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Will Two Cranky Guys Bond Over “Skyfall”?

November 17, 2012

Bruce Fretts: Oh, the power of 007. I’ve recruited Bret Watson, my semi-retired colleague from our Two Cranky Guys blog, to help me review the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. So the question is, Bret: Did it leave you shaken or stirred?

Bret Watson: One of the fun things about this movie is that it gives a new twist to some of those standard Bondisms. I don’t want to give it away. In short, this Bond delivers just about everything a Bond fan could want from a Bond movie.

Bruce: I kinda loved it, too—maybe because they’re turning Bond into a Cranky Guy. Everyone’s on 007’s case about how he’s losing a step with age, and Daniel Craig seems in a perpetually bad mood throughout the film, unlike the more carefree Sean Connery/Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan incarnations. Maybe because he’s barely got time to get laid in this one!

Bret: I like that Craig plays Bond like a shark, with cold dead killer eyes. In the one scene he gets nekkid, it seems out of character. I thought, Why does he bother? He’s more Bourne than the old Bond. Bourne again, so to speak.

Bruce: Bond reminded me more of a bullet than a shark. He just keeps charging forward–okay, that’s kinda like a shark. But Daniel Craig’s head is shaped like a bullet. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say: Daniel Craig’s a bullet head. Also, he looks like he trained at the Ministry of Silly Runs.

Bret: He runs the way all action heroes run now, with pumping arms karate-chopping the air. He reminded me of Buster Keaton.

Bruce: Everyone reminds you of Buster Keaton! Even Diane Keaton reminds you of Buster Keaton!

Bret: I wish you’d remind me of Buster Keaton by remaining silent. And by wearing a porkpie hat. Just because.

Bruce: Skyfall’s also got a great villain, played by Javier Bardem, with the weirdest haircut since… Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. Plus, he’s gay, which seems to make Bond really uncomfortable. He seems like he’d like to engage in a little light Bond-age with James.

Bret: After so many Bond villains, it’s amazing Bardem could come up with such a fresh, exciting bad guy. Plus the script gives him plausible motivation for a change, instead of just, “I love gold!” The movie is worth seeing if only for Bardem’s performance. He just about steals the show.

Bruce: I love how exasperated he gets every time Bond survives another attack. I kept waiting him to look at the camera and say, “This guy!” And he’s not the only Oscar-caliber actor in the cast: Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and even Albert Freaking Finney show up. Plus, it was directed by an Oscar winner: American Beauty‘s Sam Mendes. This movie is A-list all the way. My only complaint: Not enough T&A.

Bret: There was more AARP than T&A. My only quibble is that at one critical juncture Bond’s strategy to escape Bardem and his army is that he retreats to an isolated place armed with only two senior citizens. And as Bardem’s army fills the place with bullets and fire, I wondered if Bond thought, “Maybe this wasn’t such a great plan…”

Bruce: I loved that! It stripped Bond down to the bare essentials. He doesn’t rely on high-tech gadgets in this one. They even make a gag about it with Q, wittily played by The Hour‘s Ben Whishaw. All he gives him is a gun and a radio, no exploding pens.

Bret: I was hoping the new twentysomething Q would say, “You want a fancy gadget? Get an iPhone.”

Bruce: Who needs Moneypenny when you’ve got Siri?

Bret: Killing villains? There’s an app for that!

Bruce: The movie felt a bit long to me at 143 minutes. Unlike you, I didn’t take a bathroom break, even though we had equally huge sodas. My bladder beat your bladder!

Bret: That wasn’t a bathroom break. I fell in my soda and needed a towel. I thought Bloomberg banned those Monster Cokes?

Bruce: Bloomberg’s powerful but he’s not that powerful. New Yorkers need their giant sodas. I also ate two hot dogs, and I convinced our friend Nancy Bilyeau to try her first movie-theater hot dog. And she lived to tell about it!

Bret: And you did a Twilight double-header after Bond. Were you trying to kill her? (There’s an app for that.) When I said goodbye to you two, she whispered in my ear, “Help me!” Sort of like the sexy woman held captive by Bardem. She put the E in Bond.

Bruce: Bonde?

Bret: No, boned! Try to keep up with me, you bonehead!

Bruce: Whatever happened to her? We never saw her after that, did we?

Bret: Well, she was rescued, unlike Nancy. The Bond girl has to disappear so that Bond can spend the rest of the movie with an old woman with shaky aim.

Bruce: Kinda like when I go to the movies with you. Like Judi Dench, you’re a great Dame with not-so-great aim…but enough about your visit to the bathroom! Thank you, good night!

Do you think Skyfall has a license to thrill? Post a comment!

  1. I agree that it was almost disorienting to see Javier Bardeem do some real acting as the Bond Villain and to have a fully written part, too. The two Bond women are not bad actresses but they did not take that part to a new place. Maybe it’s just too thankless a job

  2. Randee Dawn permalink

    Fun report! I waited until I’d seen the film last night to read it. But I’m pretty sure if the bond girl you’re talking about at the end is who I think you’re talking about … didn’t Javier Bardem shoot her? Bond shoots at the shot glass on her head, misses wildly (I assume on purpose) and then Bardem shoots. She tilts forward. You saw that as a faint rather than an “I’m dead” moment?

  3. Bean Chan permalink

    Agreed — Skyfall was A-List all the way, and distinguishes itself far above and beyond any other Bond. Even could go so far as to say, a great film DESPITE being a Bond-series film — it really stood on its own, in a way that only two other Bond films barely do, Goldfinger and A View To A Kill. And, because its mode is gritty and a lot less self-consciously ‘hip and stylish’ than most of the films believed themselves to be, I also believe this film won’t age so much as most Bond films do — perhaps there will be a new era ushered in, of ‘classic Bonds’ to open the next half-century of the franchise with. Five-star all the way. I think Daniel & crew has a hard act to follow now, because this one did ‘Bond Origins’ so well, but Bond’s semi-aristocratic (if rugged) youth will no longer fuel back-story — unless they start to do ‘Young James Bond Chronicles’-type flashbacks, Bond at Cambridge, Bond starting out in the Royal Navy, etc. Bean.

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