Quick reactions to the new Skyfall trailers

SEMI-SPOILERS. We’ve had a chance to look over the new international and U.S. trailers for Skyfall. While each is only about two-and-a-half minutes long, they’re the most revealing glimpse yet. We’ll call these observations semi-spoilers. Anybody who has read certain key writings by Ian Fleming won’t be surprised but many 007 film fans haven’t read the books.

“You were expecting somebody else?”

So if you don’t want to know *anything at all*, stop reading now. Without further ado:

More Ian Fleming content this time out: There have been signs for a while that director Sam Mendes and his writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan had tapped into Chapter 21 of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel, You Only Live Twice. The chapter is Bond’s obituary as published in The Times of London, written by M.

First, pictures taken by a nature photographer surfaced in March of an outdoor Skyfall set, that included tombstones for Bond’s parents, whose names are referenced in the obituary in Fleming’s novel. Now, in the new trailers, we briefly see Judi Dench’s M writing 007’s obituary and are shown why the world thinks Bond is dead.

This raises the question whether Mendes & Co. are also dipping into Fleming’s final 007 novel, The Man With the Golden Gun. In that story, a brainwashed Bond, turns up in London and tries to kill M. We’re NOT predicting Skyfall goes that far, but in the trailers Bond surprises M after his “death.”

During the November Skyfall press conference, the principals said the new movie had no connections to an Ian Fleming stories (That occurs around the 15:00 mark if you check out the video embedded in that link). Then, in late April, Mendes & Co. emphasized how Skyfall was true to Fleming.

Evidently, there was some “misdirection” going on in November. We’re intrigued by the apparent renewed emphasis on Fleming material. So we’ll leave it at that.

Question No. 2: Could Javier Bardem’s Silva be a revamped version of Fleming’s Francisco Scaramanga? Bardem, with his blonde wig doesn’t have “hair reddish in a crew cut” like Scaramanga did, so he’s not a physical twin.

In 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun, very little of the novel was actually used. Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga was more sophisticated chap than his literary counterpart while retaining the basic back story (which Lee briefly recites in a scene with Roger Moore).

Still, could Bardem’s Silva be possibly channeling the literary Scaramanga? Skyfall could end up, in terms of amount of Fleming content, being like 2002’s Die Another Day. The first half of that movie was a de facto adaptation of Fleming’s 1955 Moonraker novel. Both Moonraker and You Only Live Twice were cases where the movie of the same name used little of the source material.

More homages in Skyfall to previous 007 films: We had the same reaction to seeing a bootleg copy of a Skyfall trailer last week (evidently a pirated copy of a special Imax trailer for Skyfall). In the new trailers, Q (Ben Whishaw) gives Bond (Daniel Craig) a new Walther that can only be fired by 007 and nobody else. Desmond Llewelyn provided Timothy Dalton’s Bond a gun with similar technology in Licence to Kill.

We’re hoping Skyfall doesn’t go too far overboard with the homages. Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary Bond film, did so and it turned into a game of “Where’s Waldo?” that got distracting. In the new trailers, there’s a shot of a helicopter turning that looks much like a similar shot in Die Another Day’s pre-credit sequence. *IF* that’s an intended homage (and not a coincidence), we’re not sure you have to go that far.

Mendes teases Skyfall’s ending (no spoiler)

Skyfall director Sam Mendes, speaking in the latest video blog to promote the 23rd 007 movie, has teased the ending in a non-spoiler sort of way.

The video blog concerns how Skyfall brings back the Aston Martin DB5, a model first seen in 1964’s Goldfinger. Mendes says the following:

“There’s something about the last part of the movie, which is deliberately, very consciously, could have taken place in 1962.” The director also says that Skyfall “is about the old and the new.” Evidently, that’s one reason why the DB5 is being used, rather than a newer vintage Aston Martin. Anyway, you can see for yourself starting around the 0:45 mark.

