I’m out of blogging rhythm. Wifi issues. So I watched a movie and here’s what I thought literally. The movie was like a tangle of allusions to other movies. Maybe it’s a sign of my age that it is a pastiche of echoes more than a film in itself.
Regular readers, this post may make no sense if you haven’t seen the movie. And sorry I’ve not been visiting your blogs!!
Here comes James Bond, from an alien outline to his usual self. M is on the phone, being an iron lady. Strategically harsh.
It took me a wee while to figure out we were in Istanbul. It looked a bit Italian, but with Middle-eastern flavour. Terrible lines about the wing mirrors. Clichéd escape through the market. Clichéd car flip. I keep thinking Indiana Jones is going to turn up. Then there’s the mosque and we know where we are, with an Italian-Job esque (except on motorbikes) bit over the rooftops. Another vehicle flips. Yawn. Oh, and now a clichéd train sequence. Is it reminding me of Speed? Or Toy Story? Or Back to the Future III? All of the above. I don’t know why he’s emptying that gun against that JCB. Looks a bit futile from where I’m sitting. The strains of the Bond film kick in as the train gets ripped apart accompanied by some more terrible dialogue.
Okay, I am hoping that this rubbish opening sequence is self-consciously ironic? I hope so. Awful.
Oh, and a tunnel? Of course there is. You’d think that Bond would know how these things go. Oh and he’s been shot. We now lapse into The Fugitive.
And we turn from the criminal opening sequence to the joy of Adele and the big hand. Beautiful submarine floating with guns, knives and graves and blood and watery smoke and eyes. It’s like wax in water. Ooh and firework-esque burning effigies and dragons. And kaleidoscopic dancing and mirrors and shadows. Then it looks like arteries and blood and windows.
All of a sudden I am more optimistic about the movie.
London. Judi Dench. She’s in trouble. It’s her new boss. He’s wearing braces. She’s lost a list. This is like that Mission Impossible movie with thingmy Redgrave now.
Her computer’s been hacked and then MI6 blows up.
Cut to Daniel Craig and a random woman and a bottle of beer. He’s seen better days. But he’s not dead, which, from his end, has to be a plus. Then we are back to more Indiana Jones style drinking, with a scorpion, naturally. It also reminds me of The Beach. He’s away from it all, with the freedom that being dead brings – but hitting MI6? That’s too close to home.
Coffins and flags. And M. Great visual.
And there he is in her house. She’s not too surprised to see him alive and kicking. So the theme becomes clear – are they both too old for this game? He certainly looks it. Her make-up is great though. And the one-liners are improving. Phew.
They are down in subterranean London where MI6 has decamped. Very Victorian-London underground tube tunnel structure. He’s doing a few excercises. He may be a bit of a physical wreck, but he can do more chin up lift things than I can. I can’t do one. I just hang there, feeling like a dead weight. I can’t shoot either. Neither can Bond, really. Never mind. I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it in good time.
Now we are in Radford’s 1984 – it looks just like the ministry of truth in here. They are playing word association – with the suggestion “SKYFALL” which he pauses and says “done”. Ooh. Not playing any more.
Now he is digging some shrapnel out of his chest. Reminiscent of Arnie in Total Recall. Or actually, the Fugitive again when he treats himself in the toilet in that hospital.
So, he meets the woman who accidentally shot him. Bond them meets Malory. What we don’t know is whether or not Malory is a good guy. Malory claims it’s a young man’s game. We don’t know whether we like him or not.
So Bond is posted to Shanghai.
But first off to a museum to see Q. A painting about a ship being taken for scrap. “Age is no guarantee of efficiency”. “Youth in so guarantee of innovation”. A gun and a radio.
Off to China then. Bright lights. Skyscrapers. A swimming pool – and there he is. Out of breath. Out of shape?
