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Skyfall 
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Post Re: Skyfall
Just got home. Always ambitious. Sometimes odd. Often fucking amazing. Full review to follow. The finale blew me away!

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Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:53 pm
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Post Re: Skyfall
NotHughGrant wrote:
Just got home. Always ambitious. Sometimes odd. Often fucking amazing. Full review to follow. The finale blew me away!


Yep - loved the finale. Heartbreaking on one side and promising/uplifting on the other. On top of that it is all being done by top notch world class actors who really do pull all stops out. Quite a flick ain't it?


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Post Re: Skyfall
It is, indeed, quite a movie. Another thing is the pacing; the most relaxed and confident flow I've seen in an event movie since...uh...Casino Royale? Honestly, Skyfall and Casino Royale are arguably the best stuff we've had in the past half-decade for blockbuster filmmaking. As a Bond fan, I couldn't be happier. As an overall movie fan, I'm not so sure.

What does it say for 21st century when its best films are from a 50-year old franchise? For one thing, the franchise is great. For another, other movies around are not. And the latter isn't good news. Skyfall is the best mainstream event film of this year by such a wide margin that it's pathetic. You can say the cinematography for Skyfall is great and masterful, but the cinematography for the two major superheroes of this year was barely even passable by any standard. Same goes for editing, acting, set design, structure, pacing, etc. It's as if Skyfall is great by default. Good for Bond. Bad for movies. Same goes for Lincoln. Great movie, but it's a bit sad that Spielberg tops them all so easily without having to blink an eye.

There are quality movies being made, but nothing excitingly original. All the best movies feature old dogs learning new tricks. The worst movies feature new dogs pretending that old tricks are new tricks. Not even 007 can muster the originality to create a truly iconic event in movies right now. RE5 comes close, but no one buys avante-garde in the 5th installment of a zombie video game franchise. Oh well. Skyfall, for me, is closer to Taken 2, MI4, Rise of the Apes. Satisfying and awesome, but nothing truly original. RE5 has, not complete originality, but enough to catch on if enough critics had been bold enough to promote it. Lincoln and all, it remains my #1 of this year.

Audacity! That's the word I was looking for. What's missing movies today is true audacity.


Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:13 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Overall I'd give Skyfall a definite 9 out of 10. Maybe more. It has some long periods of reflection and is therefore plain different to Casino Royal, which was always intended to be a cinematic counter-punch. There are 2 specific periods of Skyfall that blew me away. I'm on my phone and can't use the spoiler tag so i'll just say Silva's island and Scotland were cinematic genius i'll never forget. I loved the homage to Apocolypse Now style showboating. Amazing!

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:14 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Threeperf35 wrote:
As I wrote elsewhere: I watched "Skyfall" yesterday evening.

Just a "few" words - and since I don't want to spoil this for anyone who hasn't seen the film yet, I will write everything beneath a spoiler tag:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
After the opening I began to notice how Nolan-ish the movie feels in parts. The color palette of some set pieces and the abandoned, nigtmarishly decayed island look very much like the dream set pieces in "Inception". Silva's destructive and elaborate plans reminded me a lot of the Nolan version of the Joker, but Bardem acts rather more like Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter - one scene with him in a glass cage in prison clothing makes it more than clear that this has been done consciously. Yet Bardem, the brilliant badass of an actor, adds a very personal note to his menace - he comes off as being huge, raw, brutal, physical, scary and: slightly bored and amused by himself (the Hopkins-ish bit). I was pleased that we were spared any torture scenes or one-on-one physical fights between Silva and Bond. There is a feeling of uncompleteness though. Silva's backstory is almost all exposition and nothing is really shown. Also we know his motives and his plan, but what does he really want, what does he gain? Also, what exactly happened after Bond was accidentally hit by a bullet and washed down some rapids which would have broken every bone in his body? Two other things I just didn't buy: Bond was called back in for duty in very bad shape - including alcohol and (unseen) drug abuse - and he actually failed all the tests carried out by the MI6, but his superiors sent him out into the field anyway (with some concern) - yet he was physically fit enough to do some very fast and dangerous stunts and fights. The fight inside the frozen lake was one too many for me to swallow. We know from endless movies and real life accounts that it is hard to survive the thermic shock and hypothermia when crushing through the ice surface. It would have been pitch black underwater and to top it all: Bond steps right back into a chapel for the final showdown and drama with his clothes dripping and soaking wet. The filmmakers could have come up with somehing, anything (a neopreme suit underneath his clothes, him desperately trying to warm up while avoiding Silva who is coming after him and M) - anything, not this! Sorry, I didn't buy it. This was where my suspension of disbelief went past the breaking point. So Bond failed the test of physical fitness but survives certain death twice? This is James Bond, battlescars and all, not a hero with superpowers.
A few words about the music: The title track by Adele is undeniably brilliant - but the score, awww, the score.....I like Thomas Newman, but he went too much for a cyber-techno-remix plus ultra-genric action movie music score. It sounded a lot like Hans Zimmer in a bad way. Like a run-of-the-mill/cookie cutter demo for the latest film scoring software orchestra emulation. Yes it was that "bleah!". His use of the Bond theme totally lacked imagination - he did what many did before him: to avoid being too retro or to cheezy, he simplified it and left out "out-of-fashion" bits like the twangy guitar in the 1962 original and wrote it for the horns and strings instead. It sounds incomplete and watered down, besides having been done exactly the same way - but better! - already for the Moore bonds. I am sorry but the music left me unsatisfied. What makes the movie still great are the overall look, the great casting, the brilliant acting from almost all cast members and the editing done with great care and craftsmanship - no fancy, shaky stuff.


