Over at The Weekly Standard, John Podhoretz takes issue with Bond’s issues in the new 007 film Skyfall, in the course of which he writes (caution – mild spoiler alert):
The film’s climax isn’t set in a hollowed–out volcano, as in You Only Live Twice, or a hollowed-out mountain, as in Diamonds Are Forever, or a space station, as in Moonraker—fashionable facilities featuring thousands of people in kooky costumes shuffling about while a disembodied voice counts down the seconds until the world is to blow up. It takes place in the middle of the night, in the dark, in the tiny stone chapel where Bond was baptized. And there are only three people present. And Bond cries.
JPod reacts like Bernard Lee at mandatory MI6 sensitivity-training.
I rather enjoyed Skyfall, and in particular the Scottish finish. For half a century, the most boring bit in 007 has always been the final 20 minutes when Bond and the girl run around the hollowed-out volcano shooting hundreds of tinfoil-suited extras in golf carts while looking for the big red “Off” button that disconnects the space laser. Personally, I only sit through it for the final line after Bond and the dolly bird are making out in a dinghy or space module unaware that M and the distinguished guests from the Ministry are watching every move: “Just keeping the British end up, sir” (The Spy Who Loved Me); “I think Bond’s attempting re-entry” (Moonraker); etc. Gadgets come and go, so do Q and Moneypenny, but the exploding-lair finale has somehow managed to survive every single retooling of the formula – from campy Roger Moore to clunky Timothy Dalton, quippy Pierce Brosnan to gritty Daniel Craig.
So I far preferred Skyfall’s end and the reduction in manpower to off-off-Broadway levels. My daughter and I were in a similarly bleak and isolated Highland hunting lodge earlier this year, and I remember thinking at the time that it felt like John Buchan’s Scotland – the place where a thriller chase winds up. Wrong author, but right genre.