He’s waiting for the bad guy. Spots him without trouble and follows him. Don’t know why he has selected the George Michael look for the airport. And now we move into an echo of Die Hard. The bad guy shoots the desk guard and they set off up the glassy, glassy skyscraper. Corpses like breadcrumbs he follows the guy and leaps onto the bottom of the lift and hangs there. Struggling, I’d imaging. Die Hard and Speed. It is very like the Nakatomi Plaza bit – all that glass – but at least he has his shoes on, unlike Bruce Willis.
Good images of jellyfish in the background. The bad guy sets up for his sniper attack. Bang. Glass. Silhouettes and jellyfish. Good fight action and then we have another die-hard flashback with the guy falling down the skyscraper.
In the guy’s stuff he finds a casino chip.
London. Someone is messing with M’s computer. And five operatives have been exposed.
Macau. It’s her again (his poor shot of a sidekick). Bond is shaving. This is a retro palaver just so they can build up to a rubbish pun later on. So, she shaves him.
Tux, lights, floating lanterns, fireworks, dragon, whatever the Chinese would call a gondola – and here he is, passing the kimodo dragon pit and into the casino. Now we lapse a little into Ocean’s eleven, but still it’s more like Mission Impossible.
Now, he’s picked up a random woman. “Bond, James Bond.” Is she the woman from the other building when the guy got shot? We don’t know.
Shaken, not stirred.
She asks about death. She warns him off. He confronts her about her status and her fear. Mumbling in monotone. The softer side of Bond. They arrange a rendezvous for him to meet her boss, despite her warnings.
And then he takes on three bodyguards, and, of course Bond and one of theme end up in the dragon pit. And the Q prop gun comes into its own. He leaves the money with his sidekick and off he goes.
She has her hair down now. She probably is that chick from the shooting. Shower scene. Another silhouette. And here he is. I don’t think he was particularly invited, but she hasn’t slung him out yet.
London. And they’ve even got Huw Edwards on board. Yay. Argument about whether or not espionage is antiquated. Mention of “shadows” as a wee motif coming through here. Maybe that’s why there’s all the silhouettes.
Now Bond and the girl are on a boat in the sunshine heading for an island. It’s a deserted island.
So, he’s tied to a chair in a big room full of servers. I think. And here comes our villain. Spanish accent? Anecdote about rats. About two remaining rats – an analogy for two survivors – and the last two survivors have their natures changed.
The villain used to be an agent. He’s obsessed with M and her lack of honesty. He has a very odd hair cut. “Mommy was very bad”. He then has a wee look at his scars. He says that he and Bond are the last two rats. He gives Bond’s legs a stroke. Tries to suggest that Bond pick his own agenda and break away from MI6 and duty and England and all that.
This bit reminds me of the Shawshank redemption, when the music comes over the speakers. Here’s the girl, looking roughed up and they have a game of William Tell, with a glass of Scotch on her head. Bond shoots, and misses. The odd bloke shoots and kills her. Then Bond lashes out and knocks out the competition, except the odd bloke – then the Brits turn up. Hurrah!
And now we are back in London again. And they are keeping him in a glass cage. Now. I am no expert in detention of criminals – but – is a glass hexagon really the way to go? I think actual bars may have been a better idea. But then, it is good visually. “Your past will be an non-existent as your future”.
Then he removes the inside of his mouth and his face caves in. “Look upon your work.” Then he puts his face back in. And laughs with a crazed cackle.
M admits to Bond that she gave him up in return for six agents.
They are calling him Silver. Q is working on the computers now. Silver is meditating in his cell. “Security through obscurity”.
Now we are at a hearing. M is being grilled by a panel. Our Hannibal Lecter-esque villain is psyching up for an escape.
Then they figure out he has bolted. The floor has opened. They have been hacked. Dead guards; missing prisoner.
Now he’s in the Tube. Q suggests that everything is going according to plan for Silver. Of course a train is going to come. He shoots it open.
Silver has been given a package. Bond is fighting his way through crowds on the Tube. Now he breaks into a wee Tom Cruise run and leaps onto the back of the train. Just like Collateral.
M knows she is the target but she is stuck being harangued by the panel . The blonde cop gets off and they jostle their way through the station, sliding down the escalator bit like a chute.
