REVIEWS – Skyfall; Seeking A Friend for the End of the World

Back in time
Review by Vives Anunciacion
Published Inquirer Libre November 9, 2012

We only get to live once, so there’s no point wasting time away whether it’s the final days of the earth or the end of your secret career.

Seeking a Friend For the End of the World
Written and Directed by Lorene Scafaria
Exclusive in Ayala cinemas

Kiera Knightley and Steve Carell are an unlikely romantic couple in this original dramedy that deals with discovering meaningful romance just before the end of the world.

A huge meteor hurtles in space on its way to adding the planet to the rest of the asteroid belt debris. Dodge (Carell) is an insurance agent whose wife just left him the moment the end of the world was announced.

Penny (Knightley) just missed the last commercial plane to leave the United States and will not likely ever see her family in London before the planet blows up. They meet accidentally in the hallway, a day before the entire city gets burned by the riots.

There’s a few details about letters getting mixed up in the mailbox that I’ll skip, but suffice it to say that the two form a utilitarian partnership. Penny will help Dodge look for his high school sweetheart, Dodge will take Penny to the one person he knows who can fly her out to the UK. They get into a few misadventures, yadda yadda. And then, in a very Titanic way, guess what happens at the end of the movie when the meteor strikes? Guess.

The film starts out quite funny as the premise is laid out and the entire population is just going nuts. But then it quickly devolves into standard character and dialogue cliches on missed opportunities and loneliness, boo-hoo. I thought the actors were winging this drama, particularly Knightley who is a much better actress in the hands of a much better director. There’s a few good soundtrack choices, but, tsh.

And that is the end of this movie. Moving on.

Skyfall
Directed by Sam Mendes

A botched mission to recover a harddrive containing the identities of all secret agents of NATO embedded worldwide sends M (Judi Dench) to early retirement and agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) falling to his death. Hey, that’s how the movie starts, don’t say it’s a spoiler. Anyways.

That bit is actually just part of a much bigger sinister plan by a person from M’s past, called Silver (Javier Bardem.) Such a short on-screen time, but Bardem does a good job making the bad guy look fun. You know, the more likeable the bad guy, the more evil he is. At the end of this episode, James Bond saves the day, of course. I can’t give away too much detail.

Suffice it to say this is one of the more ambitious bond films ever in terms of scale and stunts. But actually, Skyfall is one of the better Bond films because its main discourse is to justify the vey existence of secret agents and the Mi6, told poetically in front of a ministerial hearing by M herself. In other words, perpetuity.

There are loads of references to old Bond films: from the Aston Martin that first appeared in Goldfinger to a “perfect” martini that’s shaken and not stirred to exploding pens from a new Q (Ben Whishaw.) However, we know the gadgets don’t make Bond; Bond makes Bond and Craig delivers on the physicality of the character quite very well.

My only gripe is that Skyfall is a spectacular, albeit narcissistic, self-gratifing look at the Bond franchise and how 007 will continue to serve on Her Majesty’s secret service – new Q, new M or even a new Star.

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