This movie was written before the pandemic, which makes it an unsettling coincidence that its main theme concerns an evil mastermind looking to unleash a bio-weapon (virus) upon the world – a ‘smart’ virus that can be programmed to kill certain individuals, certain family lines and certain races! The showdown takes place in The Poison Garden, which is a microcosm of the wider world (God’s creation), in which it is humans who wreak such death and destruction upon both nature and themselves, becoming victims of themselves. Yes, this film is about consequences, individual, social and political. Even Bond suffers consequences for the things he does and has done.
Was the film worth the wait, because the pandemic saw its release delayed by a year or two? Yes, indeed. And it’s worth the wait of the 2hrs43mins running time, too. When you see it, you’ll see why it has to be that long, to tell both the individual’s story and the wider-world’s story. You’ll also see why they insisted it be shown at cinemas (rather than rushing it out on Netflix), because the cinematography is breath-taking.
It’s a great way for Daniel Craig to sign off as Bond. But I reckon I’ll leave it there, to avoid spoilers, init. The movie scores a debonair 9 out of 10 from me. (Why not a 10? Well, Rami Malek as the bad guy has a nonsense of an accent, and some of his cryptic pronouncements were just poor scriptwriting, actually (and clearly not the bits written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.) My partner actually wants to go see it again, so it was clearly doing something right, eh?
It may be the UK’s biggest ever grossing film, but all that proves is that marketing can sell things. It doesn’t prove the film’s any good. Indeed, it isn’t too good in the following ways:
1. From a feminist perspective. Look what happens to the three female characters in the movie. The ‘girlfriend’ is shot in the head. The character of M is killed and replaced by a man. Moneypenny is pulled out of the field and reduced to the position of a glamorous secretary behind a desk. After all, as the refrain of the film goes, and as Moneypenny is told time and again, the action and lead roles ‘aren’t for everybody’. The refrain may as well be, the action and lead roles ‘aren’t for women’. Are there any more female characters? If you look closely, there’s a Turkish bird that James Bond shags on the beech. She isn’t allowed a single spoken line and she simply ‘disappears’. Shame.
2. The last third of the film isn’t about plot coherence, it’s about having an action sequence for a computer game. The old helicopter gunship appears yet again. How many Playstation Bond games have I completed with precisely this ‘final stage’ in it? Too many. I wouldn’t mind, but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense in Skyfall. The plot is thrown completely out of the window. One happened to the entire premise of the names of agents being revealed on Youtube week by week? We are never told. The plot is not central to this film in any way, shape or form. Shame.
And yet it made loads of money and the franchise is healthy once more. Hmm. I must learn from this. Maybe Empire of the Saviours should be rewritten so it has a helicopter gunship at the end. Maybe Hella and Freda need a bullet to the head.