Review – No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to… Last 50 Years… (“Skyfall”)

Marking the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, this Bond has a few throw-back surprises in store for the fan…

including: lines thrown in from past movies, an old friend from a 60’s Bond film, and the re-introduction to a couple of familiar Bond names.

Daniel Craig, making his third (of many to come) appearance as 007, is getting really banged around…and it’s hurting him this time. Like Indiana Jones once said, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

The problem kicks off with MI6 losing a laptop hard-drive containing the secret identities of all their MI6 agents and Bond must find it. After a breath-taking opening chase scene in the streets, market place, and train tracks of Turkey, Bond is accidentally shot by his partner, Eve (Naomi Harris) and thought dead. But that’s just the beginning! MI6 is bombed and “M” (always perfect Judi Dench) orders a resurrected and pissed-off Bond to find who this weeks bad guy is and kill ’em… er, I mean, “terminate with no discretion.”

Bond then goes to Singapore and Macau (dazzling photography by Roger Deakins, by the way) to track down the cyber bad guy who has hacked into MI6’s computer’s…much to the chagrin of the new “Q” (Ben Whishaw), the spy organization’s new cyber & techno whiz kid. Along the way Bond meets lovely and scared Sévérine, (Bérénice Lim Marlohe) assistant to the bad guy who happens to be …(drum roll, please) Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, an ex-MI6 operative that was left for dead by “M” many years ago. And boy, does this guy hold a grudge! Since then, Silva has planned (and almost carries out) an elaborate cyber-revenge against “M” and the entire MI6 outfit. He’s captured, but escapes (naturally) with only one thing on his twisted little mind… kill “M”!!

The climatic shoot-out takes place at Bond’s ancestral home and farm called ‘Skyfall’, deep in the Scottish highlands that is still being looked over by Bond’s kooky old caretaker, Kinkade (Albert Finney). The finale will bring a gasp to all Bond fans, especially when….oops! Sorry, no spoilers here!

Directed by Sam Mendes and credited to three writers (John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade) it does strain the ol’ gluteaus maximus at nearly 2 1/2 hours. The age-old formula of: Bond chase scene, sex scene, chase scene, sex scene, etc. is getting repetitive and sometimes the scenes DO play out a little too long. But, on the other hand, this Bond has a wittier and more action-packed script that is far better than “Quantum of Solace, not to mention “Skyfall” humanizes Bond to the point where he shown as not only vulnerable, but even flawed. A great turning point for the character and I personally look forward to see where the franchise is going to take him.

A LOOK BACK AT BOND: A LIST
Let’s have some fun and list some of my favorite James Bond things….

TOP VILLAINS
Ernst Stavro Blofeld: He’s sometimes a bald guy, but always petting a white angora cat.
Goldfinger: Utters classic come-back line to Bond: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to DIE!”
Francisco Scaramanga: Christopher Lee and his Golden Gun. Classy and ruthless guy.
Carl Stromburg: Insisted on calling 007 “Mr. Bund”. I don’t know why. The guy’s nuts.
Franz Sanchez: Sado-masochistic and has no redeeming likability whatsoever. Eeek!
Elliot Carver: Could control world through his Ipad. Scary, because it’s possible now.

LAUGHABLE VILLAINS
Dr. No: A white Jewish actor playing a Japanese villain. Need I saw more?
Odd Job: Big Chinese bad guy with a razor-lined bowler hat. Really? Are you kidding me?
Hugo Draxx: Combine really bad acting in a really bad Bond film. You can’t win here.
Jaws: Ya gotta love Richard Kiel as the steel-toothed, 7’2-ft actor who saves James Bond!
Kamal Khan: Louis Jordan was SO un-villainy you could have slapped him & made him cry
Max Zorin: Christopher Walken? C’mon! It’s Christopher Walken! LOL!! ’nuff said!

HOT BOND CHICKS
Ursula Andress from “Dr. No”: 6ft tall blonde bombshell that came out the sea in that bikini
Honor Blackman from “Goldfinger”: She played Pussy Galore. Censors went nuts!
Jilll St. John from “Diamonds Are Forever”: Red haired, buxom, and little dumb. Nice!
Jane Seymour from “Live & Let Die”: Innocence wrapped up in a nice little package.
Barbara Bach & Caroline Munro from “The Spy Who Loved Me”: Double lovely ladies!
Famke Janssen: Just in from the Cold War and ready to melt your heart.
Halle Berry: Recreated Ursula Andress’ swimsuit ocean exit with eye-popping results!

JAMES BOND TRIVIA

SPECTRE stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion.

Bond author Ian Fleming wanted his cousin, Christopher Lee to play Dr. No., but Chris DID later star as Scaramanga in 1974’s “The Man With The Golden Gun”.

The Bond producers originally wanted Orson Welles to play Goldfinger, but he wanted too much money.

Contrary to the popular belief that he was fired, George Lazenby (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”) was actually offered a seven picture deal and even signed a letter of intent to star in “Diamonds Are Forever” when Connery opted back in when promised major $$$.

The scene in “Diamonds Are Forever” where Tiffany Case discovers Plenty O’Toole dead in the swimming pool was filmed at Kirk Douglas’ house.

“Live And Let Die” is the first Bond film to have 007 kiss an African American woman – Rosie Carver, played by Gloria Hendry. The first inter-racial Bond kiss!

Before Pierce Brosnan was cast as Bond in “GoldenEye”, other actors in the running included Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson, Sam Neill, and Hugh Grant.

In “Casino Royale”, the car barrel-roll stunt by the Aston Martin DBS, broke the world record for the most barrel rolls assisted by a cannon, completing seven full rolls.

FAVORITE BOND SCENE
In “For Your Eyes Only”, Bond’s car (that beautiful Lotus Esprit II—y’know, the one that can turn into a submarine? Yeah, that one!) has a sticker on it that clearly says “burglar protected”. Bad guys are after 007 and one of them sees the car and sticker. He laughs at it and rifle-butts the window to smash it open. The whole car explodes taking him out along with three other bad guys. Bond and the girl emerge from the woods from being chased, sees his car in flames, and tosses his car keys over his shoulders and says to the girl, “Well, I hope YOU have a car!”

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