Yesterday afternoon, we went out to our local multiplex and took in the new Bond move, Skyfall. It's received great reviews and has been hailed as the best Bond movie ever.
I was willing to walk out before the end.
No one enjoys themselves in this movie except the villain. Everyone else is grim and emotionless. The movie starts with Judi Dench's* M character backseat driving Bond and a fellow agent during a dramatic chase and fight sequence. Bond is little more than an appendage, and a pretty small one at that as we learn throughout the movie how M has watched this or that agent die or rot in prison.
There are plenty of opportunities for the characters to let their guards down and let us get to know them, but they never do. Instead of being human, they are simply more efficient models of ourselves, running, fighting and mating with greater speed and determination than we normal humans. At no time do they display any passion.
The lack of passion made me think of Huxley's Brave New World where the rebellious characters long for a time when their bodily hungers weren't sated immediately and they felt some longing for something, anything to make them feel more alive**. As I watched Skyfall, I couldn't help thinking that was the problem with not just the movie, but the whole production crew.
Like the normal people in Brave New World, they can't comprehend anything other than sating bodily pleasures. Real passion, real longing for something or someone is alien to them because it comes from self-denial. Hollywood is the land of do-what-feels-good and the result is emotionally barren rubbish like Skyfall.
At 0:11, you can see Judi Dench, thousands of miles away, directing things by phone, telling agents when to shoot. The result is disastrous. Symbolic of our modern political system, perhaps?
There's a secondary recurring theme throughout the movie of older people who still have what it takes being shoved off the scene by young whippersnappers. It's supposed to make you sympathize with Dench and Daniel Craig, but as they are both nothing more than robotic killing, calculating and mating machines, you don't. Instead, I found myself thinking back to Sean Connery and Roger Moore who looked like they were having fun throughout their movies. In Skyfall, no one has any fun at all.
* - Love Judi Dench. Hate her as M. I know it was done for shock value - a woman controlling Bond! - but the shock has more than worn off as women are taking traditionally male roles throughout society while men take seats on couches in front of porn and video games.
** - Here's the chapter. Search on passion to find the dialog. Context: Bernard is a rebel who wants to experience life, not live it through endless sated desires. He wants to love Lenina, not simply mate with her. She's no rebel and can't see what he's on about.
Update: One of my favorite YouTube creators, Father Robert Barron, liked the movie.