Monday, November 12, 2012

Five reasons why Skyfall was terrible


 By
Sean Ewart

Blllaaaaaahhhhh

After the Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace flick (I count them as one film because, watch them one after the other like I did before seeing Skyfall, they are) I was expecting James Bond to continue in a similar vein.

Ok, QoS left a lot to be desired – crucially because it overplayed the trivial Bolivian water monopoly aspect of the film and underdeveloped the revenge against Quantum plotline. 

But at least it had a plot. 

So when I walked into the theater Saturday night, I was looking for a similar experience: a tightly wound action film with a certain level of British ironic detachment. 

What I got was a massive letdown. I’m not saying I want my money back, but I also don’t want to see it again. And that’s a failure in my book.

So here are the five reasons Skyfall failed, let me know how strongly you agree with me in the comments:


1)      Raoul Silva was the worst villain ever.

Part Anonymous, part Joker, part what-ever-his-name-was in No Country for Old Men, Silva was as improbable as he was laughable. And while I know that’s “the whole point” of Bond villains, I’m at a loss to understand why they didn’t bring Quantum back into it.

Quantum was like Al Qaida on steroids – making it both relatable and theatric.  Silva was like the Joker… but shittier.

And why, after he killed at random every person he saw throughout the film, did he suddenly show compassion towards Bond’s gamekeeper (Hagrid?) at the end of the film? IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

Really, had he killed Hagrid (that’s what I’m calling him), no one would have given a shit anyway. Living or dead, Hagrid was inconsequential. Just like Silva.

That’s really the whole thing, isn’t it? Sliva had a stupid back story and, much as the producers tried, he never actually made the audience feel anything. We never felt bad for him, we never liked him, and most importantly, we were never afraid of him.

He just sucked really hard. And when he died, I was happy the movie was over.

2)      The old person shuffle.

Judi Dench was great as M. In Casino Royale and QoS she just nailed it. She was cold, she was removed. And she didn’t give a fuck. (More on that later.)

But she isn’t an action figure. And neither is Hagrid.

When the movie finally lumbered – and I mean lumbered – its way to Skyfall where, for no reason, Bond and M decided to make their absurd last stand (after fortifying it against a zombie invasion for half the movie), Judi was suddenly an action hero. And that is really stupid.

Basically M and Bond and Bond’s gamekeeper Hagrid decided to make a last stand at Skyfall against waves, literal waves, of bad guys.

Bond, because he’s Bond, runs around like Rambo and engages in general badassery. Meanwhile M and Hagrid shuffle awkwardly out of Bond’s way. It’s hilarious.

There’s a solid 5 minutes where Bond is murdering villains and M and Hagrid just keep walking, slowly, out of the way of the camera. If you didn’t notice it the first time, watch it again. But pirate it, because don’t waste your money.

This old person shuffle is really, actually, sad. Because not only does it make the scene look even more stupid, but it robs Judi of all the dignity she had built up over the last decade as M.

It was nice they killed off Judi at the end of the film. I even contemplated offing myself.

3)      M isn’t your mother.

In order to play up the new, emotional side of Bond, Skyfall attempts to dramatize some sort of connection between M and Bond. And it fails.

Skyfall is premised on the idea that Silva perceived himself as being fucked over by M in the 90’s and is out for revenge. That’s why all this stuff happens.

M and Bond, conversely, have a better relationship, for some reason, because Bond knows that when M has him shot, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t like him.

That’s literally all the back story there is. Why do M and Bond have a more-than-coworker relationship? Don’t ask questions.

What’s really disappointing is that M never actually seems good in any sense of the word. She sort of explains what happened between her and Silva in a 10 second scene and then it’s off to Skyfall.

But she never explains away the basic, cold truth: she did fuck over Silva, the same way she fucked over Bond. And she would do it again. Because it’s her job. And she shouldn’t feel bad about it.

Skyfall makes Bond out to be a sloppy idiot who thinks M is his mother. Gawd James, pull yourself together.

4)      Waves of bad guys.

So Bond and M, for some reason, decide to flee London (where they have a fortified, underground bunker!!) and go to James’ old home in the Scottish countryside. It’s literally just a home in a huge field… at the bottom of a hill. You know, where all forts ever have been built.

