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Meh.
I heard great things about this film, so going in I had big expectations. And boy did it fail to live up to the hype.

A very good thing that the series as a whole is doing is that they're taking the movies in a very different direction from Fleming's original concept - less end-of-the-world campy and more real-world espionage - which IMO is a very, very, good thing. The old so-called 'classics' that people rave about never made any kind of sense whatsoever. Remember Moonraker? Noah's Ark in space? Oh, boy.

The film's problem, and I think most people would agree, is the really, really slow pace of its first half. We don't go to Bond movies for their artistic value - we want to see some action and HSQ and shit blowing up. There's a really good opening sequence for that, followed by what I think is the best title song in the entire Bond franchise, and then...yawn. Talk, talk, talk.

By halftime Javier finally shows up on screen (in what I think is the lamest entrance for any villain in the entire Bond franchise, but Javier being Javier he pulls it off) and the action picks up a bit. Then Silver (Javier) lets himself get captured as part of the plan, breaks out, wreaks havoc.... and then we learn that Bond came from a rich family in Scotland... and his parents were killed when he was a little boy... and he was raised by the family gamekeeper... then he decided to become a spy and fight crime... hang on, did I walk into the wrong movie? Any second there I was expecting to see Morgan Freeman show up with a bat-suit and cape for Craig.

That's what I really hated about this film: it was openly ripping off Nolan's TDK. The Xanatos-type villain, his uncontrollable chaotic style, even that one particular shot of Silver, silhouetted against the burning mansion behind him - remind you of a scene with our favourite Monster Clown? And yeah, we could've done without all the Oedipal subtext, too.

Good climax, with some good visuals. The burning bungalow makes for a great centerpiece as the action comes to an end.

Could be said to be better than Quantum, but definitely not better Casino.

Overall 6.5/10.
Ian Fleming's novels were originally more in the tone and feel of the Craig films. It was the movies that decided to be campy and silly all by their lonesome.
comment #16870 Wackd 16th Nov 12
I personally rather like some aspects of Moonraker, but it is one of the most universally reviled Bond movies out there, so namechecking it while accusing Bond fans of blind nostalgia is kind of a strawman.

Wackd: and even there Dr. No and From Russia with Love have some early installment mundanity going on.
comment #16872 odadune 16th Nov 12
Yeah, it was Thunderball which really kinda sent everything off the rails.
comment #16873 Wackd 16th Nov 12
Don't get me wrong, I love the hell out of Thunderball, but future films picked the worst aspects of it to ape.
comment #16874 Wackd 16th Nov 12
@ Wackd: True, but the novels did contain some pretty out-there themes: Live and Let Die's Voodoo-villain springs to mind; and so does all the ninja crap from You Only Live Twice, Bondo-San....heh. Anyway, some of the anthologies and shorts, on the other hand, are very down-to-earth, and IMO, among the best of the Bond literature. For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, etc.

And I wasn't playing a strawman argument (neither was I critiquing the series, as you can see); I'm just happy that we have moved on from THAT to this. Their mistake this time around was that they pushed a little TOO deep into the quieter side. Fellas, keep the things we loved!
comment #16875 Darkmane 17th Nov 12
The novels were out there, too, but they were...sane about it, I think. They dealt with them more dryly than the movies were willing too.

And also, the movie is all about how they're keeping the things you love. Q's back, Moneypenny's back, the old offices are back, etc. The entire film was an homage to classic Bond while at the same time establishing a more down to Earth tone.

comment #16879 Wackd 17th Nov 12
@Darkmane: "I wasn't playing a strawman argument"

You did call "Moonraker" a putative classic, or at least seemed to, which is a stretch unbecoming of honest argument.
comment #16880 tublecane 17th Nov 12
@odadune: "Dr. No" is mundane compared to later installments, especially of the Moore era. Then again, we should remember it is about a secret organization bent on controlling world events as represented by a mad scientist living in a subterranean compound on a deserted island guarded by a giant radioactive mechanical monster.
comment #16881 tublecane 17th Nov 12
This review just takes everything about this movie the wrong way. A ripoff of The Dark Knight? Please. Too "talky" and "artsy"? Gimme a break. It seems to me this reviewer was too held back by his expectations of what he thought a Bond movie should be and didn't take it for what it was, a celebration of Bond and a bit of a character study as well. Not to mention his lack of knowledge of Ian Fleming's original Bond, which the Craig movies are much closer to than most all of the previous ones.
comment #16882 IamOz 17th Nov 12
Incidentally, while I liked this film a lot, I thought it could have done with more intellect and less Stuff Blowing Up. To each their own, I guess.
comment #16915 DoktorvonEurotrash 20th Nov 12
Batman fans: Everything is a copy of The Dark Knight Rises, even films released in the same year.
comment #16925 Scardoll 20th Nov 12
Sorry; not a batman fan (I'm a Marvel/Indies kinda guy, and I usually avoid non-Vertigo DC). And I didn't like Rises that much, either. Oh, and I think you should actually read the review before commenting, 'cause I compared it to TDK, not Rises.
comment #16936 Darkmane 22nd Nov 12
Ripping off Batman? Bond's origins have been known for years, if you're only learning about them now it's not the film makers fault. Also, it's not like TDK was the first film to have a chaotic, xanatos style villain.
comment #18246 neverslender 18th Feb 13
A chaotic, xanatos villain with a disfigured mouth who deliberately gets captured and put into a glass holding cell- I think there were an awful lot of similarities in that sequence, but not so much as to be a rip-off, just that the writers probably saw the Dark Knight and some of it may have affected their subconscious. I sort of feel that both films were aiming for a similar tone too (and both franchises were taking efforts to step away from previously more campy reincarnations) but there was nowhere near the level of similarity to call Skyfall uncreative or unworth watching.

