And Then A Wild Aston Martin Appears!

SKYFALL (2012)
Obligatory bare-Craig-chest image.
Ever since Pierce Brosnan, we've become accustomed to a bigger, faster, explodier Bond. Each new movie had new gadgets, new gear, new nonsense. We propelled Bond into the future with invisible cars, cheap smiles, and all the luxuries of modern cinema. And we drank the punch. We expected Bond to get increasingly more hip and in-tune with our culturally relevant standards. We were waiting for Bond to switch out Q. for Google and start sexting his Bond girls.

And then Sam Mendes said, "Well. Fuck that."

Skyfall reminds us exactly why we loved the Bond films in the first place. If nothing else, it's a very loving homage to the Bond of the good old days. Bond is no longer clowned up and jumping around like a kangaroo on cocaine; he's a genuine spy. Yes, he's still the bold, brash bastard we all know and love, but he's a little more in control of the situation. Of course, the genius of this movie is that, for most of the movie, we get Bond completely out of his element. He spends the first half of the movie a battered, alcoholic mess with a very, very bruised ego. After twenty-three movies of a perfect shot, there's something extraordinarily satisfying about watching Bond miss his target. So not only do we have a highly competent organization set out to trip up Her Majesty's Secret Service, but we also have a damaged Bond struggling to keep up. I mean, why didn't anyone think of this before?

I think I've said all I can through my teeth. The twists in this movie are so epic that I would have to throw myself onto a Hattori Hanzo sword if I thought I spoiled this movie for anyone (even though, if you're a rabid Bond fan, you can see most of them coming ahead of time, it STILL doesn't change the fact that the "big reveals" are massively satisfying). That said, the spoiler portion of my review is under the cut! Otherwise, just see it, yeah? Or I will judge you. JUDGE.

Did we put the kids to bed? Yes? Okay, now here are the eight very spoilery reasons why Skyfall is better than Chuck Norris' chest hair:

1. M.
This is, without a shade of doubt, M.'s movie. I've said before that no one can take Judi Dench's place. In an old recasting of 007, I was fairly certain no man could even replace Judi Dench. However, if someone had to take over the role, it had to be Ralph Fiennes. They build up Mallory's character brilliantly and--let's face it--that last scene looks like it was taken straight out of the old Sean Connery films. Ralph Fiennes is the old, stick-up-his-ass M. Even though I'm going to seriously, seriously miss James Bond's mommy issues, I'm going to have fun watching Ralph Fiennes do his best to keep Bond in place. Actually, even talking about the fact that Judi Dench has stepped out of her M. shoes depresses me. MOVING ON.

2. Moneypenny.
So we all had our own suspicions about Naomie Harris. A lot of people called it from the get-go. That said, it was still extraordinarily satisfying to see her tuck herself away in that baby blue secretary dress and make herself comfortable behind the desk. A black Moneypenny? Yes, please. I approve of this. The only thing I don't approve of is the fact that Bond fucked her. Normally, I don't give a damn who Bond sleeps with. He should sleep with everyone in every Bond movie (I'm still a little irritated by the fact that he didn't sleep with the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace). That said...Moneypenny? The whole point of Moneypenny is that she never, ever gets laid. And probably goes home to cry into her twenty-six cats night after night.

3. That fucking awesome car.
Never before have I seen a movie where the audience cheered more for the introduction of the vehicle the main character was driving that for the main character himself. But let's be real: when the Aston Martin DB5 appears on screen, it demands all the attention. And, of course, when the car met its sad, sad demise...well, I couldn't tell whether I mourned more for the beautiful, silver beast or for M. Luckily, Bond exacted his revenge on both accounts.

4. Q. 

It's no secret that Q. makes an appearance here. Ben Whishaw is a young, arrogant little thing, but good at what he does. They maybe had played up the age difference between the two a bit too much, however, since that was the only thing that really threw me. That said, as soon as he pleaded with Bond to bring his equipment back in one piece, all was right in Bondverse again.

Really, the only thing that distracted me about this movie the first go around (and I've already seen it twice, thank you midnight screening) was the fact that they did poke holes in the fourth wall here and there. Maybe one too many allusions to the fact that "things aren't like they used to be." And, yes, I get that this is purely for the die-hard fans to chuckle about, and I did appreciate that. But I'm not going to lie--the perfectionist in me was scratching my head for the first twenty minutes trying to figure out how exactly all the pieces fit in with the rest of the Bond series. And I get that it's never going to be a perfect fit--we have different faces for different Bonds, no characters have any real consistency. Still...I think a young Q. and an old Bond threw me into a tailspin. That said, I'm fully aware I just have to stop being so fucking literal. This is a Bond movie, after all. Apparently, I can fully believe Bond would jump from rooftop to rooftop on a motorcycle, but a young Q. trips me up. Now where'd I put my meds...?

