Hi, it’s Burl here, just plain Burl, to review a new James Bond picture! Ha ha, they’ve been making these things since 1962, and they’re finally coming close to getting them right! No, I’m joking you, friends – some of my very favourite Bond pictures come from those early days, back when they were making pictures like Goldfinger, From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service! Those ones are all pretty good, and then of course we can’t go and forget Mr. Wynt and Mr. Kydd!
The spirit of Misters Wynt and Kydd actually resurfaces in this new effort, in the person of bad guy Javier Bardem! It’s the third go round for the blond Bond, and he’s more crinkle-eyed here than ever! His great nemesis, Bardem, is a fey ex-agent with a deflatable face who seems to have the tools at his disposal for some grand world-beating scheme - namely, a bunch of computers and his own island - but uses them more for personal reasons! (This tends to undercut the hugeness of the stakes involved, frankly, but the movie is more personally than professionally inclined across the board, so I guess it’s to be expected!)
The real story is between Bond and his boss, the lady M! There’s so much going on with her in fact, and so many scenes of her staring mournfully out a window, that the end of the picture comes as no real surprise! And Judi Dench is getting on, after all – but of course we’re talking about a series of films which allowed Roger Moore to play the part until at least 1985! Superannuation means nothing to them, ha ha! But here, with the lady M, they decided to nip it in the bud! After all, by the time the next picture gets made, Dame Judi will be in her mid-nineties!
Of course we get some spectacular exotic locations, and there are some lovely ladies with whom Bond has sexual intercourse, and there’s even a scene with a monster, sort of! There are a couple of marvelous action scenes, though not as many as in most Bond pictures, and a little touch of kung-fu as well! And then, at the end, at the Scottish climax, we get Albert Finney as Groundskeeper Willie, who repeatedly calls Dame Judi’s character “Emma!” Ha ha!
Altogether it’s no more than a solid spy action picture, but it’s a top-flight example of same! Quite a few things don’t make sense, and other things are just dumb, but when you compare this picture to, say, Moonraker, you realize how bad it could have been! It’s also beautifully photographed by Roger Deakins, especially the Scottish scenes, and that helps the movie out a lot! I’m going to give Skyfall three Komodo dragons!