December 3, 2012 by Liz
How do you talk about a film that is so basic and primal in nature that it evokes every nostalgic and baser instinct in your body?
I do find it hard to intellectualize Skyfall. It played to my James Bond geekiness so effectively that I fell in love all over again. In fact, I’ll defer to Manohla Dargis of the New York Times who I feel hits it on the head in terms of critique and review.
I’d rather talk about Skyfall as a new inception. It is the reboot of the Bond Series, the prequel to all Bonds which now allows for a Star Trek-like parallel universe occurrence to happen.
Will Craig now start moving into sacred Connery territory? Will someone else assume the Bond shoes but keep the style of the Craig bond in order to keep up the new and exciting “real” spy as opposed to the Mission Impossible gadget focused Brosnan?
There’s an entire swath of possibilities open and that’s how they like it. This film brought back the Connery bond: The womanizing, brawling, chiseled Bond that knew how to handle his martinis while still playing it cool. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace humanized Bond. It revealed a novice, unrefined Bond before he became the cipher. Before he was just a shell (granted a rather badass shell) that anyone could insert themselves into in order to experience the badassery that is being a MI6 spy. That Bond was a complete, emotional, attached man. He had opinions. He had thoughts. He had feelings.
The Bond portrayed in Skyfall created THE Bond. Not only did he evoke Sean Connery’s style of Bond, but he truly emptied and then recreated the character to be nothingness. With the death of M came the death of the human Bond.
I know what you’re thinking. He died when he was shot by Moneypenny at the beginning. He was detached and cold from that point on. True. However, there was one thing holding him to the empire that brought him back from that lonely island: M. M is mommy and all mommies have to let their children grow and go. It’s only fitting that the one that mommy let go too early ended up being her demise.
Javier Bardem, a fantastically disturbing actor, plays one of the best criminal masterminds in recent memory. Not a crazy, entropic villain such as Heath Ledger’s Joker (The Dark Knight). Not a cold-blooded, logical, hubristic killer like Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Operative (Serenity). And not quite even an opportunistic, heartless bastard like Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds). Instead, Bardem plays the most dangerous of villains. He is the genius man-child who builds up his evil empire of money and destruction until he can hatch a plan big enough to yell at his mommy for not paying attention to him. He’s the loose cannon, all raw unadulterated passionate hatred, the psychopath who never truly moves on and instead obsesses about his creator. Rather Moriarty-esque (the brilliant BBC Sherlock version).
Once Silva, evil twin of Bond, releases both himself and Bond from the binds of M’s mother figure, Bond no longer is tied to that human emotional form. He’s free to become the cipher. He is reborn.
So just as the Adele song was lackluster and disappointing until juxtaposed with the beautiful imagery and emotion of the opening scene of Skyfall, our Bond has moved on from the shackles and disappointment of his human story, that while fun at first became burdensome in Quantum. He has matured through Skyfall into the Bond we all know and love and can keep on loving for the next 50 years.