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 Skyfall: The Autopsy

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Lazenby.
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PostSubject: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:35 am

MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

SKYFALL: THE AUTOPSY

I'm in the same boat as a few others here in that I can't quite figure out how to feel about Skyfall. Every actor does their best, the film looks good and in places sounds good and there's plenty of potential here, mainly in the quality of the cast. But something feels lacking, something it's not easy to put a finger on. Maybe what EON had here was an embarrassment of riches, though unfortunately those riches don't exactly extend to the plot. What we have here is that all-too-rare thing in Bond films where practically every role has not only great potential but is also very well acted. Daniel Craig gets given only a small amount of time to convince us that his Bond has "lost a step", but he manages to pull this off to a fair degree (he does more to sell a haggard Bond with just three days of stubble than Brosnan managed with a year-old beard).

Judi Dench doesn't put a foot wrong acting-wise either, and it's appropriate that quite a bit of focus is placed on the belief among some of her peers that she's not up to the job anymore, something long overdue. It's not just the audience that notice her recklessness this time. In fact, I even felt sorry for her in this film, because in it's whopping 140 minute runtime the lazy buggers couldn't even be bothered giving her an on-screen funeral (hell, even that clown Robert King in TWINE got an on-screen funeral and we'd only known him for two minutes). The writers for some reason also allow M to stand around talking in a meeting despite repeated warnings that Silva has escaped and is on his way to kill her. Ah, Purvis and Wade, I'll miss the daft buggers when they're gone. They also allow her to send Bond out after Silva despite Bond having failed every health and fitness test under the sun. Ok, that makes sense. But yeah, I felt for M in this film, they should have treated this character and this actress so much better during her tenure instead of slapping one ill-thought-out attention seeking "shock" moment after another on her simply in the name of screentime. The arrival of Purvis and Wade was the death of her. Still, at least I can part with the character on good terms, firmly leaving the blame for her discrepancies at the door of largely terrible writers.

The two main Bond girls are fine: The smouldering Severine and the spunky but done just about right Eve. Fiennes is reliably solid. Bardem is great prior to becoming standard gun-toting bad guy in the finale, and the new Q seems a bit of a risk initially but settles well enough in subsequent scenes. So what's the problem? Well, even at 140 minutes, there's just not enough time for a few of these characters and I was left feeling really short-changed by them. Fiennes gets about five very small scenes and that's it (though he does manage a quite nice character u-turn in the short time he's given, and he'll make a much better M than I'd initially imagined if the final scene is anything to go by, but that's in the future, not right now).

Bardem gets given the same kind of short shrift afforded to the likes of Renard (hell, even the wasted Renard probably got more screentime than the powerful Bardem), and it's criminal that we have to wait around an hour for him to even turn up, because his introduction really lifts the film for a short time (his introduction is one of my favourite villain scenes in a Bond film for a very long time). But ultimately all he's given is basically what Renard got: A quick taunting of Bond, a creepy moment with his mistress, a quick gunning down of a few innocents, a quick underground chase with Bond followed by a caused explosion, a quick cell exchange with M and then just the expected face-off with Bond at the end. When this guy gets to do his acting thing he's great, and the producers/director should have recognised this and given him so much more. A fantastic coup of a villain rather wasted.

And the writers sometimes let Bardem down even with the short time they do give him: For someone so determined to kill M, he has her at his absolute mercy twice with a gun on her and for some reason doesn't just pull the trigger. He just becomes standard gun-wielding villain fare at the finale too, and again weakens at the hands of the writers for his death. Berenice Marlohe makes a fine impression as the beautiful Severine, but her screentime is ridiculously short, restricted to little more than just a quickie with Bond before leading him to Silva. And that's it. Another waste. Even Craig isn't guaranteed centre stage in his own Bond film, as this film becomes even more "The Bond and M Show" than I'd feared, especially when Bond makes the bizarre choice to take her with him to wait for Silva's arrival and risk her death rather than just leave her somewhere safe and sort Silva himself.

Anyway, my main point is that there's probably just too much talent in front of the camera in Skyfall, perhaps a pitfall of casting or approaching a Bond film as drama, when that drama will always have to fight for screentime with the completely non-negotiable guarantee of multiple big action sequences.

