Monday, October 22, 2012

Anticipating Skyfall

There is less than a week to go until the release of Bond 23, Skyfall, in Britain, and three weeks to the film's North American release.

Those who would like an advance peek, however, can check out this handily linked round-up of reviews from major venues over at Indiewire. Thus far the critics have been very friendly - Variety's Peter Debruge and Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, among others, positively gushing over the results, with comparisons to Christopher Nolan's Batman films already a cliché of their coverage.

I expect from these accolades that Skyfall will similarly please general audiences, and those among Bond's fans who embraced the previous two Daniel Craig starrers - but have my doubts that it will win over very many of those who had felt let down by the reboot. Of course, the fact has come to seem culturally as well as commercially trivial; not only has the series' flourished financially despite their misgivings, but it may be that their objections are simply less relevant. As I argue in The Many Lives and Deaths of James Bond, James Bond has already led several different lives across the media spectrum, the printed page and the big screen having already seen many different Bonds: the Bond of Fleming shading into the Bond of Amis and Gardner and Benson and Faulks, and later reborn (literally) with Deaver; while on screen Bond has been reinterpreted with every actor, every writer, every director who tried their hand at the franchise, creating impressions that were irreconcilable long before the arrival of Craig, or the utterance of that favorite word of the Suit desperate to squeeze a few dollars more out of an IP, "reboot." And were this not the case, it would all have come to seem even more hopelessly dated than it is.

The result is that, like every other fictional creation that lasts long enough from Homer's time on, Bond has been reduced to a recognizable name and bare minimum of concept wide open to appropriation in the view of all but a few devotees. Alas, even after having accepted that fact, I find myself among those looking backward to a time when there was more than that to a Bond movie.

New in Print . . . (The Many Lives and Deaths of James Bond)
9/14/12
New and Noteworthy (Battleship, Skyfall, Superheroes)
5/22/12
New and Noteworthy (James Bond Edition)
4/9/12
The 50th Anniversary of the James Bond Film Series
4/9/12

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