Yesterday we went to watch the new Bond film, and it was Very Good! The new Daniel Craig ones have been a change from the old audacious, bionic Bonds with come hither looks and obvious one-liners (even the Pierce Brosnan ones), and I guess that’s a reflection of what today’s audience wants. We want super-spies who aren’t ridiculously invincible, who are capable of humour without being cheesy, and we seem to have had enough of Mishter Bond’s sexist and patronising treatment of women as well.
Aside from Judi Dench’s brilliant performances as a strong but human leader (as opposed to a stereotypical battleaxe), it’s nice to see the Bond girls in the last few films being portrayed more as Bond Women. Previously the girls were mostly one-dimensional female things that Bond sleeps with to gain information (“baddy” girls), or they’ve been good little sidekicks and he sleeps with them just because he can (“goodie” girls). These days the goodie and baddy female characters are more complex and the Bond girls are almost equally as powerful as Bond – almost, as he’s still the star of the show of course, his name being the title and all that. Also, I get the feeling that his attraction to (and of course sleeping with) them has been more about the individual characters and their intelligence, self-assuredness, and sensuality, as opposed to their being female in general, with buxom, fawning/vampy (delete as appropriate), ‘hot girl in a tight dress’ qualities. Skyfall also appears to pass the Bechdel test, only just, but I’ll take just passing over outright failing – or as Jane Martinson puts it, “a sexy Bond with just a bit of the sexist left out.”
As for the story itself, this one seemed very much set in the real world, and it also felt more “personal,” as we find out a little more about some of the characters’ back stories. Javier Bardem also makes a villainous villain, while there is a new Q for Bond to meet. There are no exploding pens, but there is a mix of classic and very 21st century gadgets in use. As expected there are great locations, brilliant chase scenes, and plenty of firepower, while Adele takes the theme song back to the classic soulful style that I love. For me, Skyfall’s brilliance is in the way it celebrates 50 glorious years, while bringing us into a whole new era of Bond.