2012 James Bond movie

Rating: 16/20

Plot: James Bond tries to stop a a bad guy from doing bad things.

The Bond universe is filled with interesting villains, and Javier Bardem's disfigured and effeminate baddie can be added to the pile. His backstory's revealed bits at a time, but it's all the stuff that remains unrevealed which makes him fascinating. Of course, Bardem gives an arguably over-the-top yet somehow still subdued--as if that makes sense--performance that makes you miss him when he's not on the screen and keeps your eyes glued when he is. Often, the villain is at least as much fun in these James Bond movies than James Bond himself, even when he's at his most charismatically cool, and the character Bardem helps create here is no exception.

That's not to say Bond's no fun. I'm not sure how people feel about Craig anymore because I haven't paid much attention, but I like what he brings to the character a lot. I've always thought that these movies are things that men enjoy because they can live vicariously through the hero. Vicariously and invincibly. I suppose it's possible that Bond dies at the end of one of these movies, but you'll know about it way before it happens. So you watch these movies and know that no amount of bullets, gimmicky execution sequences, or unprotected sexual intercourse--because you know Bond ain't going in with a prophylactic--is going to kill the guy. So the pre-adolescent boy within gets to cheer and be just as indestructible right along with the protagonist for a couple hours.

Now Craig's Bond is a little different because it seems like he's gotten nicked up as much as all the other James Bonds combined. At least his testicles have. Here, he's vulnerable again, but he's also a lot more human. He's as real to us as Macaulay Culkin. He's got a past, he's got fears, he's tired, and he knows how to booby-trap a house. It makes you wonder how Kevin would have done if Pesci and Stern had themselves a helicopter.

That climax of Skyfall is fine and maybe even a little emotional, but I didn't think it was nearly as interesting as everything that led up to it.

Unless I heard Adele in a commercial that I don't remember, I think this was the first time I heard her. I liked the theme song more than most of the Bond movie theme songs. It reminded me of all the classic ones.

I watched this with the plan to catch up and see that new one in the theater, but so far, I haven't done that.


Barry said...

This is the movie where I think I have disagreed with critics and fans more than any other. Its a TERRIBLE movie about a miserable failure of a spy and how his every move ends up with people dying. Bond does nothing right. Not a single thing. From the first scene of the movie where he lets classified information about other spies be stolen. (So they can be found out and killed I guess) through the scene with the poor woman who Bond seduces (after she talks about being a rape victim,) who is murdered because Bond cant shoot straight, all the way to the end, where the villain achieves everything he tried to do, killing M, then dying himself. Bond is 100% on the failure list.

The thing about this movie is...its beautifully shot. Some of the best cinematography in any film of any genre, much less a Bond movie......and that seems to be what people like. As a movie about a really bad spy, I guess it should get a 16 or 17. As a movie about James Freaking Bond, it gets a 5.

Shane said...

I forgot to respond to this, Barry...sorry about that.

I guess I can understand your gripe here. I don't lump together my Bond movies though. The Connery ones are different than the ones that got really goofy (that is not, of course, a complaint), and these Craig ones are different than the rest of them. Craig humanizes the character--for better or worse--much much more than any of the other Bonds.

Have you seen the new one yet? I'd planned on seeing it in the theater (would have actually been my first Bond movie in a theater!), but I didn't end up making the trip after I saw lukewarm reviews. I really did like this one a lot though!