic all his life, was a pain in the ass to watch movies with. He complained constantly about the cars, planes and motocycles used in movies. “That car wasn’t made until four years after this movie takes place” etc, etc. Stuff that didn’t affect the story AT ALL, but which were important to him.

    The same goes for product placement, I think. It doesn’t take anything away from the movie, but I can see that it would bother someone if they hate Sony, and have time enough to count how many times it shows up during a 2 hour and 20 minutes long movie. I would have left long before that. If I hated Sony, that is. In fact I would avoid all Bond movies if I hated Sony, because they’ve sponsored the series since the late 60’s.

    I’m kidding, of course. But you seem unproportonally angry at CASINO ROYALE, Paul.

  291. Okay Fred and pegsman, let me try this another way.


    GOLDENEYE may have had one of its twists spoiled by the trailer/credits, but if you look at it as unspoiled I don’t know how it fits in with the “personal” theory, it’s much more of a mission movie that has a “company” touch more than a “personal” one.

    The movie opens with the awesome infiltration and plane escape sequence where Bond’s fellow agent 006 played by Sean Bean apparently gets killed. In the subsequent “some time later” bit we’re introduced to the female antagonist played by Famke Janssen who he “runs into” at the casino and plays a hunch. At this point neither Bean nor the at-the-time-obvious-antagonist-because-he-killed-Boromir General played by Gottfried John is in the picture. After the helicopter theft and subsequent firing of the GoldenEye weapon a mission proper starts. Investigation leads to the General. It isn’t until much later that Bean shows up again and Bond learns of the cossack connection.

    So while Bond may know Bean, he also knew of the General and Robbie Coltrane’s gangster. This type of “personal” connection is really a professional one and can be seen from the start of the Bond franchise: Bond is no rookie, he knows people, that’s what helps him be awesome at his job.

    While for a minute Bond can see getting revenge on the General for killing Bean, and then revenge on Bean for being a not-dead prick, both thoughts are sublimated by the mission.


    The same generalities can be applied to all of the Brosnan Bonds so that’s where my issue with Fred’s assertion comes from. Sometimes it gets personal with a new character who sort of becomes the unsaid mission as far back as FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE so I’m not sure where you guys are drawing a line. Is MOONRAKER personal because Jaws is back? Or is it professional?

    I liked your review very much Fred, and it was funny as a second opinion given how the first review on the site danced around so much with kind of an unearned high score on the rating scale.

  292. Okay, maybe I should leave this one to Fred, but let me just say that the way I understood that particular sentence he was complaining about the fact that in Bond moevies from the last 25 years – also in GOLDENEYE – there’s a lot of talking about alcoholism, sexism and repressed anger.

  293. The Original... Paul

    November 21st, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Pegsman – my problem isn’t that there is product placement, it’s that that’s ALL that there is. Call me angry as an ardent fan of the original novel, if you like. To me it just seems as though the makers of the movie missed every possible point regarding the novel, and really offered up nothing in return. The characters are jumping through the same loops but the motivations aren’t there, the themes aren’t there, the symbolism isn’t there. That pointless scene where Bond’s driving along in his (sponsored) car, looks down to check the (sponsored) Sony satnav thing, looks up and smiles? That’s the whole movie to me, right there. The poker in itself isn’t important – I’ve seen enough movies with bad poker games in them, I don’t get pissed off about it – but the whole poker-replacing-baccarat thing was done SO cynically, and for such an artistically bankrupt reason, that it sets my teeth on edge. That (IMO) they fail completely to make it actually work just annoys me still further.

    But I won’t argue the point any further, I’ve sure as heck done enough of that in my post above. Every now and then, somebody gets “out of sync” with everybody else. There was one guy who hated “Dredd”. I wasn’t that guy, I’m the guy who hated “Young Adult” and “Casino Royale”.

    The only movie I’ve ever walked out of in my life was “Bad Boys 2”, and that is in a league of its own for sheer, unparalleled, shitstorm-level, migraine-inducing awfulness. To this day I’ve never had a worse cinemagoing experience, although the Ryan Reynolds movie “Buried” came pretty damn close. (At least the editing of that one didn’t want to make me throw up, although its repellant characters and moronic stupidity frequently did.) I have a very, very high threshold for moviegoing pain, and to give “Casino” its due, it didn’t even come close to reaching that threshold. Which doesn’t mean it’s any good.

  294. Clubside, I’ll give you that the middle two Brosnans aren’t as personal in retrospect as they seemed at the time. But it’s still a lazy crutch. Oh, let’s make it someone from Bond’s past. Oh, let’s make it his injury. I wouldn’t say FROM RUSSIA was that personal. That part was silly to me. SPECTRE wanted revenge for Dr. No? They really care about their agent? I would think an evil organization just cares about taking over the world, whoever they have to kill, but making it personal is a writer thing, not an evil spy thing.

    I’m more disappointed at this point that they came up with the greatest reboot ever,the gold standard, and had no idea what to do with it. They tried a sequel to the reboot, and I love QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but it probably was a mistake to make a Bond movie sequel. But as Franchise Fred I appreciate the experiment and it’ll be the one distinguished entry in that regard. But then to re-reboot it, or de-boot it by restoring the former order… B

  295. I get where you’re coming from Fred, but I also think QUANTUM is coloring it too much. And while I agree about the whole crutch thing, it doesn’t have to be since lazy storytelling can come from anywhere just like lazy humor. Once again returning to GOLDENEYE you didn’t find it interesting that (a) we got a rare appearance of another agent (b) that agent ends up not only being the villain but (c) his evil scheme isn’t world domination but (d) rooted in revenge based on an historical detail that isn’t/wasn’t widely known?

    The possibilities opened up by CASINO ROYALE were only ever limited by Craig’s age, and while QUANTUM OF SOLACE made more money I don’t think it had any fan momentum behind it to take the series forward more slowly which is why they segued into the more commonly known formula. Remember despite all the wailing DIE ANOTHER DAY made more money than the previous Brosnans and all four of his followed a growth pattern unlike QUANTUM which based on adjusted dollars earned less than CASINO.

    Man, I was really salivating in anticipation that Paul would take the BAD BOYS 2 bait so I could savage that pedantic piece of non-entertainment LOST IN TRANSLATION which features characters that run the gamut from moron to shitheel only differentiated by their level of loathsomeness but he holds so dear yet is unwilling to watch again because deep in his soul he knows it will be revealed as the runny shitstain it really is. But it appears I’m better than that. Fuck.

  296. Paul

    With you on the product placement. I like CASINO ROYALE a lot but it always horrifies me that EVERY car in the Bahamas hotel car park was part of the (at that time) Ford/Land Rover/Jaguar/Aston group, all phones are Sony Ericsson and let’s not mention the scene where Bond and Vesper discuss the Omega watch (some egregious placement shots of that in all 3 Craig films).

  297. The Original... Paul

    November 21st, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    “So I could savage that pedantic piece of non-entertainment LOST IN TRANSLATION which features characters that run the gamut from moron to shitheel only differentiated by their level of loathsomeness but he holds so dear yet is unwilling to watch again because deep in his soul he knows it will be revealed as the runny shitstain it really is. But it appears I’m better than that. Fuck.”

    Well I’ve always said that “Lost in Translation” is either going to be loved or hated depending on whether or not you can “get into” the characters.

    Clubside, don’t start quoting Destiny’s Child at me. YOU’RE better than that. (I’ve never understood the point of that song, by the way. What exactly is Beyonce supposed to be “better than”? What’s the guy supposed to have done? The only specifics we ever get are a laundry list of things Beyonce won’t do to him. No suggestion that he’s done them to her.)

  298. The Original... Paul

    November 21st, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    And on a more serious note – I’m sorry for ranting, it’s just kinda annoying that a lot of people seem to have been holding Casino up as some kind of Bond gold-standard (see what I did there?) without giving any reasons for same.

  299. Damn Paul, I thought my “lazy humor” was foreshadowing gold. Gold, Jerry, gold! No Destiny’s Child here, nor puttin’ a ring on it. Just after editing over 1,700 posts and reading through all the comments trying to pick off spam stragglers I noticed you rarely missed an opportunity to bash BAD BOYS 2 out of nowhere. But you’re nowhere as bad as Vern and a certain three films. I’ll be dealing with him shortly lol

  300. “SPECTRE wanted revenge for Dr. No? They really care about their agent? I would think an evil organization just cares about taking over the world, whoever they have to kill, but making it personal is a writer thing, not an evil spy thing.”
    Wouldn’t it make sense for them from a business standpoint to make an example of someone who had crossed them, so no other syndicate would get ideas about muscling in on them?

  301. Wow, this movie sucks. Fuck, man, I expected good things when I gleaned that the reviews were good/great/ecstatic.

    Certainly Mendes’s worst, and his most insulting.

    And yes, the evidence suggests that rape is absolutely a reasonable interpretation of the shower scene.

    I feel like I need a shower or 3 after watching this boring, faux-Freudian, Heineken-pushing piece of shit. Opening sequence, komodos, & helo approach cinematism excepted, this is not Bond; SKYFALL is some wack, disturbing (for all the wrong reasons) PG-13 bullshit.

  302. The Original... Paul

    November 21st, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Clubside – fair dos. It’s easily the worst film I’ve ever seen, so naturally it’s my go-to comparison when it comes to terrible films. If you’re bored of that one (and “Buried”, which I also bring up a lot), maybe I can switch to “The Cell”, a very old Jennifer Lopez vehicle that was at the top of my “worst films I’ve ever seen that were actually intended to be released cinematically” list for several years.

    Stu – that’s exactly what SMERSH tried to do in “From Russia with Love” (it was their primary motivation in the book, not so much in the movie – which changed the evil organisation to SPECTRE – although they definitely wanted to “send a message” in that also). So yeah, this kind of revenge-cum-message-sending thing is entirely within the accepted Bond “canon”.

  303. I’m honestly not messing with you Paul but I like “The Cell”. It was visually startling and a very underrated movie in my opinion.

  304. I don’t see anyone meaningfully, substantively
    defending or praising SKYFALL except the occasional comment basically saying “ROGER DEAKINS!!!”

    What is it that makes this shit movie worth 149 minutes and €9?

  305. Finally saw this. Really, really enjoyed it.

  306. Gave it the second chance tonight. Liked parts of it better this time, found all new problems. Basically, I can live with SKYFALL. It won’t break my heart or anything. Most importantly, what is still there is Daniel Craig’s raw physicality.

    In a way, it’s kind of like the BLADE TRINITY of Daniel Craig Bond movies. It’s not good, it’s got lots of problems, but it’s still Daniel Craig as James Bond. And, the pre-title sequence is possibly the best Daniel Craig Bond movie ever, just like I maintain the first 20 minutes of TRINITY is the best Blade ever, until he meets the Nightstalkers, or prior to that, when people start talking.

    So, it’s in there. Perhaps it will be interesting to see what Craig does with the old M, Moneypenny and Q formula next time. Thanks for getting my back Mouth, Majestyk, Griff, and the respect of Pegsman and Clubside, plus anybody upthread I’ve left out and I’d like to thank the Academy. QUANTUM OF SOLACE 4eva!

  307. Oh, and while Bardem is great in his introduction and the shot glass duel scene, he does NOTHING else in the entire rest of the movie. A little Bardem goes a long way, so he’s got us all thinking he was great in every scene.

    And I also realized I may be hypocritical criticizing the GOLDFINGER references in SKYFALL but loving the catch phrases in EXPENDABLES 2. I think it’s far more appropriate in EXPENDABLES, but also there’ve only been two EXPENDABLES movies. I’m not as attached to them. But most importantly, I thought it showed Stallone knows what’s what in that world, and in SKYFALL it felt like an outsider making cute Bond jokes. Again, because he’d only seen GOLDFINGER. :)

  308. Come on Paul, you can’t deny that the action scenes in CASINO ROYALE are the best in a long, long time, and that there’s a tone in the movie that stands out from most of the other movies in the series?

    Mouth, if you refuse to see the qualities in SKYFALL, I don’t think there’s anything we can say that would sound meaningfull to you.

  309. The Original... Paul

    November 22nd, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Pegsman – the production values in “Casino” are top three Bonds easily. Quite possibly it has the best production of any Bond movie yet. And that opening action scene was great. The acting is, while not great, at least perfectly functional for what’s needed. When I said that a huge amount of talent was wasted making this movie, I wasn’t kidding – the talent is obvious in the technical quality of the film from beginning to end. That’s what’s so frustrating for me regarding this film. When people say it’s great, my response is: “Yeah, it really could’ve been!”

    Although (it’s a very very minor nitpick compared to the rest) I will say that Casino’s opening titles are probably the worst ever – certainly the laziest-looking. They look like a bad flash animation parody of the opening of a poker TV program or something. And I know they were going for a “reboot” feeling, but did they have to leave out the naked female silhouettes? Compare those to “Skyfall”‘s opening credits, which are incredibly clever, incorporating bits of every single Bond movie – I particularly noticed the skull from “Live and Let Die” and the oil from “The World is Not Enough” – in a really effective way.

