SPOILER ALERT: The following ramblings contains tidbits from Skyfall so if you're one of the five people on Earth yet to see it you might wanna skip this post. Your loss, it's gonna be hilarious.
It's hard to believe that a massive portion of the blogs I've coughed up over almost two years have been leading up to this. 2012 has practically been one massive Bondgasm with the 50th anniversary, aftershave (which my dad is forcing me to buy for him), Sky channel, documentary and Global Bond Day refusing to bugger off from existence no matter how hard I've tried, but the only Bond event that matters this year is Skyfall; the 23rd Bond movie and third to star the rapidly-ageing-but-still-strangely-alluring-in-a-ugly-kind-of-way Daniel Craig. The announcement of this production was immediately met with endless speculation that was almost as annoying as the Star Wars 7 director merry-go-round and although Skyfall is a wonderful mix of new and old complete with a genuinely great baddie and some sexy cinematography, there's nothing here that should come as a surprise to anyone with internet connection.
True to form the film begins with an action-packed sequence that really pushes the tailoring on Bond's Tom Ford suit to the limit and ends with a bullet accidentally hitting him instead of the token ethnic baddie. Turns out that bloke has a computer hard drive containing a list of undercover agents in terrorist organisations but who cares about them when Bond has completely trashed that suit by falling into a river? What a waste.
Though it seems the same on the surface the real hook of Skyfall is putting M (Dame Dench) front and centre and focusing on the bullshit people have to put up with while Bond is swanning about in exotic locations, having sex with randoms and drinking Heineken ("except when he has to punch a woman and switches to Stella" - copyright Sean Lock). Dench's first appearance as M in GoldenEye was a masterstroke not only because we had to see Bond put up with a woman he couldn't manipulate with his penis, but also because we could see their relationship sway between boss and employee to annoyed mother and petulant kid, and here it develops further.
However watching a woman as quietly formidable as M be grilled by the likes of Ralph Fiennes and some uppity bitch behind a desk is just the appetiser for Javier Bardem's Raoul Silva/Tiago Rodriguez; a wonderfully demented baddie who has history with M. Javier Bardem deserves some sort of award for continuously putting acting before beauty with a disturbing array of bad hairstyles but the scene where Bond and Silva meet for the first time deserves all the talk it has prompted.
I just love the thought of Bond purists up in arms about the mere implication that Bond may have, at one time, maybe, possibly, could have, lifted a few shirts in his time. Whatever the screenwriters and Mendes were really trying to say with that line is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned because the whole scene - thigh groping and all - is just genius and is the first time in a long time where Bond has come up against a foe as good as he is.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for the Bond girls. Naomie Harris has covered many a magazine cover recently and in each one the writer has claimed that Eve is a different sort of Bond girl, but sadly, she isn't. Her character has all the depth of a wafer-thin mint and the revelation that she's the new Moneypenny is met with a whimper instead of a bang because her metamorphosis from field agent to totty to secretary is just disappointing. Many films and TV shows have dealt with officers who are traumatised by a shooting gone wrong and turn to a desk job as they can't carry a gun anymore but Eve doesn't even get a few lines to justify her swift change of character. And before you say that no action film would ever bother doing such a thing, I'd like to direct your eyeballs here. As for the other one, she doesn't even deserve mentioning but I would like to know what Bérénice Marlohe was smoking when she said her character is "a creature between a male, a female and an animal... and a dragon". No love, you're an object that replaces Bond's wanking hand for a night. Still, the missing female characters aren't nearly as upsetting as this missing shot:
Why Roger, why?!
So Eve is actually Moneypenny, Fiennes becomes the new M and the old M snuffs it, but even though Skyfall doesn't have many surprises up its sleeve I couldn't help but pull this face when the final act turns into Home Alone with an added dash of Die Hard. That's not a complaint, by the way; everything is better with a bit of Die Hard.
Next Month: Nothing. What the hell am I supposed to do now?