Spy Games: James Bond is back in SKYFALL (2012)

Warning! There are spoilers on the road ahead.

When the first promotional photo for SKYFALL (2012) was released earlier this year it caused a minor uproar. It was an azure-tinted picture of Daniel Craig’s muscular back as he sits poolside, solitarily contemplating his next move. It was reminiscent of a promotional photo from Craig’s debut as James Bond in CASINO ROYAL (2006) that showed him emerging from the ocean like a Greek god, much like Ursula Andress’ enchanting entrance in DR. NO (1962), which had embedded itself into the minds and imaginations of countless men and adolescent boys decades earlier. The public’s response to Daniel Craig’s wet torso was somewhat mixed but women (and some men) seemed to love the unusual direction that the publicity campaign for SKYFALL took. They openly swooned over Craig’s imposing physique while many male fans of the Bond series were left wondering where was the designer suit, the gun and the girl? Craig’s nudity seemed casual and unrestrained making the character of James Bond appear exposed and defenseless. His body was being artfully used to sell the Bond mystique and in the past that was a job usually reserved for beautiful women. The Bond girls are renowned for their physical assets and have been used as promotional tools for decades but they’ve got competition now. And while it’s true that previous Bond actors including Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan had their fair share of female fans, the character’s masculine charms have never been exploited in such a direct way. 007 is back, quite literally, but he’s not your father’s James Bond and the first publicity photo from SKYFALL illustrates that point beautifully.

James Bond has been thrilling audiences for 50 years but the popular film franchise has seen plenty of ups and downs. When the films were good they took audiences on a fun and frivolous ride doused in glamor and punctuated by wise cracks, comic book villains, deadly dames and ridiculous gadgets. This formula worked particularly well in the ‘60s as we watched 007 easily maneuver through the corridors of power while disposing of cold war enemies who constantly threatened to invade his bachelor pad and put an end to his swinging lifestyle. A great score, breathtaking action sequences and some eye-popping visuals can easily mask a weak script and any questionable directing choices but as the franchise struggled to remain relevant this formula for success seemed to get more strained and frayed around the edges. By the time Timothy Dalton took over the role of Bond my own interest in the film series had bottomed out. I continued to fondly look back at the early Bond movies and was happy to revisit them but they were dazzling relics from another era that often felt disconnected from our modern world.



The loosely defined War on Terror has replaced The Cold War and our general mistrust of government has become epidemic. It’s much harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys these days and James Bond had become an outdated hero who soldiered on without questioning himself or his alliances. But that seemed to change when Daniel Craig was hired to play 007. In CASINO ROYAL Craig gave us a new kind of Bond who was redefining his role in the world and willing to risk all for love. Unfortunately QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008) felt like a step backward. That was partially due to the unsubstantial action driven plot, Bond’s grim approach to saving the day and the lack of quality supporting players. As fascinating as the character is, 007 needs to be surrounded by an interesting and appealing supporting cast or it becomes all too easy to lose interest in his escapades. Following the lackluster response to QUANTUM OF SOLACE the future looked grim for James Bond. The film franchise was put on life support when MGM announced that they were facing bankruptcy but with the 50th anniversary approaching producers were able to overcome financial setbacks and hire Oscar winning director Sam Mendes, along with screenwriter John Logan, and the talented cinematographer Roger Deakins to inject 007 with some much needed life. Their combined skills brought us SKYALL and it’s become one of the most critically acclaimed Bond films in the franchise’s long history but they’re not the only reason for the film’s success. SKYFALL also benefits from having a great cast of supporting players working alongside Daniel Craig including Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney and Dame Judi Dench.

A lot happens in SKYFALL, a film that uses its intriguing title in much the same way that CITIZEN KANE made use of the vague and mysterious “Rosebud.” The character of James Bond eventually comes apart like a Russian nesting doll as we’re invited to imagine his retirement, visit his ancestral home, discover how he got his dry sense of humor, consider his ambiguous relationship with M and contemplate his many sins as well as the sins of the government he works for. Bond is no longer just a dashing British playboy who hunts down bad guys for the good of Queen and country. He’s a deeply flawed and scarred middle-aged killer with a lot of blood on his hands. And instead of tracking down mysterious evildoers living in volcanoes he’s battling members of his own organization in the heart of London.

