Am I the only one who thinks the new James Bond flick, Skyfall, is the biggest load of horse pucky since The Dark Knight? If you go by the reviews in most of the mass media, I totally don’t know what I’m talking about. The reviews by and large have heaped lavish praise on this over serious piece of banality. Bond is “reinvented” “reinvigorated,” blah blah. Roger Ebert, bless his little heart, gave it four stars! There are a few exceptions—a few negative reviews. But most of them are favorable. However, if you go to the IMdB web site and click on “User Comments,” most of the regular people, people like us. who went to see it, hated it. They’re even calling for the critics to be fired and replaced.
The new, “rebooted” Bond is a heavy mother. It comes in at about two and a half hours in length. There have been other Bonds that have been that long, but none of them dragged on as slowly and monotonously, and as drearily as this one. And it is heavy. I mean heavy in that it attempts to be serious about Bond. It delves into Bonds psychological background, his childhood, if you will, back in dreary old Scotland. In fact the finale of the film takes place on a bleak Scottish moor, and has a finish that attempts to rival Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, but seems actually to have more in common with McCauley Calkins’ Home Alone.
From the too gritty action opening, that tries to be realistic and fantastic at the same time, and Adele’s hum-drum, mind-numbing opening credits song, to the low-tech climax, Skyfall literally makes you wish the sky would fall, just to end the damn thing.
This is director Sam Mendez’s idea of what an action film should be? Filmed in Turkey, Macau and, I think it was Singapore, and a rainy, grey London, the film is so dark you can hardly see anything. It made you long for the days of Roger Moore, and those bright colors in places like Switzerland, Egypt and Thailand. At least the cameraman used more light bulbs to light up those movies so you could see some of the scenery.
And speaking of scenery, as usual Skyfall has a Bond girl—you know, the sexy babe who tries to help James and ends up either painted gold, or run over by a dune buggy. There’s one in this one too, and of course she gets bumped off. But I’ve got to say, I don’t think there’s ever been a Bond girl killing as cold-blooded, and merciless as the one in Skyfall. Worse yet was Bond’s total lack of reaction to it.
Javier Bardem is the villain of the piece and frankly I didn’t buy his version of The Joker. I think that’s what he was doing. I’m not sure. Sometimes with that long blonde hair, when he wore a policeman’s cap, I thought he looked more like an old comic strip character named Smilin’ Jack. Well, Smilin’ Jack had black hair, but he wore a cap and smiled a lot. Bardem smiles a lot too, but it’s more like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
Which seems to be a good point to end this review on. With all its attempts to turn Bond into a tortured soul with a license to kill, and its total assassination of M’s up to now, upright character, I can only ask the question The Joker asked in The Dark Knight: “Why so serioussss?”