Skyfall (2012)

16726615_024fadf33c0c0ff8bc605bf1f1a9963e_xlStarring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Ola Rapace, Helen McCrory, Nicholas Woodeson, Bill Buckhurst

Directed by Sam Mendes

Expectations: Very High. I love Bond.

threehalfstar


Skyfall might not be perfect, but it does so much right. Its opening action sequence is the perfect example of how a modern Bond film can echo the over-the-top camp of classic Connery-era Bond and still retain a modern feel. They wisely keep the action believable enough to be believable, while also concentrating on making it awesome enough to be awesome. It’s a perfect marriage and Skyfall is a Bond fan’s dream come true. This opening, which also leads into what is probably the best modern Bond credits sequence, is worth the price of admission alone.

Skyfall does a lot of interesting things as it plays with Bond and his cohorts, the most impressive of these is basing the story around the series’ supporting characters who were always regularly pushed aside after their requisite scene telling Bond what he’ll be doing next. This continues the grounding of the character started in Casino Royale, taking the series to the next level before then taking us a level deeper into Bond’s psyche (and his past). Skyfall goes places you would never expect in a Bond film, while also delivering action and situations that would feel at home in any of the Bond eras. The screenwriters must be absolute Bond nerds, and we are all reaping the benefits.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Starring Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen, Joely Richardson, Geraldine James

Directed by David Fincher

Expectations: Low. I’m expecting the same reaction as the original, but hopefully Fincher can do something with it that excites me.


Didn’t I already write a review for this movie? Oh yeah, I did. The American version and the original Swedish adaptation of Steig Larson’s explosively popular novel are nearly identical, and therefore I feel almost exactly the same about both of them. There are some minor differences that allowed me to follow certain aspects of the story better in this version, but there were also underplayed moments where I only knew what was going on because I had already seen the Swedish version. This leads me to believe that the target audience for the American remake is specifically people who read the book, but didn’t want to see the Swedish film. And this gets me to the main reason I think this film exists: Americans don’t want to read subtitles. But you knew that already.

I wasn’t shy about my indifference to the original Dragon Tattoo film, and while Fincher’s version is a more entertaining version of the story, there’s just something inherently fucked up about remaking a movie that was literally just made. From an artistic standpoint, it’s pointless; the story has already been realized in the modern era and anything that Fincher added is minor to the point of meaningless. The biggest boon for this version is Trent Reznor’s score which amps up the tension perfectly in spots, but at other times it sticks out and forces its coolness on the audience without much impact.

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The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Daniel Mays, Gad Elmaleh, Toby Jones, Joe Starr, Enn Reitel, Mackenzie Crook

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Expectations: Somewhat high, but I should know better.


Sometimes I get excited about a film despite my better judgement nagging me incessantly to watch something else. This would be one of those times. I read some of the Tintin books as a child, but I am by no means a scholar or in any way knowledgeable about them. I remember the basics, but not much else. When Spielberg announced that he would finally film a couple of the books, I got excited. I thought, “This will be like a new Indiana Jones film, and preferably one without all the negative trappings of the fourth entry into that series (although, I still find that one remarkably enjoyable for some reason).” Then my excitement waned a bit as it was also announced Tintin would be all motion capture animation. I’m not a fan of Robert Zemeckis’s popular forays into the technology, so I found myself torn, wondering if I should be excited or indifferent. Well, I’ve seen Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin and honestly it’s a bit of both.

The film jumps right into the storyline without a shred of character development or stage-setting or anything. Just right into the intrigue. OK, I can hang. If it means more time for fun, high-stakes shenanigans, I’m in. Tintin buys a model ship from a street vendor and is immediately accosted by one man willing to pay double, and then another asking him to, “Name his price.” Tintin, of course, states that the ship is not for sale and returns home with it only to have a short scuffle between Tintin’s dog Snowy and an alleycat result in the ship’s masts breaking, and the secret within to fall out.

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