Shaken, Not Stirred

Spoiler Warning: This blog contains minor spoilers for the movie Skyfall

When I was a kid, my parents rented a condo up at Sugarloaf, a ski resort in Maine.  The owners owned the complete collection of Bond films. I put one in out of curiosity, not being familiar with the series. Ended up watching them all by the end of the week, and have been a life-long fan ever since.

There’s this great ceremony to Bond films. You almost always start off with a prologue. Right at the climactic moment of the prologue, the theme starts and the film cuts to the title sequence. You can expect the title sequence to be surreal, filled with motifs representing what you’re going to see in the film itself. Then, there’s the rest of the movie; Q, M, the Bond Girl, the Villain. It’s all going to be there, in some form or another.

Skyfall, the latest release, had it all, though some of it was unexpectedly shaped. The prologue, for example, ended in a rather dramatic failure. Q’s got a new actor and new attitude. The Bond Girl role was split, with the more classical of the two getting a rather abrupt arc. M had a far more active role in the plot than normal. Speaking of the plot, it attempted to be quite a bit deeper than Bond usually goes.

Then there’s the villain, Silva. Javier Bardem proves his performance in No Country For Old Men was no fluke; the man is capable of some downright mesmerizing badness.  A friend compared his performance to Ledger’s Joker; I don’t know how apt that is, but neither would I outright disagree.

The settings did not get left behind either; this was my favorite collection of settings in any Bond film. The finale at the old manor house on the Scottish Highlands was breath-taking. Don’t be surprised if one of my future novels takes place in exactly such a place.

For me, it all worked beautifully to form one of my favorite Bond films.

One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started spending so much time thinking about storytelling is I get way more critical during movies. I don’t consider this a positive trait; I go to movies to have a good time, not to nit-pick plot elements. Unfortunately this tendency made at least one film this year far less enjoyable than it otherwise could be, and I was worried the same might happen with Skyfall. But the plot, despite being as nitpick-able as any Bond flick, didn’t bother me at all; I was caught along for the ride and had a great time.

Music video of the week: A wonderful number by one of my favorite folk rock bands, Of Monsters and Men. Enjoy!

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