Skyfall: gripes & greats

Skyfall isn’t quite up there with Casino Royale but still pretty premier league – and face it, any way from Quantum of Solace is up.

But it came damn close to losing me in the first ten minutes, pre-credit sequences. It’s no great spoiler to say that at one stage Bond suffers what in most human beings would be a non-fatal but still severely debilitating wound. Its effect on him is to make him look mildly more dyspeptic and he then carries on as normal.

I have no problem with the thought of an immortal Bond who shrugs off these minor inconveniences, or even who never gets hit at all (I can’t see Moore doing this scene, for instance). But I do prefer the 21st century’s new, vulnerable Bond as being generally more dramatically satisfying – so let him be vulnerable!  Bond isn’t Bourne – one of Quantum‘s many flaws was that it was edited as if he was – and in several later scenes we get clear evidence that Bond isn’t as  young and sprightly as he used to be. If being wounded serves absolutely no purpose, don’t wound him.

(And, Hollywood, a long fall into water can kill you just as quickly as a long fall onto ground. Just saying.)

Other than that I will allow Bond his non-reliance on oxygen in the atmosphere, his invulnerability to shockwaves, and other little quirks that presumably he picked up in training for the 00 section. Later in the film we learn that Bond is keeping as private property an item that used to belong to Q branch, and it still has all the Q branch bells and whistles in full functioning order. It’s hard to imagine a private citizen, even 007, being able to do that (regular servicing would be a right bugger) … but I’ll allow that too it because it’s fun.

Fun, and with much to love for Bond geeks. Never before has the simple sight of a hatstand (in the last couple of minutes) suddenly made me feel all excited and tingly with anticipation for what might be about to transpire – and it doesn’t disappoint.

I like the way that this Bond is no longer an agent in isolation, but backed up by a supporting organisation, all played by actors with the chops to come across as a group of competent professionals. Which, face it, is how we all hope MI6 really is. And bearing in mind what transpires between Bond and one of the new faces early on in the movie, before they’re properly introduced, I can only say it’s a shame that Lois Maxwell wasn’t around to see it.