Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bond - Growing old gracefully

Let me share my new movie crush.
Last weekend, I had a moviegoing epiphany.  I went to see Skyfall, not knowing what to expect but guessing I would be somewhat underwhelmed.  I should nail my Bond colours to the mast.  I was convinced the new Bond needed to be Clive Owen.  Tall, dark, handsome, suave, sophisticated, the ability to carry off shaken but not stirred with an air of superiority - you know what I mean.  
I didn't get Daniel Craig.  He looked and felt all wrong to me.  Like everyone else on the planet, I saw the clip of him in his first Bond outing, emerging, scantily clad and dripping from the ocean in a scene cleverly reminiscent of  Bond girls Ursula Andress and more recently, Halle Berry.  I thought he looked great but unBondlike and I was sure Bond had been Hollywoodised but not in a good way.

No-one was more surpised than me when I left the movie theatre declaring my love for Daniel Bond Craig.  He's even taken over Roger Moore as my all time favourite.  Already.  And I've only seen Skyfall.

I'm not familiar enough with Ian Fleming's vision of Bond to know whether he is more or less like he should be, but I know this - I loved Craig's portrayal of the character, I loved his interplay with the other Bond stalwarts and I loved the look and feel of the movie.   Sam Mendes has done a magnificent job.  For me, the movie looked fresh, exciting, stripped back and uncomplicated but was still edge of your seat adventure stuff that had me gripped from start to finish.  I found it atmospheric, beautifully shot and quite old fashioned looking.  It felt like an attempt to move away from the gadget weilding, presposterous plot Bond.  And how!  What he's allowed Daniel Craig to create is a believable, mean, gritty, human, ageing, less than perfect, hard as nails Bond that I absolutely adore.  Now I can see that Clive Owen wouldn't have worked.

He looks and behaves like a man in his 40s, struggling to keep up with the rigours of being a fearless, trained killer.  His lettered enablers, M & Q, play crucial parts in the story, but there are twists in this particular plot that make them vitally important.  Q's back to basics approach to gadgetry is refreshing and works perfectly with our ageing hero.  We only get to see his true technical wizardry as the plot emerges and young Ben Whishaw plays this part brillliantly.  What a find, he looks born to play the role.   If you remain one of the only people who still haven't seen Skyfall, I won't spoil it for you.  Suffice to say, Bond's relationship with M is played out beautifully with professionalism but enough tenderness to melt even the hardest heart.

Not only is this a must see action and adventure movie,  I think it is one of the best Bond movies I have ever seen.  I'm sure it cost squillions to make but the special effects are very light touch - the only fireworks on show were the 12a version of Bond's sexual climax.   

For me, Bond finally has a realistic context - we can see how old he is, we are not that far removed from the world he inhabits and we get to watching him navigate his way, with extreme difficulty, through the path of the baddies.  Casting Daniel Craig was a stroke of genius and watching him come to terms with his age  was a real pleasure.

Isn't that what we all want - to grow old gracefully..?

Go see it.  Now. 

DanielCraigoutof10? - a definite 10.

This is what I imagine James Bond listens to on his ipod when he's contemplating his next job. 

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