skyfall (2012)

Coming from someone who enjoys a solid James Bond movie, who thought Casino Royale was a step in the right direction, and most importantly, that Quantum of Solace was a great Bond flick, you'd think Skyfall would be right up my alley. How sad it is, then, that when a director as lauded as Sam Mendez gets ahold of the material, we get this thing. An awkward mix of stunning visuals, fun throw-back moments and truly classic sequences, muddled into a bizarre, faux-oedipal surrogate-mother melodrama that pulls out every device in the movie-rip-off bag of tricks to deliver a lackluster pastiche of touchstones from box-office successes of the last decade. Is Mendez under the delusion that he's somehow refining big action by simply borrowing elements from the works of Greengrass, Nolan, Wachowskis, even Brad Bird and adding a slick style? The undertones, M as mother surrogate to orphaned agents, the odd Cain and Abel elements of Bond and the Bardem character's relationship, are promising at first, but with nowhere to run besides Predictable Boulevard, the dazzling visuals soon can't make up for the dullness. Did we need the trite Bond-is-injured-oh-no-he-can't-shoot-straight plot line? Nope, and Mendez lets it go with barely another mention. Does anything ever come to a boil in the simmering pot of references? Do I really have to answer that? Mildly entertaining, yet sabotaged by its own cheeky, cold fancy and nasty habit of introducing intriguing elements without the fortitude to comment on them. Oh well, see you next time, Mr. Bond