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James Bond 23: Skyfall FILM Discussion


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I can hear that announced by the booming voice of Christopher Lee as Saruman.

I thought it was a great movie. On par with, or at least just a tiny sliver below Casino Royale.

it's already the third highest grossing Bond film after two weeks. Talking US boxoffice of course, The Benchmark is breaking the 200 million dollar mark which is blockbuster status. Without a doubt it will do this easily. But as I said it's not just a great Bond film it is a Great Film period.

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Skyfall.

What a strange movie. Bond only by name (and obligatory yet weirdly out of place signature music), the film was an unruly hodge-podge of styles and tone, ticking albeit forcefully as many boxes as physically possible along the way as per the series demands. Starting out as a typical 007 exotic excursion before morphing rather jarringly into an Ealing espionage caper homage and then finally bringing the house down quite literally with a rural conclusion that saw James Bond [almost] Home Alone after returning back To the Manor Born.

It was a bit of a mess, but in the end very enjoyable. It's just as well really that proceedings eventually peeled back the tired been there, done that opener a bit to reveal a tongue confidentally planted in cheek - because otherwise this film might have been The World is Not Enough 2; the rubbish action intro in Skyfall was after all very reminiscent of that embarrassing Brosnan entry best left buried in the snow - what with its bad CGI, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull quality composite work and downright ludicrous 'stunt' antics. Next time MGM, do me a favour and lay off the green screen, cheers. I'm not bothered if I can tell it's a body double.

But yeah, this was definitely the third most 'personal' 007 adventure and in that regard Craig and Dench were absolutely terrific; the latter in particular turning in a fully fleshed out and stellar performance as the titular M. Dame Judi is an absolute class act in this, her ice warm demeanour, delicate authority and elegant beauty providing much of the film's better moments, including a surprisingly touching moment late on. What a legend.

It's just a shame that everything was so contrived and convoluted. Never in movies have I seen such an incompetent and long-winded plan to exact revenge on a person, who as it happens never really did that much in the first place to deserve the "Ooo, Ooo, you treated me soooo badly and I'm so damaged" routine. Bardem was a fun nemesis, but really he was as camp as villains get, and no I don't mean because he's got an eye for finely cut men. He was just completely unthreatening. In fact I liked him. He was no evil doer but instead the biggest plot hole in a move shot to buggery with them.

The whole subplot with the casino babe was another failure and glaringly obvious tick in a box, even tossing in some man eating dragons and an eye rolling GET ON WITH IT sex in the shower scene. Yawn. Her initially quite intriguing introduction suddenly being cut short in the way it was was not an elegant solution to her eventually awkward inclusion and marked the film's lowest point. But thankfully the sprightly Ealing part kicked in immediately after and interest was restored. It's little wonder this Bond has gone down a storm in the US, since apparently they love that 'quintessential' British stuff. I almost expected the Queen to make another cameo.

Which brings me back to this very strange 007 movie. In places it was clearly an homage of itself, its past, its legacy. A couple of times it even veered a little too closely to all-out parody; and yet just in the nick of time Mendes, either skilfully or out of sheer good luck, managed to reign the silliness back in and get back to the matters at hand: making a James Bond film feel fresh without ever resorting to Jason Bourne conventions; an achievement for which he should be applauded - such is the dominating influence of that series' style over contemporary action cinema. I'm just not sure if Ian Fleming's 007 was lost somewhere along the way.

3/5

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Never in movies have I seen such an incompetent and long-winded plan to exact revenge on a person, who as it happens never really did that much in the first place to deserve the "Ooo, Ooo, you treated me soooo badly and I'm so damaged" routine. Bardem was a fun nemesis, but really he was as camp as villains get, and no I don't mean because he's got an eye for finely cut men. He was just completely unthreatening. In fact I liked him. He was no evil doer but instead the biggest plot hole in a move shot to buggery with them.

You seem to have seen neither many Bond movies nor Hollywood action movies in general, then. ;)

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Skyfall.

What a strange movie. Bond only by name (and obligatory yet weirdly out of place signature music), the film was an unruly hodge-podge of styles and tone, ticking albeit forcefully as many boxes as physically possible along the way as per the series demands. Starting out as a typical 007 exotic excursion before morphing rather jarringly into an Ealing espionage caper homage and then finally bringing the house down quite literally with a rural conclusion that saw James Bond [almost] Home Alone after returning back To the Manor Born.