Cooky won't like this, but you're right - Nolan can be seen in Skyfall. Mendes did say he was influenced by TDK. Having said that, "Scotland" was superior to anything Nolan has ever done though

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:32 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
I think a crucial difference here is that Mendes has surrounded himself with a better team of collaborators. Roger Deakins? Stuart Baird? Yes please and thank you.

That said, there was some sloppiness to the action sequences, particularly early on, which I attribute squarely to Mendes given that Deakins and Baird are pretty much immaculate by nature.

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:04 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Well action isn't Mendes' natural domain so maybe there is one or two errors, but they are more than compensated for IMO. Did you like the Apocolypse Now tribute, Ken?

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:19 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
It was a little "cute", as were

[Reveal] Spoiler:
the nods to previous 007 movies, which increase in frequency as Skyfall plays out,


but I was happy to accept them, given the otherwise dead serious nature of the movie. I think it's clear that this James Bond is Ian Fleming's character and not the character as he's evolved for so many years in the films. But, right when that particular thought occurred to me in the theater, they started in with

[Reveal] Spoiler:
the stuff I mentioned in the previous spoiler tag,


which makes me wonder if the filmmakers arrived at the same conclusion and decided to throw the longtime fans a bone or two just to make sure they didn't leave the movie feeling slighted.



[Reveal] Spoiler:
But still, wasn't it such a damn shame to see the Goldfinger Aston Martin get demolished like that? Nearly as monumental a death scene as the one with M.

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:30 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
"cute"? I thought awesome. I agree that some of the old Bond tropes seem a little ham-handed in the context of an otherwise serious film.

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:44 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
I can't offer a full review of this until i have access to the spoiler tag...

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:48 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Ken wrote:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
But still, wasn't it such a damn shame to see the Goldfinger Aston Martin get demolished like that? Nearly as monumental a death scene as the one with M.



[Reveal] Spoiler:
I love how both the reveal and the destruction of it are accompanied by the James Bond theme. Especially the destruction, in which Bond seemed to have the same thought as you, because he stood up immediately, the James Bond theme blaring full volume, and then striked back hard at them vengefully for destroying it.


Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:18 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Skyfall -

[Reveal] Spoiler:
One of the themes of Skyfall seems to be displacement and fear for one's future. Themes that are bankable as everyone from 00 Agents, to Nurses, to Engineers feels that uncertainty over their place in the modern world. Bond and M are threatened with forced extinction at the hands of faceless bureaucrats who mistakenly believe that the world no longer requires the bluntness of direct action. The scene with M being pressed by some remote and arrogant Minister during a public enquiry is excellent for demonstrating the ignorance of our elites and the unfortunate necessity of our weapons of war. Just because “Our enemies can’t be identified on a map, they are not nations, they are individuals” doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The opposite in fact. Skyfall hammers this message with the subtlety of an A-bomb. And yet Bond needs to be reminded by a young Q that there is still a place for old warships, and their destruction is indeed sad.