All of these changes to the Bond formula have a few fans crying foul so why does the film work so well for me? First and foremost it contains many of the key elements found in the most successful Bond films. Glamor? Check! This is one of the best-looking Bond films in decades. The lush settings combined with Roger Deakins’s exceptional cinematography and Sam Mendes’ smart directing choices make SKY FALL a dazzling and decadent visual feast. Wisecracks? Check! The humor’s low-key and surprisingly sharp but I was amazed by how many times I found myself chuckling or smiling during the movie. Comic book villains? Check! Javier Bardem has a hell of a good time playing Silva, a rogue MI6 agent who threatens to bring down the entire organization. In many ways he’s Bond’s evil doppelganger and Bardem brings just the right amount of camp and creepiness to the role. Deadly dames? Check! But this time the real threat to Bond’s life are the women in his own organization. For the first time in Bond’s history he’s shot and put out of commission by a female agent (Naomie Harris) and comes to realize that he’s merely cannon fodder for M (Judi Dench). Ridiculous gadgets? Check! Although it becomes clear that MI6 is a failing organization that the British government no longer wants to fund, the new Q (Ben Whishaw) was able to provide Bond with a couple of small but important gadgets that eventually save his life.



Besides all the above, I found SKYFALL particularly fascinating for the way it attempted to deconstruct Bond’s character and explore his complicated sexual history. In 2012 sex is no longer a simple distraction or a quick pleasurable escape for James Bond. It’s a menacing power play that often ends with deadly results. Bond uses sex to level the playing field between his attractive coworker Eve (Naomie Harris), who he obviously felt got the best of him when she accidentally shot him. Bond doesn’t seduce Eve but it’s suggested that their relationship is more than just professional. And although Bond is somewhat of a broken man at the start of the film, he emerges from his erotic encounter with Eve in a Shanghai hotel like a man reborn as he goes in search of his next conquest. And she arrives quickly in the form of Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe), a sex worker apparently forced into the trade who is currently being controlled by Bond’s nemesis, Silva. Bond immediately sizes Sévérine up and realizes the only way to get to Silva is through her and the best weapon at his disposal is his body. Bond takes complete advantage of Sévérine and exploits her weakness, which is sex. She’s merely an attractive block in the road during Bond’s quest to reach Silvia and when Sévérine meets her deadly end it’s sudden and ugly. She’s just one of many causalities in a film with a surprisingly high body count but her death is particularly unsettling and bluntly illustrates why Silva is such a monster. Her death’s  also a disturbing reminder that Bond and Silva share some common DNA. These two cold-hearted government agents have only one purpose and that purpose is to complete their missions; no matter how many dead bodies they leave in their wake.

And what to make of Javier Bardem’s Silva? If you’ve seen the film or read any reviews you may have heard that Bond and Silva have one of the most unusual exchanges in 007’s history. After capturing Bond and tying him to a chair, the sexually ambivalent Silva attempts to seduce our man suggesting that, “There’s a first time for everything – eh, Mr. Bond?” While Bond casually responds with, “What makes you think this is my first time?” Their brief back-and-forth shatters any preconceived notions about Bond’s sexuality and destroys the idea that he’s the “ultimate straight male fantasy.” The truth is that Bond is a male fatale and his body is just another weapon in his arsenal. A lot of critics don’t seem to understand this aspect of Bond’s character and are easy to dismiss him as a misogynistic creep with an unquenchable sexual appetite. And while it’s absolutely true that James Bond is somewhat of a dinosaur who often has little regard for the women in his life, it’s also true that he’s got a job to do and work is the only thing that truly matters to 007. He’s a well-oiled killing machine, more misanthropic than misogynist in my estimation, and his fleeting romances always (or eventually) take a backseat to the mission he’s on.

How viewers respond to this unraveling of Bond’s character will depend on a number of things but I personally found SKYFALL extremely entertaining although the film isn’t without its flaws. I wish an editor had been on hand to make cuts to a couple of the extended action sequences that book-ended the film and I think the writers could have taken more care in constructing a back-story for Bond but the fact that they even attempted such a feat is worth cheering. After three films Daniel Craig has truly made the character of 007 his own and he’s able to successfully carry the immeasurable weight of James Bond’s legacy on his broad shoulders. SKYFALL isn’t just one of the best films in the Bond franchise, it’s also one of the few that pacts an emotional wallop worthy of the character. I have no idea where we go from here but I look forward to finding out.

