I've been seeing the TV ads for the DVD release of Skyfall, and it's time I vent about it. To be clear, I liked the movie a great deal. It's wonderfully done, has an amazing cast, includes fun homages to the past James Bond films and is smart and entertaining. But something bothers me a great deal about it.
That "something" is entirely a plot point, so consider this a Spoiler Alert. If you haven't seen the film yet and plan to, you might not want to read below the photo. The rant will follow after it.
The third act of Skyfall is wonderfully exciting and terrifically done. But -- it has two massive problems (three actually, though the third isn't as "massive" or problematic), and they drove me nuts watching the film.
They are --
1) James Bond's plan is insanely stupid.
2) It doesn't work.
3) He doesn't seem to feel bad that his stupid plan didn't work and got M killed.
Okay, to be more specific about all of this.
1) The whole point of Bond's plan is to take M to some remote location that only he knows, and keep her safe. And in going to the middle of nowhere, he has virtually no protection other than a few rifles, some small explosives, and only an ancient gamekeeper to assist him. Apparently, it doesn't occur to James Bond that the Javier Bardem character -- who has been able to infiltrate British Intelligence and track down seemingly whatever he wants -- will be able to track done one guy. And worse, it also doesn't occur to Bond that Bardim will come with a small army and every bit of weaponry he can lay his hands on. I suspect it occurred to every person in the movie theaters, though. As a result, James Bond and M are left almost totally defenseless in the middle of nowhere as Javier Bardem arrives in a stealth military helicopter, a dozen assassins and enough weapons to attack a small country. Great plan. At least if he'd kept M in some sort of secure area in London only he knew -- or even a Novatel Hotel and paid cash -- he could have, for instance, phoned British Intelligence to say, "Uh, guys, could you send some reinforcements. He's here. 137 E. Picadilly Road." Tanks would be there in three minutes.
2) The entire point of the plan was to protect M. She's killed. It doesn't matter that Bond kills Bardem and all the bad guys he brings -- that wasn't the plan. The plan was to protect M. Period. The plan doesn't work. In the words of the Internet -- epic fail.
3) Having developed an insanely terrible plan and getting his boss killed, Bond doesn't show a moment's remorse. Not a second of "Geeez, what in the world was I thinking??!" The best that audiences can hope for is that his moment of regret took place off-camera. If a scene was shot and left on the cutting room floor, that was a bad idea. Maybe it tested poorly. But you still needed it. IF that's the case (and I have no idea if it was), I'm sorry that people might not have liked seeing James Bond feel bad about something -- as opposed to them not minding seeing James Bond come up with a stupid plan that got his boss killed. That's okay, just not feeling bad about it. But, hey, he had a stupid plan that got his boss killed. He should feel bad. And we should see it. Even if just for a second. Maybe giving off a deep sigh. Something. After all, one of the themes of the film was to round out James Bond a little, make him a touch more human, show something of his past. In fact, that specifically is what the home estabte of "Skyfall" actually is. So, show the guy saying "Oops." Because I sure was.
Luckily, I loved the movie. Despite the rant. But...how sloppy for something otherwise so thoughtful and well-crafted.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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