WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS FILM SPOILERS!
FOR A SKYFALL REVIEW WITHOUT SPOILER PLEASE CLICK HERE!
I’m a huge James Bond fan having seen all the films from Dr. No right up to Skyfall, which was released last weekend. I had James Bond Nightfire on the PS2 and could play the 007 theme song on my keyboard – that was the kind of kid I was. Ten years on and nothing much has changed for me, so I arrived at the cinema bubbling with excitement and nostalgia.
I enjoyed the film; after all it’s hard not to enjoy a Bond Film unless it’s ‘Thunderball’, but I was also disappointed by the missed potential in the final third of the film. I read through other reviews of Skyfall before writing this one and read the comments beneath each too, so I’m quivering with fear about typing anything negative on the ‘best Bond film so far’. However, it’s important closure for me to get this off my chest as it really did frustrate me how the writers/directors/producers churned out such a shoddy ending when they had the first half of the film building towards an epic conclusion.
The exceptional performance of Javier Bardem as one of the most memorable Bond villains yet is tarnished by the implausibility of his character in the script. This man is clever enough to hack MI6 from inside a secured bunker, escape into the London underground and evade Bond – yet at the films climax he doesn’t have the common sense to bomb Skyfall instead of shooting it to bits with a gun? For someone who has the foresight to plant a bomb on the London underground rail tracks, just on the off chance he’ll need to crash a train into an assailant, how could he possibly miss his chance to kill M when bursting unexpectedly into a public inquiry? These may seem petty points but if written differently, we’d be faced by a villain who doesn’t have these incomprehensible flaws in his intellect.
And what happened to that crazily scary moment where he revealed the effects of the acid torture he underwent as an MI6 agent? He removed his fake teeth to reveal a truly terrifying sunken face that made his villain levels soar through the roof! I remember watching this moment in the cinema and thinking that we were in for a real treat for the films finale, with some awesome, scary shots of Silva. Unfortunately, it feels like the writers completely forgot that they included this part in the film as it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. Literally, it isn’t even referenced later on in the film. How simple could it be for Bond to punch Silva and knock his false teeth out so that the finale battle would look so much cooler and creepier?
In fact, leading on from my last point, does Bond even fight the villain at the end? The finale consists of a relatively easy gunfight with M, Bond and the gamekeeper against five or six foot soldiers. Then as the others escape, Bond holds off the helicopter in the house and then runs around avoiding grenades, which Silva is casually throwing in. I’m enjoying the film but I’m not excited or on the edge of my seat as it’s not exactly the most engaging battle scene so far – Bond isn’t doing anything but running away and Silva is walking around the house with little determination. But then the special effects kick in and the house explodes. This looks and sounds awesome and renews my faith that the film finale will be cool after all (still hoping for acid face to make a return).
Then, out of the corner of my eye I see the gamekeeper and the Head of MI6 stumbling away from the bad guys with no urgency what so ever. Sure, they aren’t in the prime of their youth but you’d think that under the threat of death they wouldn’t be carelessly waving a flashlight around so that everyone knows exactly where they are. Considering there is a house and a chapel and nothing else, it won’t take Silva long to realise where they are headed.
After a lot of shots of M walking, Silva walking after them, Bond hanging around in a tunnel then realising it’s going to become an inferno, the final frustrating climax of the film strikes back. M is in the chapel praying when Silva arrives. The gamekeeper then blunders out from a side room speaking at normal volume with no hint that he is likely to be killed in cold blood very soon, saying, “Can’t find the – oh.“ – Really?
Meanwhile Bond has completed one of the best fight sequences in the film, made his way out of the icy lake and caught up to them in the chapel. Now, for the final showdown between Bond and Silva. The potential for this fight is huge because there is a burning house very near, both men have MI6 training, both are geniuses and M needs to be protected at all costs – not to mention ‘acid face’ could return and freak everyone out at any moment. As this flashes through my mind I think to myself, “Yes, maybe this is the finale I’ve been waiting for!” just as SLAM… Bond hurls a knife into Silva’s back and it’s all over.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty angry that the finale was so anti-climactic. I’ll watch the next Bond film with just as much excitement as I entered into this one, and I’ll praise Daniel Craig/Judi Dench/Javier Bardem for years to come. But when people say it was the ‘Best Bond film so far’, I just wonder whether they are jumping on the bandwagon or just weren’t expecting the same kind of impressive ending that I was.
What are your opinions on the 'Best Bond Yet' or do you agree with Josh? Comment below or let us know via Twitter @labelonline or @imjoshreynolds