Rainer's Review of Skyfall
Good action film, bad Bond film.
The James Bond franchise worked 40 years to establish its own subgenre of tuxedos, Martinis, gadgets, machoism and explosions.
Then came Casino Royale, the coolness and style of former Bonds like Sean Connery or Roger Moore was replaced by beefy Daniel Craig who looks like he's coming right from the docks of Liverpool instead of Eton.
Now, in Craig's third film, Bond is no more the invulnerable hero and casanova who battles KGB agents and terrorists without ever getting a scratch. He has become a human being - a drinker, with psychological traumas and scars (lots of them).
When it comes to James Bond movies I'm a traditionalist. If I want to see a realistic film or realistic action film (if this even exists) with a shattered protagonist with actual problems and past I go watch a film like the Bourne movies or stuff like that, but when I go to a Bond movie, I wanna see a Bond movie.
Only few times we are reminded that the displaceable protagonist in Skyfall actually is the same character as Connery's portrayal of him, in, let's say, From Russia with Love (my personal favourite Bond movie).
But what's left of a Bond movie if Bond is interchangeable? You could very well just put Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt in Craig's place and the film would still make sense (if Cruise could fake a decent British accent). The explosions, the exotic settings and the fast cars (except for the vintage Aston Martin of course) are all the same in all these action block busters. What the Bond genre always set apart was the style and the gentleman attitude and behaviour and nefarious chauvinism of the central character. Most of this is gone.
Don't get me wrong. This score is very high for an action blockbuster (last year's Mission Impossible got the same for example), and some of the scenes were just perfect (Bardem's first appearance - the long shot of him walking towards the constrained Bond on the abandoned island) and you only need read the credits to see how much talent was involved in making Skyfall (Sam Mendes is a great director, the three writers are veterans and the addition of actors like Bardem or Fiennes side to side with Bond veteran Judi Dench, who gives an excellent performance as always) but deep inside my macho-soul there's a little awe - the kid inside me who just wants less interchangeable action set pieces and one more shot of Bond sipping his Martini, or at least an actor who doesn't look plain wrong in a tux.
A good action movie but not exactly what I want to see...