Sunday, November 18, 2012

movie review: the bond identity

Skyfall, the latest Bond film is an exercise in Bourne envy. Sure, I liked the Jason Bourne films, but I liked the old James Bond too. I don't see why they needed to dump the Bond identity to give us another Bourne clone.

And being a Bourne clone is the only reason anyone thinks Daniel Craig is an adequate James Bond. Jason Bourne is often confused, always uncertain except in a fight or chase scene, shy around women, and a man who feels emotion deeply even if he doesn't express it. Daniel Craig pulls off that personality well. What Daniel Craig can't pull off is the supremely confident, calculating genius and master of all trades that James Bond is supposed to be.

Craig looks uncomfortable in a tuxedo and he is stiff and awkward in the seduction scenes as well as in the credits sequence. He seems intellectually over-matched by the villain, and it almost makes sense that everything he does turns out to have been the villain's plan all along (that's not a spoiler since there aren't any real surprises in the plot).

Say what you will about Roger Moore, but he looked confident and natural when he seduced a beautiful model, and when Roger Moore smirked at the bad guy, it was perfectly believable that the suave superhuman agent was about to outsmart the cruel super-genius villain --with a bit of help from Q, of course.

Still, the chase scenes were good and there was a lot of action. For an action movie, Skyfall is not bad. It's predictable and there are head-scratcher gaps in the plot, but that's par for the course in mediocre action movies. As a James Bond movie it was disappointing.