But another downfall of Skyfall is the blatant reluctance to allow Bond to flourish full-throttle in his own cinematic skin. Again here, for the third successive film (or fourth if you count DAD's attempt at tossing a bearded "no use to anyone" Bond to the wind, or five if you agree with me that James Bond became a US soap opera star for TWINE) we only seem to get some kind of full-on validation of Bond having "become" Bond at the very end of the film (initially, the gunbarrel's absence at the start seems pointless, but it soon becomes apparent that we're still not quite 100% in the company of the fully-tooled-up Bond; Craig's gunbarrel at the end is quite nifty this time though). For the duration, it's still up in arms as to who or what this Bond is or will become or where they want to go with him once he's finally "become" Bond. He goes from half-bearded wreck to John Rambo (action-man loner hiding abroad playing dare sports for baying bar patrons, pulling bullets from his torso with a knife) to generic gun-toting angry farmer for the finale with, as with CR and QOS, just a few teasing scenes of Bondness tossed in here and there. It's also never explained why on earth Bond would have disappeared for three months without letting anybody know he was still alive, especially when it's revealed that Bond's flat and a sh*tload of stuff from his lodge have been sold off as a result. Oh well. Prisoner Monkeys could have come up with a reason for this, why didn't the writers just call him?

Okay, what's left? Oh yeah, the music. Not too bad, but hardly memorable either. At least Newman seems arsed about the lack of an opening gunbarrel and does his best to shove a short stab of Bond music in our face for the opening shot. And, praise the lord, it was so good to watch action sequences without all of those predictable Arnold "flourishes" winding me up. Newman's Bond themes were classier than Arnold's lame CR and QOS versions as well. The PTS is well scored, with Newman immediately differentiating himself enough from Arnold with a perfectly boisterous and flavourful cue to suit the environment and the escalating action. Oh yeah, the action.... Most of it is well done, most of the set-pieces impress enough, there's a bit less fake Donkey Kong roof-leaping than usual and a few good fist fights (including some great shots in the skyscraper fight) which thankfully don't quite recall Bourne as much as in the previous two films. The photography is good throughout, this feels like a big(ish) Bond film limited only by the lack of imagination of it's writers. The title song is still a sorry, phoned-in POS, and the titles looked disappointingly more like a PS3 haunted house video game with distracting live shots of Craig throughout.

But all in all, my first impressions aren't all doom and gloom. Sure, this isn't premium Bond by any stretch but, as with CR and QOS, it beats the hell out of the 90s Bond flicks, and there's a flicker of promise that Bond will be back in business properly next time around (the "drama" thing has surely been exhausted to death by this film) with hopefully a good new M and that beautiful old office. It's just a bit frustrating, with the talent on board this time around, that Skyfall didn't amount to much more than it does. The cast ensure that this isn't quite TWINE but, on paper and maybe upon further analysis, it could still turn out to be the Craig era's equivalent of it. It's definitely a bit of a waste in places, but it could have been a whole lot worse I suppose.
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:47 am

Just read the first and last paragraphs, but I'm glad you like it, Laz. I was dreading a 58 paragraph rant on how Skyfall is the death of Bond, and then I'd go into the cinema with your review constantly at the back of my head.

Going to see it tomorrow night/Sunday morning at the BFI Imax. Will post a review of the film and score, then disappear.... again...
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:46 pm

"Skyfall: The Autopsy"

Geez, with a title like that I really thought you were gonna claim the series was dead for good and this was your autopsy report. laugh
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:50 pm

That's a good read and I can see a few points there but I think this film keeps the focus on Bond as much as it really can and that's what it should be. Silva was awesome, but Bond has to be the main man, yes?
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:41 pm

Laz, I'm glad you survived the viewing. Brave man. Sounds like you came out relatively unscathed. I've still got a couple of weeks before it comes around to local screens. In the meantime, I've surfed the web and managed to diligently get the whole thing thoroughly "spoiled". I know virtually everything that's coming. This is vital, as I don't think I could have handled the Bond and Mommy death scene unprepared. I will have extra bags handy, maybe hands over eyes, and ear plugs too, just in case.

