2012 – Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, & John Logan Directed by Sam Mendes
The formula for a successful James Bond film is tricky. Too serious, too lighthearted, too romantic, too distant, too many people dressed as clowns: all problems the franchise has faced before.
Now we may have run into a new one: too artsy. Sam Mendes, the Academy Award winning director of American Beauty and a half dozen other explorations of the horror of American life, helms the latest Bond excursion, Skyfall. Getting the opportunity to play with a British icon, Mendes delves immediately into doing what he enjoys doing: peeling away the paint to find the rot underneath.
With the cliches of the franchise firmly in place, Mendes decides to throw the accumulated mess against each other and find where the pieces fall when push comes to shove.
James “007” Bond (Daniel Craig) – Still smarting from all the other dumb crap he’s gone through in the last two films, Bond is brooding and upset. He also gets shot and presumed dead in the pre-title sequence, something that would put a damper on anyone’s mood.
M (Dame Judy Dench) – The head of British Intelligence’s MI6, she’s getting up there in years, having advised James Bond way back in the day when he was still Pierce Brosnan. She’s a big focus of the plot this time around, as apparently the entire island of Britain has a good old case of the Oedipus complex when it comes to her.
Q (Ben Whishaw)– Impish little man with a foppish hairdo that puts Bond on trial for the crimes of humanity…I bet no one’s ever made that joke before! Anyway, this little twerp is Dr. Who, Jr. for the most part, except his extreme overconfidence gets the better of him more than a few times.
Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) – Yes, Voldemort is in this movie. This time he’s M’s superior, so we have someone threatening to take her badge away after one more reckless act. Layers upon layers.
Eve (Naomie Harris) – Another British spy who hangs out with James during some down time. Also knows the correct response to the ages old riddle of “Shave and a haircut.”
Severine (Berenice Marlohe) – The villain’s sex slave girlfriend, with all the joy and fun that that entails.
Diego Silva (Javier Bardem) – One of the greatest computer hackers the world has apparently ever known, he also has questionable fashion taste and social skills. Completely different than me, I assure you. Well, at least the hacker part.