If the Dark Knight was about chaos and being a hero and staying true to morals despite conflict with (possible?) commentary on the need for more draconian measures to fight terrorists and when those measures are appropriate, Skyfall is about getting change, getting old and bringing in new measures in a new age without losing what you already have with commentary on the need not to abandon human agents in modern intelligence, but also the need to prepare against new cyber threats.

So if their core messages are completely different, then each film is uniquely valuable, and any visual/plot similarities they might share don't need to be harmful. (In fact I reckon there's exactly enough common ground for the films to actually complement each other quite well. M's troubles at the start, although not a main theme, tie in nicely to TDK's main theme, and you can think about how Batman wants to bring in a new era where the Dark Knight isn't needed, compared to Skyfall's assertion, that you will always need people willing to do immoral things even when the larger world gets to act fairly morally)
comment #18248 TomWithNoNumbers 18th Feb 13
The chaotic xanatos villain deliberately captured in a cell who glowers at the camera and has an oral fixation was in Silence of the Lambs, among many other films. These tropes have been used in numerous media. It also was what they've done with Clayface in a Birds of Prey comic. TDK got it from somewhere else.

...and the joker's not in a glass cell in the film. He's in an interrogation room or in a barred cell,not a glass room. Javier's glass cell is an old bond villain staple, which has been made fun of in Austin Powers Goldmember.
comment #18250 fenrisulfur 18th Feb 13
Oh good point. It's almost though fiction was a composite of various imageries and character attributes that have come to have a certain presence and expectation in the audiences mind, a sort of device or convention used to create interesting, meaningful stories...

Sorry forgot where I was for a second there, thanks for the reminder =D
comment #18251 TomWithNoNumbers 18th Feb 13
Heck, the prisoner in the glass cell probably achieved trope status years ago. Look at The Man in the Glass Booth for a non-action movie example.
comment #19799 Terrie 10th Jun 13
@I Am Oz Try the Dalton Bond films,...The Living Daylights and License To Kill are by far closer to Felimg's concepts than any of the Craig films.
comment #19807 terlwyth 11th Jun 13
My main problem was that it didn't feel like a Bond film. It felt more like one of those gritty Bourne flicks. The ultimate insult was when James Bond was ready to get his gadgets, only to be disappointed when he gets little more than a gun; the in-universe explanation is something along the lines of "Well, what were you expecting, an exploding pen? We don't do that kind of stuff anymore.". Well, you should do that kind of stuff. Half the fun is the gadgets.
comment #23867 Mr.Movie 16th Apr 14
I thought some of the magic of Skyfall was jsut how much old Bond there was compared to Casion Royale, yet they still managed to keep the Casino Royale fans.

If you look at the film, Bond makes a tone of witty one-liners, he's utterly suave and cool in all situations. He jumps onto a train and checks his cuffs. He fights people in a pit of Komodo dragons. They make the joke about no gadgets and then give him a series of gadgets that he uses exactly once for a very specific purpose. True there were only 2 in that particular scene and they weren't flashy, but then what do you call a remote controlled gatling gun hidden inside a car?

One of the secrets of Skyfall is they kept giving lines in the film about 'oh we're not doing that Bond cliche' and then doing them anyway. It makes the people who hate that stuff happy but it still keeps the goodies to show.

Heck the worst and most loathsome parts of the film both exist entirely because they were following old Bond formula. The girl who exists solely for Bond to sleep with, with a traumatic background that's entirely ignored and an easy get out for Bond and the villain with the characteristics of a social minority so that we'd consider them weird and different (this time being gay, which is bad even for Bond).
comment #23869 TomWithNoNumbers 16th Apr 14
I didn't think it was as good as it could've been either, but I still really enjoyed it. It felt like this film was trying to reconcile the more down-to-earth, character-driven aspects of Casino Royale with the more traditional Bond elements. In a way, it felt kind of like one of the earlier Connery films, back before they became so over-the-top. They also play with some of the Bond tropes in interesting ways, like Bond never using his Walther PPK (though it was a nice touch to include that in there, along with the joke about the Beretta). Now, I do like the over-the-top Bond movies a lot, but like Batman, the rich history provides many different interpretations of the franchise. There's plenty of room for Craig's next film, IMHO, right next to my favorite Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.
comment #23883 JamesPicard 16th Apr 14
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