‘Skyfall’

Bond At 50 years

It’s hard to write something new about James Bond movies in light of 50years of Bond movies. One ca imagine it’s even harder to come up with a new script and a new threat. This current Bond movie is getting rave reviews from otherwise difficult-to-please people so it’s interesting that the Bond Movie that brings up the half-century is still hitting its mark.

What’s Good About It

Some of the action set pieces in this one are more visceral and tense than in ‘Quantum of Solace’. The title sequence is pretty cool, but maybe not as cool as the one on ‘Casino Royale’. That one was pretty special. At least in this one, like it is in ‘Casino Royale, the action has a sense of space and time in which things take place. The frenetic post- ‘Jason Bourne’ action seqeunces in Quantum of Solace were pretty ridiculous.

Some of the stunts in the earlier part are great. The action towards the climax seems more like a re-run of the sot o action we used to see in the early Die Hard movies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the context of a Bond movie. Bond is a man of action after all.

What’s Bad About It

It’s been said for many years that James Bond the character is a sociopath, and may even be some kind of psychopath. the man never really changes. The moments we’ve seen Bond change as a result of the action are few and far in between. The greatness of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ with George Lazenby lies with the ending which strongly suggests Bond is transformed. There really isn’t an equivalent moment in Roger Moore’s tenure, which in most part was about a glib one liner in the face of immensely awful violence.

Once again, having gotten to the third film, Daniel Craig’s Bond is showing the strain of being unable to transform. In the absence of the glibness he’s got fewer means to charm, and at this point in the Bond franchise, he’s actually a standout for having the least charm.

What’s Interesting About It

There have been all kinds of articles about James Bond in the 50th anniversary of Dr. No coinciding with this film. One of the most interesting was the graph put together in the Economist.

Look, I’m  no Nate Silver, but I do put trust in what numbers say about players. :)

As you can see, as thuggish as Daniel Craig’s Bond might seem, he had nothing on the kill total of the Pierce Brosnan Bond. The Bond with the least kills and by extension, the least action was Timothy Dalton, which tallies with my impression of his low octane Bond Movies. Craig’s Bond is about on par with Connery’ Bond in terms of kills per movie, which flies in the face of Connery’s complaint that Bond these days is about the killing. If Mr. Connery could have a whinge about Craig’s Bond using his own Bond as a yard stick, it would be that Bond seems to gets laid less and drinks more.

Moore’s Bond drank the least and killed fewer than Connery, Craig or ‘Killer’ Brosnan. I sort of expected him to get laid more, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. George Lazenby’s Bond had a better track record in his one appearance, than the averaged efforts of the others.

For my money, I suspect the Brosnan Bond movies are more up my alley judging from the body count – but I remember being so appalled by ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, I never went to see  the rest of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies after that; I gave up on Bond movies until they rebooted with ‘Casino Royale’. ‘Quantum of Solace’ sorely tested my patience. If the Brosnan Bonds are anything to go by, – and as Sick Boy observes in ‘Trainspotting’ one day you have it, and then you don’t – I wouldn’t put much stock in the next two Bond movies being any good, even with Daniel Craig doing his damnedest.

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