The latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, should be renamed Grumpy Old Men 3. Bond finally gets assassinated by director Sam Mendes, who appears embarrassed by the age of the oldest film franchise in the world and creates what looks like a send-up of the old chap.
If the drone of repeated references to all things old doesn’t wear you out, the casual racism, homophobia and misogynism of the movie will.
The only black person in the movie is a bungling field agent who retires herself to a desk job, but not before she physically goes on her knees to shave the superior white agent as foreplay before he lands on top of her in bed. Oh yeah, at some point she saves Bond’s life – but instantly gets paid in cash by him. She calls Bond, “an old dog”
The villain is, of course, a lunatic, homicidal homosexual who tries to bed Bond on their first encounter. I mean, why not, what’s left? It’s Men(des) at Work. Javier Badem plays an unconvincing queen, whose near last words are, “All this shooting and running is exhausting.”
The woman on top, M, is revealed as another bungling female who keeps making the wrong judgement, is condemned as sentimental by her new boss, and he may have a point, as she reads out poetry to a parliamentary inquiry. And of course, the female M, gets what’s coming to all women whom Bond loves.
So it was not a bad idea to farm out the ageing franchise to an already famous director with his own creditable album of pictures. Should have been done long ago and included fanboy directors like Spielberg or Cameron.
Just the problem is, they gave it to Sam Mendes, who not only treats the action set pieces as necessary nuisances to be got rid of quickly, he then populates the entire movie with verbal shots at Bond’s age, visual references (Bond collapses after some pull-ups in the gym) and backdrops featuring lots of ruins, not counting London itself. Oh yeah, and references to ruins, when he’s not showing them.
Sean Connery didn’t turn up for the role they clearly intended for him towards the end of the movie, no doubt hoping he’d jump in. But what did the filmmakers do? They left it in anyway and gave it to a random old actor.
That sort of sums it up for this dreary last outing of Bond. The James Bond we knew is a no-show for his own 50th birthday party.