Gail Williams is finally shaken and stirred by Bond.
When I was kid there was one TV in the house and my dad had full control of what was watched. What this meant is that I ended up watching a lot of stuff that I would never have chosen to watch. Dad used to love all the action and cowboy movies, so I had to sit through lots of James Bond. Probably at one time or another, every one of them that was made before I left home.
From the tone of that first paragraph you might just be able to tell that I did not grow up a massive fan of the Bond character or the films. When M told Pierce Brosnan’s Bond: “I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur”, my feelings on the man were summed up.
But a couple of years ago I found out something I did not know, not by watching the movies, but at a writers conference. There I found out that the reason Bond jumps between beds with no regard for the women he’s using is surprisingly simple. Love. Not love of country, but love of the wife that he lost.
Apparently this is in the movies, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diana Rigg places Teresa “Tracy” Bond, but it wasn’t something that I’d picked up on (was probably too young when forced to sit through it). I just thought Bond was the country’s biggest slut.
Possess of this odd nugget changed my view - not of the films, still not bothered with them, but of the character. This made me see that he wasn't quite the government whore that I'd always believed he was. In a way I actually started to pity him a little - but only a very little.
I also have to admit that I've never been a fan of Roger Moore. Sean Connery I could watch, but Moore was just too much of a slimy git for my taste. After that I couldn't be bothered to watch Dalton or Brosnan. I wasn't even that fussed when I heard Daniel Craig was taking the role, so I didn't bother watching.
Then, we went as a family to see Skyfall. Why we did this I do not know, it may have been something to do with we were at a loose end and in an indulgent mood, might even have been the fact that we'd heard the song on the radio and loved it, I just don't remember the reason. What I do remember is that I was proverbially blow away.
Adele's theme was so reminiscent of the classic Bond Themes, i.e. those before View to a Kill, but the title visuals were way better than the various naked dancing ladies, however the special effects of the time may have covered their modesty.
As for the opening scene, I loved it. The cinematography was fantastic, the music evocative and unobtrusive, and instant impact in storytelling putting jeapody at the heart of the piece with Ronson on the edge of death and M being apparently heartless in making the tough decisions. This was the kind of hook that as a writer I dream about producing. I was caught from there on.
Eve was an interesting development, quite naive to start, but maturing nicely through the film, and no I wasn’t surprised by the end reveal, though those around me were.
The homoerotic sexposition of Bond’s first meeting with Silva was a fantastic moment; unexpected, erotic and frightening all at the same time. Even if this wasn’t written that way and the mood was set because the actors made it what it was, I don’t care, it worked wonderfully.
Judi Dench steals the show in so many ways: ordering Eve to “Take the bloody shot”; her encounter with Bond on his return, “Well, you're bloody well not sleeping here.”; the whole shooting down of the Ministry Of Magic in revealing how the enemy are more opaque than ever. (Sorry but with Mrs Malfoy and Voldemort on the bench, all the others just looked like sour-faced Death Eaters - didn’t detract from the film during the first watching, but second time and every time since it’s made me smile.) As for that final terrible scene when we lose her, well I don’t mind saying I was teary eyed.
Then there was little Ben Whishaw as Q. So cute! Loved the scene in the gallery, “I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas ,” which would, sadly, be true. Have to say, when I heard that this young boy was taking over as Q, I was only slightly less horrified than when I heard John Cleese was going to do it, and he was terrible. Whishaw on the other hand - brilliant. Loved him.
Then there was the car. Love the car (as seen before). This classic was without a doubt a treat to trot out. Love the idea of threatening to eject the boss, though Bond wisely withholds. Such a pity on the final perforations.
Before watching Skyfall, I had not seen either Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace, which is just as well because I have now seen the first and bits of the second and wasn’t impressed by either. I have a feeling that had I watched Craig as Bond before, I would never have watched Skyfall, and that would have been a crying shame. Now, having seen it I’m glad I did. I think this film was the much needed kick up the ratings that Bond needed. What I disagree with is that this is a return to the best of Bond. What I’d say is that Skyfall elevates Bond to a whole new level for a whole new generation and I have finally fallen in love with an icon.
Gail Williams lives in her own private dungeon populated with all the weird and
the wonderful she can imagine. Some of it’s very weird, and the odd bits
and pieces are a bit wonderful. Well okay, she lives in Swansea with
her husband and daughter. And the world’s most demanding cat. To find
out more about Gail, check out www.gailbwilliams.co.uk - Dare you!