Thursday, April 11, 2019

Yet Again On Bond, James Bond-Will The Real 007 Please Stand Up- Daniel Craig’s “Skyfall” (2012)-A Film Review

Yet Again On Bond, James Bond-Will The Real 007 Please Stand Up- Daniel Craig’s “Skyfall” (2012)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Seth Garth

Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, Judith Dench, Javier Bardem, 2012

You really have to know how serious the back-biting and jockeying for position is which drives the film review, the film criticism business if you want to get high-blown about the matter, drives film reviewers as a lot, to understand why this reviewer is not regaling you from word one about some aspect of the film under review Skyfall, another in the continuing saga of one 007 James Bond a creature of the mad monk pen of Ian Fleming way back when (in the days when he allegedly was playing footsie with Queen Elizabeth, no not the monarch, not as far as I know although I wouldn’t put it pass the bugger thinking he could get a free ride off of his fake service to her majesty, fake since it was full of holes just ask Kim Philby or his memoirs now that he has gone to the shades,  but the stately queen of England, the drag queen Malcolm Marcy). The latest “civil war” involves two critics who are also working this series longtime critic Phil Larkin and relative newcomer Will Bradley (or have worked on it since both have now finished their respective sections Phil on original 007 Sean Connery’s seven works and Will on Pierce Brosnan’s four). The “controversy” -which of the two Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan is the real Bond, James Bond by temperament and style (they have eliminated the other four who have played the role out of hand as a bunch of sissy boys and drunken sots who couldn’t shoot straight if they tried except getting a lot of civilians killed in the cross-fire which makes the legendary Sherlock Holmes seem a sniper by comparison).        

How does this humble non-partisan reviewer get embroiled in this thicket? Aside from doing the Daniel Craig version of 007 part of the series I made the momentous mortal error of stating in public that I thought picking either of those two candidates seemed to be the best representatives of the character. That started a firestorm on both parts that my non-committal statement meant I “really” sided with one or the other. Hence the donnybrook. The real reason though for their fire and brimstone, and here they take a page from the academy’s handbook for stirring up a hornet’s nest over trifles, was, is to take me down a peg for being “wishy-washy,” for not coming up with some pearls of wisdom to fortify my position. In short to run the sword through my work as so much vanilla, so much getting paid by the word flutter a dirty remark in the industry these days. All to enhance their  slight little junkie and boozehound insights into whatever it is they are arguing about. Jesus.

Laura Perkins, also a film reviewer here, may have put her finger on exactly what is going on of late in the industry among “the boys” as she called us. She was assigned to review a film Dangerous by Bette Davis from 1935. She had watched the film one night with her companion Sam Lowell another long-time film critic who since retirement had become an occasional contributor when he out of the blue belted out that he hated Bette Davis, hated that she always played the untamed shrew, the schoolgirl with the heart of stone, the vampish destroyer of everything around her. This outburst after Sam had almost always given Ms. Davis high marks in his previous work. (Laura had combed the archives to confront him with this truth.) She speculated that the usually placid, even-handed Sam had been bitten by the 007 bug and felt he had to assert himself in some outlandish way to keep his place in the pecking order. Maybe so.           

Certainly Phil and Will still have the bug. In my last review I mentioned that since I couldn’t win against one or the other or both in the one-ups-man-ship contest that I would just tell what I wanted to tell and be done with. Whatever drugs or other dangerous substances they are into they couldn’t let me just go at that. Phil clamored that I had nothing to say about any film which he declared had been true for a long time and Will, younger and maybe not quite as jaded, felt that my not saying anything out of the ordinary meant that I at least realized that Sean Connery was not all he was cracked up to be. By inference Pierce was. So be it although I am sorely tempted to really go after that pair with my razor wit and let them hope they get work out in Utah someplace with the Mormons like Allan Jackson tried to do. And he got nothing but a big laugh from those guys, those guys with the white underwear for crying out loud.   

Back to the film reviewing business. I mentioned in passing
in my last Daniel Craig-etched Bond film Quantum of Solace that it was heavy on action, almost nonstop, and light on plot except for the inevitable beating down of whatever bad guys he was after for M, for MI6, for England and the Queen whatever. (Once again it is not clear whether 007, this 007 was having an affair with Queen Elizabeth, the real queen not the drag queen previously mentioned who strangely enough performed in a statelier manner than Liz ever could. Don’t make light of this charge since it is well known that even a heavy duty rock star like Mick Jagger had entered her chambers in the old days when he was into older women. How do you think he got that freaking knighthood if not for dedicating Sister Morphine to her from their junkie days so don’t think a slick guy like 007 couldn’t take the tumble either on his way up the MI6 bureaucracy).

This Skyfall (named for the estate in Scotland where Bond grew up before his parents were killed and he was left an orphan and to the winds) has much more of a plot aside from the usual ration of mind-numbing action which would put the average human in the hospital for maybe a year-or more. This one gets more personal since it involves the fate of M’s career (played by Dame Judith Dench in this Craig series so far). Involves her maybe needing some retirement time since on her watch an important list of agents who have infiltrated terrorist organizations internationally has been compromised.

By whom? By a former hotshot 00 agent Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem last seen here playing a consummate bureaucrat either for the Inquisition in Spain or for the French when they occupied Spain in the wake of the French Revolution in the 1790s in Goya’s Ghosts, who she had to make a split decision to send over to the enemy for the greater good of saving a slew of others. Tough decision and one which Brother Silva holds a very big grudge over since they worked him over something fierce and that was on the good days. So much so that he has made it his main goal in life to do her harm, slowly, in her profession and in the end physically as well since she winds up dying in Bond’s arms after the usual all hell breaking loose final confrontation. Needless to say after a long period of mayhem and destruction including that final blast from hell that rogue agent goes down, goes down hard. Thems the facts Jack.         

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