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November 14, 2012

I have a confession to make; I’ve never seen a James Bond film. Growing up Pierce Brosnon’s Bond was the hot topic that I’m sure I saw at least one of due to my childhood crush on the pretty boy Brit. However, I don’t remember anything except a car emerging from ice and honestly that memory may only be intact due to seeing it excessively in commercials. I have long intended to watch a Bond film, but it’s just never happened as the ones that I’ve seen in my youth were obviously forgettable.

That’s why watching Skyfall was an interesting experience. It marks the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise and although I’m a James Bond n00b, I was aware of the troupes and tip of the hat moments to past Bond films. Yet that wasn’t enough to keep me interested for the two and half hours I had to sit through of shoddy characters and boring dialogue. Watching Skyfall made me question if I even needed to see past Bond films or will I just be subjected to melodramatic, predictable story lines that goes on for an hour too long.

Skyfall starts to a high-octane chase between Bond (Daniel Craig) and an unnamed assailant who has stolen a list from Bond’s boss M (Judi Dench). During an intense bout of fisticuffs on top of a moving train, Eve (Naomie Harris), a field agent assisting Bond with a sniper rifle is told to take a shot at the assailant despite not having a clean view. Eve accidentally shoots Bond instead and he falls into water presumably dead. However, Bond inexplicably recovers on a remote island where he develops a drinking problem and shags random tail. To his surprise a hacker has made their way into the M16 database publicly revealing the identities of special agents. Bond must resurrect himself and prove he’s still the best man for the job to stop this new enemy. Does Bond succeed? Does the villain’s plans get foiled? Does Bond get to nail women? Does a bear shit in the woods?

That’s why I’m so ho-hum about Skyfall. It’s frankly trite as nothing out of the ordinary takes place and this is coming from someone who’s never seen a Bond film before. I can’t imagine how predictable this film is when comparing it to the 50 years of past Bond films. The one-dimensional female characters are also very irritating to watch. Women in Skyfall may tote guns and seem like independent renegades, but they instead are nothing more than damsels in distress unsure of how to use their weapons and dependent on Bond to do the job and save them. Sure Bond’s life comes within inches of an end before being saved by Eve, but her prowess is simply from being in the right place at the right time. She never gets the chance to kick ass or prove herself as a competent field agent.

Technically speaking Skyfall is hit or miss. The lighting is one of the films most outstanding aspect. Interior shots are lit with heavy golden orange lights giving certain scenes a beautifully classic look. The cinematography also gives exterior shots that hazy moody look that’s associated with England, therefore, when contrasted against interior shots the lighting in certain sequences are magnetizing; like when Bond confronts an enemy and has a night fight that accentuates the neon day-glo like lighting of surrounding buildings.

Nevertheless the misses can be attributed to the editing that makes the appearance of some character’s baffling and unbelievable.In one scene audiences watch as Bond runs on a frozen lake and a long shot reveals his solitary run. However, a gunman off the ice shoots at his feet stopping Bond in his tracks. The next shot reveals another assailant in breathing distance behind Bond. Where did this guy come from and how did is inconspicuously catch up to Bond when the previous shot showed us Bond had miles of freedom?

Skyfall’s best moments, besides the beautifully psychedelic music video for opening credits sung by Adele, was Javier Bardem as the flamboyantly evil Silva. Bardem is incredible as he is the only character with personality and liveliness, not just dryly delivered one liners. However, it takes Skyfall almost an hour and a half before they even introduce him and throughout the rest of the film he’s only used sparingly. Skyfall is slightly entertaining to say the least but not enough for me to want to rewatch. After seeing it, I have no further desire to see any future Bond films. Perhaps Sean Connery is the route that I should take in order to appreciate the franchise.

AVOID IT. More like a Skyfail… Am I Right!?

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