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I'm Chicken Little
Saw Skyfall last night. Ina adores this movie and it has been hugely well reviewed, particularly in this country, so I started watching half in anticipation, half in scepticism, because I JUST DO NOT LIKE JAMES BOND. No, not even Sean Connery. In fact, particularly not Sean Connery, who is an actor who just plays himself. All the fucking time. I dislike Bond in the books even more, if that is possible. (The man doesn't even known how to make a Martini - all shaking does is turn it cloudy, which is why Martinis should be stirred, not shaken. Twit.) I did quite like the remake of Casino Royale but prefer Bourne.

I now find myself reviewing half in praise, half in unmoved scepticism.

It is gloriously photographed. It is well paced. The opening sequence is excellent. The reinventions of Q and Eve are great, miles better than earlier versions. There are a couple of excellent jokes. I enjoyed seeing Klingon High Command (our long-standing name for the SIS building - no, it is not bloody MI6!) being blown up. There were some great locations.

But, but, but... The villain is ridiculous - even more ridiculous, if that is possible, than Blofeld - and I spent a lot of time wondering if they could not have bought him a better wig. He was straight out of the Moore era where it would have been okay - because that was sending up the whole spy thing - but I thought this new Bond was supposed to be more gritty and a tad more realistic. Those shout-outs to earlier Bond movies that got the fanboys so excited either passed me by or bored me.

As for the plot.... it had more holes than Bond's target at the range - far more, actually. Not holes 'noticed on the rewatch' either, but boggles during the movie. I howled with laughter at the computer display (not to mention at the idea that the SIS firewalls are the best in the country - but that latter comes of working for the British government for a fair proportion of my life and knowing what they pay their own computer people and how often they are bamboozled by consultants.)

Then there was Craig's none-acting. I think he was trying to be Connery.

So, yes, one of the best Bond movies I've seen, but that isn't exactly a recommendation. Time filler.

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We watched Skyfall too, on telly weekend before last. My first Bond film for years. Like you I thought it was really pretty, had some good jokes, and the plot stank. We spent the next hour or so tearing it apart: my 'favourite' howler of many being the empty tube train (at rush hour!), which threw us out of the film entirely in that section.

But at least I have shared a modern experience with half the nation, something that doesn't happen all that often...

I love a good thriller and don't mind plot holes so long as I don't spot them until the movie is over!

On the 'shaken not stirred', there's a lovely quote from an episode of The West Wing:

Bartlet: Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it

I am never quite sure whether Fleming put this in accidentally - because he really didn't know about cocktails - or whether it was there deliberately to show us Bond wasn't half as sophisticated as he pretended.

In a world with Julian Assange in it, a blond-haired, European, computer-genius sex-pest of a villain seems entirely realistic...


Good try, but there isn't actually much resemblance. Assange was born in Australia, and is, according to Wikipedia, sixth generation, so he ain't European.

I'm not sure that he is either a genius or a sex-pest, though I suspect the latter is more likely. He isn't particularly good at escaping, either, now being confined to embassy premises.

More likely to keep a cat than a Komodo dragon... and his hair isn't quite that bad.

Edited at 2013-03-04 09:40 am (UTC)

It's the Ecuadorian Ambassador I really feel sorry for, at this point...

I must admit I thought he was Dutch. I wonder if I'd mentally combined him with Geert Wilders.

Now that is a horrifying thought!

I have yet to see a James Bond film all the way through - although I have read most of the books.

We call it the Palace of Ming the Merciless.

That'll do too! (It got named Klingon High Command before we actually knew what it was.)

I still remember going on one of the aquatic bus trips down the Thames (never again - my father, who knows boats, spent the entire river section of the trip white-knuckled and watching the waterline. We were far too low in the water) and the tour guide waving a cheerful hand as we hit Vauxhall. "Now don't tell anyone, boys and girls, but that's MI6 over there." None of us were more than about 11, and Alex Rider was at the peak of his fame, so we were all tremendously excited.

I was very much amused to note, when reading the MI5 authorised history, that the bus drivers who serviced the route that stopped near the official headquarters used to announce "All spies alight here, please, all spies alight here," at the appropriate stop. Londoners don't change.

Some of the tourist boats on the river took part in the Dunkirk evacuation, and their owners have never forgotten the fact... they fill them as if everyone was running from the invading German army.

Edited at 2013-03-04 10:49 am (UTC)

Hmmm, I've just read the wikipedia entry on vodka martinis (not being a drinker of spirits) - fascinating. Apparently it's more significant with vodka distilled from potatoes rather than grain, distributing the fusel oil better than stirring.

No, Bond's not as suave as the films made out. Like putting pepper in high quality (presumably grain-distilled) vodka to sink the (non-existent) aforementioned fusel oil. Sometimes he seems to delight in being uncouth and I suspect Fleming did that deliberately to give Bond his rough edges.

Haven't seen Skyfall yet. In fact I've missed a lot of later Bond films, never having seen one in the cinema. I'll probably have to have a marathon session at some point to catch up.

In the early stages (early 20th century) it wasn't a cocktail unless it had gin in it. (We have a fascinating little book published in the 1920s that simply rings the changes on gin, vermouth and bitters.) There are also slings and rickys, for instance, but a lot of the verbal difference is now lost, as people do horrible things like put lemonade in White Ladies or Coke in Black Russians or fruit juice in practically everything.

You'd get thrown out of a lot of top class cocktail bars in the past for suggesting making a martini with vodka. (Technically, that would be a vodkatini, but in the 50s no one in Britain could afford to drink cocktails any longer, and a lot of distinctions were lost.)

Skyfall is the first Bond movie I've seen at the cinema since Goldfinger, but I enjoyed it by letting it wash over me and not questioning the plot overmuch. Yes the villain was ridiculous. I thought it was Judy Dench's movie, however. I'll miss her as M.

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