1

Topic: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Some quick observations on the 23rd James Bond film after a late-night screening.


Good writing is important. I'm one of those Bond fans who is more interested in the story being told than in the action, but I want action, too. The newest James Bond film manages to tell story through action rather than prolong the action sequences unnecessarily or let them stick out as something that doesn't belong there. SKYFALL has an intelligent and well-structured script by John Logan, an esteemed playwright, a writer's writer, and a screenwriter with several hit films under his belt. I seriously doubt if the credited co-authors, Purvis and Wade, had much to do with the script, since they have proved themselves incapable of achieving this level of pared-down sophistication in their four previous Bond scripts. They are probably responsible for the third act, however, which I'll talk about in a minute. Logan's plot is character-driven and full of unexpected twists and turns. His biggest accomplishment is in changing the feminist mandate in the last 5 Bond films from male deconstruction and genre deconstruction to a reassessment of the female M. This is a film about M getting her comeuppance. The character arc belongs to her, and it's all grimly serious. Logan's second biggest accomplishment is in playing both ends against the middle -- giving the old fans what they want while obliterating it at the same time. Oh yes, and there's the co-star, James Bond getting to behave more like James Bond than he has in awhile. His dialogue is kept terse, which helps, and the phrasing is so characteristic of him one can almost hear Sean Connery speaking the words.

Except it's Daniel Craig, who misses the emotional mark as often as he nails the physical challenges. Craig is always interesting, but who is he playing exactly? The secret to Bond's success in the originating films is in his confidence, his humor and moral compass. He never doubts that he's in the right and if he is afraid of anything he doesn't let it stop him. The point in Bond being handsome, charming and suave is that handsome, charming and suave looks even more so when he is tested, bruised and battered. He can be damaged and even killed, and the tension, as well as the attraction, is in watching him outwit and overcome. This doesn't work with Daniel Craig. Craig looks bruised and battered at the outset, and he hurls himself into action like the Terminator. Craig plays on his negative feelings. He suffers, pouts and goes in for revenge. He's there to be hurt and to inflict hurt. That's all very compelling, but it isn't James Bond (not of the originating films or the novels). Connery would dodge when he saw a shark in the water; Craig gives the impression he would eat the shark blood raw with salt. This time out his Bond is morose and dejected. M doesn't belittle him this time; instead he acts small. There can be no lighhearted moments because his heart isn't light. There can be no nonchalance because his instinct is to plow the depths of moroseness. There can be no romantic moments because he is not a romantic. Watching Craig in SKYFALL, I get the impression he realizes his Bond isn't working, but has no idea how to fix it. If the director is trying to get him there, Craig either doesn't have the range to arrive or the will to try. And I think Craig truly resents the way Judi Dench took over the films. He let EON make a monkey out of him, and I think he realizes that now, too.

The pre-title finds Bond chasing a villain who has stolen a list of agents from an MI6 computer on the top of a speeding train (which is set in Turkey but looks more like Scotland). Bond is wounded first by the villain and then shot off the roof of the train by M's female sharpshooter who's aiming at the bad guy but hits Bond by mistake. In his earpiece Bond hears M instructing the sharpshooter to take the shot even at the risk of killing one of their own. He plays the rest of the film with his feelings hurt, still dedicated but looking weary and disillusioned. At the end, when the female sharpshooter says she's been reassigned to assist the new M, Bond says "Good. I feel much safer now." Craig speaks the line twice in the course of the film and both times he misses the ironic, sarcastic tone. Instead of humoring her, he says it with complete seriousness. Later, as the assault on Skyfall is about to begin, he looks about and says "I always hated this house." That line tells us just how little Craig and the creative team behind this film understand James Bond and his world. No wonder this is the first James Bond film not to mention the name Ian Fleming. After he's shot by friendly fire, there are some quick Jason Bourne-style shots of Bond floating in the water under the trestle, followed by some quick Jason Bourne-style shots of Bond recuperating on a beach half-way 'round the world until he catches sight of an explosion at MI6 on CNN. What follows is kept on the plausible side and is not overly burdened with male deconstruction and political correctness. The only sour note is in Judi Dench's M and the entire third act.

How did a diminutive old grandmother become the star and emotional anchor of the James Bond films? Dench strikes the keynote on which these Bond films are played. Once again she sets the tone, and once again it's an abrasive, condescending, shrill, depressing one. Unfortunately for SKYFALL, she is given more to do than ever before. M is the female lead. Hence, for the first time in a Bond movie, there is no romance among equals for James, no female adventurer to share in the adventure. Instead, M is called on the carpet by minister Ralph Fiennes, who gently and politely informs her that she will retire with honors after facilitating a transition into new management. Fiennes' calm reasonable tone is in deliberate contrast to Judi Dench's, and I loved every second of it. But why couldn't M's retirement -- or death -- be the pre-title sequence? Then we could get two hours of a relieved and empowered Bond working for the new M to clean up the mess she left behind.

Javier Bardem's loquacious Silva is the most believable and effective villain since Sanchez in LICENCE TO KILL (1989). Bardem plays a former spy who was betrayed and sacrificed to the enemy by M. He has suffered too much and is bent on revenge. Since he's a former agent, he knows how to humiliate M by infecting her computer and how to injure MI.6 by hitting them publicly. In an unexpected and inexplicable burst of honesty, the film has Silva referring to M as Mother, with lines like "mommy was very bad" and "oh, what has mommy done to you?!" In so doing, the subtext becomes the clear text, and if anyone ever doubted that the old grandmother ragging on James Bond and following him around the globe represented more than the letter M, here is the proof. My joke about the Bond films turning into a riff on the Stallone comedy "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!" is the literal truth. Whatever its flaws, I respect SKYFALL for this lapse into honesty.

One of my favorite actresses, Naomie Harris, plays a field agent who becomes the updated Moneypenny. Updated means she must first establish her chops as an assassin and spy before she takes to the desk. Once she shows that she can do anything a man can do, she reveals to Bond that her name is Eve Moneypenny. Harris is a refreshingly positive presence. How nice to have her in the regular cast.

