Monday, November 26, 2012

Jason watches SKYFALL

And yes, its an exciting action thriller worthy of James Bond, if you ignore the plot holes. It also has a ridiculously omniscient super-villain (Javier Bardem) who would be worthy of Batman.

But I digress. The fact is, I've gone on record before saying that as much as I recognize that Daniel Craig is surely the most talented actor to ever play Bond (sorry Sean Connery) he's not actually my favorite Bond (sorry Daniel Craig, I'm still a Sean Connery guy.) And I think I can now articulate why.

In 1995 GOLDENEYE came out ushering in the Pierce Brosnan Bond era. And I was excited, it had been 6 years since Timothy Dalton ended his run in LICENCE TO KILL (still the longest gap between Bond films.) I was in college at the time and asked one of my friends if he was excited that they were making a new Bond film. He replied, "No, because I'm not 12 anymore."

After much thinking, I realized that was what I liked about Bond. His adventures could always take me back to a place where I was emotionally 12 years old and I could fantasize about growing up to be James Bond. And through all the different iterations (even George Lazenby) I could watch the movie and say, "Damn, I wanna be James Bond!" He is the epitome of the classic character who 'all the women want and all the men want to be.'

And then Daniel Craig came in. And the producers decides to make a grittier, tougher, more realistic (if realism means anything in the Bond universe) take on the hero. They starting making Bond movies that appeal your adult side, not your inner 12 year old. And I...just...don't...want...that. I generally forgave CASINO ROYALE (QUANTUM OF SOLACE is kind of a muddle, so let's not speak of it) as an "origin" story with the promise that after some learning curve Craig's Bond would become more like Sean Connery's uber-cool, unflappable Bond. That he'd gain his 'Bond swagger.' But dammit, as unforgettable as the scene of Mads Mikkelsen whipping a naked, chair-bound Daniel Craig in the balls was, at that moment I definitely didn't want to be James Bond.

Well, SKYFALL offers a few glimpses of that Bond swagger. Most notably in the opening action sequence (shown in most of the trailers, so not really a spoiler) when he jumps into a car of a moving train while the cars behind him are destroyed and gives a quick little adjustment to his cuff links. That's a great, classic Bond swagger scene.

But doesn't carry that swagger through. And it's not that he's still learning the ropes, becoming jaded and cool. This is explicitly an older Bond, one who even if he's not pondering retirement others are pondering it for him. But they don't focus on how freaking cool Bond is, they focus on how troubled he is (he wins ultimately by simply being more driven than the psycho bad guy, not by being more talented.) Well, why the hell would I fantasize about being a psychologically damaged alcoholic? Or, more importantly, why would my inner 12 year old fantasize about that? There's really no answer to this question, because this movie isn't aimed at my inner 12 year old. It's aimed at psychologically damaged alcoholics who want to fantasize that they can still be heroes somehow.

Anyway, it really is a pretty good movie, and my rant is my own problem, not the movie's. But it is what it is.

Running Time: 143 minutes
My Total Minutes: 304,385

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