5. Silva.
God-fucking-damn. Javier Bardem plays one of the best Bond villains we've seen in a long time. He's eccentric, violent, and he has a very real, visceral mission to accomplish. Something we can't help but sympathize with. Not to mention, he's a former MI6. C'mon. How better to test Bond's skills than to throw one of his own at him? Don't get me wrong, I loved every second of this movie, but the second Silva steps on screen...they really turn it up to 11. This movie had my curiosity, now it has my attention. Javier Bardem is brilliant. Seriously. I couldn't stop watching him. He's charismatic and he amps up the tension in every single scene he's in.

6. Gay Bond.
This is not quite a spoiler, but a moment way too good to let slip. All I have to say is this: never say Daniel Craig isn't a man of his word. Because, exactly two years ago, I wrote this:
I stand by him and hope to see him in many more Bond films to come. Also, Craig has voted for a gay Bond scene. I would literally die happy. Possibly in my theater seat. 
Well. CONSIDER ME DEAD IN MY THEATER SEAT. Not to mention, I've got to say, I think that scene had more chemistry than Bond and his girls throughout that movie. Though it's probably just for the awesome line, "What makes you think this is my first time?"

A fellow blogger really said it all: "I, for one, applauded Bond’s response. It was the correct response, because, for one: he’s Bond and he’s never going to appear shaken in front of anyone. And two: who cares. I mean, seriously. Who cares?"

7. Bond Girls.
This wouldn't be a Bond review without a shout-out to the beautiful Bond girls. Bérénice Marlohe plays Séverine, the token villain's arm candy. And she's flawless. Really. Talk about a woman who's not only gorgeous, but has something truly hard about her appearance. She has all the sharp grace of a panther, long claws and lethal teeth included. I could've stood to see more of her. Like, all of her. Naomie Harris was also beautiful and everything I needed from her character.

8. That fucking awesome car.

It had to be said again.

In short? I. Fucking. Loved. Skyfall. I loved Casino Royale. Quantum of Solace had it's moments. But if this had been Craig's one and only movie, I think he could have slept easily at night. It's a great Bond film, a great origins film, and now that we have the crew together, I cannot fucking wait for Bond 24. Bring it.

PS: So if M. dies, does that means Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace come first, then all of Pierce Brosnan's movies happen, and then Skyfall? Really, why do I put myself through the torture of trying to make sense of a Bond film?


  1. Awesome review man. I liked new hip Q. It made sense in this new world of Bond.
    Loved, friggin loved Daniel Craig and Judy Dench. And yeah Bond's response was to die for.

    My favourite thing about the movie was it's look though. Deakins did a mindblowing job.

    1. Thanks! I do loved the new, hip Q. "What'd you expect...an exploding pen?" was another great line.

      And yes. Daniel Craig and Judi Dench have one of my favorite relationships. Ever. I could sit back and enjoy Bond mommy issues forever. Really, this movie could just be a best-of reel of their awesome, intricate dynamic.

      I'm with you about Deakins! This is one of the few movies where the cinematographer gets massive, massive street cred. But it's a beautiful as hell movie, well deserved!

  2. What a fantastic review - and I'm so very happy that you loved it as much as you did! Here's a link to mine - should you care to stop by...


    1. Thanks! I'll definitely be checking it out!

    2. Thanks for coming by - I had to come back and bask in your review some more - because it's got such wonderful raw energy - and every point you love I love too! You are absolutely right that they threw an already wonky continuity line right in the meat grinder - because if I was taking it all in correctly (in two viewings 24 hours apart) it seems the Craig getting the 00 in 2006 is no longer correct - he didn't get it at 38 years old but possibly much earlier - though not as early as 1997 or he would have known Silva's backstory. Argh! Letting it go - letting it go - not that hard to do because this movie is so kickass!

    3. I love double replies! And thanks!!! I'm glad you enjoy! And the timeline so gets under my skin, I may have to try to fit the Bond story in some sort of linear timeline just to see if I can wrangle some sense out of it. Do not question my insane and pointless passion project! *Keels over dead*

  3. Kick ass review and wow did I love this movie. The best Bond in a very long time. I loved all the touches that brought 007 back to the older films.

