You all know my thoughts on "Argo", which I refuse to back down from. Nevertheless, I recognize that not too many people agree with my assessment. On Friday, I went and saw another movie that everyone says is great, "Skyfall".
I'm pretty surprised by the universal praise of this film. Even the audience in the theater I saw it in absolutely loved it. I don't get it. I'm not saying it's bad, I'm saying it's not bad. It's not that great either.
Just 2 movies after James Bond was rebooted with Daniel Craig as a young, Jason Bourne badass, suddenly he's suffering from a midlife crisis. That was quick. One of the Hemsworth brothers better start warming up in the Bond bullpen at the rate this is going.
But okay, fine. It's not a bad premise. Unfortunately, it is never really played out. Unless you count the fact that Bond kills the bad guy with a knife, because that's "old school"...or something, it is basically dropped. There are a lot of references to him getting older, and M as well, but there's no payoff or meaning behind any of it.
Where does he struggle with this age thing? He doesn't pass a physical? Okay, well, he still kicks everyone's ass and shoots perfectly on target when he needs to. The villain gains no advantage from this supposed weakness.
The movie was going along great - cool opening, good setup, and a terrific scene when we meet the bad guy, played by Javier Bardem. He's the best part of the movie, and it's no surprise he can play creepy. A bigger surprise would be him playing a non-creepy person.
But right after this introduction scene is when things start to fall apart. First, we get the tired old gag where the bad guy gives himself up and all is well...but that's exactly his plan! I liked it the 73rd time, when the Joker did it in The Dark Knight.
It's straight out of every book on screenwriting and it's tired as shit. I'm not saying it can't be done anymore, but at least dress it up a little.
And after this guy's genius plan, of stealing a list that reveals all of the agents working undercover (previously seen in the first Mission Impossible and a bunch of other stuff), and manipulating the gas pipes via computer to blow up MI6, it suddenly becomes all about killing M.
That's it? What happened to that island you took over? What happened to the list? Nope, just a straight revenge killing. Which is fine, I guess, but that sure was a lot of setup for that. Also, earlier the girl said that Bond doesn't understand true fear until he deals with this guy. I liked the sound of that. And yet he turned out to be a completely inept killer. Where was the "fear?" I wanted the fear!
This brings us to the ending. Retreating back to a house and preparing it for the bad guys to come is something seen in just about every Steven Segal and Jean Claude Van Damme movie ever made. It's not the hack factor that bugs me though, it's that it is so boring.
Take, for example, the last Mission Impossible movie (which I loved). Think of the inventiveness of that scene in the parking garage. That was a massive, amazing set piece. Now compare that with basically an updated version of the ending of "Lost Boys".
It's no comparison. Mission Impossible went the extra mile with that sequence. Skyfall seemed to run out of either creative capital or capital capital. There was a great chase sequence at the beginning of the movie. Normally, you want your finale to match or hopefully exceed that. This wasn't even close.
As the credits began to roll, I thought to myself "well that ending sure was a big let down". And then I heard the people behind talking about how amazing it all was. That's when I realized that I have completely lost touch with the American public and what is considered good. Well, it was fun while it lasted! I'm officially out of the Hollywood's demo!