As regular Morlock readers know, I’ve been covering the 50th anniversary of James Bond all year. Here a few links to some Bond related stories that you might want to revisit:

- Spy Games: James Bond at 50
- Spy Games: 6 Months and Counting (a further look at the events surrounding James Bonds 50th anniversary)
- Talking With Trina: An Interview with Trina Parks (one of the stars of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER)
- John Barry 1933-2011: The Beat Goes On (a tribute to one of the composers of the memorable James Bond theme)

0 Response Spy Games: James Bond is back in SKYFALL (2012)
Posted By Susan Doll : November 23, 2012 6:59 pm

Skyfall is the first Bond movie that I actually got invested in. I have never been a fan of the Bond franchise, even those films with Sean Connery, for the reasons most male fans like them. They are so adolescent in the depiction of women, gadgets, and vehicles. I had hopes for Pierce Brosnan as Bond, but unfortunately a new actor as Bond did not result in an update of the material and approach. I liked Casino Royale and was relieved it was at least a serious film. But, Skyfall definitely made the character complex and interesting. The film deconstructed the character of James Bond, and in doing so, it laid bare the meaning of that character over the last 50 years. It suggests that that meaning is long past its time. Such a smart movie. Excellent post, Miss Kimberly.

Posted By Susan Doll : November 23, 2012 6:59 pm

Skyfall is the first Bond movie that I actually got invested in. I have never been a fan of the Bond franchise, even those films with Sean Connery, for the reasons most male fans like them. They are so adolescent in the depiction of women, gadgets, and vehicles. I had hopes for Pierce Brosnan as Bond, but unfortunately a new actor as Bond did not result in an update of the material and approach. I liked Casino Royale and was relieved it was at least a serious film. But, Skyfall definitely made the character complex and interesting. The film deconstructed the character of James Bond, and in doing so, it laid bare the meaning of that character over the last 50 years. It suggests that that meaning is long past its time. Such a smart movie. Excellent post, Miss Kimberly.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 23, 2012 7:21 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed my post, Susan. SKYFALL is really the first Bond film that asks the audience to try and understand who Bond is and why he does what he does. And thanks to the characters long history it’s not hard to become emotionally invested in the movie’s outcome. It’s also just a great looking action movie. The director’s hired to make these films rarely take the time to compose artful shots and Deakin’s cinematography is just tops. I’d like to see it again and I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about a Bond movie.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 23, 2012 7:21 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed my post, Susan. SKYFALL is really the first Bond film that asks the audience to try and understand who Bond is and why he does what he does. And thanks to the characters long history it’s not hard to become emotionally invested in the movie’s outcome. It’s also just a great looking action movie. The director’s hired to make these films rarely take the time to compose artful shots and Deakin’s cinematography is just tops. I’d like to see it again and I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about a Bond movie.

Posted By Cary Watson : November 23, 2012 11:36 pm

I’m actually going to go see it for a second time this Monday (my wife couldn’t see it with me the first time). I’m still a bit on the fence about SKYFALL. I loved its glossy, luxurious look, and the action sequences were crisp and clever. What holds me back from embracing it is the plot, or rather it’s lack of one. Javier Bardem creates a vast criminal organization just to get back at M? Really? And there has to be a moratorium on scriptwriters using hackers and hacking as a magic wand to explain the success or failure of any complex scheme. I also thought Craig didn’t get enough dialogue. Dench, Fiennes and Bardem get to speechify, and Bond is left with one-liner replies that are either quipy or tough guyish. Craig’s an excellent actor: use him more! All in all, I liked it enough to happily see it a second time. Here’s my review:

http://www.jettisoncocoon.com/2012/11/film-review-skyfall-2012.html

Posted By Cary Watson : November 23, 2012 11:36 pm

I’m actually going to go see it for a second time this Monday (my wife couldn’t see it with me the first time). I’m still a bit on the fence about SKYFALL. I loved its glossy, luxurious look, and the action sequences were crisp and clever. What holds me back from embracing it is the plot, or rather it’s lack of one. Javier Bardem creates a vast criminal organization just to get back at M? Really? And there has to be a moratorium on scriptwriters using hackers and hacking as a magic wand to explain the success or failure of any complex scheme. I also thought Craig didn’t get enough dialogue. Dench, Fiennes and Bardem get to speechify, and Bond is left with one-liner replies that are either quipy or tough guyish. Craig’s an excellent actor: use him more! All in all, I liked it enough to happily see it a second time. Here’s my review:

http://www.jettisoncocoon.com/2012/11/film-review-skyfall-2012.html

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 23, 2012 11:59 pm

Cary – I didn’t walk away from the film thinking Bardem’s character was only trying to get at M but I understand where you’re coming from. I felt that he was trying to make his mark on the entire organization and take a big bite out of MI6 as well. Of course he was inclined to make M his main target since she’s in charge and the cause of much of his grief. As for Craig, he seems to be playing Bond much like Steve McQueen or Alain Delon would so the lack of dialogue works for me. Craig might not be given a lot to say but like McQueen & Delon, he’s acting with his body and his eyes, which is often tougher to do than just spouting some well-written lines.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 23, 2012 11:59 pm

