While I have seen pieces of one of the Connery films (and of which one, I don't know), this was the first Bond movie I'd ever seen all the way through. I'm well aware of the popular image of James Bond, but I wasn't quite sure what to expect, given my lack of familiarity with the source content. Needless to say, I was quite surprised with this movie, but not entirely displeased. What I liked:
- The performances were all brilliant. Every last one. What surprised me most about it, though, was how understated the acting was. It was quite a bit more believable than I was expecting, and thus quite a bit more effective as well.
- Presentation. As I understand is usually expected, the score was fantastic. The cinematography was excellent as well. I always understood the basics of what was going on, no matter how frantic the scene.
- In terms of story, I appreciated the use of literary theming they had going on with the whole "old vs. new" concept. Heavy-handed as it may have been, it's still not something you see a lot of in your average action flick, especially since it's given the ambiguity treatment, because while the central protagonists are ultimately on the "old" side, Bond fails to protect his memories, as his house is destroyed, or his boss, the shining proponent of the old ways the MI 6 uses. I just wish they defined more clearly what they meant by "old" and "new"
- Similarly, the villain was one of the more intimidating ones I've seen in cinema. While I've seen the comparisons to the Joker, Silva here doesn't have a large history or name recognition to draw from, and still managed to leave quite the lasting impression on me. Nevermind that I haven't seen the Nolan Batman films either.
- The opening could have been done better. The scene goes on for quite awhile, and while it does involve numerous well-shot action scenes, they don't explain what's going on until much later, making it hard to care.
- The final scene with Q has him trying to divert Silva with a false computer trail. This plot thread is then unceremoniously dropped and never mentioned again.
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