Outright I want to say that my knowledge of James Bond began with Goldeneye. I played the video game a lot on Nintendo 64 but I must confess that to this day I have yet to see it all the way thru. After that it was the age of Pierce Bronson 007 movies. Those are the James Bond films I am familiar with. That was until of course the release of Casino Royale in November 2006. Suddenly I began to research all the older bond movies, villains and actors who portrayed 007. By the time I saw Casino Royale I was immersed in the Bond universe and was skeptical that Daniel Craig could fill the shoes of previous actors. I was wrong. Casino Royale was not only an excellent addition into the Bond legacy but a very good stand alone action film. Could the same magic be repeated with Quantum of Solace? Sadly I admit that it could not. Not a terrible movie but it’s nothing a 10 minute webisode on YouTube couldn’t have done.
Then we have Skyfall. A reignited chapter into the Bond universe. But again, I was weary of it’s release. The Bourne trilogy and other adrenaline filled action flicks had introduced me to a new kind of hero or heroes. When I thought of James Bond I would think of my fathers kind of movie and not the hip, quick edit action flicks I’d grown used to.
“Why not stay dead?…..it’s a young man’s game. You’ve been seriously injured. There’s no shame in saying you’ve lost a step.” - Garth Mallory, SKYFALL
Ralph Fiennes character mentions the above words to 007 right after it’s learned that he is clear for active duty. I thought how perfectly it described the sentiment I had towards Bond films. Quantum of Solace ended Bond for me. And why not stay dead as a franchise? It had a good run. There was no shame in bowing out. It truly was a young man’s game filled with a young man’s kind of films.
Skyfall proved me wrong. A true blockbuster, an excellent spy, action movie, and a true Bond film. There was nothing I could complain about. It respected the cannon and breathed life into beloved characters such as Q and Ms. Moneypenny.
With all that being said there is something I personally would have done differently. A few weeks ago I read a theory from a Yale professor that felt Silva could have been an adopted son of the character M. He mentioned a few reasons such as M’s comments about orphans and Silva’s inability to execute M in the film’s final showdown. I thought the idea interesting but not nessecery. This is of course my very amateur opinion. A villain’s back story should never fully be known. That’s one of the many, many reasons I hate Hannibal Rising film but love Silence of the Lambs. The villain’s back story is hardly fleshed out in silence of the lambs. We know enough to be terrified. So Silva’s mystery reason for hating M other than letting him rot in a Hong Kong prison Should remain that, a mystery.
But that professor’s theory brought to mind an idea I conceived as the third act in Skyfall began to unfold. I had gotten the vibe throughout Skyfall that M saw something more to Bond than just a 00. She was interested in him as a person. Even Mallory picked up on it as he mentioned to her that she was sentimental about him. Perhaps that is why in the first act she is visibly upset about the call she made to shoot Bond while he was on the train chasing the stolen hard drive. So by the time Bond rescues her from the parliament hearings I thought that there was something deeper to their relationship. Then she said it, the line that hammered the nail of a thought completely into my mind, “orphans make the best recruits”. I couldn’t help but wonder if somehow M was responsible for James Bond being an orphan in the first place. I recalled how upon watching the teaser trailer for Skyfall where 007 is meeting with a psychologist, he shuts down at the very mention of the word Skyfall. I thought Skyfall was the name of a failed mission and not painful family memories. How awesome would it have been if Skyfall meant something to M also. Not only because of a failed mission but how that failed mission inadvertently made 007 an orphan and created the James Bond we know today.
It’s an idea similar to the “Epilogue” episode of Justice League Unlimited where Amanda Weller admits she’s responsible for the creation of Batman’s successor. She arranged his birth and guided him thru his path to become the next batman. If you haven’t seen the episode stop reading this and go see it. It’s just good television. I digress. Back to Skyfall.
M would have admitted this to Bond moments before Silva attacks leaving him little time to come to terms with it. What if during the final showdown in act three Silva learns that 007 is not only M’s favorite agent ever but in many ways feels she’s a mother toward him. I think it would have sent the film over the top if Silva died knowing M respected Bond but also had motherly love toward him. Afterward, as James Bond looks over London after M’s funeral he comes to terms with it all as Moneypenny says something about what a mother is.
This is not to say I don’t fully appreciate and enjoy Skyfall the way it is now. This is just something I would have liked to have seen added. Till next time buddies.