Cary – I didn’t walk away from the film thinking Bardem’s character was only trying to get at M but I understand where you’re coming from. I felt that he was trying to make his mark on the entire organization and take a big bite out of MI6 as well. Of course he was inclined to make M his main target since she’s in charge and the cause of much of his grief. As for Craig, he seems to be playing Bond much like Steve McQueen or Alain Delon would so the lack of dialogue works for me. Craig might not be given a lot to say but like McQueen & Delon, he’s acting with his body and his eyes, which is often tougher to do than just spouting some well-written lines.

Posted By Andrew : November 24, 2012 1:43 am

I particularly found interesting what you said about his body being just one of his weapons. Given the “first time” remark, makes you wonder if he has seduced a homosexual male villain at some point in the past? But understandably they aren’t going to do any more than allude to that at this stage. They have made a lot of changes to Bond franchise but I don’t think the studio thinks they can get away with dropping the ladies man image. Check out my page http://andrewsnewblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/skyfall/ thanks for your post. Andrew

Posted By Andrew : November 24, 2012 1:43 am

I particularly found interesting what you said about his body being just one of his weapons. Given the “first time” remark, makes you wonder if he has seduced a homosexual male villain at some point in the past? But understandably they aren’t going to do any more than allude to that at this stage. They have made a lot of changes to Bond franchise but I don’t think the studio thinks they can get away with dropping the ladies man image. Check out my page http://andrewsnewblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/skyfall/ thanks for your post. Andrew

Posted By Doug : November 24, 2012 2:05 am

Haven’t yet seen “Skyfall” but I did like Quantum of Solace more than most; the “Giallo” elements worked for me.
Possibly it’s because I’m no longer a youngster, but I am glad that Craig’s Bond doesn’t attempt to seduce every gorgeous woman in his path-that’s a male fantasy that got old a few decades ago.
I cheered when he fell for Vesper Lynd, who was not a (please forgive me) Bond bimbo. That Quantum focused on getting revenge on those who had killed her made for a strong story, in my opinion. It doesn’t always have to be about a volcano lair dwelling super ego villain.
I may see Skyfall this weekend.
“In many ways he’s Bond’s evil doppelganger…”-Shades of Robert Shaw in “From Russia With Love”!

Posted By Doug : November 24, 2012 2:05 am

Haven’t yet seen “Skyfall” but I did like Quantum of Solace more than most; the “Giallo” elements worked for me.
Possibly it’s because I’m no longer a youngster, but I am glad that Craig’s Bond doesn’t attempt to seduce every gorgeous woman in his path-that’s a male fantasy that got old a few decades ago.
I cheered when he fell for Vesper Lynd, who was not a (please forgive me) Bond bimbo. That Quantum focused on getting revenge on those who had killed her made for a strong story, in my opinion. It doesn’t always have to be about a volcano lair dwelling super ego villain.
I may see Skyfall this weekend.
“In many ways he’s Bond’s evil doppelganger…”-Shades of Robert Shaw in “From Russia With Love”!

Posted By Heidi : November 24, 2012 11:19 am

I loved Casino Royal-because it took the franchise back to the gritty Ian Flemming books. The franchise, to me, had gotten “too pretty” and soft for my taste. I loved the Sean Connery efforts, mostly because I loved him, but I liked the stories and the way they played out. The Pierce Brosnan tries were what I think of as the “dark period” of Bond. I like him as an actor in other things, but he is not Bond material. I was not impressed with Daniel Craig when he was first declared Bond, but that changed after I saw the first movie. He is a great Bond, and is so close to knocking Sean off my pedestal. Unfortunately I hated Quantum of Solace. It was, in my opinion, a terrible movie. We went to see Skyfall (in IMAX) last week, and I went into it with no expectations. I thought it swerved back into the good old gritty Bond. There were some REALLY slow parts-it sure did need a good editing job-but overall I really liked it. The “first time” remark wasn’t a big deal to me. He is a spy and he will use every advantage to get what he wants. Didn’t leave an impression me that it was anything more than that. However, I tend to take movies at face value.