There are 2 specific parts of this film that carry immense clout for my money. The first is the island that Silva operates on when Bond first meets him. The locals tricked into abandoning it instantly with the mere threat of destruction. Push- bikes left everywhere with no people to be seen, it looks like a nuclear fall-out area in an age where fear alone and the push of a few computer buttons is enough in some ways to do the damage of a nuke. Bardem’s villain is exceptional by any standards. He captures the “mad as a hatter” feel of Bond villains past with the resonance of modern-world threats and paranoia. In the first instance he is a victim of M’s, unfortunately necessary, utilitarian outlook on the world she operates in. “We traded him for the lives of 6 other agents” she confesses to Bond trying diligently to sound like justice was done, or the least-worst scenario was realised. In the second he incorporates the old-world madness of a Goldfinger -type character, satisfying the fanboy element better than any villain this generation.

I think the real message of Skyfall is that we can’t ignore the realities the old-world taught us. The final act of the film, when Bond takes M to his family’s rural Scottish estate seems in one sense to be the physical manifestation of the film’s metaphor – namely being that even if we don’t like our past (and Bond doesn’t his), what it taught us can be enough to defeat the demons of our present.

Bond baits Silva into his world and into his past (a fact Silva realises when he walks past Bond’s parent’s headstones), and seeks to take him on using old-country weapons and the help of his old family gamekeeper. It sounds ridiculous, and it is bizarre, but in practice it’s brilliant, not only for the blatant tribute to the franchise’s past it incorporates, or even the cinematography that is among the best I’ve ever seen, but for the implied message that the past is not to be forgotten and we have it buried within ourselves to defeat our present enemies, whether actual or metaphorical.

Skyfall is a great film, no question. The Scottish chapter is an amazing piece of film making. Bold, aware, and genuinely brilliant. It also made me laugh because rarely do you see such a conscious and self-aware piece of film-making. When interviewed, Mendes and Craig said they simply just wanted to make the best Bond film they could.

Kudos, they succeeded.

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Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:10 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
This is going to have spoilers, so don't read this if you haven't seen the movie yet. I refuse to put an entire paragraph in a spoiler tag. It just looks ridiculous.

Skyfall is a wholly wonderful movie - one with more ambition and artistic merit than all but a handful of movies you're likely to see in any given year. The film is thematically similar to Scorsese's Hugo, and both movies are among the best I've seen at showing, through writing and visuals, the importance and value of the past in a world that's moving on from that past. It's certainly better at conveying this theme than last year's Best Picture winner. Instead of launching into what will end up being a rambling, much too long review, I'm going to start listing things I loved about the movie:

- The movie starting with a literal skyfall and then ending at a place called Skyfall. There' idea behind the movie is very cyclical, and this kind of plotting really fits

- The many shots framing M in the rain amidst all the death at the beginning. She's too tough to outwardly show emotion, so the rain servers as her tears as she mourns the death of so many agents. This kind of visual way to show a character's emotions is great artistry.

- The mirror motif used throughout the movie. The idea that looking introspectively at yourself through your past is wonderfully conveyed with mirrors in the movie. There are countless scenes that use the concept, but my favorite was when Bond, living the "retired" life on the island, saw the news of the attack on the MI6 offices. He's sitting at a bar and sees the TV while looking into an overhead mirror. It's a way to show that what he thought was his past life isn't going to just go away.

- It was also cool the way the mirror motif was introduced in the initial chase sequence with the rearview mirrors on the motorcycle being knocked off.

- The ending sequence at the estate, for the reasons NotHugh mentioned. It's brilliant in both design and execution.

- All the talk about operating in the shadows and the movie having the awareness to have Bond literally operate in the shadows or underneath the city a good deal of the time. This was especially great when he used the flashlight in the underwater fight, which served as a symbolic confirmation of the idea that working in behind the public's back is necessary.

Overall, it's a movie that's incredibly invested in it's visuals. That's to be expected from anything photographed by Roger Deakins, but it should still be praised. He's fantastic, and the movie is equally fantastic. If all movies took the time to care about the things Skyfall cares about, the artform would be even richer than it already is. The best thing I can say about the film is that it bears the mark of any great filmmaker, in that they're able to elevate the material into something more substantial. Mendes' early work was shot by Conrad Hall and was equally invested in visuals, so it's nice to see him working with someone who's just as good, if not better (and yes, I realize this isn't their first collaboration). A fantastic production that's as entertaining as it is artistic.

NotHughGrant wrote:
"cute"? I thought awesome. I agree that some of the old Bond tropes seem a little ham-handed in the context of an otherwise serious film.


I think they fit right in with a movie so concerned with resurrection and the importance of one's past.


Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:39 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Quote:
Specific scenes from Skyfall are in fact taken DIRECTLY from Winchester '73 and Bend of the River


what scenes?


Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:16 pm
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Post Re: Skyfall
Good write up, Pete. Good to see you liked it as much as i did.