The statuesque Eurasion beauty Bérénice Lim Marlohe plays Severine, the exotic femme fatale out of the old school of exotic femme fatales. Elegant but trashy. seductive but threatening, vulnerable but hard as nails, Marlohe is perfect. She has the gift of spontaneity and plays up the contradictions effortlessly. Watching her tremble in fear of Silva even as she coldy sets up a man to be killed for him is the film's greatest pleasure. Ian Fleming would have reveled in her casting. I love her interaction with Bond in that well-written scene at the bar. Especially the part where she leans forward and asks "Can you kill him?" Instead of lecturing Bond on his ego, she talks to him like a person who is both evil and in need of saving. Their love scene doesn't work, because it avoids showing two things -- their coupling, and Craig's face. He's a shadow behind the glass. Bérénice Lim Marlohe should remind Ian Fleming enthusiasts of the darkly conflicted women of the novels and to some extent of the originating films. She is also a reminder of all the dimensions that were missing from Vesper Lynd in the abortive CASINO ROYALE (2006). Likewise the dangerous exotica of these Shanghai scenes is a reminder of the atmosphere and style that was missing from CASINO ROYALE.

Behind the camera, Daniel Kleinman returns to provide another surrealist opening title sequence. His vision and imagery were sorely missed in the previous entry. Adele, a smokey-voiced belter and balladeer, performs the title song in the Shirley Bassey tradition. Her voice is very welcome after the last two cat-stranglers. Despite lukewarm lyrics she's quite the best vocalist the series has had since THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999). Thomas Newman fails to distinguish himself as composer, but he doesn't do anything wrong, either. When the time comes to play the Bond theme, this is the first time the arrangement fails to generate much excitement, although it's nice to hear it again after a long absence over the main action.

Photographer Roger Deakins has figured out the medium of digital capture better than anyone. SKYFALL isn't shot on film, but it never looks dim and overly soft like all the other digitally captured movies I've seen. His Shanghai is a skyscraper city of neon lights, animated signs and glass reflections that's just stunning. A fight between Bond and an assassin (it's never clear who the assassin kills or why, nor what he's stealing from the safe) in front of a shattered glass wall, shot in silhouette against illumination from the apartment in a skyscraper across the way, is equally stunning. I've never seen a night-for-night exterior lit the way Deakins lights the night-time assault on James Bond's ancestral mansion. The house, Skyfall, sits in a pasture all by itself. Across the field there is a small house in the distance. Obviously he mounted arc lights at the top of tall poles or cranes but he does not flood the scene with a direct light. Instead he bounces the light off what must be tinted mirrors. The tint is a kind of rust-color that blends in with the night sky. The ground and building are flooded with a patina of diffused, even light that keeps the sky dark while allowing for a long depth of field and a sharp image free of noise. I'm pleasantly surprised at how good SKYFALL looks. There is a sense of film grain and I think an emulation of the aesthetics of Ted Moore, the dp of the originating Bond films (whose work remains vastly under-rated). No Bond film has looked this stylized since Claude Renoir shot TSWLM and MR.

I've said before that it was never necessary to deconstruct Bond in order to update him. Craig's defenders assert that Bond's screw-ups and the lectures he earns in CASINO ROYALE were the start of a new character arc. They think a grown-up in this late thirties can be taught cultured habits, spycraft and how to be a better man by being excoriated by his M.other and belittled by his gal-pals. They also assert that James Bond has finally "grown into the James Bond we all know and love" at the end of SKYFALL. These people can not be reasoned with, and it's best to simply ignore them. Unfortunately, the third act will reinforce their contentions.

"Where are you taking me?" M asks Bond. "To the past," he replies. Bond drives M to his family home in Scotland, the mansion house named Skyfall. His plan to trap and kill the army of assassins led by Silva who are coming for him and M in the house makes no sense and is as implausible as flying carpets and superhumans with steel teeth. The viewer's expectations sink when Bond starts rigging the house with booby traps and small explosives. When I see M filling light bulbs with oil and nails that will blow up when turned on I can't help thinking of all those westerns in which whiskey bottles are stuffed with a rag to be lit and used as fire grenades. This stand-off-the-Indians siege is so simplistic it could only have been thought of by the dumb & dumber of Bond writers, Purvis and Wade. Besides, it was done better at the end of a true British masterpiece, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969). This third act is the weakest part of the film, if not the weakest in the entire series, and would be totally laughable if it weren't directed and photographed in dark noir style with such undeniable skill. There is a caveat for the feminists, however: predictably, despite his best efforts to save M, Bond is off fighting someone outside when Silva catches up with her inside. In other words, Bond fails to protect. When he comes in to kill Silva, it's too late. No doubt producer Barbara Broccoli delighted in depicting yet another failure in Bond heroism. So with M dying romantically in Bond's arms -- grit your teeth and try not to gag -- the poisonous arc of CASINO ROYALE finally comes to a stop.

We are shown Bond's family crest and the tombstones of his parents who died when Bond was very young, modifying the orphan tale concocted for CASINO ROYALE (2006). So he's an orphan raised by the grace of someone else's charity, but he's also the privileged son of an upper class aristocrat with a title? Then we are treated to the entire place blowing up in flames together with the Aston-Martin DB5, that most beloved symbol of classic James Bond films. The classic James Bond theme plays during all this destruction, but if the audience is meant to feel excited at the familiar action score, there is a reason why it falls flat. Bond has told us the destruction is okay because he couldn't stand these things anyhow, but is it okay with the audience? Watching the Aston-Martin DB5 from GOLDFINGER (1964) being shot to pieces and blown to bits is no reason to celebrate, and putting the classic Bond theme over it feels incongruous, if not grotesque.

If the third act had been different -- if the siege had taken place in the wreckage of MI.6 or at M's apartment -- SKYFALL would be a stronger film, and a better anti-Bond film. It would also add up to the best of three anti-Bond films that Craig has starred in. That's if the third act had taken place in a different setting and utilized a self-defense that wasn't so inappropriate and pathetic, or at least equal to the assault.

