December 1, 2012

Bond Reconsidered

I couldn’t shake the ill feeling I had about Skyfall as I drove south to visit my mom last week, nor could I put a finger on why I felt that way. Mostly, I think, I was irritated that the film squandered the tight, engaging storytelling of the first and (arguably) second Daniel Craig-as-Bond flicks. Skyfall was a mess of plot, like a clown car driven willy-nilly around a circus ring. There was, too, its radical jump from the just-made-double-oh-status Bond in the previous two outings to the tired, near-retirement Bond of today. Are we done so quickly with the roguish, charming and deadly super-spy?

But there is, apparently, more. Giles Coren wrote a short piece for the Times of London that was spiked by his editor, who begged off claiming there were already too many Bond pieces in the press. There could have been this one more, though. He published it on his wife’s weblog, to which I’ve linked.

I, too, noticed the Giles’s plot points as the movie played and, despite being caught up in the story, felt a twinge of regret. “Shouldn’t have gone there,” I thought. And especially the last bit of the final scene, when Eve traded years of training for not only a desk job, but that of a secretary. Yes, that’s a spoiler. Sue me.

Dieter Bohn makes a similar argument, linking back to the Giles Coren piece and extending it a bit. Did it occur to you that by the film’s end, the villain had won?

Yeah, I’m beating this to death. I wouldn’t bother if I hadn’t gotten so much enjoyment from Craig’s first two turns as a character I’ve followed since I was a kid. I blame the writers, Purvis and Wade, who despite having written Casino Royale didn’t give me much to want to see again, as much as I do director Sam Mendes. Directors exist to give films a distinctive voice and weave the plot around a theme or two. Mendes, for my money, utterly failed.

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