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Skyfall: Senior at Last

November 25, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

[Francois Duhamel]

We don’t go out to the movies much. The only sure-fire draw that gets me out of the house to the theater is James Bond. For him, I might even go on opening weekend. I was therefore dismayed on learning in the summer that the latest Bond film would open on November 9. I didn’t think Gail would want to celebrate her birthday on the 10th by seeing Skyfall, and the day after that I would be flying to Chicago. The next weekend, I’d have a visitor to entertain on Friday and we’d be going to the symphony on Saturday. Thus, we’d have to wait two weeks, or until yesterday.

During Thanksgiving dinner, Gail suggested to Jessica that she and Bryan join us. Yesterday morning, I looked into buying tickets online, not that I thought we would need to. I realize the prices shouldn’t have surprised me, but given that we don’t get out to the movies much, the $11.50 ticket price was indeed unexpected. Between that and the $1.50 per ticket fee, I was easily convinced that we could pass on online purchasing.

Usually my eyes pass right over discount rates. Seniors, students, children—I don’t care. But, hey, I’m getting up there in years. This time, I took a closer look. The senior price was $10.50. Not much of a discount. Yet, maybe I qualified. That would be fun! The few times I’ve thought to ask about discounts, like on the Washington State Ferries a few months ago, I learn that I’m too young.

Well, thank you AMC Theatres! I can reap the savings at last, albeit only a dollar. That made my day.

As for Skyfall, having enjoyed the first two Daniel Craig Bond movies, I found this one disappointing. I dare not give too much away, so I won’t say much. My main criticism is that I found the story weak. Its focus on M — the head of British intelligence — provided a welcome opportunity for Judi Dench to have a larger role than usual. But I found the depiction of her relationships with Bond and the villain unconvincing. And with the emphasis on these relationships, there wasn’t much plot development.

However, it seems that I was missing something. Peter Bradshaw’s review in The Guardian a month ago is full of praise:

This is the seventh time Judi Dench has played the enigmatic spy-chief M. But it is only in this storming new Bond movie that her M has really been all that she could be. Under the stylish direction of Sam Mendes, Dench’s M is quite simply the Bond girl to end all Bond girls. Watching this, I thought: of course. How could I have missed it? The real tension isn’t with Moneypenny, but with the boss herself. Now M is an imperious, subtly oedipal intelligence-matriarch with the double-O boys under her thumb. She’s treating them mean. She’s keeping them keen. And she is rewarded with passionate loyalty, varying with smouldering resentment. It’s a combination with its own unspoken eroticism, and it has also created the conditions for one of the most memorable Bond villains in recent times. …

The 50th anniversary of the big-screen Bond was the right time to pull off something big. Skyfall is a hugely enjoyable action spectacular, but more grounded and cogent than the previous and disappointing outing, Quantum of Solace. …

Daniel Craig’s Bond (above) looks older, more careworn, slightly more jug-eared. This is a Bond who has something to prove, and who could be damaged goods, physically and even mentally. Even at his lowest, however, he is still capable of pulling off a very scary drinking trick involving a scorpion. But now he must face one of his tastiest adversaries ever – the chilling Silva, played by Javier Bardem.

I may have to go back to see it again.

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