Thanks for “Skyfall Fan” on Twitter for pointing out.

UPDATED: Our Skyfall accuracy checklist

With Skyfall coming out in a few months, we thought we’d update our Oct. 30, 2011, post concerning the accuracy of reports over the past 18 months concerning the 23rd James Bond movie.

There are some fans who maintain nothing is official until something is announced. Actually, something like an actor agreeing to play a role is official when he or she has signed a contract (a legal obligation, thus official). An announcement is the end of the process and may not occur (as in the case of our first example below) until well after the actor has completed work.

Also, some of the newspapers that originated these reports don’t have the greatest reputation, including being implicated in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal. As a result, there is reason for fans to be skeptical. Still, many of the reports were eventually proven to be accurate — too many to be attributed to wild guessing. So at least some genuine information has been circulating before formal announcements were made.

Ben Whishaw would be the new Q: Reported by the BBC last year, citing Whishaw’s agent. Formally announced this week. Check. Daniel Craig proclaimed, “Agents are liars,” when asked about reports concerning Whishaw playing Q. Not in this case. Why an official announcement now? One possibility: a new Skyfall trailer was unveiled by Imax at the San Diego comic book convention on July 12. The trailer includes an exchange between Craig’s Bond and Whishaw’s Q.

Skyfall is the title: First reported by the Fusible Web site. Check.

Ralph Fiennes is in the cast: reported by the Daily Mail in February and Variety later. Check.

Albert Finney is in the cast: reported in the Daily Mail on Oct. 28. Check.

Naomie Harris is in the cast: Reported in June 2011 by the now-defunct News of the World. Check.

Berenice Marlohe is the cast: Reported by a Web site called Twitch. Check.

Bond will have a beard during at least part of Skyfall: reported by the Sun newspaper in the U.K. on Oct. 21. Check.

Skyfall will have November 2012 release date: Reported by Nikke Finke’s Deadline entertainment news Web site in late 2010, before the Skyfall title was chosen. Confirmed in news release from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions in early 2011. Later release dated tweaked so that U.K. release will be in October 2012, while the November 2012 date still applies to the U.S. Check.

Javier Bardem offered a role in Skyfall: First reported by by the Deadline Web site. Check.

Sam Mendes being considered to direct Skyfall: Reported by the Deadline Web site in January 2010. Check. Mendes denied the news in an article in The Wall Street Journal afterDAYS after his publicist confirmed talks were underway.

There are two major tidbits yet to be confirmed. One concerns the departure of a series character (SPOILER, don’t click if you don’t want to know). The other, an idea pushed by the Daily Mail newspaper in the U.K. is that Naomie Harris’s agent Eve character will eventually turn out to be Miss Moneypenny (CLICK HERE for one of multiple examples).

At this point, both remain to be seen. Given the fact Mendes denied he was in talks to direct Skyfall (while his publicist was saying otherwise) and Craig denied Whishaw was going to play Q (even as Mendes was confirming it), no official statements can be taken at face value at the moment.

Or, to use the words of Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli, “Nothing has been announced.” But those words, by themselves, don’t mean they’re not true. We’ll just have to see the movie in the fall to be sure.

Ben Whishaw’s agent is proven correct

Official publicity still of Ben Whishaw as Q in Skyfall. Daniel Craig is in the background.

It turns out the agent of actor Ben Whishaw was right after all.

Eon Productions formally confirmed that Whishaw plays the MI6 gadget master in an announcement on Skyfall’s official Web site.

Whishaw was listed in Skyfall’s cast in early November but no specific role was mentioned. Then, in late November, the actor’s agent told the BBC that Whishaw had the Q role.

But things took a twist.

Call sheets from the film surfaced on eBay and Whishaw’s character was listed as “B” (for Boothroyd?). Was the agent misnformed? Or was this some misdirection on the part of the filmmakers?