    And Mouth – Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench – they worked for me. A lot of the movie didn’t, and I’m marginally on the side of the people who say that the shower scene is rape, but I didn’t think the movie was anything close to being iredeemably bad. I did think Bardem was terrible – he camped it up to a level that just did not fit the movie at all – but that didn’t stop me from preferring “Skyfall” to the last two Craig outings.

  310. Late to the party as usual, but I thought I’d register my cent and half.

    I was talking to a dude over the weekend about this movie, and I asked him what he thought about the ending – as in: how on earth is James Bond still employed, and not in handcuffs or a straightjacket, after essentially kidnapping the head of MI6 and getting her killed in some weird Scottish bloodbath next to his parents’ graves. Anyway, his answer was to remind me that the political establishment hated Judi Dench’s M and wanted rid of her. So they were perfectly happy with Bond’s “performance” of his duties.

    This also explains why Ralph Fiennes was promoted to M, which seems weird at first given that he found about and helped to conceal Bond’s insane and catastrophic plan, but makes total sense when you consider that he was probably counting on a washed-up James Bond royally fucking shit up. Pats on the back all round.

    It also makes me think again about the bit where the psychologist gave Bond the word “skyfall” as part of his word association test. Perhaps they were implanting the idea that he acted out at the end? Perhaps the whole training/assessment section was part of some Manchurian Candidate-style re-programming/brainwashing routine?

    Viewed in this light the movie is not so much a fun return to the wacky antics of Bonds past, but actually an absurdly dark conclusion to the Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace arc of Bond as a psychologically-damaged “blunt instrument” of British imperialism. I mean, the whole movie long he essentially just runs around taking orders through an ear piece: he’s now a fully-fledged robotic killer.

    [Unformed thought here: possibly this reading also helps to explain the controversial shower scene with Severine: maybe this scene is about a subconscious connection between two irrevocably damaged people who have been mercilessly exploited by their supposed benevolent benefactors. And maybe the real tragedy of this scene is that only Severine has realised and come to terms with the extent of her exploitation, whereas Bond still identifies completely with his abusers – so to him this is yet another conquest, but to her it’s a moment of tenderness extended to a fellow broken soul. Or, y’know, maybe not. Sorry.]

  311. @ToP

    The nuances of poker are indeed complex. That’s certainly at least part of the reason that in Casino Royale Mathis was doing his best Lon Mathis impersonation, providing play-by-play commentary for Vesper (and the audience).

    Neal Purvis and Robert Wade in response to a question on this topic, and how how this scene played out vs. Fleming’s novel:

    “HMSS: Ian Fleming had the advantage of being able to take a whole chapter of his novel Casino Royale to explain the rules of Baccarat. Was it difficult to write the poker scenes in such a way that a general audience would understand what was going on?”

    Purvis & Wade: [We’re] not sure many people do understand exactly what is going on in the poker scenes. What we hope they understand is what is going on between Bond and Le Chiffre.”

    That is about all one could realistically hope for, I would think.

    Also, I always took it that Mr. White assassinated Le Chiffre; perhaps not definitively identified, but certainly seen again. No, he’s not the craggy-faced agent from SMERSH who gave Bond the “Smiert Sphionam” hand scar, but Quantum does become a catalyst for Bond into a “fully aware servant” as you put it. Especially after “The bitch is dead.”

    As for “poisoning the fucker”, that did happen in the novel FRWL as you’ve mentioned. But perhaps more to the point and a better example, the Casino Royale novel had the baccarat game interrupted by an assassination attempt on Bond by Le Chiffre. Bond’s quick-thinking in the novel saved his life; the Aston-Martin’s (rather incongruous) defibrillator and a hand from Vesper did so in the film.

    Just some thoughts in a very interesting thread. Finally, I think Casino Royale is the better James Bond film compared to Skyfall. But not by much.

  312. Lon Mathis = Lon McEachern. Goddam spell-checker. ;)

  313. It occurred to me today, this is the third movie in a series, where the main character goes up against a guy(who has a legitimate reason to be angry, but is still a dick about it) his mentor (who dies) knows he’s not ready for, and gets bested by him, before making a comeback by going to a more back to basics approach to things, and with the help of a guy he was at odds with before but now has some mutual respect for.

    SKYFALL is the ROCKY III of Bond movies, only its version of Clubber Lang hits on Bond instead of Adrian.

  314. And the third movie is?

  315. I meant this is Craig’s third Bond movie, like how Rocky III was the third Rocky movie.

  316. I can’t think of another “ROCKY III of the [blank]” series, but IP MAN 2 was the “ROCKY IV” of the IP MAN series.

  317. My bad, Stu, I’m sick so I’m a bit slow these days.

  318. Blair’s, love it. When I saw the trailer I thought Skyfall was a code word. Now you’ve given me that movie.

    Dark Knight Rises has some Rocky III in it. As does SPIDERMAN 3 (Harry finally helps out.) Superman III has Supes bested by himself, and maybe Lana Lang is the old mentor, but also love interest. I’ll keep working on this.

  319. Won this weekend’s Box Office, beating out TWILIGHT (by not much, but it’s still a victory) and becoming Sony’s highest grossing movie ever.

  320. Have we ever had a discussion about TWILIGHT on this site? I don’t think Vern has ever reviewed them. I’ve read the first book and seen the first two movies. The book is pretty terrible, but the movies are better. Not good, but not as bad as the internet would have you believe. After reading what happens in the later books/movies (Cronenberg-esque birth scenes, werewolves falling in love with babies) I kind of want to see them.

    There’s always been a disproportionate amount hostility directed towards the series. Especially from nerds when TWILIGHT fans started creeping into their territory. Even a lot of the people who have valid criticisms of the series express them in a very condescending, paternal way, as if girls/women are completely unable to separate fantasy from reality. I mean, I love DEATH WISH 3 and PUNISHER WAR ZONE but I recognise they are silly and possibly unhealthy fantasies. Surely I can assume the same level of self awareness from the women reading TWILIGHT? I mean, what’s the difference between someone wearing a Team Edward t-shirt and a Punisher t-shirt?

  321. I owe my existence to James Bond. Literally. My dad was reading a paperback copy of Goldfinger when my mom introduced herself. I’ve seen every Bond film in the theater on opening weekend since Moonraker…. Except this one.

    It wasn’t by choice, it was simply a matter of unfortunate circumstance. So, this afternoon, after what feels like a lifetime of trying to avoid spoilers, I gave myself an early Christmas present and saw a matinee in a nearly empty theater.

    First of all, as a pure movie going experience, I loved this movie. The action was great (Shanghai silhouette fight scene, ’nuff said), the cast was great (Rafe as the new M? Continue, please). But, I thought that the places where this failed were when it tried to be a Bond movie.

    This was most glaring for me was Javier Bardem’s character. I found myself having trouble deciding if he was supposed to be a serious villain or a campy “Bond super villain”. At first I thought maybe it was because of his deformity, but then I remembered that Mads Mikkelsen (sic?) played a character who cried tears of blood in Casino Royale, but I never felt that his character was campy. I think that the main problem I had with Bardem’s character was that he seemed like two completely different villains in one movie. At the beginning, he seems very much like the campy Bond villain with a sort of “take over the world” sort of scheme where he seems to have magic hackcess (new word I think I just created, it means “hacker access”) to pretty much everything that is controlled by a computer (which is, of course, everything). And then he uses his hackcess to…. try to kill his former boss. I just felt like he lowered the stakes as the movie went on instead of raising them. Then, he gets literally stabbed in the back by Bond in an off-screen deux ex machina, reducing our hero to a role usually filled by a cowering dame or child behind the villain with a weapon that the baddie forgot about.

    The DB5:
    I grinned like an idiot when I first saw it. “Perfect,” I thought. “It totally makes sense that the Bond in this new Daniel Craig Bondverse that Bond would have a vintage Aston which coincidentally looks just like the one from Goldfinger.” And I was happy that they neatly confirmed that this was mere fan service by Bond telling M that they were switching cars because company cars have trackers. Ok. Issue settled. This is not a “Bond car”, it’s just a car which looks a lot like the most famous Bond car. And then they did the ejector seat joke. “Ok,” I thought. “They didn’t show him actually eject her with the ejector, so that could just be a button on the gear shift and he could be making the same joke my dad used to make. They’ve taken the joke too far, but OK.”

    Then, the car had the machine guns. Now, I don’t know what to think. Is this actually a company car? Did Bond have Pimp My Ride customize his vintage Aston Martin? Is this actually the same car as in Goldfinger? Does the James Bond reboot work the same way as the Star Trek reboot, where the original series still exists but in a different multiverse? In which case, does that mean that Sean Connery Bond travelled through a wormhole (probably while fucking a Swedish model on a raft) and gave Daniel Craig Bond his car? I think it was actually my last theory.

    See, at the end (Spoilers, I guess, to the nine people who had to wait longer than me to see this), when Eve reveals that her last name is Moneypenny (2012, the year of “oh shit” last name nerdgasms [at least they got it right in Bond… Robin? Really? Grayson too obscure?]) and when Bond walks into Rafe M’s office, which looks exactly like the Bernard Lee M’s office, it almost feels like Craig Bond is having déjà vu. “Yep. OK. Now everything’s back to normal.”

    But, Craig Bond supposedly never knew what Lee M’s office looked like or that he had a hot hands-off secretary named Moneypenny. Unless! Unless Connery Bond told him about all that shit when he came through the wormhole and gave him the car.


    Some people have called this the BBM (Best Bond Movie), it’s not. It is neither the best film in the Bond library, nor is it the best “Bond movie” Bond movie. Personally, I think that those are (respectively) Casino Royale and Goldfinger. Just my opinion. I could be wrong, but I think it’s silly to claim that this is the best one in a 50 year franchise.

    Also, no true Bond girl. C’mon! Even Casino Royale had a hottie named Strawberry Fields.

  322. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I read somewhere (possibly IGN) that, at one point, they considered trying to cast Sean Connery on the Albert Finney role,which, had it happened, would have solidified my wormhole argument.

  323. Oh good, someone else who saw this movie long after everyone was bored talking about it. I would have no idea how to judge which is the “best” movie in a franchise that’s been around for 50 fucking years, but I liked this one.

    Some of criticisms of this film I find to be misplaced, particularly the ones deriding the nods to earlier Bonds as empty references or mean-spirited jabs. I think they were perfectly in keeping with film’s main theme of asserting Bond’s (and by extension, MI6’s) relevance in a post-Cold-War world, and I think it did so brilliantly. Much better than GOLDENEYE etc, which decided to shrug it’s shoulders and ignore the end of the Cold War completely. I tend not to think too hard about the Bond timeline and where each film fits into the franchise, but I can see how that might bug someone, especially since this film wanted to have it’s Aston DB5 cake and eat it too.

    Unlike a lot of people here I liked Javier Bardem’s character. I thought his introduction was fantastic (not sure about the scientific accuracy of his cannibal rat story though) and that he was actually quite sinister and scary in some parts. I know some people found his campiness bothersome or distracting, but I thought his character was well-drawn enough that being a gay stereotype wasn’t his whole deal. It added a bit of theatricality to what might have been a pretty boring super-hacker villain. His plot was pretty dumb though, particularly that it hinged on Q plugging a known super-hacker’s encrypted laptop directly into their secure network.

    Allegations of misogyny are pretty well founded though. Bond has emotionless shower-sex with a child sex slave and then makes a quip when she’s murdered. Javier Bardem turns into a cyber-terrorist because mummy didn’t love him enough. And then there’s the ending, which is all about restoring the partriarchal status quo. M fucks up terribly, dies (I think we’re past spoilers at this point) and is replaced by a man. Moneypenny ends up back behind a desk where she belongs. Everyone gets to pat themselves on the back and be glad things are back the way they’re supposed to be. Obviously that isn’t how they intended it, but it’s weird that they wouldn’t notice how easily it could be interpreted that way.

  324. The Original... Paul

    December 13th, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Mode 7 – I will give “The Cell” interesting visuals. My main criticism of it is that it has neither the heart nor the intelligence to justify some fairly harrowing stuff.

    Tom Z – I don’t mind the defibrilator. It’s the kind of thing the movie Bond would have in his car. I have a lot of problems with that specific scene that I’ve gone into before, and won’t do so again here, but that isn’t one of them.

    Crustacean – agree with your second paragraph regarding “Skyfall”. At least, that’s how I took those references.

    Dtroyt – I owe MY existence to cheap alcohol. Not as romantic, I know.

  325. Droyt, remember that the DB5 belonged to Alex Dimitrios before Bond, and he’s just the kind of guy to have machine guns and an ejector seat in his car.

    CrustaceanHate, there’s a rather lenghty debate about the sex in SKYFALL above your entry that you should read before you draw your conclusions.

  326. Pegsman: the car he won from Dimitrios was left hand drive, this DB5 was right hand drive.

  327. I know, I know…And it gets shot to pieces at the end, yet he still drives it in GOLDFINGER. The plot holes are as big as they are many, but it’s still a funny scene.

