007 things best to overlook while viewing Skyfall

Skyfall's poster image

“Don’t bother me with details, Bert!”

Skyfall is now out on home video on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and will be available soon worldwide after a Bond record-breaking run of $1.1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

What does that mean? An opportunity for obsessive 007 fans to pause and check out the 23rd James Bond movie in even more detail. Most movies, even classic ones, have elements that are best to overlook.

For example, in 1952’s High Noon, embattled sheriff Gary Cooper spends an hour of screen time begging for people to help him. After his unsuccessful efforts, he then demonstrates he was so capable his time would have been better spent getting ready for the gang swearing revenge. But, if he had done that, there wouldn’t have been much of a movie, would there?

So in that spirit, here are some elements of Skyfall that are perhaps best overlooked while enjoying the hugely successfully 007 film:

001. Bond’s long fall near the end of the pre-credits sequence: Bond (Daniel Craig), shot by agent Eve (Naomie Harris) falls a looooong way from a bridge in Turkey. In fact, it’s at least as long, if not longer, that the fatal fall Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) took off the Golden Gate Bridge in A View To a Kill. On top of that, Bond then goes over a waterfall. Yet, he survives. Then again, it’d be a short movie if he didn’t, wouldn’t it?

002. M’s insubordination: After the main titles, M (Judi Dench), has a meeting with Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), who helps oversee MI6 for the British government. Mallory says M is being eased out while having “a great run.” M spouts off that she’s not going to leave until she’s good and ready. In real life, Mallory would respond, “Then, you’re fired.” Then again, it’d be a short movie if that happened, wouldn’t it?

003. Bond’s culpability in Rapace’s killing spree in Shanghai:: Bond follows assassin Patrice (Ola Rapace) in Shanghai. Patrice kills a number of security guards and an art collector before Bond lifts a finger to stop him. Is the blood of those victims on Bond’s hands? That’s not really examined.

004. Bond’s lack of remorse when Severine is killed: Over the years, a number of women who allied themselves with Bond ended up dead. Jill and Tilly in Goldfinger come to mind. However, when they died, Bond registered a reaction. Ditto when fellow agent Paula was captured and took a poison capsule in Thunderball, and when Japanese agent Aki was poisoned by SPECTRE in You Only Live Twice.

Severine (Berenice Marlohe)? No reaction, although Bond gloats to Silva when the villain appears to be captured. One of Severine’s last lines is, “I’m sorry.” That takes on a whole new meaning in the Skyfall context.

005. M’s culpability in Silva’s killing spree in London: Tanner informs M, in the middle of a parliamentary hearing about MI6’s recent performance, that Silva has escaped. Does M let anybody know a terrorist with a group of trained killers is on the way? No. Instead, she reads a poem. That gives Silva and his men enough time to kill about a half-dozen police officers. Whether it’s five, six or seven is immaterial. You could argue that M’s ego resulted in multiple deaths.

006. The Aston Martin DB5: Bond drives M to a garage, where the Goldfinger-Thunderball, gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 awaits. This, in theory, undermines the whole “the series rebooted itself with Casino Royale” thing. Yet, based on our viewing with real theater audiences, this scene was one of the best received in the film. Clearly, audiences were more than willing to overlook the continuity problems introduced.

007. Was Bond’s mission a success or failure? If the mission was to kill (eventually) Silva, Bond’s mission was a success. If it was to protect M, it was a failure. At best, it’s a 50 percent success. M had agreed to be the Judas Goat in Bond’s plan, but did she really think she was going to be killed?

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11 Responses

  1. Keep in mind he won the DB5 in a poker game in CR.

  2. Casino Royale’s DB5 is right-handed drive, no gadgets. Skyfall DB5 is left-hand drive with gadgets. They’re not the same car.

  3. Well, I obviously didn’t notice the difference. And I’m somewhat of a Bond fan. Casual observers certainly wouldn’t.

  4. Given M’s major screw ups during the entire affair, the only way out for Mallory was to hope she got killed in the line of duty. That makes her a heroine. It could also explain why three more helicopters did not show up at Skyfall to blow the smithereens out of Silva and company.

