While watching Skyfall, my boyfriend whispered an excellent question in my ear: "If James Bond is such a great spy, why does he keep telling people his full name?"
I suppose in this day and age, obvious plot holes like that in a film franchise are far more glaring. We pick apart movies. We dissect them like unfortunate frogs in a high school science class, only to post our findings on the internet for all to see (much like I'm doing now).
This is the new internet age, where the word "blockbuster" no longer means much more than a participation trophy in little league, and where a films top two concerns are 1) make the most money and 2) get nominated for an award. It's no place for the old and weary.
The Bond franchise recently turned 50, and Skyfall not only provides an excellent benchmark for this milestone, but acknowledges it in a classy way (although, I swear Daniel Craig winked at the camera a few times).
What else would you expect from 007?
The film asks a question of it's audience, and characters: is James Bond past his prime? It's not rhetorical, either. Both in character and film as a whole, it seems the creators are very concerned with not becoming "dated", and yet maintaining the true essence of Bond. They spend the rest of the film trying to convince us of Bond's continued relevancy.
It's risky, and honest, and it works.
Yes, James Bond is a dated character. Yes, the world has changed dramatically since his inception. Yes, we are beginning to enter a new-era of film. But no, this will not spell the end of Bond. Bond adapts, Bond improves, and Bond lives forever.
At least, that's what the filmmakers would have you believe.
It's hard to argue with. The constant reboots, rather than diluting the franchise, have inexplicably made it stronger. Daniel Craig is perhaps one of the most impressive Bonds since Sean Connery, ringing in the new generation of spy films with a gritty resilience that it's difficult to ignore. Maybe Bond doesn't know how to hack a computer. Maybe he doesn't repel down mountains or possess superhuman abilities, maybe he is a little old-school. But guess what?
James Bond doesn't care.
The film proves this point with an incredibly tongue and cheek, yet emotional, storyline which involves Bond's apparent death and subsequent resurrection (which is heavy-handed symbolism at its best). He rejoins the MI6 team just quickly enough to fail all his tests and watch the place get blown to all hell. But who needs tests, right? Who needs a headquarters, or a political mandate? This is Bond. He doesn't care about the rules.
Bond is joined by a smattering of interesting "new" characters. Most notably, a new Q (the very youthful looking Ben Whishaw), who does nothing if not highlight the intense culture gap Bond faces. Q has a few nifty new skills, which include sweater vests, hacking, hipster glasses, and making Bond feel like a senile old kook.
The ending begs many questions, and hints at a sort of "reboot-within-a-reboot" for Bond. Will they start fresh, yet again? Craig is already signed on for the next 2 Bond films, which would effectively catapult him into the realm of Sean Connery and Roger Moore as one of the longest serving Bonds of all time. One thing is certain, he definitely has earned that kind of company.
I won't be surprised if the film receives some attention come Oscar time, particularly for the themesong "Skyfall", sung by Adele. The Academy will also (finally) be honoring Bond in celebration of it's 50th Anniversary. However old, I'm confident that Bond will continue to be a constant in the industry (and thank God, the titles are getting better).