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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SKYFALL

Yesterday was necessarily subdued, as my tribute to two friends deserved respect.  However, today is another day, and life must go on, so I went golfing at the Ala Wai Golf Course.  A double rainbow, certainly a colorful skyfall, with, to the right in blue, Kenji Sumida:


I later went to a movie.

On 6October2012 I summarized half a century of James Bond.  The latest, Skyfall, was well reviewed. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie 91% on the Tomatometer (average of reviews) and 91% on audience rating.  For full details go to Wikipedia, as my critique only touches on interesting facets.


While most reviewers raved, I was disappointed, for I expected a lot more.  I guess I don't really like all that shooting and exploding.  Plus the villain, Javier Bardem (right, who was, nevertheless, cool), was not trying to conquer the world or destroy a country.  He merely wanted revenge on M, the boss of the British Secret Service, M16, played by Judi Dench. 

She dies at the end so Ralph Fiennes (left), who was kind of her superior in the story, will slip into that role in Bond #24 (or #26 if you count those other two).

A partner agent of Bond, Eve, who accidentally shoots him at the beginning, ends up giving up the field and will become Miss Moneypenny (which turns out to be her last name anyway, something not shared until the end) in the next Bond.  The logic eludes me, for all the previous Moneypennys were white.

 Lois Maxwell (right) played the first 14.   You can't find anyone more supportive of minority rights than me, but Eve Moneypenny is black (below).  Oh, yeah, there will not be one more, but two Bond films, as Daniel Craig has already signed on for them.


What I liked about Skyfall were Istanbul, Shanghai (top)and Macau.


The obligatory casino (I think it was the floating Palace) sequence was inside this Macao scene.  London was too boring.

Those nostalgic reprises were also noteworthy.  The Aston Martin DB5 was first used in the 1964 Goldfinger.  Shirley Bassey's version of this song was memorable.  I couldn't identify with Adele's Skyfall, which she wrote.  Why was the movie called Skyfall?  That is the name of the Bond family mansion, shown here with that car:


Doesn't it look majestic with character?  Well, actually, it's all plywood and plaster.  This childhood home for James was supposed to be in Scotland, but they filmed this scene in England.  Hey it's all made up anyway.  This is where Albert Finney (he was Daddy Warbucks in Annie--go ahead, click on it, for he sings" Tomorow" with Annie) appears.  Good performance.

There was also the return of Q, you know, the guy that gives Bond all those gadgets.  This time it was a very young and webby Ben Wishaw.

According to Fleming, Bond was supposed to look like Hoagy Carmichael in his mid to late 30's.  Watch him (Hoagy) sing his song, Stardust.   Not quite the Bond voice.  The 007 is a bit complicated, but it had something to do with English spy John Dee cracking the German code during World War II.

Good time to share some family history, as, fictionally, when James was 12, his parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident.  The name James Bond was borrowed from an American ornithologist of the same name, for Ian Fleming (right) was a birdwatcher.  In fact, from the liquor drunk to the cigarettes smoked to links with the secret service, Fleming was largely fantasizing from his lifestyle and professional life.  There was of course a martini scene:


Bond also drank shots of tequila with a poisonous scorpion on his wrist:


With all my carping, all in all, I can still highly recommend SkyFall.  It is 143 minutes long, so you get your money's worth.  I splurged with a choice seat in the Ward Titan XC theater, which was only about half full.

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