  328. There’s also the fact that GOLDFINGER takes place in the sixties. Pretty big continuity error, in my opinion.

  329. @ Paul, fair enough. Could you point me to the discussion of that CR scene? Vern’s CR review?


  330. Majestyk, but it’s also made in the 60’s, so it’s contemporary and not a period piece. Small but important difference, I think.

  331. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    December 17th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Tom Z – I wrote a reasoned response to that question that gradually turned into a foaming-at-the-mouth rant. Then it didn’t post properly for some reason, which is probably a good thing.

    Look, I don’t see any point in debating “Casino Royale”. Literally everybody I know who’s seen it either was bored by it or hates it, yet the entire Internet seems to absolutely love it. And for the life of me I can’t see why. I’m not convincing anybody, and I’m pretty sure nobody’s convincing me. There’s no point in debating a subject that you can’t agree on.

  332. You live in a strange, strange world Paul. I’m glad we’ve got your insight into it but I wouldn’t want to live there.

  333. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    December 19th, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Crustacean – yeah, I’m sometimes not so fond of it myself. I had a lot of high hopes for “Casino Royale” the movie, until reality stepped in and killed ’em dead.

  334. 8 BAFTA nominations to SKYFALL. What do we think?

  335. Damn, I wish I had stumbled here in November. Fascinating discussion – with a lot of stuff I completely disagree with. The back story bit aping Batman? Silva gay? Misogyny? Rape? Goodness gracious me. Interesting reading anyway. It’s amazing how differently people see and interpret things. For the record I loved Skyfall myself and could talk about it for hours. A pity I missed the discussion here when it was happening.

  336. Man, was this the cure I needed from DIE HARD 5. If only that movie had the backing of the same talented filmcrew that made this milestone in 007 lore. Well, fuck it.I love SKYFALL.
    First off, the cinematography is a lot better fraed and has better compositions than previously mentioned garbage. Sam Mendes is an actual filmmaker so that does not come off as any surprise. What does come off as an surprise is how the James Bond character actually has some depth to him again. CASINO ROYALE barely grazed upon his background. But here it was a big part of the story and the climax somehow defined how understated as an actionmovie this is and how much more of an 1960´s spy Bond movie this is. It´s more like FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE than any Bond movie I ahve ever seen since.

    Regarding Q, i definetely approve of them turning him into a young nerd. Somehow it fits more than some old git and the result is a somewhat different dynamic between Bond and Q but i really liked it.

    The climax of the movie is not in some underground lair with big explosion,being set off for some reason.It is more personal than that. Somehow it´s about Bond getting over his past. the explosion of his house is just a symbol of how he now resolved his childhood memories.in fact he says it himsel ” I did not really like this house”.

    Also the end is great and if someone has a problem with this movie, well the problem is yours.

    And the end was great. In total it was a much more personal Bonmovie than i would have expected and for that it is great, but it also acknowledges what people loves about Bond.

  337. Also, I mean no disrespect, but I don´t mean to go through 55 miles of text describing why this movie may or may not suck. It worked for me and that is all that matters fr me.

  338. Shoot, and that’s the clue to good reviewing, isn’t it? You say you like or hate something and then tell the readers why. Telling others that they shouldn’t like something they like is just bullshit. I just saw The Killers live and liked it. But the next day some teenage newspaper guy said in his review that if I liked it I was wrong. What the fuck is that about?

  339. Pegsman, I think it’s insecurity. If you’re secure, you feel good about your reasoning and don’t need anyone’s approval. If you’re insecure, any disagreement is a threat because only one of us can be right and there’s nothing wrong with my opinion so it must be you, not me.

    The site I write for, Crave Online, features second opinions. They encourage writers to post disagreeing reviews so they’re both there.

  340. The original Paul

    March 25th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Fred – I should work for that site professionally. I got dissenting opinions in spadefuls.

  341. So I watched this one again. The first time I found it entertaining but muddled, with some interesting contradictions bubbling below the surface. This time I found it just plain dull. It failed at the simple task of maintaining my interest.

    The villain’s plot is merely a mechanism of obfuscation, designed to distract from the fact that nothing of any import happens. None of the overlong segments of the film have any relation to each other, giving the film a lurching, episodic quality out of sync with the rollercoaster it seems to want to be. Various BIG IMPORTANT THEMES announce themselves boorishly and then sheepishly shuffle off without amounting to anything. The treatment of women remains grotesque, from its condescension toward Moneypenny, its callousness toward Severine (Bond gets a reaction shot when his car explodes but not when his latest lover is slaughtered), and its crass retrofitting of M. from the calm conscience of the series to its evil stepmother. The nostalgia remains misplaced and inconsistent with the grim and gritty tone. Bond remains unlikable and incompetent, despite the score’s insistence on declaring his overriding awesomeness. The cinematography remains pretty but insignificant, all doodling in the margins, finding no iconic imagery amidst all the showoffy light and shadow. The opening and closing action sequences are solid, but everything in between, from the massively overrated Shanghai tower fight to the laughably executed subway crash, is negligible.

    I liked the booby traps, and Silva is a fun character, even if his schemes are bafflingly illogical. All in all an awful, misguided movie.

  342. Mr M — I don’t know that I’d necessarily disagree with you, but isn’t this true of pretty much all Bond movies, minus the awkward thematic thrusts? I mean, aren’t all Bond films pretty much a series of loosely connected, occasionally stylish, anachronistically misogynist illogical setpieces? Isn’t this one no different, except its prettier and embarrassingly tries to meld some kind of moral to the ridiculous premise?

  343. I’m not really a fan of those other movies either, but at least they star a cartoonishly dashing and resourceful ninja-lothario who stops a massive villainous plot, not an incompetent dickhead who fails to save his boss from a stalker. Even at their most slapdash and hollow, they felt like an adventure, not a wallow.

  344. You’d have to pay me to watch SKYFALL again. Literally.
    Sam Mendes is never coming off my shit list. Soured me on all things Bond, this one did.

  345. So Mendes has signed on to direct the next Bond film. Maybe this time 007 will go up against the Evil Society Of Stupid Bitches Who Walked Into A Door Because They Let My Dinner Get Cold (ESOSBWWIADBTLMDGC).

  346. Do I have to watch SKYFALL to get this joke or google “Sam Mendes spousal abuse charges”?

  347. I wouldn’t be so crass as to make light of real-life domestic violence. The joke is about SKYFALL’s unrelenting misogyny. Just browse through the comments to see a pretty lengthy debate on the topic.

  348. It’s not much of a debate. There are people who actually saw SKYFALL and people who watched SKYFALL through their “I love all James Bond films that are more slightly more competently made than QUANTUM OF SOLACE or TOMORROW NEVER DIES no matter what” filter.

    This development is pure poison. Heineken should distance itself from the franchise until Mendes’s chemical castration meds’ side effects wear off, but I guess all the repeat ticket-buyers are thirsty for more. And this film’s historic success in the United Kingdom — there musta been a bunch of creeps who bought tickets to see this in cinemas twice or more — is a reminder to me not to visit that dreary land.

  349. GMFSOB! I`ve tried watching Skyfall several times on dvd and it just gets worse and worse. And it is appearently the best reviewed and highest grossing Bond of all time. That just makes me feel totally out of touch with humanity.

    I do like the opening shot with Bond walking into focus, that`s good visual storytelling right there. The rest of the movie is just frigging horrible. Well, the lightning in the climax is real pretty too.

  350. Wow, there’s never a shortage of dumb assholes to stand around preening it up and acting like they’ve never even SEEN the movie so they can riddle the sucker with bullet holes. Put aside the fact that you’re secretly enthralled by womanizing and look at the # of things Bond does in this flick that you can applaud instead of finding them morally reprehensible! We love the dude when we’re watching this and he doesn’t do ONE GOOD thing – except his job.

    Now that’s a hero.

  351. Which applaudable things are those? The part where his idiotic plan gets his boss killed? Or the part where he doesn’t even try to stop his latest fuck buddy from getting executed right in front of him? Or the part where he either tanks every mission he gets sent on or accrues so much needless collateral damage because of his quantifiable incompetence (He did fail every field-readiness test, after all. His inadequacy is a matter of record, not opinion) that it could hardly be called a victory, yet he smirks vaingloriously to himself all the same? Those parts?

    Yes, I can see how if I just arbitrarily decided to stop finding the movie horrifically misogynistic those parts would really make me stand up and cheer. I do love movies about inept thugs who destroy everything they touch and yet get treated like conquering heroes because they look good in a suit.

  352. Ah Mr M, conspicuous by your absence, on target upon your return.

  353. Stirred, not shaken.

  354. Proving the theory that Americans don’t get Bond, I would say.

  355. “I do love movies about inept thugs who destroy everything they touch and yet get treated like conquering heroes because they look good in a suit.”

    Speaking of heroes: John Rambo is a damn fine one, isn´t he? We are supposed to root for a guy who is invading a sovereign country? The same country whose population is still suffering from a previous invasion made by the same country? And he´s blowing it up yet again? We ARE supposed to root for him,right? He conquered the country, right. He must be a hero…

  356. Not applicable. Rambo protected the people he set out to save and avenged the ally he lost. Whatever you feel about his politics, he got the job done. Bond did not. Advantage: Rambo.

  357. I want to make it clear that Rambo is a character who is mostly seen as a joke in American culture. Of course people like us enjoyed part 4, and the first two movies were hugely popular in their time. But their jingoistic reputation and the inconvenient by modern standards politics of part 3 are not missed by anybody, and are widely made fun of. And for me personally I’ve always been fascinated by the weirdness of taking a character who snapped in the first one and turning him into Superman.

    I don’t agree that much with what Majestyk is saying, but I just want to point out that Bond is a more unironically beloved institution than Rambo even in the U.S. I just say this Shoot because your comment kind of came across like “Ah ha, then I will crush your precious American icon, your John Rambo.”

  358. I don’t need to defend Rambo. He is clearly a ludicrous fantasy that no one has taken seriously since Reagan was in office, and holding him up as some kind of beloved American institution is laughable. I was more upset about the idea that the only reasons a person could have to not enjoy SKYFALL is a. They’re dumb assholes/closet misogynists trolling for attention; or b. They’re American and thus lack the enzymes that allow them to process the inherently European concept of a dude who shoots people for a living and has sex with lots of women. I feel that my points are valid. I don’t feel that I “just don’t get it” or that I’m being needlessly contrarian. If you can counter my argument using your own interpretation of the text, please do. Leave your armchair psychoanalysis of my personality and nationality out of it.

  359. Vern , Majestyk, If you have thepatience I will respond whn I have a functioning browser. I apologize for my quite harsh response to Majestyks snarky comment. I gfwill elaborate with a more nuanced intepretation within a day or so.

  360. PS3 browser is shit.

  361. No need to apologize, Shoot. You can’t hurt me through Rambo. Rambo is above snark. I was more upset by pegsman dismissing my points out of hand because I was born on the wrong plot of land. That’s not only unfair to me as an individual with my own point of view separate from my national identity, it’s not even accurate. Most Americans I know liked SKYFALL because they’re willing to take it at face value as a well-produced action movie with a badass character at the center and a lot of pretty pictures to look at. As much as there’s anything about Bond to “get,” they “get” him. I mean, he’s a big, violent guy who likes firearms, brand name clothes, expensive gadgets, concealed handguns, objectified women, and fast cars. That’s pretty textbook American right there. I’m the one who’s seen as the weirdo for looking underneath the surface and finding all these problems with the movie’s story and themes. So it’s not an American thing. It’s a Majestyk thing. Disagree with me all you want, but at least grant me agency over my own opinion.

  362. Rambo is a beautiful psychopath whose work I enjoy witnessing despite the troubling political & sociological themes inherent in the depictions of his missions. He has an implicit license to kill granted to him by the audience when it is withheld by the bitchass authorities who put him in situations behind enemy lines. He rejects technology. Technology rejects him. He doesn’t conquer; he gets in, reluctantly but righteously sweeps away the filth, and gets the fuck out. His country and the countries he fucks up with his knife & machine guns (and random old bombs laying in the forest) quietly decline to acknowledge he was ever there. It’s black ops in the truest sense. He’s a patriotic mercenary, yet he is driven less by his nation’s interests than by personal desires to help those in need who happen to be directly in front of him.

    Bond has an actual license to kill, and he is a professional patriot only because his position as such allows him to be a faux-noble aristocratic asshole & globetrotting sex fiend. The audience imputes heroism upon him only because he has a knack for getting out of the most absurd death-trap situations; we only relate to him in his most desperate situations where he’s brought down to our level of helplessness & mortality. His audacity & spy skills reside in
    A) the cartoonish incompetence of his opponents (bad guys who conveniently leave the room instead of witnessing 007’s demise)
    B) his reliance on goofy techno-gadgets (Q)
    and C) wild cliff-diving techniques that have him suddenly rescued by a series of convenient deus ex machinae in the form of teammates and bizarrely helpful architecture/geography.

