Review: James Bond in Skyfall
Reporter JOE WILKES attended a charity preview of the latest James Bond offering, Skyfall, in aid of the Palliative Care East appeal at great Yarmouth's Hollywood Cinema on Thursday night. Here is his view of one of the most anticipated movie releases of 2012... What do you think of the film? Send us your verdicts via email to email@example.com
With Skyfall, the re-invigorated franchise has thankfully cast off the shadows of Quantam of Solace by returning to what made Daniel Craig's first outing so fresh.
The gritty realism is back, blended moderately well with the ludicrous action sequences that are required to satisfy the 007 purists - a fight atop a moving train does this more than adequately and shows no shame in employing action movie cliche.
That sequence itself is an example of the franchise continuing its relentless post-modernist march, with nods to other texts, constant self reference and a strong self awareness. For example, the catchphrase 'shaken, not stirred' is replaced with a nod of approval to a barmaid mixing the Martini to James's liking. We all know he said it off camera, we don't need to hear it and we share in the in-joke.
The makers are striving then, to keep Bond relevant, but, unlike in the last outing - they have also managed to make him edgy. In a world of pastiche and intertextuality, where we are told nothing is new, rebirthing the character of Bond as an anti-hero, a troubled, cold killer with a drink and drugs dependency and making the film more self-aware, have been successful.
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This film is still too heavy on product placement, has the usual weaknesses in character development, convenient plot devices and cringe-worthy moments (would it be Bond without them?). But on the whole it goes big and stays big.
The themes are huge, such as terrorism at Mi6, revelations about Bond's childhood and the introduction and removal of big characters. It is a film that could stand apart from the franchise, with a little tweaking.
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The cast, locations, themes and scenarios are impressive and sharp and there are neat touches including Komodo Dragons and M facing a government scrutiny committee - a nod to recent scenes in real-life Britain.
There is well managed humour as well, again exploiting Bond's new found self-awareness and honesty.
The franchise has gone back to grit while retaining enough sillyness to meet demand. The film packs genuine cinematic punch and stylishness and can be forgiven its weaknesses which we should almost have come to expect.
This is a continuation of an evolution we only realised was needed after they gave it to us in Casino Royale.
If only Quantum of Solace never happened.
What do you think of the film? Send us your verdicts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org