Now that Skyfall is open in the U.S., we can finally discuss it in depth and to death. As I wrote the other day, I think it's the very best of its kind of James Bond film, that which looks to reinvent the character as a real man in our real world. But does Daniel Craig's realistic, intense and action-packed version of 007 leave anything to be desired? Certainly it's a great spy thriller, and obviously it's Bond. Still, the current run of the series can seem at times to be a bit too removed from the traditional character we've come to know these past 50 years. With Skyfall, we get the return of Q and some other staples of the franchise. Yet the gadgets aren't as much fun, if we are to nitpick with a criticism the film itself already defends against.
Yes, the world is very different today than in the 1960s of the original James Bond movies. It's also a world, however, where people are given stranger and stranger names at birth. So how is that we haven't had a good, cheeky Bond girl name since Xenia Onatopp in 1995's GoldenEye? I don't count Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace as clever or original enough. And the real femme fatale in that one has the boring moniker Camille Montes. In Skyfall, the Bond girl's name is simply Severine. Would something like Pussy Galore or Holly Goodhead have received too many snickers from the audience and set the tone off? Have parodies of Bond girl names ruined the concept? I think something could be conceived that would work.
Names aside, the Bond girls in Skyfall have been a consistent criticism, though many have acknowledged that in this film the usual signficance of the role takes a backseat to allow Judi Dench's M to be Bond's true leading lady. Moving forward, it might be interesting to see an older female villain or henchwoman who is both a callback to the disciplinary mother types Rosa Klebb and Irma Bunt and a reflective take on his relationship with M. She doesn't have to be so dowdy, either. How great would it be to see Isabelle Huppert as the next Bond girl/villain?
As for gadgets, the explanation in the film is understandable. Exploding pens are old fashioned. Today it's all about computers. But after Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which had some very unlikely toys that are still very believable (and quite a hoot), not to mention all the wonderful gadgets in the "realistic" Nolan Batman movies, I can't help but think MI6 (and its writers) could be a tad bit more inventive. Practical doesn't have to mean dull.
And another tradition that we might find lacking is colorful henchmen. You know, Jaws never died. And Richard Kiel hasn't either...
What's missing from Daniel Craig's Bond movies?
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