Posted By Heidi : November 24, 2012 11:19 am

I loved Casino Royal-because it took the franchise back to the gritty Ian Flemming books. The franchise, to me, had gotten “too pretty” and soft for my taste. I loved the Sean Connery efforts, mostly because I loved him, but I liked the stories and the way they played out. The Pierce Brosnan tries were what I think of as the “dark period” of Bond. I like him as an actor in other things, but he is not Bond material. I was not impressed with Daniel Craig when he was first declared Bond, but that changed after I saw the first movie. He is a great Bond, and is so close to knocking Sean off my pedestal. Unfortunately I hated Quantum of Solace. It was, in my opinion, a terrible movie. We went to see Skyfall (in IMAX) last week, and I went into it with no expectations. I thought it swerved back into the good old gritty Bond. There were some REALLY slow parts-it sure did need a good editing job-but overall I really liked it. The “first time” remark wasn’t a big deal to me. He is a spy and he will use every advantage to get what he wants. Didn’t leave an impression me that it was anything more than that. However, I tend to take movies at face value.

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : November 24, 2012 1:06 pm

That is the best piece on “Skyfall” i have read so far.
Thanks a lot.
I know it is a little bit early to rate it, cause time will tell
if it really holds up.
But on my first Viewing, it blew me away.

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : November 24, 2012 1:06 pm

That is the best piece on “Skyfall” i have read so far.
Thanks a lot.
I know it is a little bit early to rate it, cause time will tell
if it really holds up.
But on my first Viewing, it blew me away.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:35 pm

Andrew – Thanks for reading and I think viewing Bond’s body as just one more weapon in his arsenal was one of the best takeaways I got from SKYFALL. I really like how the writers are developing Bond’s character so it will be interesting to see how this pans out in future Bond movies.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:35 pm

Andrew – Thanks for reading and I think viewing Bond’s body as just one more weapon in his arsenal was one of the best takeaways I got from SKYFALL. I really like how the writers are developing Bond’s character so it will be interesting to see how this pans out in future Bond movies.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:50 pm

Doug – QUANTUM did have some beautiful set pieces! I was particularly taken by the opera scene, which could have been swiped from an Argento film. And good call on Robert Shaw in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE sharing similarities with Bardem’s Silva! The bleached hair, attempts to buddy up to Bond, etc. add to the similarities. Hope you enjoy SKYFALL if you get a chance to see it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:50 pm

Doug – QUANTUM did have some beautiful set pieces! I was particularly taken by the opera scene, which could have been swiped from an Argento film. And good call on Robert Shaw in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE sharing similarities with Bardem’s Silva! The bleached hair, attempts to buddy up to Bond, etc. add to the similarities. Hope you enjoy SKYFALL if you get a chance to see it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:56 pm

Heidi – I’m glad you enjoyed SKYFALL too although we’re in agreement it could have used an editor. Or maybe it just needed an intermission? Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days when theaters would break up epic movies so the audience could use the bathroom and get a soda if they were thirsty.

I think the “first time” remark was actually really something extraordinary when you look at the history of Bond. It’s a smart attempt by producers to also widen their demographic. Bond films were usually aimed at straight men but now it seems that the series is welcoming a new audience and a new generation of fans.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:56 pm

Heidi – I’m glad you enjoyed SKYFALL too although we’re in agreement it could have used an editor. Or maybe it just needed an intermission? Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days when theaters would break up epic movies so the audience could use the bathroom and get a soda if they were thirsty.

I think the “first time” remark was actually really something extraordinary when you look at the history of Bond. It’s a smart attempt by producers to also widen their demographic. Bond films were usually aimed at straight men but now it seems that the series is welcoming a new audience and a new generation of fans.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:59 pm

Ghijath – Thanks so much and I’m glad you enjoyed reading my take on SKYFALL. It blew me away too in many regards and I really look forward to seeing it again. As I mentioned to Susan, I honestly can’t remember the last time I wanted to pay to see a Bond film twice.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 24, 2012 3:59 pm

Ghijath – Thanks so much and I’m glad you enjoyed reading my take on SKYFALL. It blew me away too in many regards and I really look forward to seeing it again. As I mentioned to Susan, I honestly can’t remember the last time I wanted to pay to see a Bond film twice.

