March 11th, 2013

Ian Fleming's James Bond 007

Thoughts on "Skyfall"

Y'know what's weird about Skyfall? It is, like Dame Judy Dench's Bond premiere, Goldeneye, a movie about Bond's history, and how obsolete he supposedly is. (Before it proves that he isn't obsolete at all.) It bathes in nostalgia for classic Bond, with the proud return of the famous Astin-Martin DB5, and a closing scene that "brings us full circle" to the Bond/M/Moneypenny Status Quo from Doctor No...

But it stars a Bond who is explicitly on only his third mission as a Double-Oh. It's not that it's Craig's first movie: Of all the problems that "Live and Let Die" had, accepting Moore as having been Double-Oh Seven for a long time wasn't one of them, and even George Lazenby had a scene fondly saying farewell to props from Bond movies he didn't appear in.

But we saw Craig "earn his bones" and become a Double-Oh in Casino Royale: He was a whole new Bond at a whole new beginning. Quantum of Solace was such a direct sequel that it began within about fifteen minutes of the closing shot of Casino Royale, and now Skyfall comes along. A Bond with just two known missions behind him is the wrong vehicle to wax nostalgic over fifty years of movies. Daniel Craig is not just a different face and form for the same Bond who followed Goldfinger across Europe in that DB5, He's a whole new guy, inhabiting a whole new universe, in which Blofeld and Rosa Klebb, Auric Goldfinger and Emilio Largo never existed.

It makes the whole thing feel weirdly wrong.