The ending sees Bond and Moneypenny entering her office with the familiar coat rack, file cabinet and small desk in place. He is ushered through the padded double-doors into the new M's office where Ralph Fiennes, a refreshingly down-to-earth M hands Bond his next assignment. So after doing it's part to utterly destroy the James Bond concept and cinematic mythos, SKYFALL takes us back to the beginning. The film ends with Craig walking the walk in the classic gun-barrel sequence to a guitar-heavy James Bond theme.

SKYFALL is impressive dramatically and as an action film. Sam Mendes directs with unerring judgement and impeccable style. His set-ups and blocking are straight out of Directing 101, and boy does it work. I particularly liked Silva's entrance, a monologue timed to match his long walk from deep in the frame up to the foreground. I would enjoy the film more if the right actor equipped with different emotional tools had played James Bond, and if I didn't have to look at Judi Dench for 2 1/2 hours. Don't expect to leave the theater feeling elated, but you will see an artful and well-crafted spy film with exciting action scenes. That having been said, I hope that Sam Mendes, Roger Deakins and John Logan collaborate on the next two films (to which only Logan -- and unfortunately Craig -- are contractually committed) because they are the best creative team assembled since OHMSS in 1969. The talent is there; what they do with it is something else again. Bond 24 is due out in 2014. Hopefully EON will enable Mendes, Deakins and Logan to make a right & proper 007 film. They stand a good chance of pulling it off their second time, now that the franchise is free of the legacy of CASINO ROYALE and the burden of that dreadful, abrasive, offensive woman.


Richard

Last edited by Richard--W (17th Dec 2012 12:00)

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

2

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Wow !

I'll have to digest this before commenting. initial impression is that I agree with an awful lot of it.

3

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

ajb007/lol if this is some 'quick observation' then I'd hate to trawl through an in depth analysis.

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

4

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Anything longer than two short sentences can be confusing for some people, minigeff. It's best if you confine yourself to the shorter posts.

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

5

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

And save myself the boredom of your diatribe?  ajb007/shifty

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

6

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

It's not for you, minigeff. Your class is down the hall with the younger children.

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

7

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

ajb007/lol I'm too cool for skool  ajb007/cool

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

8

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

zaphod wrote:

Wow !

I'll have to digest this before commenting. initial impression is that I agree with an awful lot of it.


Do let us know your thoughts, zaphod.



Richard

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

9

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Richard--W wrote:

Some quick observations on the 23rd James Bond film after a late-night screening.

SKYFALL is both good cinema and a poor excuse for a Bond movie. It has an intelligent and well-structured script by John Logan, an esteemed playwright, a writer's writer, and a screenwriter with several hit films under his belt. I seriously doubt if the credited co-authors, Purvis and Wade, had much to do with the script, since they have proved themselves incapable of achieving this level of pared-down sophistication in their four previous Bond scripts. They are probably responsible for the third act, however, which I'll talk about in a minute. Logan's plot is character-driven and full of unexpected twists and turns. His biggest accomplishment is in changing the feminist mandate of male deconstruction and genre deconstruction in the last 5 Bond films into a reassessment of the female M. This is a film about M getting her comeuppance. The character arc belongs to her, and it's all grimly serious. Logan's second biggest accomplishment is in playing both ends against the middle -- giving the old fans what they want while utterly destroying it at the same time. Oh yes, and there's James Bond as co-star getting to behave more like James Bond than he has in awhile. His dialogue is kept terse, which helps, and the phrasing is so characteristic of him one can almost hear Sean Connery speaking the words.

Except it's Daniel Craig, who misses the emotional mark as often as he nails the physical challenges. Craig is always interesting, but who is he playing exactly? The secret to Bond's success in the originating films is in his confidence, his humor and moral compass. He never doubts that he's in the right and if he is afraid of anything he doesn't let it stop him. The point in Bond being handsome, charming and suave is that handsome, charming and suave looks even more so when he is tested, bruised and battered. He can be damaged and even killed, and the tension, as well as the attraction, is in watching him outwit and overcome. This doesn't work with Daniel Craig. Craig looks bruised and battered at the outset, and he hurls himself into action like the Terminator. Craig plays on his negative feelings. He suffers, pouts and goes in for revenge. He's there to be hurt and to inflict hurt. That's all very compelling, but it isn't James Bond (not of the originating films or the novels). Connery would dodge when he saw a shark in the water; Craig gives the impression he would eat the shark blood raw with salt. There can be no lighhearted moments because his heart isn't light. There can be no nonchalance because his instinct is to plow the depths of moroseness. There can be no romantic moments because he is not a romantic lead. Watching Craig in SKYFALL, I get the impression he realizes his Bond isn't working, but has no idea how to fix it. If the director is trying to get him there, he either doesn't have the range to arrive or the will to try. And I think Craig truly resents the way Judi Dench took over the films. He let EON make a monkey out of him, and I think he realizes that now, too.

The pre-title finds Bond chasing a villain who has stolen a list of agents from an MI6 computer on the top of a speeding train (which is set in Turkey but looks more like Scotland). Bond is wounded first by the villain and then shot off the roof of the train by M's female sharpshooter who's aiming at the bad guy but hits Bond by mistake. In his earpiece Bond hears M instructing the sharpshooter to take the shot even at the risk of killing one of their own. He plays the rest of the film with his feelings hurt, dedicated but looking weary and disillusioned. At the end, when the female sharpshooter says she's been reassigned to assist the new M, Bond says "Good. I feel much safer now." Craig speaks the line twice in the course of the film and both times he misses the ironic, sarcastic tone. Instead of humoring her, he says it with complete seriousness. Later, as the assault on Skyfall is about to begin, he looks about and says "I always hated this house." That line tells us just how little Craig and the creative team behind this film understand James Bond and his world. No wonder this is the first James Bond film not to mention the name Ian Fleming. After he's shot by friendly fire, there are some quick Jason Bourne-style shots of Bond floating in the water under the trestle, followed by some quick Jason Bourne-style shots of Bond recuperating on a beach half-way 'round the world until he catches sight of an explosion at MI6 on CNN. What follows is kept on the plausible side and is not overly burdened with male deconstruction and political correctness. The only sour note is in Judi Dench's M and the entire third act.