    Rambo rips a throat with his bare hands, and permanent justice is done.

    Bond presses a button on his magic laser-watch that someone else made for him, and he saves his own ass for a few minutes.

    Rambo’s life is a constant battle of self-denial. He’s the least impotent human beast ever to grace this planet, yet we’re pretty sure he hasn’t felt the pleasure of a woman’s company in decades. His only release is through the imposition of pain, bloody pain. His movie’s scripts happen to be set in milieus that suggest a geopolitical message about retribution & international vigilantism via a secret American superman, but it’s the viewer’s choice whether to be sickened by these settings & scenarios or to kinda laugh at them while enjoying the awesome action.

    007’s life is a constant revelry, a drunken sex fantasy that happens to be acceptable mass entertainment in all realms of moviegoers’ societies because most of the characters wear formal attire and speak in fancy accents; it’s vacation package #5 from Total Recall. Everything Bond does is a release, a venture into new & old pleasures for both him & the audience, with very few exceptions — rare moments that [accidentally?] achieve something like tragedy
    (such as the ending of best Bond movie [ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE] and the occasional “dark & gritty” elements of the Daniel Craig 007s).
    That’s why SKYFALL’s Severine stuff (sex slave backstory; the shower rape; her execution) is horrifyingly miscalculated. Her storyline doesn’t come off like the lightly operatic, dramatically compelling yet disposable narrative arc of, say, the Sean Bean betrayal/revival moments in GOLDENEYE. Her storyline isn’t like Mads Mikkelsen’s ball-tickling torture scene in CASINO ROYALE, because that was about a desperate villain, a villain’s comeuppance, and a villain’s demise. Remember how complicated Bond’s relationship was with Eva Green? And she turned out to be a bad guy. . . and he really tried to save her, both physically and, like, morally! But she kind of deserved to die. . . and yet he fucking pouted over her! And he named things after her!
    The only political message we could derive from the Bond series is something like “Yay England!”

    Also, “drink Heineken” and “buy Sony” and “Aston Martin is a good car” etc..

    In conclusion the real crime, other than the world’s facile, ecstatic reaction to a putrid film like SKYFALL, is that there are dozens of 007 movies and only 4 Rambos. Oh well, at least the old “quality > quantity” adage thrives in this comparison.

  363. Mr Majestyk, I feel I have to start by saying that the theory isn’t mine and that I had just woken up hung over as hell. But I do feel that Bond is being judged more harshly than other action heroes by Americans (witness the super long SKYFALL thread on Outlawvern). Why are his flaws so important, when other guys get a pass for even more serious fuckups? I was under the impression that we like flawed heroes.

    Mouth, nice long answer…

  364. It’s not just the Bond character in SKYFALL who sucks. His failures are obvious,
    (as Majestyk notes: The part where his idiotic plan gets his boss killed; the part where he doesn’t even try to stop Severine from getting executed right in front of him; the part where he either tanks every mission he gets sent on or accrues so much needless collateral damage because of his quantifiable incompetence (He did fail every field-readiness test, after all. His inadequacy is a matter of record, not opinion) that it could hardly be called a victory, yet he smirks vaingloriously to himself all the same)

    and they parallel the ineptitude & nonsensical decision-making of Silva
    (dodgy firearms accuracy; a plan that relies on impossible timing & idiotic coincidence; a plan that relies on a decades-old lo-fi imprisonment mechanism somehow being cyber-linked to a 21st century super-hi-tech security system; a grand finale that has him firing high caliber bullets and dropping grenades into a house before he suddenly decides ‘Oh wait, I want to get up close and very delicately embrace the person I want to kill with a single bullet even though 2 minutes ago I was ready to nuke this entire estate from orbit’)

    as well as the shoddiness of the filmmaking as regards the Q character & the contraptions
    (That computer virus set piece is flat out embarrassing in a high budget film not directed by Roland Emmerich.).

    The best I could say about the Severine stuff is that it’s the sour icing atop a rotten cake.

    Motherfuckers complain all day about the fate of Zod’s neck and the invisible people in the skyscrapers in MAN OF STEEL, but if we point out that Bond had forced, nonconsensual sex with a vulnerable (and then disposable) lady then we just don’t “get” 007 and we’re hypocrites re: flawed heroes.

  365. It’s because the movie doesn’t expect us to acknowledge those flaws. There’s a discrepancy between the movie’s hero worship of Bond and the actual events depicted onscreen. He gets nothing right for the entire movie and he faces absolutely no repercussions for his mistakes, because we are expected to be on Bond’s side no matter what a loser he is.

    Now, if the movie had been subversive in any way, if it had tried to undermine the Bond myth by depicting him as a fallible mortal like the rest of us, I’d have found to be that an interesting take on the character. But that’s not what this movie is doing. It’s the opposite, in fact. It takes all of the work of the previous 15 years to bring the character somewhat down to earth and show the beating heart inside the legend and throws it out of the window so the Roger Moore-era status quo can be restored at the end.

    I’d have no problem with that, either, except that the adventure they chose to portray Bond’s devolution back to one-dimensional superhero is one in which he’s never been more ineffectual. He is a total failure as a secret agent. In fact, very little would have changed if Bond hadn’t been in the story at all. M would still be dead, the list would still be out in the open, MI6 would still be a laughing stock, and Silva would probably still have offed himself afterward. Bond would still have his precious Aston-Martin, and Severine and that nameless Hong Kong snipee might still be alive if a more quick-thinking and less pussy-thirsty operative had been sent on this mission, but other than that, his involvement in this op is a total wash.

    That’s mostly what I dislike about the movie. It’s showing me one thing and telling me another. It shows a Bond who’s utterly useless while giving speeches about how absolutely crucial he is. Throw in all the misogyny and the poor plotting and it’s an ugly, disingenuous film.

  366. I have no desire to go through all this again, so I will just refer to my answers of last year. Still I have to ask, you are aware of the fact that this is taking place before DR NO, right? That this is a rookie just starting out in the ugly business of spying? That he’s supposed to be insecure and not at all on top of things. And that we’re not nescesserily supposed to root for him in everything he does? And what is your take on the relationship between Silva and M? You are aware of the relationship they have, the one that’s crucial to the plot?

    Seriously guys, what’s with all the hate? If you take this approach to any given action movie, I bet you could tear them all apart.

  367. No. That’s just…no. He can’t both be a rookie just starting out in the business AND a relic of a forgotten era. Those are incompatible archetypes. In SKYFALL, Bond is clearly portrayed as a weary old salt who’s barely physically fit for duty. There is nothing in there to suggest that he’s still wet behind the ears and that he just needs to age into the job and then he won’t be such a screw-up. DR. NO is not in his future, because DR. NO happened in 1963 to a completely different guy in a completely different continuity that has no bearing on this film.

  368. Thought they showed 007 being a rookie in the black&white segments of CASINO ROYALE (2006). Wasn’t that his first kill as a double-oh asset?

    And I don’t mind re-forgetting virtually the whole scenario & Bond-iverse with each new film, but were we supposed to disregard Craig’s previous 2 films’ interactions with Judi Dench? I don’t think so. She has a history of knowing what he’s capable of and how to deploy him based on his being an experienced spy.

    I do like the rebooted-timeline notion that James Bond has a lot in common with Homer Simpson, though — both went to outer space, but the world forgot about that chapter of their lives a few weeks after it happened so everyone could go back to normal and focus on future adventures.

  369. No on both accounts. SKYFALL is the third countdown to DR NO. That’s why the gun barrel sequence is at the end and all the regulars are still being introduced. And Pierce Brosnan’s M isn’t the same person as Daniel Craig’s M. The big question now is where in the timeline are they going to put BOND 24 and 25? And Silva’s relationship with M, and the reason he hated her betrayal so intensely that he had to die with her? He was her son.

  370. Not only do I have no clue what you’re talking about, I have no idea why you’d think any of this stuff would make me like the movie more.

  371. That I can do nothing about, my friend.

  372. So do you really think they’re gearing up for a DR. NO remake? And do you actually think that’s a good idea?

  373. No, I don’t think they will og down that road. But they have bought back the rights to the Blofeld and SPECTRE names, so it’s highly possible that we will see some links to Connery’s adventures.

  374. That’s good. I don’t know where you’re getting all this stuff from (It sounds like that unified Pixar theory that posits that CARS is the post-apocalyptic future of TOY STORY: fun and all, but seriously?) but I think it would set a very dangerous precedent to start doing Bond remakes. There are so many memorable titles to choose from that they wouldn’t have to come up with a new premise for 20 years. I pretty much hate SKYFALL but I appreciate that it was at least trying to do its own thing.

    Sorry if I was kind of a dick yesterday. Some dude called me a dumb asshole and I got defensive.

  375. Majestyk, I would never intentionally call someone here on Vern’s page dumb or an asshole. If you got that from my first entry, I’m sorry. The theory I mentioned is British and I think it harks back to the days when the James Bond community were pissed because they were denied more movies with Timothy Dalton because American audiences found him “too British”.

    I’m afraid “all this stuff” is what we talk about all day in the James Bond community.

    The theory about Silva being M’s son comes from Yale Law professor Stephen L. Carter. He thinks the message “THINK ON YOUR SINS” is an anagram for “YOUR SON ISNT IN HK.”

  376. No, it wasn’t something I implied from your post, although I did take umbrage with your theory that Americans are incapable of understanding Bond. It was Jon who straight up said that anybody who has problems with SKYFALL is a “dumb asshole.” It got my dander up. You just kind of got caught in the crossfire.

    You Bond trekkies are into some weird shit.

  377. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2014 at 8:38 am

    It’s also strangely convenient that the Bond trekkies tend to ignore the ugly history of racism and pro-colonial politics that permeate the franchise. I mean, have you seen DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER lately? How about LIVE & LET DIE? The antiquated colonial perspective of race is hardly subtext (and I would argue that this perspective persists right up to the “dragon lady” cliche in SKYFALL). Dr. NO spends so much effort animalizing its black “characters” that it can’t even get basic historical facts straight (depending on my mood, it’s either hilarious or pitiable that DR. NO positions England as the vanquisher of corruption in Jamaica when in real life it was looting the place and fleeing, leaving a catastrophe in its wake).

    The misogyny of SKYFALL is par for the course in Bond’s mission of making the world safe for white capitalism. The sexism of previous Bonds is a result of the character being used as a model of self-reliance and lifestyle glamour; in SKYFALL, the sexism is more the result of the lead character being utterly infantile (bordering on psychotic). He only reverts to the more familiar Bond once he’s rid himself of the emotional baggage of his attachment to M(other). I don’t see that as an improvement. It’s like someone remade BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA without realizing that Kurt Russells’ character is a buffoon.

    I’d also be willing to argue that the impossible violent idealization of women in CASION ROYALE is an even more objectionable strand of misogyny. But I’m not going to belabor the point.

    Special props to DIE ANOTHER DAY for at least trying to problematize the racial politics of the franchise.

  378. Who says they ignore it? Seriously, no movie in the world could survive this kind of scrutiny. And I just don’t see the point.

  379. Not big on tracking the racial politics or colonialist angle-interpretation of the 007ilogy. I mean, it’s such a transnational, trans-celestial (thank you, MOONRAKER) series that I think it deserves credit for covering lots of different skin colors/creeds/cultures in lots of different ways. Dude goes to so many different countries, there’s bound to be both positive & negative depictions of brown & yellow people etc.
    . . . the only simplistically depicted bit that kind of offended me was that Roger Moore one where he goes to Louisiana for some godforsaken reason. Don’t have a problem with ridiculing deep southerners, but that movie just had some shoddy, overly comedic filmatism, like it was trying to be a Hal Needham joint but making fun of [the late great] Needham.

    But this: “It’s like someone remade BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA without realizing that Kurt Russells’ character is a buffoon.” Bravo, JC. Well said.

    My inner-masochist took over and typed “SKYFALL” into the ole blu ray Netflix device. Thoughts:

    -First couple minutes: Bond *literally* takes the wheel from Agent Moneypenny during the car chase.

    -Why the fuck couldn’t Field Agent Moneypenny fire one or 2 more shots at the guy on the train after she accidentally plugs 007?

    -M (Judi Dench) is too much of a micromanager during missions, especially considering she *can’t see* what’s going on in real time. (But the movie acts like she can anyway, because it thinks the audience is a bunch of imbeciles.)

    -M’s dressing-down at the hands/tongue of Ralph Fiennes is immediate & unrelenting. The script makes clear MI6 is in a mess, and it’s her fault, and she’s in the process of being fired, and she’s aware it’s her fault for not leaving it better than she found it. This marks at least the *3rd* major failure by a female character in this movie’s [pseudo-]macho world, and we’re not but a few minutes past Adele.

    -The psychiatrist word association analysis session is one of the laziest, shittiest pieces of script-writing I’ve ever seen or that you have ever seen. Awful. Awful awful awful. Terrible, no good, and bad. Bad bad bad. This is the stuff of 5th grade playwrights. Joe Eszterhas could provide a scene like this for Paul Verhoeven, and the mad Dutchman would reject it for being too on the nose and embarrassingly un-directable.

