Skyfall: A disappointing highly rated movie

I grew up loving the Bond franchise. I started with the Goldeneye N64 game which lead me to watch all of the movies. Which was easy back then because there were 007 movie marathons on basic cable channels all the time.

I heard about Skyfall many years ago, but I didn’t see it at the time since I was busy working a long hours stressful job. This week I decided to watch it for the first time, and I was extremely disappointed.

Good writing makes or breaks media for me, and Skyfall has terrible writing. It also lacks the campy humor and over the top action I enjoyed of older Bond movies. I couldn’t get sucked into the world because the movie took itself far too seriously without a coherent story to back it up.

I notice most of the action is in poorly lit areas or at awkward angles so that Daniel Craig’s stunt double could be on the screen most of the time. It’s kind of a shame since I really enjoyed Daniel Craig in Knives Out and he should do more of that acting and less of this. I mean I suppose the action was the best part of this movie, but even that was pretty lackluster. However, I just can’t get over the plot in Skyfall. The Austin Power movies had a story that made much more sense than this.

The Writing

The movie starts out with an exciting chase sequence. A terrorist has stolen a list of all the undercover agents in the world. If that list is leaked a lot of undercover agents could get murdered, oh no! James chases the bad guy on car, motorcycle, and train. Until eventually he gets shot by another agent accidentally. He spends a few months drinking and whoring pretending he’s dead until he sees a news story about MI6 getting terrorist attacked. Now after a promising beginning, this is the point where the writing takes a nose dive.

The guy who stole the undercover agents list and is doing terrorism is actually a disgruntled former agent of MI6. I forgot his name already, but it’s not important. I was never quite clear what the disgruntled employee was trying to accomplish, but by the end it appeared that he wanted to murder-suicide Judi Dench’s M. But sometimes he wants to do it in a Rube Goldberg sort of way, and sometimes he just wants to show up and shoot her. I am confused by the villains motives because he obviously wants M to die, yet also sometimes does not. Like he was able to hack into MI6 and trigger a gas leak in M’s office, causing an explosion. Yet it is mentioned in the film he intentionally did this at a time when M was not there. But first, let’s wonder about how this boomer former MI6 agent is also the worlds greatest hacker.

So this guy was a secret agent who was captured and left for dead. Somehow he survives and escapes. Then he becomes the best hacker in the world. Does he realize he can’t get his old job back and so he takes a coding bootcamp to learn computer skills so he can get a job in IT? I don’t get it. None of this is really explained, and all the hacking is done away with technobabble. The writers appear to have learned their entire knowledge of computer networks by watching a single episode of The Big Bang Theory.

What’s even more confusing is that all this hacking and terrorism was apparently pre-planned to take vengeance on M. And these are the steps in the hacker bad guys plan:

  1. Steal a list of all the undercover agents.
  2. Hack into MI6 and blow up Judi Dench’s office (without her there).
  3. This will make MI6 move operations into underground tunnels.
  4. Meet with the agent (Bond) MI6 sends to stop the hacker guy.
  5. Intentionally get captured by Bond.
  6. Have a pre-made program autonomously hack into MI6(again) and open the bad guy’s cell.
  7. Escape and find a pre-placed box containing a police officer disguise.
  8. Find a couple friends and rush in the front door shooting up a secure government building where M is.

At every step, hacker man could have easily skipped to the last step. Which only failed because someone else took a bullet for M. Seriously. look at this, even for Bond villains this is nonsense.

After this failed assassination attempt, M escapes with James, and they decide to set a trap for evil hacker dude by going to Bond’s family estate and fighting bad guy’s superior technology, firepower, and numbers with… nothing.

That’s it. The “good guy’s” plan is to hole up in a decrepit farm house with rusty old hunting shotguns and hope to stay alive. They even lay some Home Alone style traps.

The weirdest part is the bad guy wins in the end. Judi Dench is shot to death and Hacker dude also dies. Just like he wanted. Pointless. Pointless.

Loose Ends

Remember that list of all the undercover agents? Bad hacker guy has a plan to release 5 names a week until… nothing? He never made any demands or ever had any reason for stealing the list in the first place. After the first 5 names are released it’s basically never mentioned again. Maybe he left a cron job to release more names every week after he died. Nobody knows, nobody seemed to care.

In the beginning chase, James is shot by the terrorist who steals the undercover list. Later he cuts bullet shards out of his skin to be analyzed. Apparently the bullets he was shot with were specially used by only 3 international terrorists. First, that terrorist shot hundreds of bullets, and several people. Yet MI6 didn’t think to analyzing any of those bullets. Second, where do International terrorist buy their special bullets that don’t seem to be any more effective than regular bullets? How come MI6 have a list of people who are using these fancy bullets? Are they the ones selling them?!

How did MI6 know that the terrorist, identified by his special bullets, would then be traveling to China to do more terrorism. Also this terrorist was flying a regular commercial airline to a regular airport. A known terrorist was flying on ordinary international flights. Uh huh. Instead of diverting the flight or having a swat team at the gate, MI6 sends one agent, Bond, to follow him around China while he murders more.

It is heavily implied that James has lost his edge. He fails all of his special agent tests, yet is approved for active duty anyway. I don’t think we ever see this impact the story in any way. While Bond can barely shoot a target at a shooting range test, he also has no trouble one shotting henchmen or hitting targets at range without aiming. By the end he somehow has “his mojo back” despite failing in every regard and letting the villain win.

Seriously, what did that evil hacker guy want? What was the deal? How did he have so much money? It was entirely accidental that he actually killed off M.

At least I still have John Wick.