30th November 2012
Read it. (contains ‘spoilers’, although you really can’t spoil this film)
Minor correction: I have no idea what Wright means by ‘MNoG'; the initials in question are GCMG, Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, the highest honor given to civil servants after a long and distinguished career, and entirely appropriate for a retired M. (Actually, nowadays she’d be made a Life Peer and go on to stink up the House of Lords, not that the House of Lords means much any more.)
The last Real Bond Movie I saw was ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, in which George Lazenby plays what I think is the quintessential Bond that Fleming actually had in mind, rather than the made-for-TV version perpetrated by Sean Connery — nothing against Connery, but his (highly commercial) take on the role wasn’t what Fleming wrote; I was gratified to think that maybe they were getting it right after all these years. But no. The next movie reverted to Connery, and I quit. When I heard that they were getting Roger Moore to do them, I thought, ‘Great. Beau Maverick as secret agent. No thanks.’
Of course, in these politically correct times, the Enemies of Bond all have to be Nasty Rich White Men (dude, if you’ve got enough money for a Private Island Fortress and Henchmen, you’re not going to rock the boat by pissing off a government) or The Evil CIA (trust me, any employee of the CIA would give one of his testicles to have equipment even half as nice as what Jason Bourne regularly faces) or some other boogeyman of the chattering classes … not the real enemies of our civilization such as the Chinese or Islamic terrorists or asshole tinpot third-world dictators like Assad or Chavez. (That would be too much like Real Life, and nobody goes to the movies for Real Life, as every Disney product makes plain.)
But SKYFALL is worth seeing. It makes no bones about the fact that in a world full of politicians and evil people there really are no good choices and never any good days; the best you can do is hope you get the one that sucks the least. And there are a lot of little homages to the ‘classic’ Bond films and themes, which we old farts appreciate. And I’m going to make an effort to watch the other Craig Bond films; I think I’ll like them.
Oddly enough, shortly thereafter I had occasion to watch one of the mossbacks, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, which reminded me that there once was a day when smoking was no big deal and men customarily wore hats in public. The production values were on the level of a GET SMART episode and I was moved to reflect that we have indeed changed much in the last fifty years.