But M and Bond are no dummies. Enlisting the help of Bond’s gamekeeper, Hagrid, who is more slavish Labrador than cognizant human being, they build traps out of shotgun shells and light bulbs.

Silva then sends in about 10 men to go kill Bond and M. They all get killed.

Then Silva himself comes, in a helicopter, and instructs his men to “leave M for me.” It feels more like a showdown between Sonic and Dr. Eggman than a James Bond flick.

But seriously, waves of bad guys? I can feel the writers, coming to this point in the script, just running out of ideas. The gears just stopped working.

And then they brought in the writer behind every Power Ranger fight scene ever.

“You know what will make it better? Waves of bad guys.”

Because anytime you have no idea what to do next, random violence that doesn’t move the plot forward is a great answer.

5)      It was a bad movie.

That’s the real reason Skyfall was so terrible. It just wasn’t a good flick. It was slow, clunky, uninteresting and utterly lacking passion. It never broke new ground or took any risks. It never explored the characters in any meaningful way.

It just took the best parts of a lot of other movies, No Country for Old Men, the Batman trilogy, and yes, some good James Bond movies, and added a martini, shaken but not stirred. 

Skyfall is just meaningless conversation punctuated with equally meaningless violence with the Double O logo slapped on.

James Bond may be back, but he doesn’t seem happy about it. 

In sum, Skyfall failed to add anything to the James Bond legacy. It isn't the worst movie ever made, but it is uninteresting. C-

30 comments:

  1. 3 Reasons it was awesome-
    1. Someone was eaten by a komodo dragon.
    2. Perfect Bond use and subsequent death of a woman.
    3. New Moneypenny!

    And M was stumbling because she was shot! After blowing up some dudes with bags of nails!!!

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    Replies
    1. You forget that someone used a Komodo dragon as a springboard. Fricken awesome.

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    2. So did Luke Skywalker. See caveat below.

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    3. Actually the new Moneypenny is a terrible actress, who has absolutely zero chemistry with Craig. She managed to ruin scenes by her mere presence. I would rather not have Moneypenny in the next film, than seeing her again.

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  2. Caveat: if you disagree with me, you're stupid.

    @Kitkat (if that's your real name...) We never actually see if that person was eaten by the komodo. All we know is he was bitten/dragged by it. Also, see Star Wars, the Return of the Jedi for a way, way better scene along the same lines.

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  3. Absolutely spot on, I felt the same way and couldn't have put it better myself!

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  4. i thought it was a dreadful film

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  5. It seemed like the writers of Skyfall made a list of James Bond stereotypes and just did the opposite thing for the sake of being different but without an actual reason. Lets count them, shall we?

    1.Bond gets the girl: Not only did he not get the girl, he watched the hot one die right in front of him before single handedly taking out the entire hit squad. You mean he couldn't have done that 10 seconds earlier? He also didn't save M errrr.. Emma either.
    2.Bond is Heroic: See above.. Also he didn't save whoever the poor bastard was in Shanghai.
    3.Bond is an enigma: We finally see where he comes from and meet his old groundskeeper only to have him be dismissive and utterly lacking in nostalgia for his childhood home saying "I always hated this place." Why take us on this journey and then flip the bird at where he came from before blowing it to smithereens (along with his Aston Martin)? Nonsense!
    4. Bond uses sex as a weapon: Completely out the window. Any sex he has anymore is totally incidental to the plot.
    5. Q is a quirky old guy: I personally don't care if there is a "Q" or not but did anyone like that young sanctimonious nerd they picked for the role?
    6. Bond is a Dead eye shot: They went so out of the way to show us how washed up Bond was, they even had him missing targets from point blank range. Later, after he shaved, he couldn't miss. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to have him struggle with everything except being a great shot? ...so that no matter what else was going on with him, he was obviously still lethal?
    7.Bond kills the bad guy following a climactic duel: Not this time. He stabbed the guy in the back and we didn't even see him throw the knife. How unstatisfying and anticlimactic can you get?

