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« Secret Messages: 'we got three victims...' | Main | Predictions in Actressing: Few Locks, Many New Variables »
Friday
Oct052012

007 Things That Excite / Concern Me About "Skyfall"

Hi, all. I'm Deborah Lipp, half of the Lipp Sisters team at the Mad Men site  Basket of Kisses and author of six books, including The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book.*

Between today, which happens to be International James Bond Day, and the U.S. release of the 23rd official James Bond movie, Skyfall (opening November 9th!), Nathaniel has asked me to deliver a series on the subject of James Bond. We'll focus on lists of seven things — any seven things, provided they relate to James Bond, agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service. And, because I'm generous to a fault, I'm going to start you off, this first time out, with a bonus list. So, without further adieu, here are 007 Things That Excite Me About Skyfall as well as 007 Things That Concern Me About Skyfall.

*Note: If you want a copy of the book, please, please contact me directly

007 Things That Excite Me About Skyfall

001 It's a James Bond movie. Let's get serious: If the buzz for the movie was terrible, if Ebert used both his thumbs to pan it, if it got the lowest rating in history on Rotten Tomatoes, I'd still be there on opening night, and probably the next night as well. And maybe the following week. And there would be vodka martinis chilling at home, and I know how to make them right.

It's a James Bond movie. Bond has been with me through my entire life, a guarantee of adventure, excitement, sex, and escape. I am, frankly, addicted to these movies, they are like a drug to me.

002 The return of Q. Bond movies have a tradition, and repeating certain formulaic aspects is a delight. Sure, some people want Thanksgiving without turkey, but some of us love the repetition of form, and for us, the return of a beloved character who has been there from the beginning matters a lot.

Q Trivia, Judi Dench, and terrible blonde villains after the jump

[Cool Q Trivia: In the first Bond movie, Dr. No (1962), Bond gets a new gun from Boothroyd, the Quartermaster, played by Peter Burton. Desmond Llewellyn began appearing as Q (short for Quartermaster) in the second film, From Russia with Love. Llewellyn appeared in 17 of the next 18 Bond films (skipping Live and Let Die). John Cleese played Q once, and Q has been absent from the two most recent films. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Q is referred to as "Major Boothroyd," confirming that he is the same character played by Burton in Dr. No.]

003 An exciting cast. Casting has been excellent in many Bond movies, and Skyfall looks to be no exception. Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Naomie Harris, and of course the return of Daniel Craig and Judi Dench. This is crazy actorly goodness!

004 That trailer! 

005 Cinematography by Roger Deakins. Hey, one of the things to love about That trailer! is the gorgeous cinematography. Nine-time Oscar nominee Deakins has been director of photography on an impressive array of films, including a bunch of Coen Brothers movies and one of my favorite visual treats, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

006 The producers promise that this story will not be a continuation of Daniel Craig's first two Bond films, but will go off in a new direction. I think that's smart: It's James Bond, not a soap opera.

007 Location, location, location. This will be the first Bond movie to film in China, and the third to film in Turkey.

007 Things That Concern Me About Skyfall

Another Blonde Villain? That didn't work out so well in A View To a Kill

001 Javier Bardem is blond? Really? Christopher Walken was blond in A View to a Kill. Great actor in blond wig equals worst Bond movie ever. Why repeat that?

002 Skyfall is a stupid name. Just is. I've been saying for months the villain must be Chicken Little.

003 The official site says "Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her." M's past did not provide the franchise's finest hour when it haunted her in The World is Not Enough. Why trouble those waters again?

004 Naomie Harris was rumored to be cast as Moneypenny, which made me very, very happy. Now she's listed in the IMDb as Eve. Please be Moneypenny, Ms. Harris. Please.

005 Director Sam Mendes: Dramatic director Marc Forster didn't prove to be up to the task of directing an action movie with Quantum of Solace. Bringing in another dramatic director feels to me like the producers don't recognize there was a problem last time. Oops.

006 Daniel Craig is rumored to feel he's getting a little old for the part. He's signed for more films but if he loses interest, I will pout.

007 Judi Dench has macular degeneration. If she retires from the Bond films, I will pout and stamp my foot.

What excites and concerns you about Skyfall?

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Reader Comments (17)

A View To A Kill is not the worst Bond movie ever — it has the awesomeness of Grace Jones and Duran Duran's theme song — as Madonna said in her song Candy Shop — It's everything that I got — not the movie their song.

