Skyfall – sorry to disagree with y’all…

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic James Bond. The latest Bond film to be added to the franchise to mark this occasion is Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film of the series, this time with Sam Mendes taking on directorial duties. Can he bring his own unique vision to the franchise?

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission in Istanbul to retrieve a list of undercover agents, when he is accidentally shot down by another agent (Naomie Harris). He is missing, declared dead – or that’s what he wants MI6 to believe. But when a mysterious figure begins to threaten the very existence of MI6, as well as M (Judi Dench), Bond has no choice other than to return.

Ok first of all a confession. I have never been a fan of the Bond films. Hate them. I think most of them are corny and dull. Above all though I think they are resolutely misogynistic (more on that later). But with the buzz around Skyfall, and the addition of a brilliant new director, I was convinced I would be converted. I wish I could say this, but I can’t…

I found Skyfall to be the same load of nonsense – action scenes in which, while they were fun, I didn’t really care what happened. Boring cheesy dialogue. And sexism galore. Now people have already picked me up on this, saying that is the point of Bond films – they’re meant to be cheesy and misogynistic. But my argument would be that the new version of Casino Royale when they first rebooted Bond, creating a fresh, new, grittier character, also had much more interesting female characters than this time round. Eva Green had an interesting backstory and wasn’t just there to be looked at. In Skyfall the women are vapid and simply exist to swoon over Bond. Naomie Harris as Agent Eve, while at first seeming tough is thrown into simpering vixen category straight away, cheesy lines to match. And Bérénice Marlohe as Sévérine may as well not even be there – she adds nothing to the story other than as someone to bridge the gap between Bond and the villain.

This change in the female characters in Casino Royale, as well as other things such as a darker tone, were all reasons that I quite liked it. It made a point of going against most of the stuff that had long been the (outdated) criteria in Bond films. Sam Mendes being involved in Skyfall had made me hopeful – a new and different Bond yet again with a much more intriguing story. But no – same old, same old. I realise that as it’s the Bond film being released to mark the 50th anniversary of the franchise that it needs to hit certain notes that are prevalent in other Bond films, but surely Mendes could have done something a little more interesting. Something different that would still please the fans.

The one redeeming part for me that kept me watching was Javier Bardem as Silva, the latest Bond villain. He is truly terrifying – creepy, with a dose of camp. Anytime he is onscreen are moments worth watching. Problem is, he is missing for a large chunk of the first half of the film, and it disintegrates every time he isn’t there. There are other brilliant performances throughout which work as well. Ben Whishaw makes for a great new young and geeky Q. Ralph Fiennes is good too as a government official, although even he seems underused. And of course Judi Dench is electric as the matriarchal M. Daniel Craig as the titular James Bond is also great, and as usual more than capable in the many, many action scenes. But again while the execution and direction behind these actions scenes is great, I got quickly bored by it.

So, Skyfall for me was a big disappointment. While the look and design of the film is excellent this also sums up the film for me – pretty on the outside, soulless and boring in the middle. Sorry, but I’m not converted to the world of James Bond. And now I await the backlash…

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~ by square-eyed-geek on December 28, 2012.

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