Posted By robbushblog : November 25, 2012 1:21 pm

I’m a huge Bond movie fan. I cut my teeth on Roger Moore Bond movies and then eventually got to see all of the Sean Connery movies, still as a kid. Though the Craig movies are a deconstruction of the previous entries in the series, I really enjoy them as well. I especially enjoyed Skyfall, as many of the classic Bond elements came into place. Moneypenny, Q, the gadgets, the Aston Martin DB5, cartoony villain, M’s leather-padded door office… All of these elements are reminiscent of the older films and I welcomed all of them as they played out. They even used the Bond theme a couple of times, which they haven’t done much of in the two previous films.

In addition to those elements, the movie is really pretty to look at. The framing and colors are stylistically different than any other Bond movie. The backstory stuff? I didn’t really care to see that, but his contrasting reactions to losing two particular possessions? Priceless.

I thought Javier Bardem was the best Bond villain since my beloved childhood favorite: Jaws. He was totally bizarre and you can tell he was having a ball. I think Bond’s “first time” comment was more to set Silva back on his heels a bit. Bond is a tough guy and doesn’t like his advantage to be taken away. By making the comment he was letting Silva know he wasn’t going to be intimidated in that way. I realy enjoyed Skyfall and will see it again.

As for Quantum of Solace: My main problem was the editing of the action scenes. Everything was super close and super fast. In Casino Royale there was that fantastic chase scene that went through streets, up on a giant crane, through windows and walls, and it was fantastic. They pulled the camera back and let you see the action unfolding. QOS was all in your face. The opera scene was fantastic. The evil plot was kind of like old Bond. The villain’s lair at the end had a very cool aesthetic while being on fire. Seeing Bond fighting the greasy little villain in silhouette set against the flaming background was the best visual of the movie. It had some really cool things in it. It might have been too brown though. Too much dirt, not enough glamour. It wasn’t colorful enough. Aside from those minor quibbles, I like Quantum of Solace.

Posted By robbushblog : November 25, 2012 1:21 pm

I’m a huge Bond movie fan. I cut my teeth on Roger Moore Bond movies and then eventually got to see all of the Sean Connery movies, still as a kid. Though the Craig movies are a deconstruction of the previous entries in the series, I really enjoy them as well. I especially enjoyed Skyfall, as many of the classic Bond elements came into place. Moneypenny, Q, the gadgets, the Aston Martin DB5, cartoony villain, M’s leather-padded door office… All of these elements are reminiscent of the older films and I welcomed all of them as they played out. They even used the Bond theme a couple of times, which they haven’t done much of in the two previous films.

In addition to those elements, the movie is really pretty to look at. The framing and colors are stylistically different than any other Bond movie. The backstory stuff? I didn’t really care to see that, but his contrasting reactions to losing two particular possessions? Priceless.

I thought Javier Bardem was the best Bond villain since my beloved childhood favorite: Jaws. He was totally bizarre and you can tell he was having a ball. I think Bond’s “first time” comment was more to set Silva back on his heels a bit. Bond is a tough guy and doesn’t like his advantage to be taken away. By making the comment he was letting Silva know he wasn’t going to be intimidated in that way. I realy enjoyed Skyfall and will see it again.

As for Quantum of Solace: My main problem was the editing of the action scenes. Everything was super close and super fast. In Casino Royale there was that fantastic chase scene that went through streets, up on a giant crane, through windows and walls, and it was fantastic. They pulled the camera back and let you see the action unfolding. QOS was all in your face. The opera scene was fantastic. The evil plot was kind of like old Bond. The villain’s lair at the end had a very cool aesthetic while being on fire. Seeing Bond fighting the greasy little villain in silhouette set against the flaming background was the best visual of the movie. It had some really cool things in it. It might have been too brown though. Too much dirt, not enough glamour. It wasn’t colorful enough. Aside from those minor quibbles, I like Quantum of Solace.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 26, 2012 7:11 pm

Thanks for the lengthy comment, Rob! Lots of good personal insights there and I’m glad so many older fans of the Bond films have appreciated Daniel Craig’s take on the character.

In regards to QUANTUM, I obviously had lot more problems with it than you did but some of sequences were done really well. I wanted more plot and a better supporting cast for Craig. I can barely remember any of the other characters besides Strawberry Fields (such a great name). Wish she had survived to live another day (or appear in another film).

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : November 26, 2012 7:11 pm

Thanks for the lengthy comment, Rob! Lots of good personal insights there and I’m glad so many older fans of the Bond films have appreciated Daniel Craig’s take on the character.

