Is Skyfall escapist or dark and gritty?


Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson caused a stir when he told the U.K. media outlet The People that he hoped Daniel Craig would do a total of eight 007 films. But there was something else he said that raises questions about Craig’s current Bond film, Skyfall.

Here’s the excerpt that caught out eye:

The 69-year-old New Yorker said: “The director Sam Mendes and Daniel are taking it back to a 60s feel – more Sean. I think that’s what the fans wanted. There’s a magical Goldfinger feel ­surrounding it all. It’s all very exciting. I can’t wait for people to see the movie because I think we’re making a very special Bond.”
(emphasis added)

Sean Connery, Shirley Eaton, and Ian Fleming on the set of GOLDFINGER


Goldfinger feel? That would indicate that Skyfall, scheduled to premier in the U.K. in October 2012 and in the U.S. the following month, would be somewhat escapist in tone; it is after all, hard to go more over the top than a plot involving smuggling an atomic bomb into Fort Knox. Diamonds Are Forever, released in 1971 and which attempted to emulate 1964’s Goldfinger, absolutely fell on the escapist side.

Wilson’s comment seems quite interesting, especially because, at a November press conference, Wilson indicated the opposite. “With Casino Royale, we started down a path, and we’re sticking with that path,” Wilson said at that time. That would indicate that Skyfall was doubling down on dark, gritty, not-your-father’s-James Bond movie of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

It’s also interesting to note that Wilson says Skyfall will be “more Sean.” Wilson’s half-sister and co-boss of Eon, Barbara Broccoli, is on record as saying Craig is the best Bond ever. If that’s the case, why would you want “more Sean”? Connery, the original film 007, must be inferior, based on her outlook. You can only have one “best” Bond.

Is this nitpicking? Perhaps. But the powers that be at Eon should realize it’s not 1965 anymore — it’s a lot easier to check how statements made one day check against comments made previously. A lot of this is public relations and marketing, obviously. Still, when you contradict yourself within weeks it tends to weaken the public relations and marketing message.

8 Responses

  1. “I think that’s what the fans wanted.”

    In effect, DAD, too, was essentially a laundry list of fan requests.

    I’m afraid SF has “hot mess” written all over it …

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Specifically, with the closing line in your original post here, as well as with the final sentence via “Anonymous.”

    Even if true, wouldn’t this be a tough pill to sell (let alone swallow), given how significantly “Casino Royale” slapped fans of “Goldfinger” in the face (e.g., with the whole revisionism on the Aston Martin DB5 acquisition)? Or that actor and producers “knew better,” that Jason Bourne (now reduced to “Jason who?”) was what James Bond really needed to be?

  3. I think you are all taking this too seriously. It is all marketing talk to rouse interest. Casino Royale never slapped fans in the face. I am a huge fan of Goldfinger and I never felt insulted. Bond films operate in isolated continuity, trying to connect one to another is pointless.

  4. At least he didn’t say, “We want to take it back to the classic Roger Moore-era feel, like Live and Let Die or Moonraker.” Of course, by the time Craig does his 8th Bond, he will be older than Roger when he did his last outing.

  5. @Mark: actually, Craig would still be younger. Sir Roger turned 57 during the filming of A View To a Kill. Craig would be at least 54 at the time his eighth film came out **assuming an every-other-year schedule***.

    Meanwhile, don’t forget that Sam Mendes spoke highly of the experience of seeing Live And Let Die during that November news conference. Meanwhile, Daniel Craig also said this in that Time Out interview. He starts out talking about Mendes:

    //‘I did, yes, I did. He’s English, he’s Cambridge-educated, he’s smart. He’s lived with Bond all his life, he grew up with Bond the way I did. We grew up at exactly the same time, and I said to him, “We have to do this together, we have exactly the same reference points, we both like the same Bond movies and we both like the same bits in the ****same Bond movies we like.” We sat down and we just rabbited for hours about “Live and Let Die” or “From Russia with Love”, and talked about little scenes that we knew from them. ***** (emphasis added).//

    Of course, subsequently, he has said Dr. No and From Russia With Love were his favorites. Make of this what you will.

  6. You just struck a chord with me, drush76. I wonder if anyone (including our respected host editors here) have ever looked at Bond in terms of strengths versus weaknesses, vis-a-vis limitations. What one actor might bring to the role, where others lacked, he, himself, might be short-suited elsewhere.

    Brings to mind that “Superman” movie with Richard Prior. Loved “Silver Streak.” Thought Christopher Reeve did a good enough job in the title role of the first two. However, putting the two *together* was never gonna work, and didn’t.

    Further to the initial point, this can do nothing but fail. Promising “Goldfinger” invites identification of virtually *any* point where it falls short by danielcraigisnotbond.com, lifelong fans, et cetera – as evidence of disappointment.

  7. I think that the early Bond films got it just right. They were true to the novels and realistic despite the fantastic story lines whilst still maintaining some humour. I did like Casino Royalle, but Q of S was just too dark and almost depressing. We all know the early films are the best so it’s not brain surgery which way to go.

  8. I don’t recall the early Bond films being “realistic”, let alone the novels they were based upon.

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