Sunday, November 18, 2012

In theatres: Skyfall (2012)

Daniel Craig's 3rd outing as superspy James Bond also marks the 50th anniversary of the screen debut of Ian Fleming's iconic secret agent.

"Skyfall" is a combination of things. On the one hand, we are introduced to rebooted incarnations of two key members of the Bond cast. Q (which stands for Quartermaster, as we discover) is now a 20-something computer geek. Miss Moneypenny, who pined for Bond in the grand old days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore, now is, I would guess, African-British, and pretty cute, too. Although she's working with Bond virtually throughout the movie, it isn't until the very end that we learn her identity. Hmmmm, if that sounds sort of familiar, well, a similar device was used in a certain summer blockbuster..........!

The general plot surrounds a former MI-6 agent, code name Silva (Oscar winner Javier Bardem), out for revenge after being decommissioned some years earlier. Silva's a goofy fellow, almost on the level of, well, the Joker, perhaps? However, he isn't insane, just insanely brilliant, hacking into the computer system seemingly at will, even though, like the Joker in "Dark Knight" 4 years ago, he's already been captured, but, as Bond deduces, that was part of the overall plan.
Silva has it in particularly for M (Dame Judi Dench), who has enough to deal with, considering that Silva and his goons stole a disc that contains the IDs of various MI-6 agents already embedded elsewhere, and that security breach has brought M before a committee that includes one Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), who gets off on the wrong foot with Bond.

As I noted, Silva is captured a wee bit too early, which gives away that he'll escape and the chase will start anew. The sight of Silva removing some dentures to reveal what had happened to his real teeth was just flat disturbing. The chase leads to Bond's ancestral home in Scotland, from which we get the title of this film, and where its caretaker (Albert Finney) lends a hand to Bond & M. Bond makes use of some old school weapons, including his father's old rifle. The inscription of AB (the initials of Andrew Bond, 007's late father) on the rifle also serves as a bit of a tribute to the late producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, whose family still controls the license on the Bond film franchise. Nice touch. They're already promising that Bond will return, but there will be some changes anew, as hinted at the end of the film.

The screening I went to was rather sparsely attended, since I opted for a neighborhood multiplex instead of the mall. What to look forward to? Hmmm.....

*"The Last Stand" (January): Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Southwestern sheriff. It's vintage Arnold, complete with one-liners. Forest Whitaker co-stars.

*"Zero Dark Thirty" (next month): From the producer of "The Hurt Locker". Creepy stuff.

*"Iron Man 3" (May): Robert Downey, Jr., Don Cheadle, & Gwyneth Paltrow return, but with all the explosions, one has to hope they didn't replace Jon Favreau as director with Michael Bay..........!

Posters in the lobby show that the Smurfs will return next summer. How are they going to top last year's film?

Sony's YouTube channel offers the trailer for "Skyfall":

The theme is performed by British singer Adele. Good, but not among the better ones.

Rating: A-.

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