    So now they've completely dismantled almost everything we've ever held sacred about James Bond. What they have given us instead is a politically correct antihero who is much more unsympathetic, borderline washed up and can't fully function without help from his friends ... That's more realistic, I guess, but whoever that agent is, he's not James Bond.

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  6. It seemed like the writers of Skyfall made a list of James Bond stereotypes and just did the opposite thing for the sake of being different but without an actual reason. Lets count them, shall we?

    1.Bond gets the girl: Not only did he not get the girl, he watched the hot one die right in front of him before single handedly taking out the entire hit squad. You mean he couldn't have done that 10 seconds earlier? He also didn't save M errrr.. Emma either.
    2.Bond is Heroic: See above.. Also he didn't save whoever the poor bastard was in Shanghai.
    3.Bond is an enigma: We finally see where he comes from and meet his old groundskeeper only to have him be dismissive and utterly lacking in nostalgia for his childhood home saying "I always hated this place." Why take us on this journey and then flip the bird at where he came from before blowing it to smithereens (along with his Aston Martin)? Nonsense!
    4. Bond uses sex as a weapon: Completely out the window. Any sex he has anymore is totally incidental to the plot.
    5. Q is a quirky old guy: I personally don't care if there is a "Q" or not but did anyone like that young sanctimonious nerd they picked for the role?
    6. Bond is a Dead eye shot: They went so out of the way to show us how washed up Bond was, they even had him missing targets from point blank range. Later, after he shaved, he couldn't miss. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to have him struggle with everything except being a great shot? ...so that no matter what else was going on with him, he was obviously still lethal?
    7.Bond kills the bad guy following a climactic duel: Not this time. He stabbed the guy in the back and we didn't even see him throw the knife. How unstatisfying and anticlimactic can you get?

    So now they've completely dismantled almost everything we've ever held sacred about James Bond. What they have given us instead is a politically correct antihero who is much more unsympathetic, borderline washed up and can't fully function without help from his friends ... That's more realistic, I guess, but whoever that agent is, he's not James Bond.

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  7. AGREED WITH EVERYTHING ABOVE. BAD MOVIE

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  8. skybore is worse than solace,i loved casino my fave apart from majestys secret service which is best bond ever.
    anyway craig is just a bourne style thug,who pouts his way through last 2 movies,
    q what the hell terrible choice moneypenny too,fiennes as m great choice.
    the train crash in coronation street was better than in skyfall.
    the ending was like home alone crossed with the a team
    to much advertising and 007 would not miss the shot glass on her head
    all in all i wont bother watching again or get dvd theres a few good bits but lets face it theres a few good bits in moonrker lol.

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  9. Finally somebody sums up exactly how I felt about this clunker. Come back Pierce Brosnan, all is forgiven.

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  10. Fairly bad... 'Office Space' with an international flair and the disgruntled employee as the villain, and overused tropes (new kid old guy, hacker vs hacker, etc) but with great costumes (love Ford) and fair cinematography, completely undone with the Skyfall ending where Scruffy the loveable but cantankerous groundskeeper who remembered our badass as a little boy helping him kick ass

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  11. JB is all about

    1. Good looking Women.
    2. Fast Cars.
    3. Single liners.
    4. Gadgets.
    5. A villain trying to take over the world.

    Why the hell would anyone want to change that ? Other movies showing gadgetry does not mean that you have to skip out on the other 4. I felt like I came out of chemotherapy therapy session leaving the theater. Very very bad Bond movie indeed.

    I demand bring back

    1. The most beautiful women possible.
    2. Best cars possible. Hybrid ? Don't care.
    3. The next bond movie single liners better be good. You have to make up for the Skyfall disaster.
    4. Gadgets - Do anything and everything. Hire mediums and talk to the souls of those pioneers who created all those great gadgets in earlier movies. They will respond. They already must have turned in their graves thanks to skyfall.
    5. Invent a villain the likes of which we have not seen before.

    I know its easier said than done. But hey its James Bond.

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  12. I'm a great fan of Skyfall and the direction James Bond is going. I knew I was right to watch it, James Bond and Jason Bourne just resemble too much in name to not end up with the same bloody movies.

