James Bond has been around for a long time. Even with different faces and phases, we know him well. Will Bond have sex with that woman? Yes, he probably will. Will Bond have sex with that man? No, probably not. Will Bond take a massive beating but then get up and win the fight? Yes, he probably will. Will Bond get in a car chase and drive like a champion? Yes, he probably will. Will Bonds enemy be some camp dude with a pet? Yes, he probably will. Will Bond get behind a computer and hack into the security system of his enemy? No, he won’t and herein lies the heart of Skyfall – James Bond is old school, the world he lives in is not.
Today’s greatest criminals (in movies and TV anyway) are those that use our trust in the infallibility of computer systems and shake the foundations of that belief with the magic of super-hacking (yes, super-hacking alright? It’s a thing or whatever). What does James do in the face of this insidious invisible evil? Shooting at it or driving at it isn’t really helpful and this is his skill range. Seducing it isn’t much of an option either.
Skyfall sees MI-6 fall to the evil hacking genious of some camp dude with bad teeth but sadly no pet (no, not Austen Powers). Luckily they have Q junior the new “no exploding pens” Quartermaster who is all about the computers. But then there’s M and Bond and they are all about the exploding pens.
Bond and M both look old in Skyfall. Daniel Craig is particularly craggy and physically Bond has clearly jumped the shark. The better days are behind him and M both, with M facing some serious attempts to close down MI-6 as anachronistic and M as the figurehead of anachronism. The glory days of espionage are clearly over in the minds of modern British politicians.
The interesting thing about Skyfall is that it clearly pits itself against the modern Mission: Impossible style action espionage films that have embraced the computer hacky world but Bond is not Ethan Hunt. Changing him into an Ethan Hunt would be a mistake for the franchise, somehow too obvious and boring (it would probably kill off the franchise) – so how do they proceed? Bond does not embrace technology (unless it explodes or has hidden guns) and Skyfall reflects that. Skyfall is full of old school action – car chases, shoot outs, even a William Tell apple shoot (the action is literally reflecting a world hundreds of years old). I’m surprised Bond didn’t pull out a blunderbuss and start stuffing cloth balls of gunpowder down it.
So what comes out on top? Olde school or new school? Well that would be a spoiler wouldn’t it? Plus – does Bond overcome the odds and win the day? Yes, he probably does. That ain’t no spoiler sweety.
What I loved was the play out of the battle with Bond and M representing the old school and everyone else not representin’ and the way the movie itself followed this out. Old school car chases, the return of the Aston Martin, Bond seducing and shooting his way through the film, all the action sets were old school, low CGI, dirty and Bond doesn’t do any Ethan Hunt style stunts because that’s not Bond so the film doesn’t do it either.
This is not an action blockbuster, it’s a Bond film and it’s a beauty. If you like Bond films, you’ll love this one. If you don’t like Bond films you know Bond well enough anyway to enjoy Skyfall. The action is all old school Bond and is so fulfilling. Even the movie poster recalls old school Bond.
Admittedly, I love a good Bond film and Skyfall is one.