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Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:05 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Finally got to see Skyfall

For a short non spoilers review plus my personal Bond ranking movies just click here

For a review with a spoilers

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Maximum possible score: 4 stars

Opening scene: We have seen motorbike chases breaking fruit post before and on the roof but almost at the end Bond driving a caterpillar to wreck one of the train cars was kind of cool. Score: 3 stars

Plot: It is a bit of disbelief that of sensitive information about undercover NATO operatives will be found in a laptop hard-drive as you can read Here . However I will give 3 stars for going to Bond home in Scotland and for bringing a male "M" and , Q and Money penny :-)

Gadgets: They brought back the beloved old tricked out Aston Martin. Enough said! 4 Stars

Bond Girls: Severine was gorgeous and they brought back Moneypenny! 4 stars

Music: Adele theme was good and they brought classic Bond music too. 3 stars

Bond: Craig improves as the film goes on and by the end Bond is back! 3 stars

Villain : Bardem plays very well the classic over the top Bond villain. 4 stars

Cinematography : Roger Deakins at his best in Shanghai and Scotland. 4 stars

Final Score : 3 stars and half!

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:41 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Saw Skyfall this weekend and finally had a chance to read all the spoiler tagged comments in this thread. Nothugh and Peachy had some great observations that actually added (retroactively) to my enjoyment of this movie.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:38 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
Browsing through this thread and other Bond-related ones, I find myself wondering what makes people think that, first, some Bond movies such as the Daniel Craig ones are much closer to Ian Fleming’s source novels than others and that, second, this would be a good thing. Sometimes I wonder whether the posters concerned have actually read any of the books.
Let’s face it: Ian Fleming’s books are pulp novels and the James Bond character of the books is not a three dimensional character at all. He is defined by his expensive taste in cigarettes, drinks and cars as well as womanising and a gambling habit (and being a “Double-O agent”, of course). Fleming spends whole pages describing Bond’s souped-up Bentley or mix of tobaccoes in his hand-made cigarettes, but the inner life of Bond remains a vacuum. This is not meant as a negative criticism the books are all about action and spy stuff (and expensive cars etc.) and work fine as the type of shallow entertainment you read on a train ride or while waiting in an airport’s departure lounge. You don’t need three-dimensional characters for that. Furthermore, more depth in characterisation might actually have hurt the books, because the reader couldn’t project his desires and wish fulfillment fantasies on the character.
Unsurprisingly, the movies have followed suit and the cinematic James Bond is also a two-dimensional creature, an action figure defined by wearing a diner jacket and having his Vodka Martinis shaken, not stirred. Again, this a good thing: James Bond isn’t about realism and if you like proper characters in espionage dramas, read John Le Carré (or watch “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”). The (mild) attempts to provide Bond with a history and with character development, as in the Daniel Craig Bond movies, are the least successful aspects of these movies, in my opinion, and they are no more true to the literary character (if literary isn’t too grand a word) than Roger Moore’s clowneries. And the movies haven’t really profited from it either: “Quantum of Solace” wasn’t rubbish despite of the revenge plot referring back to “Casiono Royale”, but because of it.


Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:21 am
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Post Re: Skyfall
I have read several of the books, and while Craig's version of the character is not synonymous with Fleming's, it is far closer than Moore's "clowneries" as you very aptly put it.

I would also argue that it is a good thing, because as mystifying as Fleming's Bond is, it's also his slightly OCD brand of sociopathy that makes him intriguing in the first place. Just as MacGyver wouldn't be interesting without his habit of spying every useful object in the room, Fleming's Bond wouldn't be interesting without his materialistic obsessiveness over details and the deliberate distance he keeps from his emotional core. It's in those details that Fleming allows us to participate fleetingly in the life of a secret serviceman. Some of this seeps into Craig's interpretation, as it did with Connery and Lazenby. It tends to evaporate in the other interpretations, which start to live down to the stereotype of Bond movies being all about implausible stunts and gadgets.

In the case of Skyfall, the "character development" in question is merely an attempt to make Bond not quite the same character by the end of the movie as he was at the beginning. I applaud that. That's drama, and it's something that many of the Bond movies falter at doing. I'm not suggesting that this makes him three-dimensional by any means, but it keeps him from being one-dimensional.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Skyfall
I'm not sure Craig is closer than Connery in his first few films. It's been a long time since I've seen Dr. No. One thing I liked was the simplicity and usefulness of the gadgets Q provides Bond with.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:29 pm
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