I am though looking forward to my first viewing of the latest nu-Bond adventure the same way I look forward to other action flicks with Bond-like characters...Bourne Legacy, the new Taken etc. I'll probably check out SF once in cinema, maybe twice and that's about it, as its got serious competition from the authentic Bond films of yore

With the Barbican Designing Bond show opening this week in town, we are being lavished with 54 big screen showings of all the other Bond films over the next 13 weeks, with heavy emphasis on the early films. In fact TB and FRWL are getting 4 showings each. I will be running around trying to squeeze in showings of DN FRWL GF TB YOLT OHMSS and DAF and later the Moore and Dalts films. I may only get one SF viewing in.

If its a choice between the Spectre volcano and Helga's healthy chest, in big screen hi-def, and the latest adventures of nu-Bond and Mommy, it's a no-brainer. tongue

SF may have to wait for blu-ray.
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jet set willy
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:45 pm

The no-brainer to me is obvious tiffanywint.

The latest nu-Bond adventures totally blow away anything else in the franchise, including FRWL, OHMSS and CR. Forget your Blu-Ray box set for now, as Skyfall makes the rest of the franchise look insignificant.

I just saw the film last night and was gripped from begiining to end. I cannot wait to go and see it again.
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:36 pm

Pleased that you quite enjoyed it, Laz ... based on your posts in the run-up, I honestly thought it never stood a chance laugh .
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:09 am

jet set willy wrote:
The no-brainer to me is obvious tiffanywint.

The latest nu-Bond adventures totally blow away anything else in the franchise, including FRWL, OHMSS and CR. Forget your Blu-Ray box set for now, as Skyfall makes the rest of the franchise look insignificant.

I don't have the blu-ray box set. I'm talking big-screen showings of the classic Bond films. They are playing here at TIFF, parallel to the Barbican exhibit. So for 13 weeks SF has big competition for my Bond dollar. YOLT on the big screen beats SF everytime for me. I'll get my one SF viewing in and maybe two, as I am invested at least in seeing how it all plays out, but I'm way more jacked about the classics playing regularly on the big-screen for the next 13 weeks. I'm positively giddy at the prospect of TB, YOLT, OHMSS, DAF, LAD, TMWTGG, FRWL, GF, DN, TSWLM, MR, FYEO, OP, AVTAK. The Sean/Laz and Rog Bonds in big-screen glory, festival presentation, has me skipping down the street. :bounce: We've struck007 nirvana.
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jet set willy
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:16 am

tiffanywint wrote:
jet set willy wrote:
The no-brainer to me is obvious tiffanywint.

The latest nu-Bond adventures totally blow away anything else in the franchise, including FRWL, OHMSS and CR. Forget your Blu-Ray box set for now, as Skyfall makes the rest of the franchise look insignificant.

I don't have the blu-ray box set. I'm talking big-screen showings of the classic Bond films. They are playing here at TIFF, parallel to the Barbican exhibit. So for 13 weeks SF has big competition for my Bond dollar. YOLT on the big screen beats SF everytime for me. I'll get my one SF viewing in and maybe two, as I am invested at least in seeing how it all plays out, but I'm way more jacked about the classics playing regularly on the big-screen for the next 13 weeks. I'm positively giddy at the prospect of TB, YOLT, OHMSS, DAF, LAD, TMWTGG, FRWL, GF, DN, TSWLM, MR, FYEO, OP, AVTAK. The Sean/Laz and Rog Bonds in big-screen glory, festival presentation, has me skipping down the street. :bounce: We've struck007 nirvana.
One viewing of Skyfall, and you will never want to view YOLT ever again..... ;)
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:04 am

jet set willy wrote:
tiffanywint wrote:
jet set willy wrote:
The no-brainer to me is obvious tiffanywint.

The latest nu-Bond adventures totally blow away anything else in the franchise, including FRWL, OHMSS and CR. Forget your Blu-Ray box set for now, as Skyfall makes the rest of the franchise look insignificant.