How did a diminutive old grandmother become the star and emotional anchor of the James Bond films? Dench strikes the keynote on which these Bond films are played. Once again she sets the tone, and once again it's an abrasive, condescending, shrill, depressing one. Unfortunately for SKYFALL, she is given more to do than ever before. M is the female lead. Hence, for the first time in a Bond movie, there is no romance among equals for James, no female adventurer to share in the adventure. Instead, M is called on the carpet by minister Ralph Fiennes, who gently and politely informs her that she will retire with honors after facilitating a transition into new management. Fiennes' tone is in deliberate contrast to Judi Dench's, and I loved every second of it. Why couldn't M's retirement -- or death -- be the pre-title sequence? Then we could get two hours of a relieved and empowered Bond working for the new M to clean up the mess she left behind.

Javier Bardem's loquacious Silva is the most believable and effective villain since Sanchez in LICENCE TO KILL (1989). Bardem plays a former spy who was betrayed and sacrificed to the enemy by M. He has suffered too much and is bent on revenge. Since he's a former agent, he knows how to humiliate M by infecting her computer and how to injure MI6 by hitting them publicly. In an unexpected and inexplicable burst of honesty, the film has Silva referring to M as Mother, with lines like "mommy was very bad" and "oh, what has mommy done to you?!" In so doing, the subtext becomes the clear text, and if anyone ever doubted that the old grandmother ragging on James Bond and following him around the globe represented more than the letter M, here is the proof. My joke about the Bond films turning into a riff on the Stallone comedy "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!" is the literal truth. Whatever its flaws, I respect SKYFALL for this lapse into honesty.

One of my favorite actresses, Naomie Harris, plays a field agent who becomes the updated Moneypenny. Updated means she must first establish her chops as an assassin and spy before she takes to the desk. Once she shows that she can do anything a man can do, she reveals to Bond that her name is Eve Moneypenny. Harris is a refreshingly positive presence. How nice to have her in the regular cast.

The statuesque Eurasion beauty Bérénice Lim Marlohe plays Severine, the exotic femme fatale out of the old school of exotic femme fatales. Elegant but trashy. seductive but threatening, vulnerable but hard as nails, Marlohe is perfect for the role because she plays up the contradictions effortlessly and has the gift of spontaneity. Watching her tremble in fear of Silva even as she facilitates a homicide for him is the film's greatest pleasure. Ian Fleming would have reveled in her casting. I love her interaction with Bond in that well-written scene at the bar. Especially the part where she leans forward and asks "Can you kill him?" Instead of lecturing Bond on his ego, she talks to him like a person who is both evil and in need of saving. Their love scene doesn't work, because it avoids showing two things -- their coupling, and Craig's face. He's a shadow behind the glass. Bérénice Lim Marlohe should remind Ian Fleming enthusiasts of the darkly conflicted women of the novels and to some extent of the originating films. She is also a reminder of all the dimensions that were missing from Vesper Lynd in the abortive CASINO ROYALE (2006). Likewise the dangerous exotica of these Shanghai scenes is a reminder of the atmosphere and style that was missing from CASINO ROYALE.

Behind the camera, Daniel Kleinman returns to provide another surrealist opening title sequence. His vision and imagery were sorely missed in the previous entry. Adele, a smokey-voiced belter and balladeer, performs the title song in the Shirley Bassey tradition. Her voice is very welcome after the last two cat-stranglers. Despite lukewarm lyrics she's quite the best vocalist the series has had since THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999). Thomas Newman fails to distinguish himself as composer, but he doesn't do anything wrong, either. When the time comes to play the Bond theme, this is the first time the arrangement fails to generate much excitement, although it's nice to hear it again after a long absence over the main action.

Photographer Roger Deakins has figured out the medium of digital capture better than anyone. SKYFALL isn't shot on film, but it never looks dim and overly soft like all the other digitally captured movies I've seen. His photography of Shanghai as a city of neon lights, animated signs, and glass reflections is just stunning. A fight between Bond and an assassin (it's never clear who the assassin kills or why, nor what he's stealing from the safe) in front of a shattered glass wall, shot in silhouette against illumination from the apartment in a skyscraper across the way, is stunning. I've never seen a night-for-night exterior lit the way Deakins lights the night-time assault on James Bond's ancestral mansion. The house, Skyfall, sits in a pasture all by itself. Across the field there is a small house in the distance. If I were to take a guess, I would say that he's mounted arc lights at the top of tall poles or cranes. But he does not flood the scene with a direct light. Instead he bounces the light off tinted mirrors. The tint is a kind of rust-color that blends in with the night sky. The ground and building are flooded with a patina of diffused, even light that keeps the sky dark while allowing for a long depth of field and a sharp image free of noise. I'm pleasantly surprised at how good SKYFALL looks. There is a sense of film grain and I think an emulation of the aesthetics of Ted Moore, the dp of the originating Bond films (whose work remains vastly under-rated). No Bond film has looked this stylized since Claude Renoir shot TSWLM and MR.

I've said before that it was never necessary to deconstruct Bond in order to update him. Craig's defenders assert that Bond's screw-ups and the excoriations and insults he earns in CASINO ROYALE were the start of a new character arc. They think a grown-up in this late thirties can be taught cultured habits, spycraft and how to be a better man by being yelled at by his M.other and gal-pals. They also assert that James Bond has finally "grown into the James Bond we all know and love" at the end of SKYFALL. These people can not be reasoned with, and it's best to simply ignore them. Unfortunately, the third act will reinforce their contentions. "Where are you taking me?" M asks Bond. "To the past," he replies. Bond drives M to his family home in Scotland, the mansion house named Skyfall. Here he plans to kill the army of assassins led by Silva who are coming for him and M by trapping them in the house which he rigs with booby traps and small explosives. When I see M filling light bulbs with oil and nails that will blow up when turned on I can't help thinking of all those westerns in which whiskey bottles are stuffed with a rag to be lit and used as fire grenades. This stand-off-the-Indians siege is so simplistic it could only have been thought of by the dumb & dumber of Bond writers, Purvis and Wade. It is the weakest part of the film, and would be totally laughable if it weren't directed and photographed with such skill in dark noir style. Predictably, despite his best efforts to save M, Bond is off fighting someone outside when Silva catches up with her inside. In other words, Bond fails to protect. When he comes in to kill Silva, it's too late. No doubt producer Barbara Broccoli is pleased with yet another Bond failure. So with M dying romantically in Bond's arms -- grit your teeth and try not to gag -- the poisonous arc of CASINO ROYALE finally comes to a stop.

