Movie Review: Skyfall

As a precursor to my review, let me just explain how the first 30 minutes of the movie were slightly ruined for me…

I went to go see Skyfall in the IMAX over the weekend.  I don’t know about the IMAX where you guys are located, but I only have one close by, and it is almost always an awful experience.  It’s very tiny in terms of the amount of seats (so it always sells out), yet they crammed as many seats as humanly possible into the theater, so there is almost no leg room.  Especially for a someone who is 6’3″ like myself.  So I picked a seat on the aisle about four rows up, and the theater was pretty much filled up by the time the previews started, but there were still two seats to my left.  A few families walked in during the previews, but they were groups of four or five, so I knew they wouldn’t sit next to me.  So the previews end (side note: Django Unchained looks better and better with every preview I see) and I’m thinking that I’m going to have all the space in the world for this movie because no one is going to sit next to me for a change…

Then as the movie starts, a couple and their (2 to 3 year old) son stroll into the theater.  They look at me, I look back at them; and I hate every moment of them inching closer towards me.  Finally, they get right up next to me and point at the seats because they’d like to sit there.  “FUCK!”  I think.  Like I said earlier, there’s no leg room, so I have to fully stand up to let these people in.  And also like I said earlier, there were only two seats, but there were three of them…  So the kid is now sitting on the dad’s lap.  In addition to that, they have brought a plastic bag full of what looks like drinks and medicine.  I say medicine because the kid is coughing every two minutes and they keep making him take something out of a box.  And every time they do this, they have to crinkle through their plastic bag.  Loudly.

Of course, the kid doesn’t understand the movie (also, maybe a little too violent for a kid this age?  Hello?), so the kid starts to get restless and bored.  He won’t sit still in the dad’s lap.  He won’t sit still in the mom’s lap.  He’s uncomfortable.  He stands in front of them for a little bit.  He starts to put his head in between the seats in front of him, annoying the people sitting in front of us.  He starts to climb all the way up his dad’s body and just stares at the people sitting behind us head-on for honestly like a solid 2 minutes before the dad forces him back to sitting in his lap.  I’m sure they loved watching the movie with a dopey kid staring right at them two feet in front of their face.  I have severe ADD in movie theaters, which is sad because it’s my preferred method of watching movies, but I’m pretty much focused on how annoyed I am with this kid more than I’m focusing on the movie.  Finally, after the kid just starts loudly whining, the mom gets a little frustrated and she forcefully put him on her lap and tells him to be quiet.  THEN SHE GAVE HIM THE PLASTIC BAG TO HOLD…!

So this kid is just crinkling the bag.  Crinkling the bag.  CRINKLING THE BAG.  He’s playing with the plastic bag like it’s a toy.  While the movie is going on!  I’m pretty much not even hearing dialogue at this point.  It just looks like bag sounds are coming out of James Bond’s mouth.

Bond – “KTSTSTHHSHSHHSTTSHSH”

M – “Ktsttststchhchctshcchch.  Ktsch.  Ktstchchch.”

Bond – “That’s why I KTSHSHCHSHTSHCH”

I’m normally not a guy to say anything to annoying assholes in movie theaters, because I’d rather just avoid the conflict.  But these fucks were completely ruining the movie for me.  Like more than usual.  I paid $14 to see this shit in the IMAX.  So I turn to the guy and I point at his kid and whisper “Can you make him stop doing that?”  And the guy just smiles at me, probably because he didn’t hear me, and thinks I’m just pointing out what a ‘cute little rascal’ his kid is.  Seeing his smile does nothing but enrage me.  Now I say at an audible enough level that the entire theater probably heard me “That bag sound is annoying!”  The mom panics and rips the bag out of the kid’s hand and looks embarrassed.  After maybe four minutes of well-behaved silence, the kid starts to get restless again.  He finds the bag under the seat, and at the first sound of KTCHCHSSHHCHCH noise, I turn towards them again and give a “Really?” look and shrug.  The mom immediately sees this and picks the kid up and tries to exit the row.  Both the dad and I have to stand up to let them out, and then they exit the theater into the lobby area.  But the dad stays sitting next to me…!

