Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bond, James Bond

by Pa Rock
Movie Aficionado 

Last weekend included a federal holiday which resulted in me having a bit more time than projects, so I used some of the extra hours to take in a movie.   There were some good movies on the horizon (Lincoln and Hitchcock, for example) but the pickings last weekend in the Valley of Hell were pitifully slim.  I wound up going to see the latest James Bond flick, Skyfall.

The last time I remember seeing a Bond movie was decades ago when I watched Goldfinger from the projection booth at the Ozark Theatre in Noel, Missouri, where I was working.   Did you know that Sean Connery no longer plays James Bond?  I was shocked!

The current Bond is Daniel Craig, a fine young actor who portrays Agent 007 in a manner that is adequate - just.    (I saw Mr. Craig a couple of years back on the set of the Today Show in New York.  He is a diminutive individual who comes across on film as a bit larger than life - which, I suppose, is a good thing if one is to play someone as physical and explosive as James Bond.)

There were five stars in this movie:  three people, an old mansion in Scotland (that moans and groans for Sean Connery), and Bond's car, a spiffy little Aston Martin DB5 that, I believe, Connery drove in Goldfinger. (Spoiler Alert #1:  Don't look for that particular car in any future 007 movies.)

Of the human stars of Skyfall, Daniel Craig, as noted earlier, is adequate as James Bond - though his characterization of the British spy is far from his sterling performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.   His portrayal of the Swedish magazine writer was inspiring, while his take on James Bond leans more to insipid.

Dame Judi Dench, who appears (in this movie, at least) to be fast approaching one hundred, is never-the-less a wonderful actress who pumps as much vitality as she can into the role of Bond's boss, "M."  (Spoiler Alert #2:  You probable shouldn't commit to seeing a future James Bond movie just for the pleasure of watching Dame Judi putter across the screen.)

Javier Bardem was the bad guy - and he was really, really bad.  His performances are often darkly disturbing, and this one is no exception.  Of particular note is one strongly homo-erotic scene where Bond is tied to a chair and Bardem's character lets his hands drift ever so lightly along the contours of his captive's body.   Bardem's villain also kills with nonchalance and impunity.  His electric performance alone was worth the five dollars that I coughed up for the price of the ticket.

If an evening of mindless escapism is the objective,  Skyfall will get you there - just.

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