Top Seven… Reasons Why Skyfall Really Isn’t Very Good At All
Only one man likes Bond films. His name is Alan Partridge. He doesn’t even exist. Beware of those who proclaim, ‘Oh, I bloody love James Bond movies. Bloody Bond, I bloody love ‘im’. They are liars. No one likes Bond films ***. They are films for people who don’t like films. Pre-packaged and flat-packed. Bond isn’t British. He’s Swedish. He is the Ikea of cinema.
We may love Bond themes or Bond openings or Bond stunts or Bond villains or Bond girls, but none of us is stupid enough to enjoy an entire Bond film. The bit where the car spins through the air in The Man With The Golden Gun, that’s brilliant. But would anyone want to sit through the rest of the film again? No thanks.
Bond movies are cynical exercises in marketing and little more. When Star Wars was a smash in the late 70s, it was time to put Bond into space in Moonraker. When the Bourne films went big, it was time to thrust Bond into incomprehensible action scenes too.
Skyfall has been proclaimed by many as the best Bond film ever. Which is a bit like saying Mitt Romney was the best Republican candidate in the US election race this year. Perhaps it is because its predecessor, Quantum Of Solace, was so unbelievably dull that it was universally agreed upon that Skyfall is brilliant. Well, it’s not. It’s a Bond film. With all that entails. But even in the history of Bond films, Skyfall fails to live up to the hype. Here’s why.
(**THERE ARE NO SPOILERS OF SKYFALL BELOW**)
007. The theme song
Sorry Adele, I love that one where you sing about fire and rain, even though James Taylor beat you to it by more than 40 years, but your Bond theme puts me to sleep. It lurches along and you wait for the big crescendo, à la Tina Turner with GoldenEye, but it never comes. As for the credit sequence, it has Bond battling seaweed. Great. Bond themes should rouse you for the film to come, not make you want to sink to the bottom of the ocean. When I was walking home from the cinema I was humming Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow. That’s how nondescript Skyfall’s theme is.
Oh, the bad guy is a cyber-terrorist! Who would have thought it? Anyone who’s watched a movie made from 1995 onwards, that’s who. Didn’t the Bond makers see Die Hard 4? Or Sandra Bullock in The Net? Or this?
005. M, or rather, Judi Dench as M
The makers of Skyfall had obviously not seen The World Is Not Enough either. Which is probably just as well, because like all Bond films *** it is pretty rubbish, bar a great opening sequence in London (see 002 below). In The World Is Not Enough, someone from M’s past comes back to haunt her. Not in a ghostly way, in a blows up MI6 kind of way. In Skyfall, the exact same thing happens. My problem isn’t M as such – the character is ripe with possibilities – but Dame Judi Dench’s M. She has been in every Bond film since GoldenEye. That’s way too long. She was great in GoldenEye, of course, breaking Bond’s balls, calling him a dinosaur. But I don’t want to see a Bond film that revolves around her. I want to see a Bond film that revolves around Bond. If I want to watch an old woman in peril, I have the Spider-Man movies for that.
004. The Bond girls
Wow, we’ve come such a long way since Bond girls were called Pussy. Oh no, hang on, we haven’t. Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe receive particularly short shrift here. The former’s only job is to give Bond a shave, while the latter is barely allowed to offer a tantalising glimpse of what could have been an excellent performance if stretched over the entire film. Doesn’t seem fair, given that Olga Kurylenko in Quantum Of Solace was given as much screen time as Daniel Craig himself. Remember that? ‘Course you don’t. It was rubbish. Could be worse though, I guess…
003. The action
Bond films are just action films with a character we’ve heard of before. That’s it. I have no problem with the plot suffering as a consequence, but at least give us a few ‘wow’ moments. The only time that happened in Skyfall was when Bond spontaneously hitched a ride on an elevator. The opening train/excavator bit looked like something left on the cutting room floor from a Fast And The Furious movie.
The only bit of Skyfall that held much interest for me was a visually startling – and crucially, quite original – sequence in Shanghai. However, most of the action takes place in London. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough. Bond films should start in London, but never be based there. I don’t want to see Bond pottering around Regent Street looking for suits. I want to see him get his orders, jet off somewhere exotic and keep going to places that are exotic. Although not fuel cell-powered hotels in the middle of nowhere. That was crap. In Skyfall, Bond gets the Tube (still trying to copy Bourne, who made a right mess at Waterloo Station). Getting the Tube is not exciting. There is no way it should be in a Bond film. I get it every day. It’s pretty dull. And it doesn’t get exciting just because James bloody Bond is in the next carriage. Even Rihanna and Roy Hodgson get it now. Of course, there are occasions when the Tube can be featured in movies…
001. Mccaulay Culkin
I’m not going to get spoilerific, but let’s just say the ending of Skyfall should have featured Kevin McCallister. It’s Home Alone-tastic.
*** Except GoldenEye. GoldenEye is just brilliant.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF SKYFALL?