In an interview published in April star Daniel Craig said, “Agents are liars,” when asked whether Whishaw was the new Q. The text of the interview indicated Craig laughed at that point, so it may have been a joke. Barbara Broccoli, Eon co-boss, in the same interview merely said nothing had been announced.

A few weeks later, in an interview published in May, Skyfall director Sam Mendes said that Whishaw, indeed, was playing Q. Mendes took credit for the idea.

Skyfall storyboards surface on eBay

A set of 52 Skyfall storyboards has shown up for sale on eBay with a “buy it now” price of $350. Here’s the description:

“Not eBay again!”

Anyone want to know what happens in the new Bond film? This is a sequence of 52 Crew Copy, Production used Storyboards from the latest instalment. Buy it now price is less than $7 per Storyboard!

If you go to THE EBAY LISTING, it includes four storyboard samples. The samples do provide spoilers. There are no many plot revelations in the four samples but you can piece together at least some of what is going on in the scene.

According to the listing, the storyboards will remain on sale until 1:54 p.m. Pacific time, July 11, unless somebody plucks down that $350 right off the bat.

Back in March, a set of Skyfall call sheets that included information about the film including character names (at a time many character names hadn’t been disclosed) and basic descriptions of scenes was sold on eBay.

Sony shows a 4-minute Skyfall preview; rumors confirmed?

Sony Corp. this week showed a four-minute preview of Skyfall during an event in Spain aimed at executives of movie theater chains, according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter. Berenice Marlohe, one of the Bond women in the film, was part of the proceedings.

Daniel Craig in a Skyfall publicity still

Could the showing be at least a partial confirmation of Internet rumors? A poster on the Commander Bond Web site referenced a friend who saw a four-minute extended trailer but had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Around the same time, an IMDB.com user claimed to have seen a four-minute trailer without providing details.

On the one hand, it seems quite a coincidence that all three mention a four-minute preview and/or trailer. Perhaps it’s not much of a stretch that Sony would also seek audience reaction while pressing those in attendance to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

On the other hand, could most people remember virtually every shot, as IMDB.com user tom-sudddd suggests he was able to do so? Also, that account includes this:

M SHOOTING A GUN! I think it was the P99!

M? Judi Dench? Judi Dench shooting a Walther P 99?

Well, there was a publicity still of Ralph Fiennes as Mallory (who may or may not take over as M) shooting a sizeable handgun.

We’ll stick with our caveat emptor of a previous post for now. But the timing of the Internet tidbits about a four-minute extended trailer/preview is interesting.

Rumors surface about extended Skyfall teaser

Caveat emptor: IMDB.com user tom-sudddd claims to have seen an extended Skyfall trailer that’s about four minutes long.

You can read the full post BY CLICKING HERE. A sampling (spoiler alert, if true):

The title bit is amazing! Bond turns and shoots at the screen, wearing a suit. A gunbarrel forms around him and spins. Bond walks slowly toward us, with his gun at his side, through the gunbarrel (like the teaser poster)

The dialogue, i can’t remember much of, it all went over me. There’s bits and pieces of it. Bond introduces himself though! “Bond James Bond.” I think he’s saying it to Bardem. The music is about 3 minutes worth of that electronic Bond theme from the teaser, new mix then it turns into a fully orchestral Bond theme. It sounded very nice.

There’s also a long list of shots, where the poster says he saw Ben Whishaw as Q, Javier Bardem as villain Silva and a gimmicked up Aston Martin DB5, plus more shots of stars Daniel Craig and Judi Dench.

No details about where, or how, tom-sudddd managed to see this extended trailer. A day before, a poster on the Commander Bond Web site says a friend in Berlin saw an extended trailer but had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Meanwhile, bear in mind, that another IMDB.com user, calling herself Liz, earlier this year posted a description that, in retrospect, didn’t sound that close to the teaser trailer that emerged in May. Also, final movie trailers tend to run about 2:30, not four minutes.

So we go back to how this post began: caveat emptor.