The Tao of James Bond

In response to With ‘Skyfall’ James Bond is Finally Back:

I also thought Skyfall was somewhat overrated, although its strengths were also clear to see.  Every dollar of that budget was right up on the screen – few Bond movies have enjoyed such gorgeous cinematography.  And Daniel Craig is really good at playing this character.  I still don’t think he’s seen a script truly worthy of his portrayal.  Maybe not that all the classic Bond pieces are in place, his next go-round will finally deliver the film he’s been building up to.

As with so many movies these days, I think the script was a big problem.  There were too many plot threads that just went nowhere, like Bond’s supposedly borderline fitness for duty after getting the crap blasted out of him during the opening sequence.  He failed all those tests, but just kind of snapped back to near-100% lethality without much transition.  A malfunctioning Bond would have been interesting.

And as well-acted as Javier Bardem’s villain was, he seemed to come up with an unfortunate case of the stupids to set up the climax (as did British intelligence.)  He seemed a bit too much like a hacker-happy version of the rogue agent from “Goldeneye” as well.  With all the real evil out there in the world to battle, why should this series keep returning to rogue double-oh agents as villains?  Is it because there’s just nothing sexy about the bad guys in our new Long Twilight Struggle?  Or are filmmakers still afraid to use them as villains for reasons of political correctness?

It was time for Judi Dench to take a bow, but I rather liked her turn as “M,” and “Skyfall” gave her a great send-off.  I’ve long thought the most bizarre creative decision from the stewards of the Bond franchise was keeping her as “M” between the Brosnan and Craig films, a move that led to some fan speculation that maybe we’re supposed to see the name “James Bond” as an alias filled by different men who come and go.  I rather doubt that was the intention, but it’s fun to watch “Casino Royale” with that theory in mind.

Definitely agree on “License to Kill,” the most under-rated Bond film.  I liked the edge Timothy Dalton brought to the role, and it was great to see him bring the character a bit more down to earth, going outside the usual fantasy spyjinks to tackle some faintly realistic villains.  Dalton and Craig make a character more commonly portrayed as a gentleman adventurer seem occasionally… scary.

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