Guest Post: Skyfall (2012)

For fifty years now, 007 has entertained us with his antics, action and not just a little bit of skirt-wrangling. Skyfall sees Daniel Craig take on the role of Bond for the third time and promises to deliver another hefty dose of explosions, breath-taking locations, strong Bond-trademarked musical scores, suspense and crazy villains. All the reasons we keep coming back for more!

But did the much anticipated (and much delayed) Bond number 23 live up to my high expectations? Read on to find out.

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The True Nitty Gritty. Yeehaw!

So, my old pal Wikipedia informs me that True Grit, released this month in the UK, is in fact merely the freshest reincarnation of a story which was published in 1968. This period in time is otherwise known as When Dinosaurs Roamed The Earth, and is so long ago that any little morsel brought forth for a re-vamp is usually so long forgotten that it’s practically a new idea.

Matt Damon (Maaaatt Daaaaamon. Ah, Team America. Still making me chuckle seven years on…) recently described True Grit in an interview. Somewhat incoherently, may I add:

“At first the idea is that, uh, it’s Rooster [Cogburn, U.S. Marshall] has true grit, and then she [Mattie Ross] says to me that, y’know, ‘I picked the wrong man’ and she sees that I’m the one who has true grit. But in reality, it’s the little girl that has the, y’know, the true grit.” [SIC]

Yeah. I see what you’re saying, Mr Damon. Kind of.

But it’s not him we have to worry about misunderstanding during the course of the film. He manages to cope with the English language much better whilst under the influence of a script. It’s Jeff Bridges, Captain Dude of the Coen universe, who needs subtitles. He sort of, erm, growls his words. Under his breath.

I know his character drinks a lot, but can’t we get that with a hint more of the actual words he says being audible? Don’t get me wrong – I love The Dude. Bridges is a total hero. Even in Tron Legacy, which was really just the product of some thirty-something computer geek masturbating with CGI software for an hour and a half, whilst listening to French electro music.

Anyway, enough of the criticism. The girl who plays Mattie Ross, Hailee Steinfeld, is brilliant. I’d love to see her take on a completely different role next. Having pulled off such a role as this at fourteen, though, who really cares if she is just a one trick pony? She brings such maturity to the character, delivering lines with clarity, understanding and purpose. And she has a fragility, the sort which only someone who really is a young teen can naturally embody.

Visually, the film is great. The costumes are wonderful in detail, and perfectly tuned to each character. The sets and locations are something special too, but what else could we expect really? It is a Coen brothers film after all.

The film has humorous moments (Damon’s LaBoeuf leaning back in his chair and declaring “That’s right… I’m a Texas Ranger” was definitely one of them.) as well as plenty of action and that classic American habit of gratuitous gun-shooting. After all, why fire one bullet when you can shoot a whole round off?

I also enjoyed the fact that, despite only having one eye, Rooster Cogburn still appears to have full depth perception.

Overall, I liked the film. Aside from the snake pit scene. Though, that’s just because I feel that ever since Disney released their animated film The Jungle Book, snakes have been kind of misrepresented as evil lurkers who love to slither all over people for kicks. And so really, it is not the fear of actual snakes which makes the scene scary, it’s the fear of what snakes do in films.

It’s the dolphins you have to worry about. Far too many teeth. But that’s a different story.