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Skyfall - Bond 23 - Oct 26 2012


Goose
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Bit disappointed. It's not bad, and I probably went in expecting too much. The sum total of my advance knowledge was of very good broadsheet headlines & associated star ratings (4 stars out of 5 generally) that I'd seen out the corner of my eye while browsing, so thought it would be a bit smarter and with greater depth like I remember Casino Royale being. But it was just too silly too many times. Not bad, and some very good moments.

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I don't go to the cinema much these days, but I was noticing something all the way through Skyfall (I thought the movie was great): It often switched to what I can only describe as 'low res' for seconds or more at a time. I noticed it right from the off - the font in the title sequence - and it continued throughout. It was like when you're streaming video in HD from the net, and occasionally it drops to a lower resolution to buffer up. I found it quite distracting because I spent the whole film looking out for it. The introduction of a particular character was all but ruined by it as they start from a long distance and approach the camera, spending most of that time looking like a low-quality jpeg.

I guess this is a 'feature' of 4K cinema?

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You were in a 4k cinema?? I didn't even realise skyfall was filmed in 4k....

Oh, I don't know. It was a Showcase, and they're always tooting the 4K thing on their site. Regardless, it was digital projection and I wasn't impressed at all. An amazing, huge picture is pretty much the only reason to ever visit the cinema and this particular trip failed on that front.

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I really enjoyed that. I was a little worried about what was going on in that promo picture with sort of swirling blue lines in the background, but that whole section turned out to be visually stunning. As were several other parts.

I didn't expect what Skyfall turned out to actually be in the movie, but I liked it.

Fiennes was good and had more to him than expected when the character was introduced.

I did chuckle a bit when it seemed like Bond thought Silva crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed by blowing up the DB5. Sort of interesting how the tube crash, which might normally be some huge section of a movie, just sort of happened and then they carried on.

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It's been out for a day and they've already announced that John Logan will script Bond 24 and 25, and that they'll have one big interconnecting story, split into two. No word on if they'll be shot back to back, bit too early for that.

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I was talking to a friend about all this earlier, it's really funny. Bond fans have got no problem with shilling the cars, suits, watches and drinks for years, but suddenly they're sensitive to a Heineken. If I see people in films using laptops it doesn't offend me in the slightest that those laptops are VAIOs, or MacBooks, because they're the kind of things people in the real world would actually be using. Government agencies don't build their own featureless laptops, cars and phones. Sure, if a character takes a big gulp of Pepsi, smacks their lips and plonks the can down centre frame while rotating the logo towards us that's a different story... but none of that happened here. I didn't register half of the real world products while watching it because I absorb all that stuff as a natural part of the human environment.

It made me think of the representation of videogames in movies, actually. We get peeved when some TV show has an amateurish stab at a character playing a game, generic pad in hand, while the off-camera screen blips and whoops. "Why doesn't he just use a PS3 pad?" we cry. Put a PS3 pad in his hands - "Stop shoving these products down our throats!!!"

Also, a good way to avoid marketing for a film is to not watch any. I managed it for this, Batman and Avengers this year*. Worked a treat.

*And trailers, previews, reviews and general speculative discussion. Seriously, try going into films completely dark - it's wonderfully satisfying.

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I think the problem is that Heineken isn't something you could imagine Bond drinking, in the same way that it doesn't seem likely that Bond would drive a Ford Focus by choice. It's completely at odds with his character. That said, product placement - or at least product reference - is part of the Bond style, and was one of Ian Fleming's most effective stylistic choices in writing the books, and by using real product names, he managed to evoke a sense of realism and of the rarefied world that Bond circulated in. You don't really get this when Bond celebrates an exciting and dangerous escape by tucking into a Rustler's microwaveable burger and reading a copy of Take A Break magazine.

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I thought that was excellent and easily the best Bond film due to being thoroughly modern and more grounded/believable rather than the typical OTT nature of Bond films which become dull through their preposterous stunts and firefights. The humour was genuinely funny for the first time in the series. I also liked it for the reason that jerellis1 disliked it - absence of a baddie bent on world domination or global catastrophe. Loved the nods to the history of Bond films, which were reverential and amusing.

Oh, and

"Welcome to Scotland."

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The last two minutes were a kick in the teeth. Yes, we know what you came to see, but we didn't have the balls to make it.

I don't mind Craigs mute, charmless, brutish Bond but it means everything around him has to be perfect and this sadly was a noisy disjointed mess of a film born of a massive identity crisis about how to make the franchise relevant in the face of Bourne, Tinker Tailor and Mission Impossible, all of which have taken the ideas and made them better.

Flashes of inspiration - the girl in Macau looked like being an interesting Bond girl for once. Nuff said. All too often it was simply ideas that GoldenEye had done better a very long time ago.

Also, for the first five minutes I couldn't shake the feeling I was watching an advert.

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I think the problem is that Heineken isn't something you could imagine Bond drinking, in the same way that it doesn't seem likely that Bond would drive a Ford Focus by choice. It's completely at odds with his character. That said, product placement - or at least product reference - is part of the Bond style, and was one of Ian Fleming's most effective stylistic choices in writing the books, and by using real product names, he managed to evoke a sense of realism and of the rarefied world that Bond circulated in. You don't really get this when Bond celebrates an exciting and dangerous escape by tucking into a Rustler's microwaveable burger and reading a copy of Take A Break magazine.

Think it was a Mondeo.

The product placement that grated most was the VW Beetles.

Lets face it tho, product placement reached its nadir with 'all the usual refinements' in GoldenEye.

