“Skyfall” text review

Today I will talk about the new James bond movie “Skyfall”.

Before anything I will like to state Skyfall is a good fun movie according to any action movie standards.
But the claims that it is this best bond movie are over reaching.
The bond movie franchise, not including the novels, is founded on the golden formula of bond.

Fantasy Bond girls; just enough of a taste of sex; elaborate action set pieces; lots of alcohol; over the top villains, fancy gadgets.
The final element is the single minded sense of king and country.

In concept, this formula seems simple but is difficult to recreate in practice. It is not about simply having those elements in your movie. Rather, it is about taking the formula seriously and making the formula the center of the movie. In other words, a bond movie is about the formula rather than anything else. By doing so, the formula has a magical affect.
It makes a C script into an A movie.
The longevity of the bond franchise is based on this simple but magical formula and the producers’ ability to reproduce this formula in every movie.
In some movies, they are more successful than others. Those are remembered by the audiences as classic bond movies.

In this sense, Skyfall is not a classic bond movie. It is referential to the formula but does not take it seriously. Rather, Skyfall is an attempt to make a more traditional American action movie starring the bond character. In other words, it tries to take the plot and character motivation more seriously. Well, seriously for action movie standards.

The plot is basically a revenge story with a Cain and Abel theme flowing throughout.
What is unique is that M replaces God as the object of devotion and anger. M being a woman, this creates a twisted pseudo-maternal relationship between M and her two talented agents. From this relationship, you can get an idea of what this movie is really about.
It is about growing out of your mothers shadow and becoming an adult male.
Throughout the last two movies which basically rebooted the bond franchise, you get the sense of emotional immaturity with the bond character even though the movies are more darker and edgier than previous incarnations. Rather than being his own man, bond was more dependant on M emotionally even though he acts tuff. This emotional relationship was the main differentiating aspects of through new bond. For all the old bonds, M was just a boss and a college. The old Bonds had a closer relationship with Q.
So, by outgrowing this maternal relationship at the end of the movie, Skyfall in its own way becomes a coming of age movie. It concludes a 3 movie bond origin story arc.
At the end of Skyfall, you see a bond that is closer to the old bond characters.
Problem with Skyfall is that this emphasis on plot is not well executed. While you end up liking where bond is left off at the end of the movie, the script itself is not well written enough to bring bond and the audience naturally through the growing up process. It seems forced.
The plot is a generic action movie plot with not much ingenuity even compared to movies such as die hard 3.
The villain is well acted but is more of a second rate joker.
However, what saves the movie is the actors and the director. The actors bring depth to the characters where there is none in the script. The action scenes are great and up to par with other bonds’. And like many of its predecessors, the golden formula also helps. The action, the girls, the sex does a good job in smoothing out the movie’s failed attempts.
Skyfall is a a good movie. But it is not a great bond movie because it does not full embrace the golden formula. It is only applied superficially. There are bond girls, gadgets, sex in Skyfall but you could easily remove them without changing much of the movie.
In the place of the golden formula, there are references to past bond movies. And there are a lot of them. While, for bond fans, references have their enjoyments, they cannot replace the golden formula.
Skyfall is a good movie that you will not regret paying full price. However, you should not see it with too high expectations. It is not the best bond movie ever made.
One final note is that the movie also has a getting too old for this job theme. This is rather weird since the movie is an origin story. At the end, you have a true bond but even before then you constantly hear he is already washed up. So, there is an odd mismatch in themes running in the movie that creates some confusion about what the movie is trying to say.


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