Hi new commentator, I'm not a fan of Meryl Streep and that's my only negative around here.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

John Cleese was addressed and credited as R in The World Is Not Enough, but he already appeared to be in Q's position in the film's final scene and after Desmond Llewelyn had descended. Be that as it may, I also longed for the return of Q, but now it seems that that's not the role Ben Whishaw was cast for. Instead he appears to be a little late for a casting of The Amazing Spider-Man. Did they really had to go the Uber-Nerd route? That photo alone looks as if Peter Parker would have a meeting with Donald Grant. Add to this Javier Bardem's antics in the trailer, and I'm not so sure if this cast is exicting me anymore. Nevertheless, I hope that this will end with a pleasant surprise, but I'm doubtful by now.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

Director Sam Mendes is the biggest plus the film has. He always delivers.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterskyfly_to

I honestly haven't watched one of these in years. I've never seen Daniel Craig as Bond. I think I saw one of the Brosnan ones, and he was as offputtingly smarmy and schoolboyish as Moore. My favorite Bond is Lazenby, and I suppose I really only enjoy the first few and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". I think Craig's probably a mix of Dalton and Connery. I'd go see it for him and maybe the interestingly cold tone the trailer seems to imply. This is the only Bond film in recent memory where the trailer has made me want to shell out the dough. My biggest reservation? I am soooooooo....tired of Adele.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohnnyBS

I'm not a Bond fun, but A View to a Kill was a lot of fun!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Marc Foster didn't work because he has absolutely no style. Sam Mendes has loads of style. American Beauty was a triumph of style over substance, as was Road to Perdition. And Jarhead. Dude knows a camera. Mendes + Deakins? I'm there.

JohnnyBS, I'm pretty sure Adele is tired of Adele. I shall now go listen to "Set Fire to the Rain" in penance.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

@Willy, Bond referred to Q's new assistant as "R" as a joke in "The World Is Not Enough;" a joke Cleese's character bristled at. He was credited that way because he was otherwise unnamed. Desmond Llewellyn died in a car accident around the time of TWINE's release, and Cleese was Q in "Die Another Day."

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Deborah -- ugh. i left a comment which didn't take. So much trivia here and in the comments. Deborah you are the honorary Bond Girl!

Johnny BS -- Adele will only distract from your viewing during the credits sequence. you'll be fine. Daniel Craig is an EXCELLENT Bond. Trust.

Arkaan -- great point about Style. That might really be it more than "action" chops per se.

October 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

AVATK is the worst Bond film, but Walken is faaar and away the best thing about it. I always wanted to see him in a good movie, and this is the closet we've got to that!

Also, I love the name Skyfall. I love spelling out the name Skyfall. I think it's wonderful.

Honestly, I can't see this movie sucking. Great director, great writers, awesome cast, David Arnold's score, best in the industry cinematography, no rushed development, they even got a pretty good Adele theme song! It's like a Bond fan's wet dream!

If this movie somehow sucks, I'll be more shocked then when Prometheus turned out to be garbage.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

Um, yes, thank you, Deborah. That's exactly why I wrote what I wrote. Desmond Llewelyn descends at the end of the first scene with "R", cause this cleverly written scene also happens to be Q's farewell scene, and then R appears to be in Q's postion in John Cleese's next scene, which happens to be the film's final scene, even though Cleese is not addressed or credited as Q(uartermaster) until Die Another Day. They passed the the torch quite smoothly.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

Jeremy, I assume that you're joking about Christopher Walken not being in good films, but if you can't see Skyfall sucking, then maybe you should take a look at the way Javier Bardem acts in the trailer. And David Arnold was chucked out in favor of Thomas Newman, Sam Mendes' composer of choice.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

I worry Bardem may fall into the villain role that would've gone to John Malkovich villain some years ago area. I trust the choices he makes, though. So, if he's in this one, there was a good reason besides the Bond brand name.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

@Nathaniel, THANK YOU.

@Willy, yes, exactly. Oddly, that was never meant to be Llewellyn's farewell, which is why I pointed out he died in a car accident. They imagined Cleese would take over several films in the future.

@skyfly, if I didn't hate Revolutionary Road I might not be worried.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

What's got me excited about 'Skyfall'?

- Daniel Craig in a speedo lounging around a pool showing off his gorgeous bod
- Adele's theme song
- Judi Dench as 'M' and watching her owning her scenes
- Roger Deakins (who I still say was robbed of his oscar for 'True Grit')

Deborah, if you have the opportunity to do so, I recommend a trip to Toronto soon. They are exhibiting "Designing 007 Style - 50 Years of Bond Style" at the TIFF lightbox. More info can be found here:

http://www.toronto.com/event/733529--designing-007-50-years-of-bond-style

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlinking Cursor

Q's farewell is cleverly written in such a way that he theoretically could have returned. But all the talk about retirement and the introduction of a successor indicate that the filmmakers already sensed what was about to come. In any case, it was a sweet goodbye.

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

"A View to A Kill" is one of my favourite Bond films and I never understood why people dislike it so much. Walken+Grace Jones = totally awesome! (Maybe Moore was little too old but who cares?)
The worst Bond film: obviously "Die Another Day".

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

@Someone; I'm going to be addressing best/worst lists in my next column.

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp
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