Another film of the year that I got sucked into because of hype. I'm not feeling a great need to write much about the latest Bond film, which in due, in part, to the fact that I left the cinema feeling somewhat underwhelmed (should have known once Adele's voice rang out over the opening credit sequence - yeh, I said it, I don't like her).
Skyfall was a good and brave departure from the usual Bond fare, though enough of the typical elements are thrown in to still give it that flavour, so I appreciated the focus on M in this film. The only thing is that it was a little 'boring' and much of the story was just so messy and blase.
Firstly, there was a lot of talk about Javier Bardem as the villain but lo, he did not meet my expectation AT all. It was a classic, rookie mishap of 'telling' and not 'showing' vis a vis 'baddie' Silva. Because sorry, as a viewer, I didn't find him scary at all. We are only told that he is frightening - first rather convincingly by Severine, played by what's her name, who had NO role whatsoever, other than to fill the 'damaged, sexy girl Bond gets off with'. Side note - apart from Dame Dench, no other woman on the screen was a three dimensional character - I know, I know, I should expect that, right? But I did expect a wee bit more from Naomi Harris - for all she was a bantering device for Bond - I know, I know! Back on track *SPOILERS ALERT* - when we arrive at the weird abandoned island Silva has as a base, we're only told that he was able to clear the place out by spreading some rumour and the people fled as if Diablo had come among them (might have added that bit in myself) Ok. He's badass.
Only when we meet him, we realise he's a dude with serious mummy issues with an agenda to get at M because, wah, he was screwed over on a mission. Poor show. The closest to badass was when he blew a hole in subterranean London and a tube crashed through - oh, but thank god, there were no people in it! (Sorry not that I'm a sicko who wants to see people dying en masse or whatever...)
So it comes down the old phrase, 'a film is only as good as its villain'. And the baddie was poor for me - not that it was Bardem but rather the writing of him. The only positive that came out of it was the conflict it created within M, so that we witness the crumbling pillar-like resolve of this stalwart figure. And the unwavering loyalty of Bond. That then led the best and commendable scene where Bond races through the streets of Westminster to save M, while she delivers a speech quoting Tennyson. Good show.
And also, what was a grave disappointment was the whole 'Skyfall' idea itself - in the trailers and film we're made to believe that something traumatising happened to Bond because he can't even get through word association when the name comes up. Oooh, dark intensity. Only we find out it's the old family mansion and he hid in the secret passage under the house for two days when he was orphaned. Are we shown that? Does Bond get uneasy flashbacks/feelings on his return to the mansion, or when he escapes through the passage? No. Instead, this back story, this psychological pivotal moment is neatly explained by the old Scot dude when he shows said passage to M. Hmm. Took all the drama out of that, Mendes. All potential psychological intensity was barely explored, indicative through one liners that are left hanging and lazy: "Orphans always make the best recruits." Ok...
Highlights were the scene in that tower in Shanghai with all those lights, projections and reflections; the opening chase scene through Istanbul, the fiery climax at the Scottish mansion, Daniel Craig delivering flawlessly and most of it being set in London and/or Britain.