The Videogum Movie Club: Skyfall
Before we even get into James Bond 007 Skyfall, we have a BREAKING EDITION of Hey, What’s Up With Topher Grace: he was at my screening last night. He looked great! Very healthy, with a nice full beard. All of his friends seemed really nice. Unfortunately, Topher did NOT enjoy the movie very much. Before this actually becomes genuinely creepy, I would like assure both Topher Grace and the police that I was not following him around or trying to eavesdrop on his conversation. I am an adult, and I have my own things to do. A friend went to use the bathroom and I happened to be standing next to a load-bearing pillar in the theater lobby waiting for my friend to return, and Topher Grace happened to be standing nearby and it is not my fault if he was critiquing the movie aacute; la Americaine (see: loudly) for everyone to hear. I didn’t hear all of it, I just heard him ask a young woman if she liked it with an incredulous tone of voice and then add “It was kind of boring,” and then he said something about “missed opportunities,” which, I don’t even know. That is between him and his God. But, so, there you go. Celebrities really are like us! They go to the movies one pants at a time and they even have opinions and everything! And now: James Bond 007 Skyfall!
Uh, yeah, it was great. Admittedly, it was a bit of a pastiche of action sequences and suspense thematics from other recent Hollywood blockbusters, but it only borrowed from the very best, so it works. Here is my list although I am sure I am missing a few:
Bourne Ultimatum: the opening sequence’s stair-climbing motorcycle chase across the rooftops of an eastern market. (See also: a missing agent pulled from the water.)
Mission Impossible III: Shanghai sequence. (See also: The Dark Knight.)
Inception: Macau sequence.
The Avengers: glass prison sequence and thematic of a villain who gets caught on purpose.
Die Hard 5: super-hacker villain “fire sale.”
The Dark Knight: not that the Dark Knight invented this in any way, but it is the most recent referent for an evil villain who sees the darkness in our hero and tries to prove they are cut from the same cloth (see also: the destruction of Wayne Manor and also orphans.)
Home Alone: James Bond, go easy on the Pepsi! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA FOR REAL THOUGH.
These are all fairly loose comparisons, and it did not bother me in the slightest. Those are all great movies! And this was a great movie! I just noticed it. So sue me. “Your honor, we sue him.” I know how court works. Also, there was plenty of stuff that was different. God! Why won’t you get off my case! Let’s move on.
This is embarrassing, but a couple months ago I went to see the movie Lawless with my friend Alex (who also attended Skyfall with me. We are a couple of real movie buds!) and they showed a trailer for Skyfall and I leaned over to Alex and whispered in his ear, in all sincerity, “It’s crazy how James Bond has always been considered cool, considering how much cooler Daniel Craig is than all the other ones.” YEAH, GABE, IT’S TOTALLY CRAZY, YOU FUCKING WEIRDO. Can you imagine? Being my friend in that moment? And having to respond to me one way or the other? I’m sure Alex just smiled and nodded the way you do with any idiot, but even that must have been taxing. ANYWAY: seriously, though, Daniel Craig! He should never do anything else, no other movies or hosting SNL or anything, because every other thing he does makes James Bond seem a little less cool and I do not want that to happen. Stay cool, Pony Bond. That part? In the beginning? When he drops into the sawed off train car and then immediately adjusts his shirt cuffs? COME ON, MAN!
And then, of course, there is Javier Bardem.
Who is that guy’s barber, and why doesn’t he fire him, AM I RIGHT?
There was so much LAUGHTER in my audience. Did your audience LOVE 2 LAFF?! That’s correct, though. I mean, it was supposed to be funny. I think? Although sometimes it was a bit too much. I’m a fan of campy, over-the-top performances as much as the next Angry Inch, but sometimes it is like, let’s just get through this scene, huh, how bout it? Still, though, the part where he took out his teeth? Ahhhhh! And the final scene in the little church? Ahhhhh! What a creep. Hahha. After the movie ended your mom turned to your dad and she was like “I didn’t care for him, he was such a creep.” Also the whole scene on the island was pretty great. I very much “enjoyed” (that cannot possibly be the right word, please do not put me in jail) the red herring of the new Bond girl and the William Tell whiskey glass. “Your lovers are here!” Gross, you creep. No one’s mom likes you.
Other things that were good: Dame Judi Dench 100% beginning to end. Also the running through the night field with the backlight of the fire. (See also pretty much everything in the Scottish highlands. That was a real pretty part.) I’m pretty sure that entire sequence was shot by DONDA. Ben Whishaw as Q, and please watch The Hour on BBC it is pretty good. The part where James Bond finally gets serious because you do not blow up another man’s automobile was a little bit corny but also YOU DO NOT BLOW UP ANOTHER MAN’S AUTOMOBILE! On that note, actually, the part where he kidnaps M and explains his plan and they get the hot new ride and stuff was a very good example of this very specific thrill that is offered by all superhero movies (and I am lumping James Bond and Jason Bourne in with the Iron Men) where you delight at seeing them just fully enter their invincible kick-ass mode. It’s interesting because it kind of drains all of the tension from the movie, even though you know they still have a final battle or whatever, and even though you probably expected you had a very good idea of how the final battle was going to turn out even before the movie started, this telegraphs loud and clear that we have a real hero on our hands who is about to do some real hero stuff, no doubt, and yet somehow that is equally thrilling. Yes, the key to drama is watching someone struggle to get back up after they have been knocked down, but sometimes it is weirdly just as fulfilling to watch someone DO THE KNOCKING. (On that note, Javier Bardem actually won, though. Right? Mommy died and he was ready to lose his own life in the process. So, congrats, my man.)
Good movie, I liked it. A++ would do business with James Bond again.