In that last post I tried to avoid spoilers, in case folks didn’t want to run out and watch the movie on opening weekend, dealing with the crowds, and so forth.
This time I’m going to positively wallow in them, after the break. You’ve been warned.
Let’s talk about M. I mean, the M we know and love, not that new guy. Can we just marvel that Dame Judi Dench hardly looks much older in this movie than she did in her premiere outing, “Goldeneye”? And let’s not think about how long ago that movie actually was, eh? Is it okay to say that she basically stole and owned every scene she was in, and she’s in a lot of scenes in this film?
Good, because, damn I’m going to miss her version of M. I mean, I like M(allory) well enough, but he seems a bit same-old-same-old on some level. He marks a return to the stodgy old boys club, especially when you look at that last scene, the first “reporting for duty” office bit, an amusing but weirdly dated-feeling throwback to “old Bond.” By contrast, Dench’s M was fiery and contrary and 100% awesome. “Utter one more syllable and I’ll have you killed.”
Of course, the writing was on the wall almost from word one, in “Skyfall.” Talk of (forced) retirement, reminiscences, and it became especially obvious (even to as clueless a viewer as Yours Truly) once they turned Mallory from a jackass overseer into a relatively cool boss. From that moment on I was just waiting to see if “Mother” would last out the movie.
Speaking of women who don’t come out of the movie too well, oh, that poor femme fatale who we barely get to meet before she’s unceremoniously gutshot for a lark by the villain. Wowza. This wasn’t exactly the high-water mark for the use of the Bond girl, was it? Nevermind the potentially-awesome sidekick who ends up getting almost nothing to do after her first couple of appearances (oh, sorry, she gets a near-pointless not-quite-sex-scene and some off-camera dialog, what was I thinking) until she’s revealed to be… the new secretary. Well then. I know that reveal was supposed to be a twist of some kind, but it twisted the wrong way in my mind.
Ah, well. It was a good movie, not a perfect movie.
Speaking of imperfections, I facepalmed when Q plugged in the network cables into the super-hacker-villain’s laptop. I knew what was coming, oh yes. You’re fired, Q. Every IT tech who’s faced a malware infection knows better than to jack a suspicious device into your live network. Dumbass.
So, Skyfall-the-place. Just about the polar opposite of a flashy, exotic Bond-movie locale, I loved the hell out of that entire section of the movie. Grim, misty, haunted-looking, and as I noted previously I want to visit that place immediately if not sooner. Yes, as one wag noted, this was the “Home Alone” portion of the film. I don’t care. Something about the combination of setting, characters and action just worked for me the entire way through. Even the use of the DB5 worked marvelously.
The car. Oh, the car. This is one of the points during the back portion of the movie during which the filmmakers clearly decided, “Screw it, we’re going full-throttle with the cheese factor for a little while.” The classic Bond theme! The ejector button joke! (A big winner with me and my fellow theatergoers, that was.) There’ve been in-jokes and such in previous late-era Bond movies, but nothing like this delirious love-letter to the old classics.
I have one quibble with the overall plot, especially during the later section of the movie, and that’s a suspension of disbelief issue. Okay, yes, Silva’s a clever monkey who has planned things to a fine detail. But how could he have known so far in advance so many of the things that would’ve happened? I’m thinking in particular of that subway train crash at the end of the underground foot chase. The number of things that had to go exactly the way he expected, exactly when he expected, is phenomenal. Silva’s crystal ball must have extraordinary resolution, I’m sayin’.
With all that said, though… will I buy this when it comes out in shiny-platter format? Oh, hell yes. And I’ll watch it at least as often as I watch the “Bourne” movies (one of my great go-to franchises, there). Your mileage, of course, may vary.