    -But Roger Deakins, tho…

  380. Vern:
    *** “Bond plays along by doing a total Batman move in one part, jumping up and hanging onto the bottom of an elevator. Good one.” ***

    The part where Bond grabs the bottom of the elevator actually *sounds* like a Batman moment.

    Danny Elfman should sue.

  381. -That shaving scene is wack. On many levels.
    1) Bond wouldn’t be slow-playing a shave like that. Dude’s got shit to do. Dude should be multi-tasking, not inwardly self-reveling for prolonged minutes in front of a mirror.
    2) Sexual tension between Agent Moneypenny & Bond is forced, inorganic, and unhelpful to any part of the plot or characterizations, unless we’re supposed to be titillated or fan-serviced by the establishment of future Bond-timeline movies that feature this sexist Secretary Moneypenny – Bond dynamic. And it’s unfulfilled, which is the point, but there is no point.

    -Bond calls for the helicopters like 15 seconds after Severine is executed. Inexcusable. She didn’t have to die. Not like that. Not like that. She could have died in a frantic shootout’s crossfire, but not as a helpless victim centered in the frame like a torture porn victim seconds before the air cavalry arrive. There’s no other interpretation of her arc apart from ‘The movie hates her because she is a whore, a nothing. She got bloodlusty for the man who did her wrong, and that man kills her to prove her weakness and Bond’s weakness (though Bond conquered her & her henchmen, so he’s less weak than she is).’

    -Was it supposed to be a coded secret that M is Silva’s mother, or at least that he thinks she is? Cuz it seems to be obvious. He even says, “Look upon your work, mother,” when his teeth are out. Did the Bond Trekkies miss this and assume there was some subtext & anagrammatical evidence only they could perceive and only furnish to the world after the credits rolled? Also, no, this, uh, ‘revelation’ does not make the movie more enjoyable. M-PIRE STRIKES BACK this ain’t.

    -Ben Whishaw: “Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit. {unplugs laptop} He hacked us.”
    This is some Saturday morning cartoon shit.

    -There’s Bond walking the depths of the London tube system, with perfect FM comms in his earhole.

    I’m hitting ‘Stop’ now. Life’s too short.
    That damn Roger Deakins, tho…

  382. The Original Paul

    June 1st, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    “There’s Bond walking the depths of the London tube system, with perfect FM comms in his earhole.”

    To be fair to the movie, this is a case of life-imitating-art there. Did you not notice the movie’s “plugging” the new underground rail’s wireless Internet system?

    I largely agree with the sceptics on this one, while pointing out that “Skyfall” is not as bad as its detractors would suggest. Yes, I hate Bond’s incompetence as well; and yes, the sex-scene made me feel really, really grubby. Also Javier Bardem trying to do a Heath Ledger in “Dark Knight” impersonation comes across to me about as well as James Caan does doing his Nicholas Cage impression in “Eraser”. Which is to say, I was cringing every moment he was onscreen.

    But despite this, I feel that the movie has its good points. I don’t think it works as a whole, at all, but I’m by no means on board with the people who hate it. I think Dench does a great job of making a fairly obviously doomed character sympathetic. I also think Fiennes does really well as her boss. Yes, there’s lots of stupid shit in it; and yes, I agree with Majestyk and Mouth on most of their points. But I’ve seen way, way worse than this.

  383. On the questonable politics of James Bond, let me quote the late Vincent Canby when he reviewed DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER:

    “…but 007 has remained a steadfast agent for the military-industrial complex, a friend to the C.I.A. and a triumphant sexist. It’s enough to make one weepy with gratitude.”

  384. Today there are just 522 days until Bond 24’s U.S. release!

  385. Having just re-read all the posts in this behemoth of a thread I must say that I don’t care much for the Atticus Finch role I have given myself. I’m not even that big a Bond fan. More a student of the franchise. It’s the combination of a short fuse and the politician in me, I guess. I still think there are some wrong conclusions here and there, but why should that upset me? After the PROMETHEUS experience I should know better, right?

  386. Jareth Cutestory

    June 2nd, 2014 at 7:18 am

    pegsman: I really enjoyed your comments on this topic and others. We don’t need to agree in order for me to benefit from your comments.

    You asked why I would bother “scrutinizing” the politics of Bond. Would you also agree that mentioning the racist caricatures in the second TRANSFORMERS movie, and the public’s lack of outrage about it, is a futile exercise?

    I guess we all have our own triggers. If a Bond movie depicted Norway as a traitorous breakaway republic run by cavemen-like bumpkins that would be better off back under the yoke of the Danes or the Swedes, wouldn’t you feel just a little bit compelled to lend your perspective on the matter to your friends here at Vern’s place? I know I’d certainly welcome the opportunity to have such stereotypes addressed by an informed party.

  387. Jareth, I’m all for scrutinizing the politics of Bond. At that stage I was more about why we don’t do it with other franchises. Sadly, there are racism, sexism and misogyny in way too many movies. New as well as old. And the simple reason for that is that screenwriters who write about violence as entertainment aren’t excactly liberal feminists. They simply don’t know any better. But we do. And I can’t understand why someone like McClane gets a pass when Bond don’t.

    The thing is, in debates like this everything becomes subjective. If ten people here say that the shower scene in SKYFALL depicts rape and I say that it doesn’t, then democratic rules says that it’s rape. There are legions of people out there in the real world that supports my point of view, but the majority in here have decided that I’m wrong.

    As for Norway being a traitorous breakaway republic run by cavemen-like bumpkins that would be better off back under the yoke of the Danes or the Swedes, I think that’s pretty spot on.

  388. The Original Paul

    June 2nd, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Pegsman – well, you don’t have to change your opinion just because the majority has a different one. And honestly, if you want to really, really piss me the fuck off, the first thing you should do is start an argument with me with the words or general meaning: “Well, all these other people disagree with you, so you must be wrong.” Vern did it once regarding a comment I made about the 1950s “The Thing From Another World”, which is a film that I dislike for many reasons that vary from subjective expectations (I saw it after Carpenter’s “The Thing”, which immediately put it up against a masterwork as far as comparisons go) to what I would regard as straightforward objective flaws of the filmmaker’s art. It turned into a polite but assertive e-mail debate between us, which was settled fairly amicably.

    My point back then, and I guess my point here with you, would be that it’s fine to disagree with somebody on all kinds of stuff. Opinions are subjective even if facts are not; what bothers me may not bother you, and vice versa (which, again, is exactly what I think’s happened here). What nobody has the right to tell you is this: “You’re wrong, because we all disagree with you.” Indeed one of the things I like about this community is that that kind of thing seems to hardly ever happen here.

    “Because the majority says so” has been used to excuse racism, wars, religious bigotry, social exclusion, the persecution of practitioners of modern science and medicine, and many, many other nasty things. We may disagree on Bond (and, indeed, we do) but I think we can all agree that a disagreement on an Internet forum over the artistic merit of a Bond movie ranks well below that stuff in the grand scheme of “how important this shit really is”.

  389. Don’t feel bad, pegsman.

    You ain’t no martyr.
    I am the righteous vocal minority.


    FCH and I are neither friends nor compatible film-crit-peeps, but [s]he says some interesting things in this epic 007 series. Worth a read (or a scan, at least).

  391. Funny that LICENSE TO KILL is considered the poorest of the Bonds. It’s the only one where Bond says to hell with queen and country, tosses away his credentials and goes all Dirty Harry/Death Wish.

  392. I don’t think it’s considered the poorest anymore. Kids who grew up with Dalton love it. Now WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, MOONRAKER, OCTOPUSSY, VIEW TO A KILL and maybe even DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER seem to get more shit. QUANTUM OF SOLACE gets more shit now, especially when it became cool to say, “QUANTUM wasn’t good but SKYFALL fixed it!” I’ll go to my grave a QUANTUM defender, I know.

  393. Jaws, the most famous Bond henchman his died. RIP Richard Kiel.

  394. May he find some steel cables to chew on in heaven.

  395. And John “General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov” Gottfried died last week. Bond are running out of bad guys.

  396. Darren – “License to Kill” is one of my five favorite Bonds, the others being “The Living Daylights”, “Goldfinger”, “From Russia with Love”, and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. It bums me out when anybody makes a casually derogatory reference to the two Daltons. Honestly, as a film I think “The Living Daylights” might be the best Bond of them all. It’s got great villains, great stunts, a more-than-usually complex spy plot, and some pretty interesting political implications. “License to Kill” works for the exact opposite reason – it’s a straight revenge story that keeps things simple and has a lot of great memorable moments.

    It’s saddening that Richard Kiel is dead. Truly there are no immortals any more.

  397. LTK is my Clayton’s Bond. The Bond I watch when I don’t want to watch Bond.

  398. I can never get away from ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. As both Danny Peary and Steven Soderbergh said in their excellent essays the film succeeds BECAUSE it does everything different from the other 22. I would say it’s the one Bond film you can watch without being a fan of 007.

  399. OHMSS is a fantastic film and the best Bond. And I’m a massive Bond fan. When people talk about how better it would be without Connery I feel like they miss the point, it’s great BECAUSE they’d no Connery so everything else had to sing like never before. They overcompensated themselves by making a great film. And Lazenby isn’t so bad. Rigg, Savalas, Lee, Maxwell and the rest of the cast do some of the heaviest dramatic lifting of a Bond movie aside from the Craig era. It’s an astonishingly great, genuinely epic action adventure. I can’t think of another film quite like it. I’d like to do a double bill with it and Haywire some day. They’re tonally quite similar even though one is this pared down blunt instrument and the other is this big, rich meal.

  400. As Danny Peary points out in CULT MOVIES 3 a lot of the scenes with Bond works because it’s Lazenby and not Connery. He doubts very much if Connery would have played him scared, in love, crying etc the way the unexperienced Lazenby did. And George is really good in the fight scenes.

  401. I love OHMSS. It felt fresh in a lot of ways. The editing and the speed ramping of the fights are kind of cool,and feels more dynamic than your usual John Wayne bar brawl at the time.And that ending is quite emotional.

  402. Trivia; both Timothy Dalton and Adam West were offered the role of Bond before it went to Lazenby.

  403. I saw a screen test with James Brolin re-enacting the hotel scene from From Russia With Love. He was really good, I thought!

  404. Pegsman – you mean we missed out on Adam West as Bond? Man, I would’ve liked to have seen that.

    Mind you, I probably would’ve said the same thing about Roger Moore if West had ended up doing his run of movies instead. Trying to imagine Adam West’s “Moonraker” or “A View to a Kill”… the mind boggles.

  405. The hotal scene from FRWL is something everyone who screen tests for Bond do. Check out Sam Neil’s on youtube. It’s really good. James Brolin actually got the role in OCTOPUSSY. If Roger had said no, he was good to go.

  406. Great News (for those who care) from the world of Bond today. The 24th movie will be called SPECTRE and guest stars Christoph Waltz, Dave Bautista, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci and Andrew Scott.

  407. Christoph Waltz as villain and Monica Bellucci as Bond girl. Now THAT’S some original out of the box casting!

    (And I still refuse to watch any of the new Bonds until at least Craig gets replaced. But if the movies are still shitty with the new guy, I will continue to not care.)

  408. I can´t believe that twat from SHERLOCK is gonna be part of the new Bond. His performance as Moriarty has made my shit list.

  409. The Undefeated Gaul

    December 4th, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Walz is indeed incredibly lazy, disappointing casting. And if Moriarty turns out to be the real villain that would be even worse. Still they get points for casting Bautista. Can’t wait to see him facing off against Craig.

  410. The thing I liked about That Moriarty Twat’s performance was the way he seemed to switch accents at random every other word. I assumed he did this on purpose so as not to give Sherlock any clues as to his origins. Or maybe he was just a big Seagal fan. Hard to tell.

  411. Once again, all respect to my former nemesis Dave the Demon for putting Bautista in movies. A couple years later he’s in the Marvel universe and is a Bond henchman. Like Dolph Lundgren.

    Also, I forgot that CJ hates Daniel Craig as Bond, which seems like more of a Paul position. We all have our quirks though. I like that we’re not afraid to go out on a limb sometimes.

    Kinda short for a Bond title, isn’t it? Sounds like a good cast though. I hope it will inspire me a little more than the last two, but overall they were pretty good.

  412. The Undefeated Gaul

    December 5th, 2014 at 5:08 am

    CJ – After reading some more comments on different forums, what if that’s exactly what they WANT us to think? Walz as a villain and Bellucci as a Bond girl seems incredibly lazy, so what if their roles turn out to be reversed?

    Well, maybe Walz won’t be a Bond girl… although that could be kind of cool. Craig implied in Skyfall that his Bond swings both ways after all.