In regards to QUANTUM, I obviously had lot more problems with it than you did but some of sequences were done really well. I wanted more plot and a better supporting cast for Craig. I can barely remember any of the other characters besides Strawberry Fields (such a great name). Wish she had survived to live another day (or appear in another film).

Posted By robbushblog : November 27, 2012 12:03 am

Yes, Gemma Arterton was quite good as Strawberry Fields. It’s a shame about her character. Olga Kurylenko was beautiful and Jeffrey Wright was a rather fun Felix Leiter. Mathieu Amalric was totally greasy and reminded me so much of Roman Polanski. Creepy.

Posted By robbushblog : November 27, 2012 12:03 am

Yes, Gemma Arterton was quite good as Strawberry Fields. It’s a shame about her character. Olga Kurylenko was beautiful and Jeffrey Wright was a rather fun Felix Leiter. Mathieu Amalric was totally greasy and reminded me so much of Roman Polanski. Creepy.

Posted By swac44 : December 3, 2012 10:10 am

I’ve been holding off reading this until I actually saw Skyfall, which I finally did last night, and since seeing James Bond films has always been a family tradition, I had waited until there was a time when I could take my mom along. At some point I realized this was the first Bond film I’d seen in the theatre since my dad passed away two years ago, and it seemed to amplify the waves of nostalgia that washed over me as the film progressed. When a certain four-wheeled friend makes its appearance late in the film, I was more than a little misty-eyed, and by the time of the explosive finale, I was relieved that the Bond production team had learned from the mistakes of Quantum of Solace, which I also found somewhat underwhelming.

I was also a fan of the original Fleming books, which of course were pretty much left in the dust after OHMSS (although For Your Eyes Only was at least an attempt to return to original Fleming story elements) so the Casino Royale reboot was a welcome return to form. Skyfall is an original story, but it does respect Fleming’s notions of the character, and there’s a “still waters run deep” flavour to Craig’s portrayal of Bond that I think he would approve of (I keep thinking back to Fleming’s suggestion that Hoagy Carmichael was a partial inspiration for his depiction, and Craig conveys that sort of ruggedness which has been largely absent from the series since the Connery days). It’s been so long since I’d read the books, I can’t remember how much of Bond’s back story was presented in them, but his childhood orphan status, and maybe even the fact that his mother was French, felt familiar, so that may have been in there somewhere, or at least they felt like the kind of details Fleming would have come up with, which is what you would hope for from the creative team.

“James Bond will return” said Skyfall‘s end credits, in a nod to the original films’ famous taglines, and with more classic Bond elements in place alongside a better grasp of the changing political and technological landscape, my anticipation runs high.

Posted By swac44 : December 3, 2012 10:10 am

I’ve been holding off reading this until I actually saw Skyfall, which I finally did last night, and since seeing James Bond films has always been a family tradition, I had waited until there was a time when I could take my mom along. At some point I realized this was the first Bond film I’d seen in the theatre since my dad passed away two years ago, and it seemed to amplify the waves of nostalgia that washed over me as the film progressed. When a certain four-wheeled friend makes its appearance late in the film, I was more than a little misty-eyed, and by the time of the explosive finale, I was relieved that the Bond production team had learned from the mistakes of Quantum of Solace, which I also found somewhat underwhelming.

I was also a fan of the original Fleming books, which of course were pretty much left in the dust after OHMSS (although For Your Eyes Only was at least an attempt to return to original Fleming story elements) so the Casino Royale reboot was a welcome return to form. Skyfall is an original story, but it does respect Fleming’s notions of the character, and there’s a “still waters run deep” flavour to Craig’s portrayal of Bond that I think he would approve of (I keep thinking back to Fleming’s suggestion that Hoagy Carmichael was a partial inspiration for his depiction, and Craig conveys that sort of ruggedness which has been largely absent from the series since the Connery days). It’s been so long since I’d read the books, I can’t remember how much of Bond’s back story was presented in them, but his childhood orphan status, and maybe even the fact that his mother was French, felt familiar, so that may have been in there somewhere, or at least they felt like the kind of details Fleming would have come up with, which is what you would hope for from the creative team.