We are shown Bond's family crest and the tombstones of his parents who died when Bond was very young, modifying the orphan tale concocted for CASINO ROYALE (2006). So he's an orphan raised by the grace of someone else's charity, but he's also the upper class son of a distinguished civil servant? Then we are treated to the entire place blowing up in flames together with the Aston-Martin DB5, that most beloved symbol of classic James Bond films. The classic James Bond theme plays during all this destruction, but if the audience is meant to feel excited at the familiar action score, there is a reason why it falls flat. Bond has told us the destruction is okay because he couldn't stand these things anyhow, but is it okay with the audience? Watching the Aston-Martin DB5 from GOLDFINGER (1964) being shot to pieces and blown to bits is no reason to celebrate, and putting the classic Bond theme over it feels incongruous, if not grotesque.

The ending sees Bond and Moneypenny entering her office with the familiar coat rack, file cabinet and small desk in place. He is ushered through the padded double-doors into the new M's office where Ralph Fiennes, a refreshingly down-to-earth M hands Bond his next assignment. So after doing it's part to utterly destroy the James Bond concept and cinematic mythos, SKYFALL takes us back to the beginning. The film ends with Craig walking the walk in the classic gun-barrel sequence.

SKYFALL is impressive dramatically and as an action film. Sam Mendes directs with unerring judgement and impeccable style. His set-ups and blocking are straight out of Directing 101, and boy does it work. I particularly liked Silva's entrance, a monologue timed to match his progress on a long walk from deep in the frame up to the foreground. I would enjoy the film more if the right actor had played James Bond, and if I didn't have to look at Judi Dench for 2 1/2 hours. Don't expect to leave the theater feeling elated, but you will see an artful and well-crafted spy film with exciting action scenes. That having been said, I hope that Sam Mendes, Roger Deakins and John Logan collaborate on the next two films (to which only Logan -- and unfortunately Craig -- are contractually committed) because they are the best creative team assembled since OHMSS in 1969. Bond 24 is due out in 2014. Hopefully EON will enable Mendes, Deakins and Logan to make a right & proper 007 film. They stand a good chance of pulling it off their second time, now that the franchise is free of the legacy of CASINO ROYALE and that dreadful, hideous, disgusting woman.


Richard

Christ on a bike I can't believe I did it. It did take 3 attenpts, 3 red bulls and a power nap, but I made it through the book that was your 'quick observations'.

I even took notes! I had to, I was so bored to tears I kept forgetting stuff. Anyways, on with the feedback.

After scrolling up, and up, and up, annnnd up, I read through it all and made a few notes.

Some of what you said was ok and I even agreed with some. Some of it though was your opinion written as fact, and in the worst it was downright rude and venomous.

So to break it down, and forgive me if I lost count and got the paragraphs mixed up;

1/

Has M been overbearing? Ok, so GE saw bond slapped on the arse (not in a dink fashion) by M calling him a sexist misogynist dinosaur. But in the later Brosnan films I saw M as simply being bossy as she was his boss, not some germane greer type.

So is SF about M getting her comeuppance? No of course it's not. It's also about a fresh start and moving things into a 'brave new world'. It's also about M's past coming back to bite her, a past which she previously thought, although slightly regrettable, as the right thing to do at the time. M states several times during her stint that regret is unprofessional. She doesn't have regrets over Silva, only anger at herself for allowing him to get one over and making her look incompetent by having Patrice stealing the agent list.

Saying that M is the lead, I wouldn't go that far. An equal, but no more than that. The story is as much about Bond's resurrection as it is M's passing.

2/

DC isn't emotional? Really? Did he not care for Vesper? Was he not romantic with her? Did he not show a funny side in SF either? Slapstick slide whistle Bond went out with the Moore era. The humour is much more subtle and is as much in how he says something as what he is actually saying. You make DC sound like an emotionless stone, which IMO, is far from fair.

SF is obviously the final step in the reboot, we've seen our new Bond grow up rather quick, and I'm afraid that yes, I am one of those DC supporters. Ignore me if you like, it's quite obvious you see your opinion as gospel and un shifting. Shame. You appear to have intellect and arrogance mixed up.

And apparently DC resents Dench? Really? Got any proof of that, cos from where I was sat, the DC/JD era has been great with these 2 fine actors working extremely well together. I can't stand it when someone states they know how someone feels. You also state your opinion as fact here, which is unfounded and arrogant.

3/

Bond spends the whole film hurting and resenting M. So that's why he returns home to help save her? Riiight. Makes sense :S

The bit about DC's comment to Harris; "Good, I feel much safer now." Wasn't meant to be either serious or sarcastic, it was said as a cheeky line, Bond having a dig at Eve's marksmanship, dick.

4/

"Diminutive old grandma".... really. This is how you'd class one of the finest British actresses with a string of top end awards behind her?

Dench doesn't set the tone, that's not done by her acting but how her role has been written, so you can blame your untouchable Logan for that, unless you wanna pin all the bad bits on Purvis and Wade?

7/

You can't compare Vesper and Severine. Both are Bond girls in the marketing sense, but film and character wise they are worlds apart.

9/

Just a little thing, Patrice is shooting an unknown target for Silva, not breaking into a safe. The device you see Patrice use is a glass cutter for making an aperture from which the shot can be taken, it's not a safe cracker... pay attention double o polar.