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I don't go to the cinema much these days, but I was noticing something all the way through Skyfall (I thought the movie was great): It often switched to what I can only describe as 'low res' for seconds or more at a time. I noticed it right from the off - the font in the title sequence - and it continued throughout. It was like when you're streaming video in HD from the net, and occasionally it drops to a lower resolution to buffer up. I found it quite distracting because I spent the whole film looking out for it. The introduction of a particular character was all but ruined by it as they start from a long distance and approach the camera, spending most of that time looking like a low-quality jpeg.

I guess this is a 'feature' of 4K cinema?

Did you complain to the cinema? Sounds like the projector was out of focus.

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Saw it last night, thought it was absolutely sensational. From when Bardem is introduced until the end it was exhilarating.

Loved seeing the

DB9. Me and my brother had the toy when we were kids, seeing Bond threaten to use the ejector seat on M and then using the gun turrets brought enormous grins to my face :D

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The last two minutes were a kick in the teeth. Yes, we know what you came to see, but we didn't have the balls to make it.

What do you mean by this? Did I miss something?

I thought this was super. Lots of action and spectacle, yet managing to retain the kind of grittiness they've been going for with this iteration. Some stuff beautifully directed (neon bit). Nice interweaving of various themes.

Javier Bardem was great. When he first came in I was like, 'Seriously?'. It was almost uncomfortably cartoonish. But from then on he sells it to you, and becomes a really engaging and worthy adversary.

...I felt pretty sorry for him too - a victim of the system. If the film had a big flaw for me, it was in seemingly saying that mental illness was a weakness, and that 'stronger' people like Bond can dust themselves off and shake off these things (as he overcomes his - somewhat contrived - personal demons), all the while displaying ultimate deference to the state.

Changing of the guard was well handled. Liked the painting of the restored fleet in M(allory)'s office at the end, calling back to the Turner in the gallery scene.

The shower scene was altogether a bit too rapey for this day and age - especially after it had been established she had been exploited as a sex worker since a young age. Real case of not being able to have your cake and eat it if you're going to change the nature of Bond.

Biggest gripe - tube in the big crash was empty except for driver wtf?!

Things like that aside, I thought it was a great film, possibly better than Casino Royale. But then, I'm not the biggest fan of 'traditional' Bond films, so I probably am speaking out of turn somewhat.

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To say this was the best Bond since Casino Royale seems like faint praise, but this really did show Quantum Of Solace up as being the vapid string of action scenes it was.

I really, really enjoyed Skyfall. It's certainly not your typical Bond story, in fact it's one of the most unconventional entries in the series, but it worked. At this point, Craig has really made the part his own, and through all the stunning set pieces and confrontations, this is perhaps the most personal Bond story yet.

It kicks off with a typically jaw dropping pre-credit sequence, but as was common with the action throughout the film, it wasn't necessarily the flash and bang which made it so great, but the sense of urgency which pervaded it. Having much of the film shoot in London seemed particularly apt for this 50th anniversary mission, and I can't give enough props to Roger Deakins' cinematography, for giving the film such a grandiose yet intimate look.

Director, Sam Mendes has worked well with Craig in further developing the rich threads of Bond's conflicted persona. The film shows Bond at both his most determined and most vulnerable, and to Craig's credit, he's able to pull both off whilst maintaining all the tenets which define Bond.

All other players do an excellent job of carrying the story, with special mention going to Judi Dench and Javier Bardem. Javier Bardem's Silva character is again, unlike anything the series has seen in the past. There's a real air of menace to him, a man so emotionally damaged that you believe him capable of anything, and the fact that he's a genius only makes him all the more formidable.

Skyfall keeps its intense pace up throughout, ensuring that danger or the threat of danger is constant, there's very little filler despite the films 2+ hr running time.

A few more snippets of humor wouldn't have gone amiss though. The new Q was a smart re-imagining of the character befitting the tech advancements of the day, but I didn't feel he enjoyed the same personable banter as Desmond Llewelyn shared with Bond. Early days on that score though.

I initially thought the finale would be a bit of a let down, but after leaving the cinema, it's probably the part which has stayed with me the most. They're clearly still piecing the franchise back together since the reboot, and it's fun to see the remaining Bond tropes dripped back into the series.

Overall though, I wouldn't get too caught up in the 'best Bond ever' hype, not because it doesn't legitimately deserve to be considered as such, but because Bond has such a legacy and so many interpretations, that everyone will have their own opinion on what makes a great Bond film, and as strong as this is, it doesn't tick all the Bond boxes. Although in this instance, it's probably a better film for it.

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What do you mean by this? Did I miss something?

I thought this was super. Lots of action and spectacle, yet managing to retain the kind of grittiness they've been going for with this iteration. Some stuff beautifully directed (neon bit). Nice interweaving of various themes.

Javier Bardem was great. When he first came in I was like, 'Seriously?'. It was almost uncomfortably cartoonish. But from then on he sells it to you, and becomes a really engaging and worthy adversary.

...I felt pretty sorry for him too - a victim of the system. If the film had a big flaw for me, it was in seemingly saying that mental illness was a weakness, and that 'stronger' people like Bond can dust themselves off and shake off these things (as he overcomes his - somewhat contrived - personal demons), all the while displaying ultimate deference to the state.

Changing of the guard was well handled. Liked the painting of the restored fleet in M(allory)'s office at the end, calling back to the Turner in the gallery scene.

The shower scene was altogether a bit too rapey for this day and age - especially after it had been established she had been exploited as a sex worker since a young age. Real case of not being able to have your cake and eat it if you're going to change the nature of Bond.

Biggest gripe - tube in the big crash was empty except for driver wtf?!

Things like that aside, I thought it was a great film, possibly better than Casino Royale. But then, I'm not the biggest fan of 'traditional' Bond films, so I probably am speaking out of turn somewhat.

Re. Biggest gripe - the front said 'not in service'.

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