Strange, the tone of the movie seemed remarkably consistent throughout.

the rubbish action intro in Skyfall was after all very reminiscent of that embarrassing Brosnan entry best left buried in the snow - what with its bad CGI, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull quality composite work and downright ludicrous 'stunt' antics. Next time MGM, do me a favour and lay off the green screen, cheers. I'm not bothered if I can tell it's a body double.

Was this a dig at Skyfall or the Brosnan films? The opening action scenes were very well done. If there was any CGI used, then it certainly isn't noticeable. As for stunts being ludicrous... It's a James Bond film.

But yeah, this was definitely the third most 'personal' 007 adventure and in that regard Craig and Dench were absolutely terrific; the latter in particular turning in a fully fleshed out and stellar performance as the titular M. Dame Judi is an absolute class act in this, her ice warm demeanour, delicate authority and elegant beauty providing much of the film's better moments, including a surprisingly touching moment late on. What a legend.

And her and Craig have real chemistry together. I love the disappointed mother/disobedient son vibe.

The whole subplot with the casino babe was another failure and glaringly obvious tick in a box, even tossing in some man eating dragons and an eye rolling GET ON WITH IT sex in the shower scene.

This is a staple of Bond films, which got worse in the Moore years. I saw The Spy Who Loved Me a few weeks ago, and beautiful babes offer themself to him as soon as he enters the room.

This sorta works in a cheesy way with the style of the Moore films. But for the more realistic mood for the Craig films they haven't found a way to deal with it.

It's interesting to note that every women Craigs Bond has slept with so far has died!

It's little wonder this Bond has gone down a storm in the US, since apparently they love that 'quintessential' British stuff. I almost expected the Queen to make another cameo.

That's also part of the franchise. Even a serious Bond film can't always be serious. But yes, I did wonder how choppers with British flags on them got to the South China sea so fast...

I'm just not sure if Ian Fleming's 007 was lost somewhere along the way.

Have you actually read the original books, Lee?

Flemings Bond got lost with Roger Moore. No even before, when Bond drove a moon buggy in Diamonds Are Forever.

Craigs 007 is a lot closer in style to Flemings character then most people realise. Though Dalton probably comes nearest.

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Re: tone. Consistent, really? I felt there were three distinct tonal shifts in the film, almost three different mini movies in one. The first was an exotic quick-cutting contemporary Bond albeit in the 'traditional' sense; the second (middle section) was BBC style spooks light thriller - dipping wholeheartedly into Ealing and the original Tinker Tailor, all very British and all very novel - probably moreso for overseas viewers, as was the clear intention. In fact the film in this section felt like a great advert for tourism in London, such were its gimmicks. It was very entertaining, if rather unnatural. The Scottish finale then shifted mood like crazy to a brilliant siege shot apparently by the Top Gear team and inspired by Home Alone, trap making montage present and correct. The main difference being the complete withdrawal of all humour, the tone suddenly getting decidedly serious again. Three distinct tonal shifts that just about work together in the end, which was a relief. I'm surprised that anyone would find this movie "consistent" at all.

Re: the "dig". It was a throwaway dig at both Skyfall's intro and The World is Not Enough's CG heavy action. Rubbish CGI. You genuinely didn't notice it? Hmm, okay. I was personally VERY distracted during the bike chase by the director's insistence on painting over Craig's stunt double with Craig's face in a laughable effort to make me believe it was really him performing these dangerous high speed feats. It was uncanny valley says HELLO! There is nothing wrong at all with the odd shot here and there which shows fleeting glimpses of our movie star not really doing these stunts, it's absolutely fine; so trying to cover up the reality with ropey post-production work is unforgivable! And you really didn't notice the green screen backgrounds when the camera closed in on the real Craig as he pretended to be negotiating the oncoming obstacles in his path? Hence my KotCS reference earlier... Talk about taking me out of the moment. Honestly, at that early on in the movie I was genuinely concerned that I'd just blown £8.60 on a ticket, such was my reaction. This is what I meant by "ludicrous" - the sfx work, not the 'stunts' themselves; which would have been fantastic, if the movie was made thirty years ago.

Lucky for me it all improved quite a bit after the opening credits finally rolled.

And re: the expected conventions of the franchise overall. I guess the reason I rate Casino Royale so highly is because it didn't really play up to any of them, at least in ways which felt obvious. It's a smart, mature Bond film. Skyfall on the other hand only ever managing the smart part.

Just want to mention a couple of VERY impressive moments in Skyfall, though: the silhouette fist fight in the high-rise which was shot like a dance and Bardem's long-winded entrance was an absolute classic in the series. Also the photography during the night siege finally stepped up a notch, which was nice.