    Bardem owned this film and brought what Bond has needed since before Brosnan took over: a psychotic, ver the top villain with true purpose.

    I will miss Judi. They should have replaced her with Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave some other woman. Really, we have so few opportunities anyway. Fiennes is good, but still to be replaced by a man sucks out loud and sideways.

    Naomie kicked ass and her chemistry with Bond was pure fire. Opposite of Berenice, the dumbest bond Girl since Denise Richards. She was a lifeless, boring piece of furniture whom I was happy as hell to see get killed.

    The Aston Martin is my fave moment. I nearly cried when that gorgeous machine appeared on the scene. I was truly sad when Bond went BMW. And she went out like a hero just like M.

    Mendes upped the ante from the dreadful Solace and even Casino. My problem with Casino was the whole Bond love story. Really, the man has no business even attempting a relationship. I prefer he fucks them and leaves them. Safer all around, really.

    1. YES! I'm glad you liked it! I literally just hoped by your review and APPROVE OF EVERYTHING. Bardem for real owned the movie. Dude's dynamite.

      As for M., alas. It's depressing. I agree, I would've loved to see her replaced with another woman. I mean...if for no other reason than it's insanely refreshing to see Bond interact with a woman he has no intent on sleeping with. He turns into a petty little schoolboy who keeps pulling the firealarm just to get mommy's attention AND I LOVE IT. I'm going to seriously miss their interactions hardcore, as much as I love Fiennes.

      Naomie was badass, no doubt about it. I actually liked Berenice, but probably just because she was smoking hot. Still, I thought it was interesting that she was a former sex worker and attributed her "bad acting" to the fact that she's been used and abused so often she's been forced to wear a plastic mask...the kind no one would pay attention to anyone since they're staring at her backless dress. But I'm reading too much into eyecandy.

      Aston Martin is, without a doubt, the best thing. Ever. Ever. She definitely went out like a hero.

      In short, I can't wait for the next one! Can we keep this director/cinematographer pair forever??

    2. I never thought about the Severine character like that, good point, though. And hells yeah we need to keep this pair together forever on Bond. They KNEW what they were doing.

      If you have to be replaced by a man, Fiennes is a great way to go. LOVED how he started shooting at the hearing and how he let Bond and Q do what they needed.

      On to read your BAMF posts. I HAVE missed them and your attitude round these parts. ;)

    3. I'm pretty sure I was the only one thinking "So...Bond is having unprotected sex with a former sex worker?" There I go again. Putting logic to a Bond film!

      And I'm with you there! I'm excited to see what Fiennes brings to the table. It's going to be a painful change, but...an interesting one? IN BOND WE TRUST.

      Thanks!! I'm trying to get back into action!

  4. Holy f--king s--t; she lives. I was wondering where you'd gone, maybe trying to pack before the country voted to take away all your rights, make you get in the kitchen and get preggers and crap. It makes sense that you came back after 'bama got reconfirmed, saying "don't worry, girl! No one's gonna persecute, no one's gonna take your rights away..."

    That said, you and Nikhat and a few other reviews have really convinced me to go see this. Honestly, the last Brosnan Bond films really destroyed all my love for this franchise (as did seeing every other non-Nolan franchise I love turn into cheap shite). What do you do when all your idols have fallen?

    And while Casino Royale was perfectly fine, it didn't rekindle enough interest that I bothered with Quantas of Solos. But now you've all pulled me back in.

    You owe me a post if you recall =) Good to see you back!

    1. "It's aliiiiiive!"

      Well. Kind of. I ONLY RESURRECT FOR BOND. I was half-tempted to leave the country, but then the election swung in my favor so all is well! Now, I am just stocking up Bond-style firearms and waiting for the next civil war.

      I'm with you about Brosnan--he's not my favorite by a long shot. Kind of the cheap, Ken-doll version of Bond. Craig, however, has reinvented Bond in a beautiful, beautiful way.

      I DO OWE YOU A POST. I have to get on that. Pronto. Maybe it will be your Christmas present! (do you celebrate Christmas?) And thanks for the welcome back! I'm trying...failing...trying again!

  5. This was, next to "Prometheus", the biggest disappointment of the year.

    The drama they tried to sell was pathetic, and that's what I resent it the most. This is below even the loathed "Quantum of Solace". "QoS" had at least cut out all of the so-called "character development" and was a bare-bones shallow action flick - and a good one, if viewed in this context.

    "Casino Royale" was much, much better. That's how you do drama, that's how you do action, that's how you do Bond. "SkyFAIL" on the other hand...


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