11/

M's death scene is not 'gag material'. It's well executed (pardon the pun) and well acted. The only bit I didn't take to was Silva's death, bit hammy, but I thought Dench nailed it and Craig showed true emotion with her passing. It wasn't romantic, it was a Mother/Son relationship. Are you from Boston?

Finally, to describe Judi Dench as 'dreadful, hideous and disgusting' is just obscene.

What has she honestly done to deserve this little accolade of yours?

YOU are obnoxious, rude and arrogant, have an inflated opinion about yourself and state your unfounded and unsupported opinions as some kind of fact we should all bow down to.

No doubt there's some underlying condition that you'll use as an excuse, however it don't wash, the long winded and blinkered diatribe you spout seems to be your misunderstanding of a display of intellect and knowledge, however you simply come across as a knob.

Hope that sits well with you, I'm of to continue my finger painting.

MG ajb007/martini

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
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www.cancerresearchuk.org

10

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Richard--W wrote:

Anything longer than two short sentences can be confusing for some people, minigeff. It's best if you confine yourself to the shorter posts.

Out of interest, why do you have to post with such anger & arrogance??  Do you not want people to comment (either for or against)??

For the record, I totally disagree with the majority of what you've said.  Your apparent hatred of and attempts to belittle Dame Judy are totally uncalled for and I found your observations regarding DC as being so far wide of the mark it's untrue.

Still we all see things differently I guess and one man's poison etc etc ...

11

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

There's really nothing to argue against in what Richard-W wrote because it's a subjective opinion. I respect it because he obviously is a passionate Bond fan, cares about the films and while his writing may come off as terse he resorts to no "cheap shots", especially when it comes to a rather strong critique of Daniel Craig.
The piece may have pretensions to be a serious film review/critique but I'd rather read something like that from someone who actually knows their you know what from a hole in the ground when it comes to Bond than some hack film critic who thinks they are slumming.

With all that being said, I completely disagree with much of what was written. I actually believe that while Skyfall was not written with a direct sequel in mind that its events were written with the tone and direction of the next Bond film or films in mind.
More clearly, the mid career crisis of Skyfall has freed Bond to be Bond. Now how that turns out in subsequent films may never completely or partially satisfy everyone..........

12

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

"How did a diminutive old grandmother become the star and emotional anchor of the James Bond films? Dench strikes the keynote on which these Bond films are played. Once again she sets the tone, and once again it's an abrasive, condescending, shrill, depressing one."

What she expresses towards Bond is love and affection.  Obviously, you've never been blessed with an English mother.

Last edited by Gala Brand (16th Dec 2012 22:19)

13

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Richard--W wrote:

Except it's Daniel Craig, who misses the emotional mark as often as he nails the physical challenges. Craig is always interesting, but who is he playing exactly? The secret to Bond's success in the originating films is in his confidence, his humor and moral compass. He never doubts that he's in the right and if he is afraid of anything he doesn't let it stop him. The point in Bond being handsome, charming and suave is that handsome, charming and suave looks even more so when he is tested, bruised and battered. He can be damaged and even killed, and the tension, as well as the attraction, is in watching him outwit and overcome. This doesn't work with Daniel Craig. Craig looks bruised and battered at the outset, and he hurls himself into action like the Terminator. Craig plays on his negative feelings. He suffers, pouts and goes in for revenge. He's there to be hurt and to inflict hurt. That's all very compelling, but it isn't James Bond (not of the originating films or the novels). Connery would dodge when he saw a shark in the water; Craig gives the impression he would eat the shark blood raw with salt. There can be no lighhearted moments because his heart isn't light. There can be no nonchalance because his instinct is to plow the depths of moroseness. There can be no romantic moments because he is not a romantic lead. Watching Craig in SKYFALL, I get the impression he realizes his Bond isn't working, but has no idea how to fix it. If the director is trying to get him there, he either doesn't have the range to arrive or the will to try. And I think Craig truly resents the way Judi Dench took over the films. He let EON make a monkey out of him, and I think he realizes that now, too.

It's somewhat odd that someone who seems to be as perceptive as you are can so totally miss the point.
"[Craig] realizes his Bond isn't working, but has no idea how to fix it"? WRONG.
"... who is he playing exactly?" For what it's worth, here's my answer:
You said it was "never necessary to deconstruct Bond in order to update him"? Hum, Yes, IT IS. The whole point of the reboot is to portray Bond the way he really should be portrayed: as a sanctioned assassin. In other words, a man who slowly turns into a killing machine. Craig's Bond is a dehumanized man desperately trying to hold on to shreds of his humanity. That's why "the bitch is dead" is so emblematic of the character and also why Craig's interpretation is worthy of the Fleming legacy.
The witty joke right after killing someone doesn't work anymore, at least not as humour. If you try it that way nowadays it won't be funny, just cynical and rather lame. Craig's Bond needs to use it as a way to detach himself from the realization that everytime he kills someone, he loses a bit more of himself. THAT's the Bond Craig is playing... and it does work.
Now, you did very accurately express what John Logan did with Skyfall: "giving the old fans what they want while utterly destroying it at the same time". How can you see that and not understand the current version of the character? I, for one, am excited by the future of this franchise as I've never been before. The end of Skyfall doesn't conclude an act supposedly begun in Casino Royale, it ties the knot with Connery's Bond PRE-Dr. No and sets the character with the proper frame to be both the Bond that became a legend essentially thanks to 20th century cold war mentality, and a relevant Bond in the 21st century.

14

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Richard--W wrote:

Adele, a smokey-voiced belter and balladeer, performs the title song in the Shirley Bassey tradition. Her voice is very welcome after the last two cat-stranglers. Despite lukewarm lyrics she's quite the best vocalist the series has had since THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999). Thomas Newman fails to distinguish himself as composer, but he doesn't do anything wrong, either. When the time comes to play the Bond theme, this is the first time the arrangement fails to generate much excitement, although it's nice to hear it again after a long absence over the main action.

Agreed- except for the part about the Bond theme failing to generate much excitement. It damn near generates a round of applause when the Aston Martin appears!

