The latest installment in the James Bond 007 series, entitled “Skyfall,” starring Daniel Craig, continues the tradition of the incorrigible secret agent we’ve all come to love. I normally react reasonably well to Bond films. There’s usually plenty of action and adventure to keep me interested. The occasional explosion, an over-active specimen of wildlife, and various clever feats involving physical dexterity or intellectual acumen. And, of course, there are oodles and oodles of gorgeous women. That certainly doesn’t hurt.
The movie begins with a bang … James Bond is inadvertently shot by a fellow agent when a mission they are on turns sour. The bad guy escapes with a list of all the secret agents involved with NATO who are currently embedded in terrorist organizations throughout the world. And, of course, to add character conflict it was the mysterious “M” who gave the go ahead for the nearly fatal shot. Although Bond survives his injuries, he takes a little bit of time off (I think on the order of several months, but I’m not sure), before he returns to London to save his country from the sinister mind bent on its ruin.
What follows is an intriguing spy-chase that takes Bond from London to Shanghai and elsewhere. There’s a lot of computer hacking going on … well, it is a modern Bond. I always find it amusing how Hollywood represents computer conflicts. Code is generally not photogenic; so, we are usually given some kind of visual metaphor as an enticing substitute. I guess I can’t complain; it works well enough. Anyway, that’s getting a little sidetracked. Back to the review.
The movie is typical Bond: beautiful women, a few (only a few this time) special gadgets to aid the secret agent, and lots of gunfire and chases. Great stuff. Oh, and there’s also a few Komodo Dragons to boot. And, of course, someone has to be eaten by one said dragon.
Overall, the acting was good; the plot was good; the special effects were good; but it just didn’t grab me for some reason. Maybe I’m outgrowing Bond movies or something. The shootout at the end seemed mundane and unsurprising even though (spoiler alert) they ultimately killed off a major character. I don’t know what it was … maybe the setting. The moor just seemed too grey and dismal. I didn’t like it. But that seems to be an odd reason to dislike a movie. Actually ‘dislike’ is too strong a term. It was okay, but I’ve seen better Bond movies.
Overall, I’ll give this movie three and a half out of five stars.
Some friends and I rented this movie the other night on kind of a lark… well, actually, they wanted to see it, and I was willing; so, we saw it. I wasn’t expecting much. I mean, something named “Cowboys and Aliens” just strikes me as silly. Apparently, it’s based on a graphic novel of some sort. The premise is basically in the title: space aliens versus cowboys. Like I said, kind of silly. The cowboys really shouldn’t stand much of a chance. But, of course, in Hollywood anything is possible.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the film. It was an intriguing blend of mystery and action, there were even some elements of horror. Not only were the aliens technologically superior, they were physically superior as well. So, it was a real David and Goliath type of scenario. The only advantage (and it wasn’t so much an advantage as an equalizer) the cowboys had was that one of them (Daniel Craig’s character) had an advanced alien weapon attached to his wrist. This he used to great effect throughout the movie.
The movie stars Daniel Craig as the ruffian Jake Lonergan and Harrison Ford as the retired army officer Colonel Dollarhide. Both are rough and tumble sort of characters who are at each others throats early in the film, but then put their differences aside to go and hunt some aliens with a collection of other cowboys, bandits, and even some Indians for good measure. The aliens are responsible for a number of abductions and attacks throughout the area. The only truly effective weapon the good guys have is the aforementioned device on Jake Lonergan’s arm. Things like guns, bows, and spears work to a certain extent but just lack that guaranteed lethality that they have against humans.
The movie kept me interested and seemed plausible enough (assuming you accept the premise) up until one instance where a woman walks out of a fire amid a spectacular pyrotechnic display. We are shortly informed that she is an alien from another world, but my first response was that they were throwing in weird mysticism and magic which didn’t really belong in a sci-fi film. There are a couple questions they leave unanswered in the film, like how did this woman get to earth, but after that one bit with the fire that I’m still a little irritated by (it was just an excuse to startle us with special effects) the movie returned to a “rational” sequence of events.
Overall, it was definitely better than I expected. I don’t intend to buy it, but it was worth seeing the one time. I’ll give it three and a half stars.