= google8f5ee720693b5c31.html> PhatFlix: SKYFALL falls short of maintaing 007 "Escapist" factor

Friday, November 16, 2012

SKYFALL falls short of maintaing 007 "Escapist" factor

SKYFALL, the latest installment of the James Bond 007 franchise, seems to be breaking records all over the world. Yet for it's flashy trailers and ad claims of hugeness, the 23rd "official" film in the series of Ian Flemming's british secret agent fails to entertain on the WOW level of it's predecessors. 

SKYFALL relies heavily on the popularity of it's casting rather than it's suspension of disbelief; reaffirming the power of marketing appeasing to existing fan bases rather than innovating.

As an example of the power of marketing, the classic 007 cocktail (martini-shaken, not stirred) has been replaced by beer. Yes, beer. Heineken USA has signed a reported $45 million partnership agreement with Sony Pictures for the use of Heineken products

I am not ashamed to say that this is the kind of news that leaves me, an avid Bond fan, shaken AND stirred.

Ian Flemming's handsome, playboy secret agent usually engages in numerous sexual encounters with gorgeous scantly-clad women who we've come to know as "Bond Girls". This kind of promiscuous romping has been replaced by more sexual suggestive activity, no doubt a nod toward the softer PG-13 rating and a way to get more ticket sales. Even the female silhouettes in the opening credits are less sexually suggestive than the earlier films, which are now visually edited when they play on television.

Bond villans are no longer interested in world domination via death ray or blowing up earth and creating a master race on a space station, favoring instead to exact revenge on Britain's intelligence community or cornering the market on real estate. Gimmie a guy who has a shark that wears a lazer. Thank god for Dr. Evil!

Comic relief from 007's gadget master "Q", MI6's brilliant curmudgeon technical advisor/inventor has been replaced by a young computer nerd (Ben Whishaw) whose snappy quips are unfunny hipster commentary on how current technical advancements overshadow the British intelligence's "bygone era" tools of the trade. And, of course, he messes up. Betcha he won't get fired. #BringbackJohnCleese.

OK. Don't get me wrong. Skyfall is a great film, Sam Mendes does a great job handling the new James bond franchise with break-neck action sequences, amazing cinematography and great acting by Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem. 

But it seems that the JAMES BOND franchise more resembles the JASON BOURNE films in it's affirmation of current-world politics and technology, and less of the over-the-top, cartoonish charm that gave film-goers a much-needed shot of cinematic escapism. 

The acting range of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Bronson encapsulated a sexually-charged, macho bravado as well as comic timing, adding a wide range of emotions to the James Bond character. 
Without taking anything away from Daniel Craig, the role of 007 could be played by a more seasoned actor like Liam Niesen, who has shown by his gritty performance in "TAKEN" that he may also have the swagger to fill her majesty's favorite tuxedo.

But current audiences, weaned on "reality" entertainment, seems to favor a humorless  no-nonsense 007 and story lines that mirror current news instead of escapist fiction.

Oh, well. There's always The Avengers.

Skyfall is rated PG-13for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.
Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench
Studio: 2012 Columbia/MGM

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