15

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

After re-reading my initial post I realized it was awkwardly worded in several important places. So I used the edit function to clarify and add some additional observations. I welcome your feedback and will respond to some of your posts in due course.


Richard

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

16

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Is this some kind of research your doing Dick?

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

17

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

minigeff, that is not my name. Your posts are a personal attack filled with abusive language. There is a difference between writing about a film and attacking a member here whose posts you don't like or understand, and you know it. I don't expect you to grow up, but you're personal attacks are not worth the dignity of a rebuttal. The moderator is remiss in letting you get away with this.


Richard

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

18

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

So you've never heard of Peter being called Pete, William being called Bill, Roger being called Rog or Lesley being refered to as Les?

Sorry my over familiarity has touched a nerve.

Dear Mr Richard--W,

Is the review of Skyfall you have posted above part of research you are conducting as part of a project you are currently working on at all?

I look forward to hearing from you, thank you for taking the time to read this post,

Yours,

Minigeff


That better?

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

19

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Anyways Rich (hope that doesn't offend you but I'm sure you've been called worse),

what I was getting at was if this is serious research then I'll bother to try and help, if it's just you stating your opinions then I can't be arsed.

And I'll even tell you why, your initial post (and i'll not reiterate about the rudeness within it again) was over 11 paragraphs long. I honestly sat down and read through it a few times, and took notes on what you said that I didn't agree with. Some of it I did agree with.

After taking notes, I stated my opinions on your observations. A few others chipped in and said their piece.

Now you've decided to change your initial ideas and re-write your original post. But the fundamental thing here is you haven't shown anyone what you changed, so are you honestly expecting me to spend my dinner time trawling back through your posts and compare them to determine what you've changed, then reply to the edits?

Like I say, if this is serious research I'll do my best to help, but if you're just shooting the sh!t and spouting your thoughts then I'm afraid I can't be arsed to go through it all again. THATS why I asked if its proper research or not, because I was trying to decide if you really needed assistance and feedback.

So I'm sorry, DICK, for pissing you off by calling you by an abreviation of your name, next time I'll just state my original thoughts;

Sorry Captain Boring, but I can't be bothered to trawl through your overly long rude obnoxious over inflated egotistical sleep inducing diatribe, better find some other sucker to try and help you.

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

20

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

minigeff wrote:

Finally, to describe Judi Dench as 'dreadful, hideous and disgusting' is just obscene.

Judi Dench may be a fine actress, but she is the wrong person to cast as M, particularly post Casino Royale. Her character has evolved from having a strictly boss/subordinate relationship that we saw in Goldeneye to the other extreme of a mother/son relationship at the end of Skyfall. That's ridiculous. Even more so when you consider that in the very same film, Bond described M as a 'bitch', and openly questioned her judgment call to ask Moneypenny to take the shot. M is Bond's boss, nothing more. I don't want to see any more of that crap. Dench's M should've been more of a 'bitch'.

The Bernand Lee/Sean Connery dynamic in the early Bond films is about right for M and Bond. M is always, always to be addressed as 'Sir', never as informal as simply 'M' (which crept in during the Daniel Craig era, and I hate it). Bond is to be addressed only as '007'. Only on rares occasions did the novel M address Bond as 'James'. I can only look forward to a colder, more distant and aloof relationship between Ralph Fiennes' M and Craig's Bond.

"Watch the birdie, you bastard!"

Favourite Bond films list

21

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

DEFIANT 74205 wrote:
minigeff wrote:

Finally, to describe Judi Dench as 'dreadful, hideous and disgusting' is just obscene.

Judi Dench may be a fine actress, but she is the wrong person to cast as M, particularly post Casino Royale. Her character has evolved from having a strictly boss/subordinate relationship that we saw in Goldeneye to the other extreme of a mother/son relationship at the end of Skyfall. That's ridiculous. Even more so when you consider that in the very same film, Bond described M as a 'bitch', and openly questioned her judgment call to ask Moneypenny to take the shot. M is Bond's boss, nothing more. I don't want to see any more of that crap. Dench's M should've been more of a 'bitch'.

The Bernand Lee/Sean Connery dynamic in the early Bond films is about right for M and Bond. M is always, always to be addressed as 'Sir', never as informal as simply 'M' (which crept in during the Daniel Craig era, and I hate it). Bond is to be addressed only as '007'. Only on rares occasions did the novel M address Bond as 'James'. I can only look forward to a colder, more distant and aloof relationship between Ralph Fiennes' M and Craig's Bond.

on the whole, i agree with you there. although I think Dench's era has been great, it is indeed, imo, time to turn the page and move forward.

regardless of her character, the plot or how skyfall has been written, i just found it gravely unfair and rude to describe Dench as 'dreadful, hideous and disgusting', that's just a personal attack thats unfounded and insulting, its nothing to do with the above.

i look forward to bond 24 as i'm sure we all do. i agree that there needs to be a certain distance between bond and M. the scene in OHMSS where bond resigns, and the way M dismisses his 'resignation' (nice work moneypenny) is great. this distance is also repeated in LTK ("we're not a country club 007!").

i think dench's M had gotten to close, with her even admitting he was her favourite, and even during the brosnan era stating 007 is "the best we've got".

for the future, i'd like to see more 00's together, such as the briefing in TB or the PTS of TLD's, with M treating bond as he would any other 00.

'Force feeding AJB humour and banter since 2009'
Vive le droit à la libre expression! Je suis Charlie!
www.helpforheroes.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

22

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

minigeff wrote:

regardless of her character, the plot or how skyfall has been written, i just found it gravely unfair and rude to describe Dench as 'dreadful, hideous and disgusting', that's just a personal attack thats unfounded and insulting, its nothing to do with the above.

TBH I also felt the same way when I read the initial post in this thread.

Like your later comment regarding seeing more of the 00's together.  That would be a nice touch.