    I don't want my money back, I've seen worse. It's just that I paid for Bond and got Bourne. Hollywood style and everything. Shame the cool effects had to be paid for by Sony. Usually so many advertisements make it free, like YouTube. But then again, YouTube doesn't give us explosions. YouTube does give better plots and stories though.

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  13. totally agree, biggest let down ever, after all the great reviews as well. im a big bond fan loved casino royale, loved the new hard realistic direction. and qauntum was the perfect espionage thriller, it was like a michael mann film with 007 in. skyfall was complete nonsense, so many silly moments, and when did Bond get super powers, rising from the grave with no proper explanation, cutting bullets out of his own arm etc. just awful. money bloody penny, fing q branch, the leather door the aston from Goldfinger, where the fuck did he get that from!!!!!somebody stop mendes hes destroyed the best film franchise in history.

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  14. Thank God, I thought I was the only person who didn't like this gruesome film!

    Somebody said Clark Gable was "what every young boy thinks he'll grow up to be, and what every old man wishes he had been". That's basically the premise of James Bond. In real life, nobody can save the world, while making time to drive flash cars, sleep with hot women, drink vast quantities of hard liquor but stay improbably sober, and always be ready with a witty rejoinder. Most of those things aren't even desirable in many ways. But hey, that's what James Bond's for, right?

    But Skyfall seems to think that it's a remake of Laurence Olivier's Othello. It thinks it's giving us a great psychological insight into the Bond character, making him a bit deeper. This is bad because that's not why I go to see a Bond film: if I wanted to watch Olivier's Othello, I would actually watch it (I have. It's quite good, but not exactly fun).

    Except that Skyfall is not deep and insightful, really, just a bit crap. For instance, when Bond appears in M's lounge, she says, "where the hell have you been?" He snaps, broodingly, "enjoying death", which is the kind of line a teenager might write in an English essay in an attempt to impress the examiner- pretentious, vacuous and simply naff.

    Any other faults? Yup. The plot is frankly illogical. Now obviously Bond plots are obscenely far-fetched, but they are usually logical: it's far-fetched that Goldfinger is going to nuke Fort Knox, but it's logical because he is trying to become the only person in the world who owns gold. But pretty much everything every character does in this film makes no sense. Silva gets captured...to escape. Bond, seeking to face off Silva, just decides for whatever reason to go home to Skyfall. Moneypenny shoots Bond and rather than proceeding to kill the other guy, who has the name of every MI6 agent, just looks on, astonished. I could go on.

    Perhaps the part that irked me most was the element of irony-bordering-on-contempt about the bits of the earlier films, e.g. the Aston Martin ejector seat. This reminded me of very trendy arty people who put gnomes on their porch as they are just SO with it and ironic etc.

    I liked Javier Bardem's Skyfall, but ironically for a film that was suppoedly all about characters, we didn't really get inside his character, did we? Admittedly this is a failing of most portrayals of Bond villains.

    Berenice Marlowe's character was just pointless. The fact she was a sex slave was un-necessarily unpleasant (they probably thought that was an intelligent addition too). Unlike most people, I was impressed with Naomi Harris' character.

    The whole part of the film where Bond was in China was likewise a waste of time, with no bearing on the film.

    The product placement was outrageous. At one point there might as well have been an explanation of the hire purchase rate for the purchase of Land Rovers.

    The story only kicked in after about an hour.

    I love Bond films, and I can't stand the over-the-top CGI ones, so I have always wanted Daniel Craig ones to be good- and have always been disappointed, but especially by this one. If you want entertained, you'd probably be better off watching, well, Olivier's Othello.

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  15. anyone think the soundtrack was better than the movie? [Adele -Skyfall]

    PS: I do have many opinions on this turkey of a film, but you guys pretty much nailed it :)

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  16. THANK YOU! finally a review thinking on it's own instead of copying the awe and glory of others.

    I was getting annoyed why everybody seemed to love skyfall. The Mcgyver/A-Team/Home-alone showdown in the end is rubbish. I've watched it 3 times, and fell a sleep each time.