Too many coppers about for him to see him. He sees a door open and rightly guesses that he has gone through. Good line from Malory.
Bond meanwhile is still giving chase to the bad guy. An explosion in the roof. A hole. And then a train comes through it. Like the opposite of the end of Speed. Train looks empty though. The bad guy gets picked up very slickly and we hear M talking about why MI6 is still needed. Enemies that exist as individuals – faceless randomers. “In the shadows – that’s where we must do battle.” She reads a poem from Tennyson – “that which we are, we are” … “and not to yield” – then Silver bursts in and Malory takes the bullet for M.
Lots of shooting.
Lots of holes in the wooden panelling.
Gas as fog.
Another slick pick-up for Silver. M gets into her car and Bond is driving. Just like “Absolute Power”.
Then they swap cars. Great idea. I don’t know what movie it is from, but it’s a great choice. Bond music.
Q is about to be sprung. They are sprung. Malory is approving of the plan. I don’t know why they want Silver to follow them anyway. Why not take a few days off and then reappear on the internet radar?
Misty, misty Scotland. Good road. Great mountains. Bleak landscape. Dodgy forestry. Suddenly it’s like The 39 Steps.
I don’t think this can be based on a real house. Somehow the architecture doesn’t look very Scottish. Maybe I’m wrong. All abandoned and dust sheeted. And with a random old man. He calls M “Emma”.
Maybe some dynamite.
And some daggers.
“What did you say you did for a living?”
Luckily there is a priest’s hole, with a passage down onto the moor. Although, would you really put a light on in it? They’ll be needing that tunnel.
It’s all very dreary and grey. And dusty.
Then it all lapses into the A-team – home-made booby-traps and weapons. Make-shift defences. Lots of shadows and greyness. Quite Wuthering Heights.
A dog barks in the distance. Here come the bad guys. I hope they don’t trash the car…
A bomb on the door. Bond is IN the car. A lot of shooting. “Welcome to Scotland”. M sets off her booby traps. That poor car. All shot at.
Round one seems to be over. No sign of Silver.
M has been hurt, but she’s in denial.
Helicopter sounds. That’ll be him now. He’s playing random music. Bond shoots as the helicopter lands. The house is getting shot at. Bond sends them to the chapel through the tunnel. A wee glow of light. So, M and Kincaid make their escape down the tunnel leaving bond to face the villain alone. Grenades, flames, – but at least he has managed to get his hand on some automatic weapons from the first few bad guys. Bond spies the gas canisters. Meanwhile M is struggling in the tunnel from her injury.
They are out of the tunnel now, looking back at the lights from the helicopter and the fire in the house. The car is getting trashed – oh and it has just blown up. Shame.
So, Bond sets the gas canisters alight and with a rubbish line, leaves his ancestral home for the last time before it blows up. He’s standing in the tunnel – it’s like he hasn’t seen the movies before – there will be a draft down the tunnel – yes, here it is… the whole house is up in flames.
Now the random Scottish old bloke is using a torch. What a mistake. You can see it. The bad guy has seen it already.
Bond is still coughing in the tunnel and we are off across the moor with the bad guy and great images of silhouette of black against orange sky with the fire raging in the background. Echoes of the title sequence. And then we come on ice. The ice not looking all that solid. The villain shoots the ice where Bond is standing.
They come face to face. An henchman is next to Bond on the ice. Bond grabs the automatic and shoots the ice – and we are again into title sequence visuals – a fight underwater, thrashing bodies and Bond kills the guy, can’t see the hole in the ice, so steals a flare and finds his way back up.
So Silver goes up to the wee old church where M is. He sees the wound on M and he asks her to kill them both with the same bullet.
Bond appears and stabs him in the back.
Villain is dead.
M is dead.
London. Bond is on the rooftop and here comes his wee sidekick. I thought that was going to be M’s ashes, but no; it was her heinous British bulldog china figurine from her desk.
So, it turns out that this sidekick is Miss Eve Moneypenny.
“I’m sure we will have one or two close shaves”….
And here’s Malory, the new M.