    All just theories of course. Honestly I wish they would just come out and say, this actor is playing Blofeld. Whatever the surprise reveal is going to be will have less impact because everyone is expecting a surprise reveal. And we’ve got 11 more months to theorize what it’s going to be…

  413. Other than a few episodes of Derrick in the 80’s and a couple of Hollywood productions Waltz isn’t a bad guy actor per se. And we all know that Bellucci is more than just a pretty face. So I don’t see this as lazy casting at all. But as you say, Paul, it could be the other way round. Bellucci could be Blofeld’s daughter and Waltz an Austrian agent.

  414. The Undefeated Gaul

    December 5th, 2014 at 6:38 am

    I think I would like it if that were to be the case. More interesting than Walz playing a bad guy again. I guess over the run of his entire career he must have played many types of roles, but ever since the mainstream public “discovered” him in BASTERDS, that’s what he’s been playing a lot. There was THE GREEN HORNET, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, now HORRIBLE BOSSES 2… I’m sick of him in those types of roles, because he’s been bland as hell every time he did them (except in BASTERDS maybe, but I still think Fassbender would have crushed that role ten times harder than Walz ever could)

    Another argument for the theory that Bellucci will end up being more than just eye candy is her age… If you need a female character that could believably head a criminal organisation you need someone with a bit of maturity. She’s the perfect combo.

  415. Oh, Waltz is definitely not a bad actor. He was already one of the top character actors of the German speaking area (although mostly in sometimes more, sometimes less shitty and a few times surprisingly good TV work), but if Gaul said, since his Hollywood breakthrough, he always plays bad guys. Over here he even got back in the 90s the chance to play 70s heartthrob Roy Black in a TV movie. (Granted, he was horribly miscast, since Black was handsome and Waltz…well..I’m not saying he is ugly, but…y’know… At least his performance won him critical praise.)

    I really hope you are right and they play with our expectations. Although since I’m not gonna watch that movie anyway, I don’t really care that much about it.

  416. Waltz was a good guy in DJANGO UNCHAINED, so at least the director who created his typecasting (which I guarantee he knew would happen) tried to combat it.

  417. Considering how uneventful the last Bond was to me and how a lot of my favorite entries the series are SPECTRE based I could see this probably clicking with me because there is nowhere to go but up.

    Monica Bellucci as a Rosa Klebb type character could prove interesting assuming that they take that route.

  418. SKYFALL remains by a considerable margin the least enjoyable film ever to make it into the top ten grossing movies of all time (excepting possibly SHREK 2, which was a lazy piece of shit but at least wasn’t a misogynist nightmare), so as long as they’re continuing down that path with the same creative team, now emboldened by their inexplicable success, I’m done. The more Roger Moore they get, the more monstrous their take on Bond will seem.

  419. Mr. M – Personally I firmly believe that THE AVENGERS was but I know I will get stoned for even suggesting such a thing on any movie site so I’ll just leave it at that.

  420. As obvious and eye-rolling as Belucci’s casting is, you do have to give them credit for 1) casting the first Bond “girl” in her 50s(!) and the first one OLDER than Bond (she’s 4 years older than Craig)* I’m too lazy to imdb everyone, but I think Maud Adams as Octopussy was the oldest Bond girl before this at 38, and she was still almost 20 years(!) younger than Roger Moore.

    *This is if you don’t count Dench as the Bond girl in Skyfall, of course.

  421. I don’t have a ton to say about this since the casting is so close to parody anyway. But I would like to say that I think “SPECTRE” is a really stupid, lazy title. If they insist on pummeling us with the idea that this one is about Spectre, it should still have been A SPECTRE OF TOMORROW or GHOST OF A SPECTRE or HARRY POTTER AND THE SPECTRE’S GOLD or something. Bond movies are the only ones that give giallos a run for their money in the baroque luridness department. I tolerated SKYFALL because at least that has a kind of poetry to it and the theme song was pretty good. But this will not stand. You can’t just give Bond films generic action movie titles. It just isn’t right. They’ve got to be DIE AGAIN ANOTHER TOMORROW, NEVER DIE AGAIN TWICE, THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS, that kind of thing.

  422. Titles like Brosnan’s movies had? I think getting the rights to the Blofeld and SPECTRE names back is such a big thing for Broccoli and Mendes that they want to celebrate that. And having the crime syndicate back after 44 years IS a big thing for the fans of 007.

  423. So, Bond movies are now riffing off Austin Powers movies? Holy shit, did not see that coming.

  424. The Original Paul

    June 28th, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Just perusing random commentary, and I’d like to clarify one thing here:

    “Also, I forgot that CJ hates Daniel Craig as Bond, which seems like more of a Paul position.”

    Actually Paul thinks Daniel Craig was fine as Bond. I don’t know anybody (apart from CJ apparently) who doesn’t like him in the role. Hell, credit given where credit is due, I thought he was good in CASINO ROYALE.

    As for the new Bond film, I am most definitely waiting for the reviews before deciding whether or not to see it.

  425. I’ve always thought Daniel Craig was a fantastic Bond, he’s suave while also rugged enough to be believable as someone who could snap your neck.

  426. I don’t think Waltz can keep claiming he’s not playing Blofeld when he’s dressed like Blofeld in this trailer. Anyway, I think it looks good, and I liked SKYFALL, but why does every Bond film since the reboot have to have Bond going rogue on MI6? Maybe we could just go back to “Bond is a loose cannon, but he gets results, and M and Q just tut at him” for a little bit?

  427. With the reputation British intelligence has these days it’s no wonder Bond’s always going rogue. In real life they would probably have him faking evidence that Saddam Hussain was Osama Bin Ladens dad.

  428. I still can’t believe that Bond is ripping off Austin Powers. So fucking bonkers.

  429. That Austin Powers comment almost made me check the trailer out, but instead I just gonna ask what do you mean with that?

  430. I haven’t seen the new trailer either I’m more going by the teaser from a few months back. In it it was implied that Blofeld is now James Bond’s sibling much like Austin Powers and a certain evil genius were retroactively revealed to be in the last Austin Powers movie.

  431. I caught a whiff of OLDBOY in the trailer for this new one.

  432. With all the broody, angsty Bonds of late, this looks surprisingly like a classic old school Bond. But I guess that has been the goal since CASINO ROYALE.

  433. I have seen my share of movies involving the degradation of women, and this is by far the most misogynistic piece of shit I have EVER seen.

  434. The Original Paul

    July 24th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Y’know, I never quite understand what people mean by “old-school Bond”.

    Is it the super-businesslike Bond of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE – who’ll stop for a moment to briefly mourn a friend, before getting the hell on with the job at hand – or the more arrogant version of GOLDFINGER? Can you compare the Blofeld from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE with the one from DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER? Early Bond was a genuinely secret figure; late Bond couldn’t walk into a room without announcing himself to the world in the most public way possible. In Roger Moore’s era, Bond was the one who usually made the one-liners. In Brosnan’s era, the villains did, although Bond came up with one or two corkers of his own (and you know I’m thinking of Christmas there). Lazenby’s Bond was a romantic hero, Connery’s could quite justifiably be accused of being a double rapist. And where to even start with the differences between Roger Moore portrayals of Bond, which got progressively less “jokey” depending on who was writing him? Or even Q, who kinda went through the opposite arc as Moore – he started off as a hard-nosed techie and ended up as the comic relief?

    Honestly the only thing I can think of that “classic” Bond usually has in common is that there’s a world-threatening plot of some kind, whereas “new” Bond is usually a lot more confined and personal. And even this has exceptions (FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, LICENCE TO KILL, LIVE AND LET DIE, even TOMORROW NEVER DIES if you include the Brosnan era as “classic”.) My personal favorite classic Bond would probably be Connery in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE or Dalton in either of his two outings; I know some people don’t like Dalton at all, and even Connery has his detractors nowadays. I love CASINO ROYALE the book – it’s one of only two things Ian Fleming wrote involving Bond that IMO has genuine justification for being called a “classic”, the other being the short story “The Hildebrand Rarity” from the book FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, which ironically did not appear anywhere in the movie FOR YOUR EYES ONLY but was referenced frequently in the Dalton film LICENCE TO KILL – but hate CASINO ROYALE the movie; a lot of people would probably say the exact opposite.

    I guess, if CASINO ROYALE and its sequels have taught me anything, it’s not to ask for a direct adaptation of one of the Bond novels. They tried that with CASINO ROYALE, and whatever you think of the movie, as an adaptation it couldn’t get much worse. QUANTUM and SKYFALL weren’t adaptations of anything, and as flawed as they were (I have friends who swear SKYFALL is the worst movie they’ve ever seen, and they didn’t like CASINO ROYALE either) I think they benefited by not trying to be direct adaptations. There’s so much baggage with Bond nowadays, so much stuff that you “have” to fit in – the martinis, the Aston Martin, the “Bond, James Bond” quote, not to mention buckets of product placement and marketing to remind people that, yes, this is still the same Bond that you grew up with and are nostalgic for – that I think it’s almost better to build your story around these things and make a film that “fits” with them. (I’d rather it be a better film than QUANTUM or SKYFALL, but you can’t have everything.)

  435. Solid stuff, Paul. I really should put some effort into this comment, but it’s early Sunday morning and I come straight from a music festival, so…I don’t know what other people mean when they use the term “old-school” about Bond movies. But in my case I think it was just a way to describe the 007 we saw in Terence Young, Peter Hunt, Lewis Gilbert and, to some extent, Martin Campbell’s films. The agent who investigated and solved cases, without too much soul searching or, worse, relying on comedy.

  436. What if Christoph Waltz isn’t playing Blofeld…but Goldfinger?!

  437. Paul, “old school Bond” could simply mean “Bond goes on a mission.” We haven’t really seen that since Brosnan. Maybe Casino Royale was a mission but it was also testing Bond to see if he’d earned his 00 status. I’ll allow it though. Since Casino Royale they’ve been stuck on “this time it’s personal.” Doing Quantum of Solace as a direct sequel may have been interesting as a one off, but now every sequel is doing that. Skyfall gives us the end of a mission but the movie is about Bond being betrayed by M and coming back because, well, he wasn’t going to stay dead. Even if Spectre starts with M going, “Have a look at this, will you, 007?” it’s clearly set up for “but really this is all about your past and siblings and Skyfall because that made a billion dollars.”

    It seems the Craig era is going to be defined by a level of continuity unprecedented in the Bond series. I guess there’s still a chance his fifth one could be a standalone lark. I still think Craig is the best Bond we’ve ever seen, but I’m afraid we’re never going to get to see him do a traditional James Bond movie. Maybe Idris Elba will.

  438. Fred, I might be jumping the gun here, but SPECTRE is very, very close to a “Bond goes on a mission” type movie…

  439. pegsman – I’d say Fred is pretty much on the ball. Bond goes rogue again, more is discovered about his past and things get more personal even than in Skyfall (or at least that’s what the film tries very, very hard to make you believe).

  440. Sure, sure, but the style of the movie is an “old school” detective story that goes from A to B to C, that’s what I meant…

  441. SPECTRE makes pretty much the same mistakes SKYFALL did.

    Looks nice, though…

  442. I think i might stand judgment to when I see it. People here seem to look at SKYFALL in a different light to me.

  443. Spectre is poop.

    Nice fluid master shot at the beginning, great train fight. Everything else is poop.

  444. Looks like Craig’s retiring from the Bond franchise. If that really is the case it would make the ending of SPECTRE the best farewell to a series for any actor ever.

  445. I wouldn’t go as far to say that yet. As far as I’ve read, he’s just being courted for this TV show. Hasn’t signed anything yet.

  446. Caught SPECTRE on netflix tonight (lady friends choice, I wanted to watch FACE/OFF for the 50th time but I also want to get laid later on so it’s a fair compromise), and I can sum up my feeling about Bond quicker than it took me to scroll past the 450 comments on this thread to get here – there is no reason for this franchise to continue existing. There is nothing at stake, no new surprises, just same old same old same old.

    I did enjoy the brief violent flourishes – Bond getting his dome drilled, Bautista eye-gouging an adversary. Maybe because Secret Agent Man has been Meta-shized on film so well the past few years with THE KINGSMAN etc and blended with comedy like SPY and even GRIMSBY, that a new Bond feels like a non-event to me.

  447. The box office returns tells us that Bond will be around for a while. People want to see something familiar and safe when they pay a weeks wage to take the family to the cinema. And since Craig is the best 007 ever, why should they stop now?

  448. I’m sure the Broccolis are backing up dump trucks full of money onto Daniel Craig’s estate just on the off chance that he agrees to another film.

    SPECTRE was a bit of a mess. The filmmakers seemed to overestimate the audience’s attachment to Blofield. Just having your villain spout off a monologue connecting him to your hero’s childhood doesn’t make the audience emotionally invested in their rivalry. It was just lazy storytelling.

    I do think the entire sequence in Mexico City was superb, and I quite liked Skyfall. I’ll even go on record as saying that Casino Royale is my favorite Bond film. And The Man from UNCLE was stylish and fun. So I think there’s still life left in the spy movie genre, despite the fact that the latest Bond and Bourne disappointed.

  449. Don’t know if this says more about my attention span or the sameness of the recent Bond films, but I can’t recall a single scene, sequence, character(apart from the regulars), line of dialogue or plot point from SKYFALL.

