John J Sinha
Popcorn is always distracting. Caramel-coated ones are more so I guess. After you have dug your way a fourth down the pop-corn tub, your fingers are sticky. And the sound your jaw makes chewing your way down the hugely inflated tub they offer you, more often than not, numbs out the dialogues from the movie. You are lucky if you can hear half of what they are saying. Still, that is how the movies are “enjoyed” these days, a bucket of pop corn, coke et al. No wonder all movies seem the same to me. So please don’t treat it as a review (Experts write reviews. And I am not expert). More of a personal take.
I am usually the ones who avoid the theaters, especially the first few days (if not weeks) to see a new movie. By the time the ads on the telly have awoken my interest, the movie is gone. But this time was different. I think it was my 6-year-old insisted we go and have a dekkho, so I thought why not first day, first show. And outdo the rest of them.
The opening sequence of any Bond movies is a James Bond movie in itself. If you have missed this, you have missed it all. Except the sex. But there is not much of it in these times that we live in! But here Bond shoots and misses. And shoots. And misses again. I think he needs to have his gun calibrated. I am glad the lady (Eve – Naomi Harris) shoots and hits. But hits the wrong guy. Damn! More calibration needed. But then we would not have a movie, would we?
After this point, the movie really gets interesting. It is the Bond of the past, yes. Yes, the new Bond has an apparently bigger chest, not a hairy one. And does not shoot very well. Sean must be disappointed. Still, Skyfall does take us to the Bond of the past. And I liked that bit a lot. If you are a true Bond fan (of the past, if I may add), you are going to like the movie. Till a certain point though.
The villian played by Javier Bardem is an interesting character and in the tune of villians of the present, there is computer hacking and stuff. Heck, there is a whole room, as large as a small warehouse, that is filled with servers. I would have loved to get one chunk of that Cisco hardware! However, he has played better roles. And looked more fearsome. Like the “Anton” character he played in No Country for Old men. In Skykfall, Bardem even has a removable dental prosthesis! Nice touch there. It takes you (almost) straight back to the times when Richard Kiel played the bad guy’s henchman in “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker.”
The ending, however, is where I think the story is not very well tight knit. Well, not really tight knit. Actually, there is nothing to knit. We are taken to Scotland, the moors, where we are all set up for a shootout/showdown. The popcorn helps here. Just think about it. The head of the foreign affairs wing of Her Majesty’s Secret Service is holed up there, and they leave affairs to an ageing/sick agent and an old man_with_a_shotgun and an equally aging Aston DB5 fitted with some old guns? Come on! I think Mendes took things a bit too retro here.
Having said that you should come out of the theaters satisfied. The movie is able to pull on the right chords at the right time. Gadgets, there aren’t many. To the Android-wielding overdosed technology crowd, I think the makers of Bond wanted to keep things simple. And that is not such a bad idea.
I would recommend you go and watch it. However, do order the caramel-coated popcorn before the climax. It really helps!