23

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

ajb007/shifty  messing with another german here on the board, MG  ajb007/tongue

Last edited by Higgins (17th Dec 2012 14:13)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
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24

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

DEFIANT 74205 wrote:

Judi Dench may be a fine actress, but she is the wrong person to cast as M, particularly post Casino Royale. Her character has evolved from having a strictly boss/subordinate relationship that we saw in Goldeneye to the other extreme of a mother/son relationship at the end of Skyfall. That's ridiculous. Even more so when you consider that in the very same film, Bond described M as a 'bitch', and openly questioned her judgment call to ask Moneypenny to take the shot. M is Bond's boss, nothing more. I don't want to see any more of that crap. Dench's M should've been more of a 'bitch'.

The Bernand Lee/Sean Connery dynamic in the early Bond films is about right for M and Bond. M is always, always to be addressed as 'Sir', never as informal as simply 'M' (which crept in during the Daniel Craig era, and I hate it). Bond is to be addressed only as '007'. Only on rares occasions did the novel M address Bond as 'James'. I can only look forward to a colder, more distant and aloof relationship between Ralph Fiennes' M and Craig's Bond.

Exactly.

M, Moneypenny and Q don't belong in the field. Their place is back at the office. Bond is the agent, not the office administrators. He takes the risks and when the risk is over there is the familiar home of the Service to return to. The Bond films took a nosedive when they changed this basic but very important paradigm.

I have no objection to a female M, providing she is not used to wage some kind of gender war. Her excoriations of Bond in the last two films spoiled them for me. First they write a Bond who keeps screwing up, then they give M shrill speeches putting him down. Next she becomes the co-star of the films popping up all over the globe to teach Bond how to be a smarter spy and a better man. There really has been too damn much of Judi Dench's M. I reject her M absolutely and I think badly of the actress for imposing herself on a creative property that is not hers to lead when she obviously knows better. Making Bond stupid and a screw-up so that M could be dominant is not an equation fit for the Bond films. Who are these movies about? A James Bond film is about James Bond's adventure, not M's.

The very idea that we're talking about M as a mother figure should signal that the franchise has went wrong. It was not a legitimate direction, creatively, to take the series in.

There's no reason why a female M could not do what a male M did. In other words they didn't have to play her as a shrill, condescending hysteric with an ax to grind.

Under the circumstances I welcome the return of a male M and especially the M played by Ralph Fiennes, who is one of England's finest. I look forward to a more harmonious relationship. I don't want to hear Bond fighting with M all the time or being put in his place by whichever female character he's with. There needs to be a little harmony and civility between Bond and M brought back to the series, and maybe changing M will do that. I can't believe Fiennes will ever wig out or lend himself to a deconstruction of the James Bond character the way Judi Dench has.


Richard

Last edited by Richard--W (17th Dec 2012 15:08)

The top 7 Bond films: 1)  Dr No.   2) From Russia With Love.  3) Thunderball.  4) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  5) For Your Eyes Only.  6) The Living Daylights.  7) Licence to Kill.

25

Re: observations on SKYFALL -- spoilers

Richard--W wrote:
DEFIANT 74205 wrote:

Judi Dench may be a fine actress, but she is the wrong person to cast as M, particularly post Casino Royale. Her character has evolved from having a strictly boss/subordinate relationship that we saw in Goldeneye to the other extreme of a mother/son relationship at the end of Skyfall. That's ridiculous. Even more so when you consider that in the very same film, Bond described M as a 'bitch', and openly questioned her judgment call to ask Moneypenny to take the shot. M is Bond's boss, nothing more. I don't want to see any more of that crap. Dench's M should've been more of a 'bitch'.

The Bernand Lee/Sean Connery dynamic in the early Bond films is about right for M and Bond. M is always, always to be addressed as 'Sir', never as informal as simply 'M' (which crept in during the Daniel Craig era, and I hate it). Bond is to be addressed only as '007'. Only on rares occasions did the novel M address Bond as 'James'. I can only look forward to a colder, more distant and aloof relationship between Ralph Fiennes' M and Craig's Bond.

Exactly.



M, Moneypenny and Q don't belong in the field. Their place is back at the office. Bond is the agent, not the office administrators. He takes the risks and when the risk is over there is the familiar home of the Service to return to. The Bond films took a nosedive when they changed this basic but very important paradigm.

I have no objection to a female M, providing she is not used to wage some kind of gender war. Her excoriations of Bond in the last two films spoiled them for me. First they write a Bond who keeps screwing up, then they give M shrill speeches putting him down. Next she becomes the co-star of the films popping up all over the globe to teach Bond how to be a smarter spy and a better man. There really has been too damn much of Judi Dench's M. I reject her M absolutely and I think badly of the actress for imposing herself on a creative property that is not hers to lead when she obviously knows better. Making Bond stupid and a screw-up so that M could be dominant is not an equation fit for the Bond films. Who are these movies about? A James Bond film is about James Bond's adventure, not M's.

The very idea that we're talking about M as a mother figure should signal that the franchise has went wrong. It was not a legitimate direction, creatively, to take the series in.

There's no reason why a female M could not do what a male M did. In other words they didn't have to play her as a shrill, condescending hysteric with an ax to grind.

Under the circumstances I welcome the return of a male M and especially the M played by Ralph Fiennes, who is one of England's finest. I look forward to a more harmonious relationship. I don't want to hear Bond fighting with M all the time or being put in his place by whichever female character he's with. There needs to be a little harmony and civility between Bond and M brought back to the series, and maybe changing M will do that. I can't believe Fiennes will ever wig out or lend himself to a deconstruction of the James Bond character the way Judi Dench has.


Richard

First, as I recollect, DC's Bond generally addressed Dench's "M" as "MUM" not "M".
While I do disagree with most of your opinions re Drench's portrayal of "M" I do believe that EON was looking for a way out of that "Bond / M" dynamic as it was becoming too tired and burdensome. IMO they were able to pull off an "M" centric plotline through a superior script, excellent direction and very good performances, especially Dench who is able to convey a three dimensional character in a nuanced way (fallible, tough, crusty, but not without weakness or emotion).

I am looking forward to the Fiennes/Craig; Craig/Moneypenney and Bond/Q interactions in 24. I think Bond's visits to headquarters will be a bit of fun once again.