So now I’m awkwardly sitting next to the guy whose wife I pretty much just made leave the theater.  When I slightly chuckle at a joke in the movie, he just sits there silently.  Which is now distracting me as well.  Now I feel like a jerk for some reason, because I’m trying to have a good time, and I scolded this dude’s son.  These people have consumed my attention, even when they aren’t actually doing anything.  Then the mom and son reenter the theater, but they just go right to the front row.  So now I know that this family is sitting far apart from each other, all split up and such, and I can’t help but feel like it’s my fault.  So it’s still distracting me.  After like five more minutes of sitting next to me for some reason, the guy FINALLY decides to join his family in the front row, so I have to stand up again to let this guy out of the row.  He walks with his head hung low.  Defeated.  And it makes me feel terrible.  This guy is probably living some nightmarish life with a kid he didn’t expect to be so annoying.  His time sitting alone next to me was probably a brief vacation.  But then I finally had all the space I wanted and could sit comfortably for the rest of the movie.  Periodically throughout the film I would notice the kid in the front row running around the theater, darting up the stairs with the mom chasing him and bringing him back.  It briefly distracted me every single time.  At what point do you just call this movie trip a failure, and take your kid and go home?

We even had an awkward moment when we both got to the exit at the same time after the movie, and I made eye contact with them and gave them a gesture to go ahead of me.  The kid started running down the hallway without them.  They tiredly chased him.  They looked broken.  It was kind of sad.  And that’s the probably pointless epic tale of how I probably picked the worst seat possible for Skyfall…

Now let’s actually get down to what Bond is all about:
Titties and Boats

Aside from the tomfoolery I just mentioned, the movie was pretty enjoyable.  I’m not the biggest Bond guy in the world, but I really like the Daniel Craig Bond movies.  Well, by that I mean I like Casino Royale and Skyfall.  Quantum of Solace was a bucket of garbage water.  These new Bond films manage to capture the essence of the smarmy fashionista that the character embodies, while at the same time providing a gritty level of espionage and action that was lacking from a lot of the previous installments.  I mean, I get it why the old Bond movies are so enjoyable.  They are campy and fun.  But they aren’t necessarily good movies.  Casino Royale in particular was actually a well-rounded movie, though.  A full, rich experience with actual emotion.  Skyfall; maybe not so much on the emotion side, but it least it still felt like a real movie.  Like they were trying to make more than just a Bond movie.  They may not have succeeded in that regard, but at least they tried.

This time around, a villain (Javier Bardem) has stolen a hard drive with all of the undercover MI6 agents’ identities, and is threatening to release them slowly until he gets what he wants.  The plot steals elements from a few places, such as The Dark Knight and Straw Dogs, but the story was actually pretty focused.  For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what the villain’s motive was in Quantum of Solace.  Which is just another reason why that movie sucks.  At least one great element about the Skyfall villain is that he isn’t in it for the money or world destruction like most (if not all) other Bond villains.  He just wants to cause chaos until he gets what he wants (won’t spoil it).  But yeah, it’s just another reason why the guy is kind of a Joker ripoff.  But at least he has a physical deformity, which I think should be a requirement of ALL Bond villains.

There are two things I would really tout this film for.  First is the action.  That’s kind of expected.  I think even Quantum of Solace has a few good action scenes.  The second would be the cinematography.  What a well-shot Bond movie.  Sam Mendes really has an eye for this sort of thing, and there is a lot of striking imagery throughout the film.  I read an article that he shot the movie in the IMAX ratio (but not with IMAX cameras), so you actually see more of the movie if you go see it in IMAX as opposed to regular screens.  That’s why I spent $14 to hear Bond compete with a plastic bag.  But it was worth it once I could actually focus.  As always, the sound system in the IMAX is like the greatest thing ever.  Especially for loud, explosion-filled movies.  And this film has some great explosions.

I would recommend Skyfall to pretty much anyone who enjoys action movies.  It’s summer escapism in the middle of November.  If you liked Casino Royale, you’ll probably like this one too.  I think real Bond fans got a kick out of it too, because several people in the theater actually clapped at the sight of a classic car.  They clapped for a car!  Skyfall isn’t the greatest thing ever, but it’s pretty entertaining.  It skates by on the edge of its PG-13 rating; as it’s quite violent and sexy.  Hard PG-13 I guess they’d call it.  Lastly, I’d like to note that I may be the only person in America to have never heard whatever song Adele is famous for.  But her Bond theme was alright.  Very Bondy.

8 out of 10

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