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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Movies

Craig’s latest Bond flick stiff, uninspired


The 23rd movie in the James Bond franchise is a failure of such epic proportions that it qualifies as what some would call a goat rodeo.

The term is a polite euphemism for a stronger phrase — one that starts with cluster — and the image it conjures up is a perfect description for the mess that is the latest iteration of the “007” franchise.

Though the film had an enormous budget and a multitude of moving parts, “Skyfall” fails to even be decent on so many levels that the image the colloquialism evokes — circus clowns hustling stubborn goats around in fruitless circles — is beyond apt.

The movie tries too hard to be Bond’s version of “The Dark Knight.”

Javier Bardem is doing his best Heath Ledger as the creepy, maniacal and smiling lunatic villain while Daniel Craig has all the somber gravitas of Christian Bale’s Batman without the charm and wit of Bruce Wayne.

As for the rest of the characters, they might as well have not showed up at all for how much they matter to the plot.

There is a scene in which Bardem, who plays rogue former agent Raoul Silva, is in captivity with Bond that’s eerily reminiscent of the Academy Award-winning film, yet lacks the elegance and raw energy that film possessed.

This film is a hack job. Every single line of writing is clichéd and hackneyed drivel. The entire film, even at its most poignant moments, sounds like an amateurish parody of the “007” series.

The plot is a loosely connected string of locales and events with only the barest of effort given to tying them together.

At 143 minutes, the movie is at least 90 minutes too long. The cinematography is at times sweeping, bold and gritty, and if it were nothing more than a series of still images, the movie would be haunting and starkly beautiful. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The eponymous “Skyfall” is a boring, rustic Scottish manor that the writers claim is a “wily breakthrough” in characterization for Bond. It isn’t.

There’s no meaningful revelation of any kind, and the cast seems boring and stiff as they are shoved like pawns through the dreary and ponderous purgatory of the film.

By the end, the bleating and braying goats of this detestable rodeo are all shamefully herded off stage-right so a self-congratulatory “50 years of Bond — Bond will return” title card can run immediately before the credits.

“Skyfall” will be financially successful, no doubt. Consumers are all too happy to shell out hard-earned money for Bond — any Bond — out of nostalgia and habit, but this is a weak, haphazard and pitiful effort at filmmaking.

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