I caught a sneak preview a couple nights ago, and let me tell you right now: This is a good James Bond movie. That’s largely because it’s not like old James Bond movies. None of that old James Bond shit would work today.
We just can’t be wowed with shoe phones anymore. Sean Connery basically used to get gadgets from the Sharper Image 10 years before they existed. What could Daniel Craig possibly receive from Q that would excite the audience? An iPhone 7?
There’s still the usual product placement, but it’s not as distracting. (Though I think all product placement seems relatively subtle ever since we watched Will Smith lace up Converse shoes for 5 minutes in I, Robot.) Didn’t one of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies feature a remote-controlled BMW? I’m pretty sure Bond saw it for the first time he said, “Cool, a BMW car” and then his gadget guy was like, “Yes, this car is the height of luxury,” and he turned to the camera, winked, and said, “Go to your local BMW dealer to experience this car. It is a really good car for you to buy.” And the Bond theme played and the credits rolled and you know what maybe this didn’t really happen but you get the idea.
You know what else was really edgy back in the old Bond days? Sex. And not even actual sex. Just kind of hinting at sex. At least twice in every movie, Bond would embrace a lady and the camera would pull back slowly then cut a shot of Bond drying his hair after a post-coital shower. That used to sell movie tickets. But now if I want to see one guy have sex with a bunch of ladies, I have the entire internet. Great, some smooth-talking British guy bedded 2 ladies in 90 minutes. There are websites where you can watch the same thing, but with those two numbers reversed. For free.
Skyfall knows these things, and because of that, it’s a better movie. There’s even a quip about how MI6 doesn’t make exploding pens more. The majority of the movie is driven by action, a compelling villain, and character relationships. Plus I think one of the sex scenes has a little bit of sideboob.
Now, there are still some parts in Skyfall where clearly the writers wanted to include technology but they didn’t know what to do with it. Computer viruses have these absurd graphical interfaces (like in that movie Hackers where those hackers hacked), and at one point a computer gets compromised and all hell breaks loose. It’s like the script said, “And then computers happen and everyone panics. CUT TO: Big chase scene.” It’s silly but forgivable.
So go see Skyfall! You’ll Sky-fall in love with it! It’s double-oh pretty-great! Additional James Bond pun!
Title image source via SmashCaptures