  5. 1. I beg to differ with the height of the Golden Gate bridge and the one in Turkey. Craig’s Bond literally jumps off buildings in Casino Royale and doesn’t break a leg. Why can’t he survive this fall. Heck, Sherlock Holmes did one even better a year before. 2. Mallory is not a vicious bureaucrat as some think he is, so he basically gave M the benefit of the doubt and allowed the hearing to make the final decision. 3. Bond’s goal was to find out who Patrice was working for and this included being the cold bastard when it comes to others whose lives are affected. 4. Bond was never the nicest guy around, unless you’re Roger Moore. Daniel Craig portrays him perfectly – a blunt instrument. 5. I always got the impression that M knew her department would handle recapturing Silva again. I don’t think no one, including Bond knew that until he figured it out on the train. 6. The Craig era is a different universe than the Connery era. All the Bonds are related to a small extent but can never fully be part of a huge timeline – therefore the Aston Martin is a deus ex machina where the audience delights in its introduction. 7. The Craig era is unique among all the other Bonds so far because he does not end up in a small boat with the girl of the moment and the villain’s lair in a cloud of smoke. On the contrary, this Bond is very human when it comes to his missions. So far, each film has him winning and losing all at the same time. Bond 24 will probably continue in this vein.

  6. Agreed with Stuart. Plus, I’s add–

    001: The problem is if he falls a safe, obviously survivable distance, why does MI6 assume he’s dead?
    002: He can’t fire her. He explains his job to her and who he answers to. I suppose they could have shown him reporting her answer to the committee or the PM, but that would have been a lot of lengthy exposition before the story could go forward as it has to.
    003: Good idea–prevent an assassination to a 3rd party, disobeying orders, and risk his mission! A running theme in this movie, continued from CR, is that one life is not as important as the mission.
    004: He kills all of them! That isn’t a reaction?
    005: “Silva’s loose! He’s going to kill us! Everybody run! RUN!!!”
    006: It isn’t a ‘company car” according to Bond, which insinuates that it’s the CR car, not the car issued to him by MI6 in GF.
    007: Quotes – “Too many people have died because of me.” “So I am to be that bait?” “Okay then, just you and me.” Bond’s trying to kill Silva, using her as bait, not keep Silva from finding her, and she orders that no more people will be involved. Plus, her death is set up for by the filmmakers, anyway–the film starts with ordering Bond to let an agent die in order to complete his mission, and later in the story telling Bond one agent’s life (his and Silva’s at different points) had to be sacrificed for the good of the mission. When you think about it, it’s the way she HAS to go out, story-wise. And it echoes OHMSS, where Bond loses his girl at the end after failing to stop the villain.

  7. A few things:

    “003: Good idea–prevent an assassination to a 3rd party, disobeying orders, and risk his mission! A running theme in this movie, continued from CR, is that one life is not as important as the mission.”

    Fine. But he’s still complicit in their deaths. Justified? You can make that case. Still, if you don’t stop it and you could, it can be argued you bear some responsibility. Maybe that’s part of the gray area of being a secret agent.

    “004: He kills all of them! That isn’t a reaction?”

    Read the post again. It says Bond shows a “lack of remorse” about Severine’s death. He may have reacted by killing Silva’s men, but he never shows any remorse about Severine’s death, similar to the examples cited in the post.

    “005: “Silva’s loose! He’s going to kill us! Everybody run! RUN!!!”

    It could have been done more orderly than that. A more compelling counter-arugment would be it would a) eliminate an action sequence and b) eliminate the way Bond comes up with taking the initiative away from Silva.

    “It isn’t a ‘company car” according to Bond, which insinuates that it’s the CR car, not the car issued to him by MI6 in GF.”

    Except it’s not the CR car (steering wheel on the left side). And if Bond did all the work himself, how did M know about the ejector button? As the post says, these are points best overlooked in watching the movie. Clearly, it was intended as a “wink, wink” to Goldfinger and should taken that way.

  8. Putting the gadgets in the DB5 was Mendes’ idea. The writers had it originally as the ‘same’ car he won in CR. This was just a directors wink. The komodo dragons in the casino were Mendes too.

  9. Eve shoots Bond/he falls. Later at Mi6 he claws the bullet fragment out of his shoulder and sends it to be analyzed. Which leads to info/Patrice. My question:When did Patrice shoot Bond? Was there a “flinch/recoil” reaction shot ? He seemed to fight strongly/unhindered until Eve’s shot.

  10. Bond was in the earth mover and Patrice was firing at him. A fragment from one shot hits Bond and he winces. He’s bleeding by the time he gets into the passenger compartment of the train.

  11. [...] “Que the rain?” He had a point but I could overlook it. But, as posted here before, there are other things that are best to overlook to enjoy the [...]

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