I don't have the blu-ray box set. I'm talking big-screen showings of the classic Bond films. They are playing here at TIFF, parallel to the Barbican exhibit. So for 13 weeks SF has big competition for my Bond dollar. YOLT on the big screen beats SF everytime for me. I'll get my one SF viewing in and maybe two, as I am invested at least in seeing how it all plays out, but I'm way more jacked about the classics playing regularly on the big-screen for the next 13 weeks. I'm positively giddy at the prospect of TB, YOLT, OHMSS, DAF, LAD, TMWTGG, FRWL, GF, DN, TSWLM, MR, FYEO, OP, AVTAK. The Sean/Laz and Rog Bonds in big-screen glory, festival presentation, has me skipping down the street. :bounce: We've struck007 nirvana.
One viewing of Skyfall, and you will never want to view YOLT ever again..... ;)

I'm keen to view both in the coming weeks on the big screen. I just watched Moonraker today (albeit at home) after two years and I'm still in awe of the designs, music, and grandeur. It made me pumped for checking out the Designing 007 exhibit this weekend. After viewing Casino Royale for the first time, I had that similar feeling you have now after Skyfall, that the old films are just "meh" in comparison and no longer interesting to return to. That feeling wears off quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:16 am

I think it should be the writers moving on as well as the major character loss we see (which i think is a fair enough change by the way with lots of potential). . Where the film falls down is a lame script. Settings, characters, action (mostly), plot even are there but the script lacks the punch it needs so when the action drifts your attention simply wains. There was so much more to be had from the whole plot and characters than they got out of it. eg when Bond finds out who his colleague really is..we haven;t been properly introduced..how lame is that ?..he all but bedded her earlier (but obviously did not when we learn who she is). Another great opportunity for a humorous interplay wasted and there were many others earlier. They are not in the class of the writers for Connery and Moore.
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:17 am

I found Skyfall thoroughly enjoyable. Brilliant in fact. And the audience erupted in all the rights moments. There was riotous applause at the end - I can't remember the last time there was applause when I went to see a film.

In terms of story, Skyfall seemed a little like OHMSS to me - a long film, lots of story, lots going on, and finding out a lot more about Bond than previous films suggest. For the first time ever, I agree with a Bond girl when she says, "My character considers herself Bond's equal". Eve does consider herself Bond's equal - that's her mistake. She's not. But she thinks she is for most of the film.

It's difficult to talk about the film. There's just so much. There's wit, charm, explosions, excitement, beautiful locations, beautiful women. It's just perfect. I absolutely love it.

I'm going to see it again tomorrow.

I think Severine's death was done well - it's not anything clever or cliched. It's dirty and quick. Violent. I actually think it's one of the best deaths, and her character one of the best Bond girls. She's tough and vulnerable, and it works perfectly.

And Craig? He's smoother, harder - but there's emotion beneath it all, rawness. He has witticisms, sarcasm. In fact, all the 'typical' Bond elements are brought together within Skyfall, ending with them all in place so that you can see the Bond at the end of Skyfall being the same Bond who appears in Dr. No. Except better.
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:22 am

I have to scratch my ass for 11 more days...opens Nov 7th here :suspect:
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:48 am

Laz wrote:
And the writers sometimes let Bardem down even with the short time they do give him: For someone so determined to kill M, he has her at his absolute mercy twice with a gun on her and for some reason doesn't just pull the trigger.

This one's fairly easy to justify, since he has a love-hate, almost Oedipal thing for M. His concern for her after seeing her wounded in the chapel ("What have they done to you?" etc.) fits in with that, as does trying to get her to pull the trigger on both of them. Every time he tries to kill her, he loses his nerve.

Laz wrote:
It's also never explained why on earth Bond would have disappeared for three months without letting anybody know he was still alive, especially when it's revealed that Bond's flat and a sh*tload of stuff from his lodge have been sold off as a result.

He's "enjoying death", popping Benzedrine and beer, has lost faith in his profession, . It's only once he hears of the attack on CNN that he's brought of his daze.

I thought it was pretty obvious from the visuals alone.
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PostSubject: Re: Skyfall: The Autopsy   Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:06 pm

I take this as a green-light from you Laz. They're showing it here only this weekend onwards.
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