“James Bond will return” said Skyfall‘s end credits, in a nod to the original films’ famous taglines, and with more classic Bond elements in place alongside a better grasp of the changing political and technological landscape, my anticipation runs high.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 3, 2012 4:10 pm

Thanks for sharing, SWAC! I’m glad you enjoyed the film as well. Since writing this I’ve been diving into the Flemming books & discovering that a lot of the background stuff in SKYFALL is there – in black and white – in the books. It’s funny because I’ve seen a lot of silly comparisons of Bond to Batman, which suggest that the filmmakers borrowed ideas from The Dark Knight when in fact it’s more than likely that the Batman writers were referencing Bond. Having just re-watched a slew of the Bond films over the Thanksgiving holiday I’ve come to appreciate Craig’s portrayal even more. After Connery, he’s easily my favorite Bond.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 3, 2012 4:10 pm

Thanks for sharing, SWAC! I’m glad you enjoyed the film as well. Since writing this I’ve been diving into the Flemming books & discovering that a lot of the background stuff in SKYFALL is there – in black and white – in the books. It’s funny because I’ve seen a lot of silly comparisons of Bond to Batman, which suggest that the filmmakers borrowed ideas from The Dark Knight when in fact it’s more than likely that the Batman writers were referencing Bond. Having just re-watched a slew of the Bond films over the Thanksgiving holiday I’ve come to appreciate Craig’s portrayal even more. After Connery, he’s easily my favorite Bond.

Posted By robbushblog : December 4, 2012 1:27 am

Actually, Batman’s origin was detailed in Detective Comics #33, dated November 1939. But, it seems most great literary characters were orphans: James Bond, Batman, Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes, Superman, Oliver Twist, Spider-Man…You name it.

Posted By robbushblog : December 4, 2012 1:27 am

Actually, Batman’s origin was detailed in Detective Comics #33, dated November 1939. But, it seems most great literary characters were orphans: James Bond, Batman, Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes, Superman, Oliver Twist, Spider-Man…You name it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 4, 2012 3:40 am

Interesting stuff, Rob. My Batman text history is about as foggy as my Bond text history but you’re very right. Orphans are a literary staple.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : December 4, 2012 3:40 am

Interesting stuff, Rob. My Batman text history is about as foggy as my Bond text history but you’re very right. Orphans are a literary staple.

Leave a Reply

Current ye@r *

MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D  Action Films  Actors  Actors' Endorsements  Actresses  animal stars  Animation  Anime  Anthology Films  Art Direction  Art in Movies  Australian CInema  Autobiography  Avant-Garde  Aviation  Awards  B-movies  Beer in Film  Behind the Scenes  Best of the Year lists  Biography  Biopics  Black Film  Blu-Ray  Books on Film  Boxing films  British Cinema  Canadian Cinema  Character Actors  Chicago Film History  Cinematography  Classic Films  College Life on Film  Comedy  Comic Book Movies  Crime  Czech Film  Dance on Film  Digital Cinema  Directors  Disaster Films  Documentary  Drama  DVD  Early Talkies  Editing  Educational Films  European Influence on American Cinema  Experimental  Exploitation  Fairy Tales on Film  Faith or Christian-based Films  Family Films  Film Composers  Film Criticism  film festivals  Film History in Florida  Film Noir  Film Scholars  Film titles  Filmmaking Techniques  Films About Gambling  Films of the 1960s  Films of the 1980s  Food in Film  Foreign Film  French Film  Gangster films  Genre  Genre spoofs  HD & Blu-Ray  Holiday Movies  Hollywood history  Hollywood lifestyles  Horror  Horror Movies  Icons  independent film  Italian Film  Japanese Film  Korean Film  Literary Adaptations  Martial Arts  Melodramas  Method Acting  Mexican Cinema  Moguls  Monster Movies  Movie Books  Movie Costumes  movie flops  Movie locations  Movie lovers  Movie Reviewers  Movie settings  Movie Stars  Movie titles  Movies about movies  Music in Film  Musicals  Outdoor Cinema  Paranoid Thrillers  Parenting on film  Pirate movies  Polish film industry  political thrillers  Politics in Film  Pornography  Pre-Code  Producers  Race in American Film  Remakes  Revenge  Road Movies  Romance  Romantic Comedies  Satire  Scandals  Science Fiction  Screenwriters  Semi-documentaries  Serials  Short Films  Silent Film  silent films  Social Problem Film  Sports  Sports on Film  Stereotypes  Straight-to-DVD  Studio Politics  Stunts and stuntmen  Suspense thriller  Swashbucklers  TCM Classic Film Festival  TCM Underground  Television  The British in Hollywood  The Germans in Hollywood  The Hungarians in Hollywood  The Irish in Hollywood  Theaters  Thriller  Trains in movies  Underground Cinema  VOD  War film  Westerns  Women in the Film Industry  Women's Weepies