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Actually, you're right about that - Finney's shotgun one-liner was the one exception. It was by far the funniest moment in the entire film and I laughed out loud! The other bit was just passing the time. Tonally, the finale was as dark as it got - and I found it utterly changed to that silly middle section.

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Actually, you're right about that - Finney's shotgun one-liner was the one exception. It was by far the funniest moment in the entire film and I laughed out loud!

My favourite little moment was the shot in the beginning were 007 jumps from the crane into the ripped open train carriage and fixes his cuff link.

This is a typical 007 moment. But when Moore or Brosnan did it, they did it so obviously that they were winking at the audience (look at me being James Bond). Craig does it much such casual aditude that it just feels like second nature. That's why Craig is so reminiscent of Connery at times.

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Did they actually try for Connery at some point? Damn! Their would have been fantastic.

The role was written with him in mind, but they never actually tried to cast him. It would have been great, but also would have distracted. (though you would not have minded)

I doubt Connery would have been interested though.

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To me the special effects in Skyfall were perfect, with one exception. The komodo dragons looked like obvious CGI, but everything else was flawless. Never noticed any green screen or face replacement or body doubles or anything Quint is talking about. In fact Quint is the first person I've seen complain about the special effects at all, anywhere.

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My favourite little moment was the shot in the beginning were 007 jumps from the crane into the ripped open train carriage and fixes his cuff link.

This is a typical 007 moment. But when Moore or Brosnan did it, they did it so obviously that they were winking at the audience (look at me being James Bond). Craig does it much such casual aditude that it just feels like second nature. That's why Craig is so reminiscent of Connery at times.

I loved that moment, too. Craig really pulls it off.

Re: the "dig". It was a throwaway dig at both Skyfall's intro and The World is Not Enough's CG heavy action. Rubbish CGI. You genuinely didn't notice it? Hmm, okay. I was personally VERY distracted during the bike chase by the director's insistence on painting over Craig's stunt double with Craig's face in a laughable effort to make me believe it was really him performing these dangerous high speed feats. It was uncanny valley says HELLO! There is nothing wrong at all with the odd shot here and there which shows fleeting glimpses of our movie star not really doing these stunts, it's absolutely fine; so trying to cover up the reality with ropey post-production work is unforgivable! And you really didn't notice the green screen backgrounds when the camera closed in on the real Craig as he pretended to be negotiating the oncoming obstacles in his path? Hence my KotCS reference earlier... Talk about taking me out of the moment. Honestly, at that early on in the movie I was genuinely concerned that I'd just blown £8.60 on a ticket, such was my reaction. This is what I meant by "ludicrous" - the sfx work, not the 'stunts' themselves; which would have been fantastic, if the movie was made thirty years ago.

Well, some people really didn't notice that. I don't think that's weird, as people don't notice different things. I didn't notice anything really bad about the film. Well, as long as I am satisfied...

And every time I try to remember anything odd about the Komodo Dragon... I just think of the Komodo Dragon. It worked for me. But that's just my natural naiveté, I guess......

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It wasn't the worst CGI ever by any means, but it did momentarily take me out of the film... especially since there was nothing remotely obvious in the slightest up until that point

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I thought the opening action sequence sucked once it got to the train. All the tempo and momentum just grinds to a halt and for the next two minutes you are watching two men intensely hug each other.

It was very poorly choreographed and executed.

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I can agree with Quint that there was head replacement during the bike chase. I noticed it when I watched the film in IMAX and while if you're looking closely you'd notice it, I think its one of those things that won't be noticeable after a while. Perhaps even a smaller screen would be more forgiving and hide it as I've noticed this a lot of times with scenes like this.

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I'm actually more impressed with the Komodo dragon scene from an FX perspective, now that I know everything in this picture is CGI:

d1Csi.jpg

here it says the pit is not CGI...

To create the first ever CG creature to feature in a Bond film, Neill’s team staged a shoot at London Zoo to capture footage and stills of Komodo dragons interacting. Using this reference material, Cinesite’s character animation team modelled the creature in Maya and textured it using Mudbox and Mari, before compositing it into the live-action plate using Nuke. The challenge was to ensure the creature interacted with the live-action plate and looked photo-real to portray the sense of realism the franchise prides itself on. CG dust and gravel that mirrored the action within the dragon’s pit were also added, while the lighting and shading had to be carefully angled to ensure the correct depth of field.

BTW the eyes look innacurate!

Komodo-dragon.jpg

I think i remember it doing this...but im not sure. It did stick its tongue out every few seconds right?

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