The sky is falling, the sky is falling and I must tell the king! So said Chicken Licken.
Sam Mendes’ take on James Bond’s 50th film anniversary owes as much to the darker tales of childhood and Grimm as it owes to Ian Fleming or to the previous movies in the franchise.
It also owes quite a lot to the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films, in that there are no martinis, remarkably little sex and a whole bunch of stuff that will thrill young men, but may annoy others.
Assuming Mendes has made a choice to make everyone look so very tired and cranky, that feels like a weird decision. Daniel Craig and Judi Dench both look beyond exhaustion and into the early moments at the mortician’s beauty parlour.
Is stark and overaged the opposite of airbrushed? That’s how everyone is, here.
The only real light is in the shiny moments of product placement, when objects glow.
The early scenes in Istanbul, Turkey feature fabulous chase and action sequences. Then, it all goes a bit doom and gloom.
Daniel Craig has reinvented Bond and for much of the movie, you can’t take your eyes off him. It takes ages before you get Javier Bardem as villain Silva and his peroxide-lightened hair (with matching eyebrows) looks bizarre.
Judi Dench is terrific as M. Albert Finney as Kincade and Ben Whishaw as Q have excellent scenes. And, after Harry Potter, it’s great to see Ralph Fiennes with a nose, again.
The Bond gals are Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe although both are under-used. Still, there’s a grand shower scene.
I thoroughly enjoyed it although I did sneak looks at my watch often during the whopping 140+ minutes.
There is a lot of homage to the guns and cars made famous by the early Sean Connery Bond movies.
Whether you really like it or not will come down to two things. How much do you like the flights of fancy of Sam Mendes’ films? And how okay are you with movies that reflect our bleak and dark times?
For me, it’s usually enough when things blow up, gadgets get used and car chases happen. Cool stunts on top of trains make my day.
If you use Bond to escape to glamour, you’ll be disappointed. I liked it a lot but my daughter didn’t. She felt the downbeat mood and exhaustion in the faces and bodies of the leading characters made it all just a little too real and annoying.
Adele’s theme song carries the similar bleak mood. That’s what made me think of Chicken Licken. Does the sky actually fall? You’ll need to see the movie to find out. It’s Bond, James, but not as we know it.