    RBatty – My cinema viewing of UNCLE didn’t leave a great impression, but it’s since grown on me. I think it may be the best Ritchie film to date. His style actually complimented the action scenes. And that jeep chase was pretty damn good.

  450. I think UNCLE is pretty underrated in general, but in particular I love its soundtrack. The score is both propulsive and eerie in a way that recalls Lalo Schifrin, and the needle drops are all classic soul songs and weird bits of obscure 60s exotica. It sets a period tone but also sounds very modern. It all gives the movie a distinct flavor and personality that most movies in this budget range would shy away from for fear of alienating some segment of the audience. I really dig it.

  451. U.N.C.L.E. left me surprisingly cold. The leads had a great chemistry and I liked that the story was played tongue in cheek, without becoming jokey (that would’ve made the super tasteless misstep, where one bad guy reveals himself as Nazi torturer, even worse), the score was great (especially the track “Taking You Down” is a fixture on my playlists) and I have to give them credit for not forcing a Robert Vaughn and/or David McCallum cameo into the movie, but when it was over, I felt completely indifferent about it.
    Except for the super strange feeling, that this was made by a director with one of the visually strongest voices out there, but it felt completely anonymous. Ritchie is the guy, who even made the constant timeramping, that made earlier Zack Snyder movies so unwatchable, super exciting and effective, but the climactic chase scene looked with its shaking and shutter use, like something from a TV director, who never directed anything remotely resembling an actionfilm before.

    But it was still better than the Bond movies of the 21st century, I guess.

  452. Coincidentally I watched it on the same day as BIG EYES, which solved the question what happens, when you remove all of Tim Burton’s trademarks from a Tim Burton movie (The result is not a good one.), so it was an interesting mainstream-autheurs-remain-anonymous double feature.

  453. I don’t know CJ, that chase scene gave me the biggest smile. It had Show-Off Ritchie all over it, but in a way that lifted the movie. Some great zooms in there. Up to that point there had been very few of his over-used trademarks. Much of the movie had a restrained style. It had style, don’t get me wrong, but not his usual bag of tricks. Mostly.

  454. CJ, I feel like you saw a completely different film than I did. For me, that chase scene was one of the film’s highlights. It’s hard to shoot a chase scene and still make it distinctive, but I thought Man from UNCLE succeeded. Maybe the movie just isn’t for you, but I would recommend giving it another try. You might like it the second time around.

    I’m also all for Guy Ritchie taking on big budget films. He makes them distinctive, and his brand of filmmaking is more suited for flashy special effects movies than small indies. I’m actually excited to see what he’s going to make of that King Arthur film.

  455. So are we saying that Ritchie would be a good Bond director?

  456. That would be a waste of talent. If you have to give him an established movie franchise, make it one, where the directors can at least leave some of their personal fingerprints on screen, like a Marvel movie, Alien or Mission: Impossible.

  457. Ritchie is already turning into another Tim Burton, i.e. a distinctive stylist who just does cover versions of established properties. We don’t need to encourage him.

  458. CJ, but isn’t that just what Bond is, a franchise where one of the elements that has kept it alive for 50 years is the different directors personal touches. It is at least very easy to spot the differences between, let’s say a Terence Young movie and a Guy Hamilton movie. Now that Sam Mendes is out I would think that a Guy Ritchie or a Matthew Vaughn would represent a welcome change in style.

  459. I don’t think anybody thinks that at all. In fact, Bond is considered the poster boy for “franchise that puts a stranglehold on any idiosyncrasy that might be considered off-brand.” It changes with the times, sure, but thats because the producers chase trends, not because of any kind of authorial stamp on the part of its directors.

  460. “It changes with the times, sure, but thats because the producers chase trends, not because of any kind of authorial stamp on the part of its directors.”

    I agree and sometimes they fail miserably. One of the worst examples of that was MOONRAKER. They tried to appeal to a STAR WARS audience without a singular understanding of what made STAR WARS a success. They still thought the style of 2001 was the way to go, which showed you how out of touch they were at the time.

    I don´t think the personal stamp is as important as pegsman makes out. They are not that distinct.

  461. I agree with you. They are clearly working with a “if it ain’t broke” philosofy. But if you look a bit closer you can spot the little differences…And understand what makes one a super hit and the next one barely a hit.

  462. That last one was an answer to Majestyk. But Shoot, they might fail in our eyes, but they are still commercial successes. And as a film fanatic I think it’s interesting to see what they do to still bring people in after 50 years.

  463. I do feel some slight of disappointment in SPECTRE. It felt way to franchise-ey than episodic, which is how I like my Bond served.

  464. EON was Marvel Studios before Marvel Studios, they pretty much know what they want the next one to be before they even settle on a director most likely. Look at the two Martin Campbell directed, they look and feel like two completely different directors (though this may be a bad example as Campbell is a journeyman). When THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH came out they made a big deal about how they had a critic-darling director but the movie felt and looked just like Brosnan’s last two, so in that way EON was ahead of the time with what is commonplace in Hollywood now. I wasn’t surprised in the least when Tartintino was talking about wanting to do a take on CASION ROYALE (arguably Tarantino says he wants to do lots of movies) and EON had a ‘no thanks’ to him. That’s why I was confused when fans were outraged when EON and Brosnan apparently really wanted Brett Ratner (this was after DIE ANOTHER DAY) to make one as if the Bond series is known for using auteurs and now they were going for a jobber journeyman.

    I thought SKYFALL was really bad and SPECTRE only a little better, but at least Bond doesn’t ‘romantically’ rape a sex-worker in the latter and then makes a funny quip when she’s killed so we the audience can see how EVIL the scary gay bad guy is (scene with Bellucci is a bit rapey though). Action and everything else was worse and they waste Batista. SPECTRE had the funny thing of insisting to us that Madeleine is Bond’s soul-mate but Craig and Seydoux have zero chemistry. This is even funnier when earlier in the movie Craig and Bellucci where lighting up the screen with their chemistry, if they had any artistic integrity they would have switched the roles around (and completely reworked the script from the ground up because it was awful). Funnier is spending millions of dollars and years to get the rights to Blofeld and Spectre back only to hilariously then make every wrong-headed decision with them when they do get them back.

  465. For some reason Vern never reviewed THE QUEST (“The CITIZEN KANE of martial art films” -Jean Claude Van Damme) so I guess I’ll put this here:

    Sir Roger Moore, James Bond actor, dies aged 89 - BBC News

    Actor Sir Roger Moore, best known for playing James Bond, has died aged 89, his family announces.

    I know most of us here aren’t the biggest Bond fans and I doubt that the Moore ones are held up all that high. Still for better or worse, by modern standards Moore would have probably been considered a big action star for over a decade. It’s pretty boring but FOR YOUR EYES ONLY showed he could do a decent straight hard-edged Bond if prompted. I think my favorites are MOONRAKER for it’s uncompromising silliness and A VIEW TO A KILL for an early version what we take for granted now: an old guy playing a character clearly meant to be much younger and sleeping with women who seem to be old enough to be his grand-daughters (yes I realize both of those are probably his least liked ones).

    That said, I think Vern should review THE QUEST.

  466. If you’re going to see just one of Roger Moore’s movies, see THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. Easily one of best efforts, and perhaps the most entertaining Bond adventures.

  467. Sad to hear of Moore’s passing. I always loved him as Bond – his first three JBs are ones I really dig (the latter three, not so much). He really was one of those actors I “grew up with”.

    I’d also love to see Vern take on THE QUEST, which is a cracking 90s JCVD vehicle, as well as the only film he ever directed (which alone makes it worth a view?)

  468. Which is the one serious one he did? I might finally give that one a chance. Bond has never been my cup of tea for the most part but I gotta respect the one guy who didn’t start complaining the second he got the role.

  469. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY was his masterpiece but I always dug LIVE AND LET DIE the most. R.I.P. Mr. Moore. Thanks for the memories.

  470. Oh, and didn’t JCVD direct another movie a few years back that never got released?

    I mean, how bad does a DTV action movie with a marquee name have to be to sit on a shelf? I’d love to find out.

  471. THE SAINT was also a pretty damn good series and his greatest non-Bond showcase. Surpised it hasn’t been remade again.

  472. SPY WHO LOVES ME is always mentioned (for good reason, it plays with the familiar Bond tropes that were solidified in YOU ONLY TWICE very nicely) so I wanted to mention two of his that I enjoy but always get shat upon. I can’t defend OCTOPUSSY though, such a name deserved a much better movie.
    -I’m more in line where I watched all of the Bonds but there are only like two or three I’d say I fully liked/loved.

    I too always had a weakness for LIVE AND LET DIE and not just because of it’s partial New Orleans setting. MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is a pale imitation of the novel but it has Christopher Lee giving a great performance that automatically elevates it and helps to save it from an other wise so-so at best movie.

  473. MOONRAKER rules partly because Jaws finds love….in space!!!

    More of the henchmen in these things should be humanized like that. Adds character.

  474. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is often referred to as his “serious” one, but THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is a better legacy for him as a movie star. They both have their fair share of over the top action scenes, but in the latter he gets a lot more to do as a physical actor. He hated making THE QUEST, by the way. According to his memoirs Van Damme and Avi Lerner are the worst human beings on the planet.

  475. I totally forgot about FOR YOUR EYES ONLY – I remember loving that one the last time I saw it. He plays Bond as one ice cold mutha in that one.

    Mr M, the unreleased JCVD flick is called FULL LOVE and I think there’s a trailer on YT. Van Damme keeps saying he’s “re-editing” it and mentions release dates here and there but so far, nothing.

    It’s basically his THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED.

  476. pegs: His performance shows he wasn’t digging his time on THE QUEST! I heard rumor that he wasn’t happy making the thing, I will admit I was very American in thinking that it was probably just he felt he was above such material (even though he starred in and gave much more lively performances in other low-brow stuff such as CANNONBALL RUN). I’ll have to read his memoirs then if he talks about THE QUEST. Now that you mention his distaste for Van Damme, it makes sense, EVERYone who worked with him said he was the shittiest human being on the planet around that time (mid-to-late-90s). Him directing himself shows that his ego was at maximum so I can only imagine how shitty it must have been to be on that set.

    Broddie: That is one of things I always go back for. Usually there is no room for anyone not Bond to have a romance (if you call unmitigated lust, romance that is). But Jaws finds love and I for one choose to decide to he found ever-lasting love, not just a quick fling like ol’ Jimmy always has. Sure Robert Shaw in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is the best henchman, but Jaws was given a soul and interests outside of just doing his asshole boss(es) jobs.

    Mr. M brings up a good point, what is it about the Bond role that makes every actor but like two instantly hate that they got it? As far as I know Lazenby has never had any ill-will.

  477. Moore’s most popular not-Bond role in Germany is one, that isn’t really popular anywhere else and ironically Moore had nothing to do with its popularity here. I’m talking about the short-lived 70s TV show THE PERSUADERS, in which he starred alongside Tony Curtis. The reason for its cult status here, is that it has an (intentionally) hilarious dub, that ignores most of the original dialogue and has the protagonist constantly crack joke after joke. It’s just too bad, that this unfortunately started the trend of “joke dubs”, which often ruined some otherwise great movies and TV shows. But THE PERSUADERS? That one is great!

    Anyway, RIP Roger Moore. I’m glad his last movie wasn’t BOAT TRIP, since this one made him want to retire, even if he didn’t do anything relevant afterwards.

  478. Also want to second Broddie’s THE SAINT praise. Watching it, it is easy to see why the producers felt in good hands with him.

    Karlos: I hope the reason FULL LOVE hasn’t seen release is because Van Damme has gotten lost in the edit Terrence Malick-style and if we do ever get it, it will be just like Mallick film and be 90% establishing and nature shots and a bunch of drama scenes that feel like we’re missing another scene to establish the one we’re watching at that time.

  479. I loved THE PERSUADERS!

  480. Here’s the most recent trailer to FULL LOVE AKA THE EAGLE PATH AKA SOLDIERS:

    The Eagle Path - Official Trailer 2015

    Full Love AKA Soldiers AKA The Eagle Path - is an upcoming action drama written, produced, edited, and directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme.

  481. Moore directed a few episodes of THE SAINT and THE PERSUADERS. For instance the one where Soimon Templar fights a giant ant, and it’s actually not as crazy as it sounds!

  482. Ooops, didn’t mean to make him sound Irish. It’s Simon not Soimon.

  483. For those who aren’t big on JB, I would recommend ESCAPE TO ATHENA, THE WILD GEESE or NORTH SEA HIJACK. That’s Moore at his best outside the world of 007.

  484. I second the recommendation for ESCAPE TO ATHENA. Very good movie that doesn’t get spoken about enough.

  485. Another one to check out is THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF – Moore’s personal fave, I think – certainly his finest acting, he always said.

    Was a rare one to get but now it’s out on UK Blu-ray.