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  17. So glad someone else felt the same way about this piece of crap. RIP Bond. These new Bond movies are a betrayal of the Bond franchise. Bond is about girls, gadgets and glamour. These latest films are depressing and no fun at all.

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  18. I watched this film last night for the first time on Sky movies and nearly fell asleep watching it. The only scene that was good was the intro scene. The rest of the film was either boring, silly and too 'political'. The part where Bond fights the sniper in the building was far too slow. The other Bond actors would have got the sniper before he had fired the shot.

    This film lets down all the other Bond films in the franchise and I think the writers could have done better than this.

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  19. You are byfar the most delusional man on the internet. "Quantum of Solace" was by far the most shittiest bond movie EVER. Stupid piece of shit is what I will call it.

    Apart from that, it is true that Skyfall did not have that "watch it again" factor. But, atleast Craig pulled it off with his onscreen charisma that he lacked in QoS. Casino Royale is still my fav in the current series.

    Not to forget, seeing Q and MoneyPenny back was good. Also, Silva felt a bit homo considering how he treats Bond. hehehehh!!! I hate that in a villian.

    Oh, yeah, one more thing. The chick was a classy damsel. And Craig was a lucky bastard to nail her!! Damn!!

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  20. Skyfall : Boring, stupid nonsense. Gunbarrel at the END!? Pointless.

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  21. The worst film ever the whole film is riddled with plot holes and qos wasn't that bad but casino royale was unbelievable!

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  22. Very sexist. Women are treated throughout as annoying and incompetent, good only for quick casual sex. Is it just me or was it disturbing how he creeps into the scared sex slave's shower to nail her when he knows she is too scared to object?

    Very disrespectful to everything we love about James Bond and the past.

    M goes out as a weak old lady bleeding to death like a stuck pig in a barn? We see flag covered coffins of six anonymous MI6 victims but not the slightest bit of recognition or respect for M after her ignominious passing? Bond gets there just in time to kill the villain but NOT save M? Should have let her retire with honors after "finishing the job".

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if you've ever seen a James Bond movie lol. Sexism is a fairly consistent trope in that series.

      But I agree with your overarching premise: the rebooted James Bond seemed more committed to showing women as capable operators independent of Bond, but this movie took a step backwards.

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  23. Just watching it ... it starts so badly.

    Bond is hulking up this dimly lit alley, with his arms splayed out like a bodybuilder who has done too many steroids ... where's the grace ? Where's the style ? Is 007 just a dumb bodybuilder?

    The first scene Bond leans of Ronson and then has a tiff with M about if he can tend to Ronson's injuries. Is Bond having a tiff with his mother ?? Pathetic.

    And the the title credits ... wtf ?

    It starts with Bond in the water and hand reaching for his ... looks good.

    Then there is a giant hand holding Bond's entire body between finger and thumb ... wtf ? It's a totally different meaning from the way it starts.

    Then you have these shooting targets all over the screen ... boring. And then the camera goes through the bullet holes ... really boring.

    Then he is in a car park ? WTF I thought he was under water ?

    And then he is in the water and knives and guns are falling in the water. Well this is a utter pathetic way to integrate themes of fluidity and violence ... couldn't they think of anything other than a gun ? And other symbolism.

    And then there is a graveyard and a house ... I suppose this is supposed to be the place in Scotland. But they make this house look like a horror movie with skulls and blood in the water ... is this the Evil Dead now ? The whole point of the Scotland location at the end is its wild rugged naturalness. How they turn that into a house underwater like the Evil Dead ... it has zero to do with it.

    And then it goes into the white and black sequence with the Rorschach pictures ... WTF ... first you are underwater, then you are in a car park, then the Evil Dead, then Rorschach.

    WTF > make up your mind for godsake

    Compare this to Casino Royales seamless one-themed and beautiful titles. Or Goldfinger, seamless one-themed.

    This is a total mess ... and it reflects the film. It is more like 3 mini-films with nothing to do with each other all stuck together.

    With a dumb British guy who knows nothing other than the size of his biceps, has no class or style. Only his suits that his MuM buys.

    And this ridiculous arguing with this boss M who is really his mum.

    It's so bad. Who directed this film. It's utterly sh*t. Unwatchable.

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