    I’ll always love THE WILD GEESE – nice to see it get a shout out on here. When he calls those two drug dealers “beauties” it never fails to make me smile.

    Cheers, Rog, you were great.

  486. geoffreyjar- Lazenby thought Bond was pretty unhip, so he split, but I think Dalton has always been pretty upbeat about his time with the series, particularly considering he became a bit of a whipping boy

  487. Yeah that documentary, I think it was EVERYTHING OR NOTHING (not the video game), spent a lot of time on Lazenby’s series of awful choices that led him to quit. You kinda want to feel bad for him but even as he tells it, he did it all to himself. On the bright side it freed him up to do the far more hip (I guess) THE MAN FROM HONG KONG.

  488. The Laz did actually have, by my standards, a much “hipper” career than any other Bond. Shit, any actor, Bond or not, should be so lucky as to have an Aldo Lado gialli, an aborted Bruce Lee vehicle, and a Bogandovich joint on her or his CV.

    I saw all the classic era (DR. NO to A VIEW TO A KILL) Bond flicks as a squirt and the Moore ones were my favorites, mainly because they eased off the reactionary first semester polisci student conception of Cold War geopolitics in favor of malevolent circus folk and Julius Harris of Jim Crow neorealist classic NOTHING BUT A MAN feeding raw meat to alligators with a robot hand. Some of the stunt work is just nuts – those dudes in the MOONRAKER opening are literally flying.

  489. I totally forgot he was going to be in the original Bruce-directed GAME OF DEATH!

  490. And ironically it was Moore who got to do the martial arts Bond.

  491. Danish Television were the first here in Scandinavia to air a Moore movie. LIVE AND LET DIE yesterday. Pretty much at the same time Yaphet Kotto wrote a nice piece about the big man on facebook.

  492. In honor of Roger Moore, I rewatched For Your Eyes Only, and it’s honestly a lot better than I remember it. I’ve always considered it the best Roger Moore film, even if The Spy Who Loved Me and Octopussy are both more indicative of his run as Bond. Director John Glen and his cinematographer take full advantage of the extra wide aspect ratio. The film is gorgeously shot. Carole Bouquet is a pretty badass Bond girl, and I love that her weapon of choice is a crossbow. It’s never explained why. It just seems to be a personal preference. Also, I didn’t realize until now that this is the same actress who starred in Luis Bunuel’s final film That Obscure Object of Desire. I thought the action was really well staged, especially the car chase in Spain and the ski chase in northern Italy. (Apparently, a stunt man died during the latter sequence).

  493. zero-mentality

    May 26th, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    The biggest problem with FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is that Julian Glover is cold oatmeal as the heavy and his reveal is totally limp. If they reversed the casting and had the roguishly charming but convincingly thuggish Topol play the ally-but-really-villain role that twist would have landed so much harder.

  494. But who really cares about the twists in a James Bond-film?

  495. Not the hipsters on this sight, but regular people perhaps?

  496. But Bond-movies have always been stylish travelogue adventures with cool shit happening in exotic locations. That is what has drawn people in from the beginning, Granted back when Bond was new people did not have the same possibilities of travels as of now in terms of economics so it was exciting to see exotic environments as a way of escapism. The plots were never that important. The colourful villains, locations, gadgets, awesome music and at the times revulutionary actio set pieces was what drew people to them.

    But as times have moved on, people seem to like them because they are cute and reminds them of simpler times. Tradition and nostalgia travels a long way and therefor they manage to stay i the popular consciousness.

    Plot has never had anything to do with the success of James Bond.

  497. I thought the twist was fine, and I liked the bromance that happened between Bond and Topol, so I’m glad he didn’t end up being a bad guy. The most embarrassing element in the entire film is the sixteen year old figure skater who throws herself at Bond. Even as a kid, I knew this was creepy and weird.

    I really liked the death of Locque. He’s in his car that’s teetering on the edge of a cliff, and then Bond throws in the little dove insignia that Locque had placed with Bond’s contact in Italy after killing him, and you think that this little bit of extra weight is going to, cartoonlike, topple the car off the cliff, but then Bond’s just like, fuck it, and kicks the car into the rocks below.

  498. Moore didn’t like that scene. He thought it made Bond look too mean and cynical.

  499. That scene is certainly unexpected. It’s also kind of interesting because throughout the film Bond is criticizing Carole Bouquet’s character because she’s seeking revenge for her parent’s death, but here he brutally kills a dude because that guy killed his contact and then later a lady Bond slept with. So it’s a bit hypocritical.

  500. In the hands of Connery, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan or Craig we wouldn’t have thought nothing of it. But Moore just wasn’t like that.

  501. Anyone seen the new George Lazenby documentary, Becoming Bond, yet?

    It looks good, but the re-enactments with some guy who looks nothing like Lazenby seem off.

  502. Well I wasn’t looking forward to re-watching Skyfall at all, since I remember it being pretty good but also kind of dumb and massively overrated. Plus the bad taste of Spectre killed any goodwill I had towards Sam Mendes when it comes to this series. But yeah, I fell in love with it this time – I may even be one of those basic noobs who thinks it’s the “Best Bond Ever”, which is something I never thought I’d say when Casino Royale exists.

    The theme song is obviously great, but I forgot how awesome the opening credit sequence is. The electronic-y score is perfect – I’d actually go out and get this soundtrack which I don’t think I’ve said about a movie in a while. I knew everyone loved the cinematography but HOLY SHIT the shot composition in this movie is insane. I don’t think I even pay attention to shot composition in like 99% of movies, but almost every frame here is a work of art – where characters stand and how they interact with the framing and the background – it’s almost The Shining-era Kubrickian how much thought went into it here. I think most people have soured on Bardem as a villain, but I absolutely loved what he was doing – bring in a cool look/visual gimmick, do some Nic Cage-y mega-acting, be equal parts delightful and scary – that’s all I really ask for. He may not have the gravitas and seriousness of Mads Mikkelson in Royale, but you kinda can’t really compare the two characters.

    So general filmmaking competence aside, I think Skyfall’s main strength is in its script, which I previously thought was the worst part of it. It’s not exactly perfect, but it’s kind of The Last Jedi of the Bond Series – it’s a movie-length subversion and critique of the entire series, where there’s so much rich thematical content and “big ideas” to chew on, that you sorta have to forgive the sloppiness of the way the script gets you to these points. Big action sequences aside, I love how the script plays like Blade Runner or a Tarantino movie – it’s mostly long conversations between people who are negotiating or interrogating each other – feigning sympathy, poking holes trying to find the other person’s weakness, bluffing and counterbluffing. It’s the poker angle of Casino Royale writ large. I know everyone has commented that M is the actual Bond Girl this time, and I absolutely love that just like Vesper, you kinda don’t know at the end how much real affection she had for Bond, or how much she would still gladly send him to his death, or if the two things have to be mutually exclusive in the first place. Making M her most sympathetic, yet her most manipulative (and possibly outright villainous) in the same movie is a masterstroke.

    Another serious question for you guys: Is there any political/social meaning in the reveal that Bond is Scottish at the end? (Has that ever been shown in any of the previous films?) I mean, I know an action movie can shift it’s setting in the climax without trying to make a statement, but I think the movie is really trying to say something, especially when it parallels Bond shooting targets poorly with his trademark Walther PPK at the beginning and then shooting targets expertly at the end with a double barrel shotgun. “James Bond is really a good ole country boy at heart” is not something I figured a movie would be saying, but isn’t that sort of what it’s saying? Is this like if the climax of a Bourne movie had Matt Damon taking the girl back to Oklahoma or Texas for the final showdown? Does Scotland have a Red State/Blue State relationship with England? I’m seriously in the dark so I’m really curious about this.

  503. Scotland fucking HATES England is all I know. I guess maybe they don’t hate it as much as they used to since a few years ago there was a real chance for Scotland to split from it but they put it to a public vote and it got voted down. But I think it was close. From what little I know, I think Scotland actually is kind of a cash cow (how, I have no idea) and yet England treats them like shit (again, I’m not sure how). That’s all I’ve got as a mostly uninformed American.

  504. Neal, I’m pretty sure it’s just that Ian Fleming made Bond Scottish as a tribute to Connery in books written after his casting, and ever since then it’s been hanging out in Bond canon.

  505. In the books Bond is Scottish-Swiss, with no birthplace mentioned, but I’m not sure if that ever came up in the films prior to SKYFALL. People watching the Connery movies when they came out would likely have assumed the character was from Scotland. There’s a story that Fleming gave Bond a Scottish father in deference to Connery’s casting, though I’ve heard that’s a myth, and his ancestry was already established in early draughts of ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE.

    Regardless, in the movies he’s often identified himself as English. Even in SKYFALL. (“Country?” “England.”) There’s certainly an implication in SKYFALL that he’s rejected the family manor out of childhood trauma, but I don’t think it was intended as any kind of political statement. It’s hard to mesh Scottish nationalism with his acceptance of M’s bulldog at the end of the film. As for his marksmanship, Bond magically regains his expert handgun skills in SKYFALL five seconds after Sévérine’s death.

  506. The transient nature of a character’s skill set is something I’ve come to accept in a lot of Western movies (as opposed to HK cinema where even the 76 year old Grandma in the noodle shop turns out to possess some pretty legit kung fu moves).

    So, Martin Riggs in LW1 uses his considerable skills in hand to hand combat to put down Gary Busey. Said skills mysteriously evaporate in LW2 as Riggs gets his ass handed to him by a South African henchman. They remain rusty in LW3 when Renee Russo needs to intervene when he’s taking another serious beating. But they’re back in time for him to go toe to toe with Jet Li in LW4.

    The raspy voiced weaselly Baddie who’s clearly the desk bound strategist who outsources all the heavy work in MI5 suddenly develops fearsome fighting skills to take on Rebecca Ferguson’s trained field agent in MI6.

    Ludacris’s master mechanic from F&F2 turns out to be a hacker extraordinaire by the time of FF5 and equally handy at dishing out beatings by the time FF7 rolled along.

    By comparison, Bond losing and regaining his marksmanship in the span of 30 mins is small potatoes.

  507. Thanks for the input guys. I just rewatched Spectre and will try to be vague in case Vern still hasn’t seen it, but I’ll just say I had more fun watching it the second time, even though it’s still kind of terrible. If you watch it through the same lens as Godzilla vs. Kong, where you’re like, “Ok this is basically the exact opposite of what you guys said this rebooted series was going to be back in Movie #1, but I guess it’s fine for what it is”, then it’s not as offensively bad. But at least Godzilla vs. Kong had some pretty ridiculous action and tons of it – Spectre is entirely perfunctory and lazy when it comes to its action beats, like “oh man, do we really have to do a car chase? Alright, let’s have one and have nothing really of note happen in it and then let’s move on to the next circle-jerk easter egg”.

    It’s kinda like how older Bond movies scrambled to put in bits and pieces of the original Fleming novels in the movies after Fleming died and couldn’t write new stuff for them. Except now we’re getting to the point where Bond movies are entirely made up of remixed and reworked sequences from older Bond movies. It’s basically the Scary Movie “I got that reference!” thing except it’s supposed to be highbrow, and instead of being used as jokes, it’s the entire movie from beginning to end. For the love of God, Spectre even has a reference to Casino Royale’s first scene at the end, shot and edited the same way. How did we get to this point? Will the next Craig have references to itself while you’re actually watching the movie?

    I do have to admit I did have a big grin during much of Spectre this time though. I can’t really justify it – the plot is terrible, Waltz is the worst Craig villain yet. Seydoux and Craig have zero chemistry. The theme song may be the worst in the series, and the credit sequence might be down there too. I guess I just realized while watching it that since Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall all seem to be prequels to the OG James Bond series (with each movie ending on a triumphant “NOW he’s James Bond!” note), Spectre is basically a fast-forwarded remake of Bonds 1-5 (the S.P.E.C.T.R.E arc), kinda like the way Friday the 13th 2009 was a remake of Friday the 13ths I-IV. I have no idea what’s even left to do in No Time to Die, but I’m really excited to find out now.

  508. Finally saw No Time to Die. Will say very little because I suspect most people haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but I liked it alot. Which normally sounds like a complement but I sorta feel like it needs to be an “I loved it!” to match its ambitions. I will have to say (NO SPOILERS) – 1) I was wondering what Bond tropes were left to do after the previous Craigs seemed to have used them all – this one brings back silly world domination plots and eye-rolling one-liners, both of which work surprisingly better in the Craig era than I expected, 2) For those wondering if the next gen Bond will borrow from John Wick – it’s already happened. Craig mows down more people in this one than the rest of his movies combined, complete with a long “one-take” sequence because of course there has to be one. Like the movie, the action sequences are very good but not great. 3) If you’re somehow not already in love with Ana de Armas, you will be after this. She absolutely steals the show and I suspect the next generation of Bond Girls will be patterned after her here.

    Won’t say much more but yeah, Craig’s run as Bond will be remembered fondly and makes for a solid binge-watch (even though you could totally cut out Quantum of Solace if you wanted to and it wouldn’t make much of a difference at all).

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