Friday, January 10, 2014

10 Things That Suck About 'Skyfall'

When I saw 'Hansel and Gretel' pop up on the Instant, I was ready to shred. But then I watched it, and realized two things: 1, that it was produced by Will Ferrell, so anybody taking it seriously was missing the point big time; and 2, that I love Jeremy "Hawkeye blows, I KNOW" Renner no matter what, so any snark of mine was going to be halfhearted at best.

Instead, I'm going to go big or go home, and tell all y'all why I thought 'Skyfall,' a movie which will be at the top of all the Instant Lists for a while yet, licked grubby goat ass. Not a popular opinion, I'm aware, and my reasons are mostly petty - I mean, it's a Bond movie, what do you want, it ain't Bergman - but I've now sat through it twice (the second time to see if I was wrong) and I'm prepared for the martini shakers to be chucked at my head! (Or, whatever Bond lovers would chuck at me. Black hats? See, I know what I'm talking about!)

1. A Perfectly Good Chase Scene Ruined By VW Bugs

Bond is running after Some Guy through a bunch of tricky situations in the beginning, right? They end up clambering on top of a train which appears to be hauling a bunch of dirty tractor equipment....AND SEVERAL VW BEETLES. Lined up like Marshmallow Peeps. For some reason. On a dirty train full of dirty tractors.

Now, product placement and Bond movies are like Rob Ford and blow, or Lindsay Lohan and blow, or, uh, any other 'famous person' and blow.

I like the elegant visual mirroring of Wayne and Archer here. So I get it if there's some exec yelling "Put VW in there somehow for chrissake or my nuts will be in a sling!" Hence, we get all kinds of over-the-top product obviousness, some of which is fine because we all dig the long histories of Bond's posh Omega watch or his sex-ay Aston Martin or what have you. But this is so dumb they had to try and justify it with dialogue.

Moneypenny (almost getting taken out by cars flying everywhere): ...
Queen Elizabeth: What was that?
Moneypenny: VW Beetles, I think!


It gets even more unintentionally hylarious when Bond drives a backhoe on top of the Beetles, on top of the train. This is turning into a Richard Scarry book. What was wrong with putting the VWs somewhere else where we could admire their product placement? Like, on the road? Maybe being driven by a cute girl that Bond could drop a wink to while she's sniffing the daisy in the little flower vase mounted on the dash? It's 10 minutes into the movie and he hasn't tried to fuck anybody yet, so, that would have worked for me.

2. An Opening Title Sequence That Could Choke a Horse

Now, who doesn't like a good Bond title sequence? Communists, that's who. Usually they're fun, with lots of tits and ass and guns and shit. I actually love the one from 'Casino Royale' that's got stylish, simple graphics of cards turning into evil villains and dripping blood. Here's the ludicrous list of what's been frantically crammed into THIS sequence, however:

-Giant hands
-A sinkhole that looks like a skull and a vagina

(That's Bond penetrating the skull vagina, right? Just checking.)

-A bunch of paper gun range targets swimming around like clownfish
-Guns and knives and gravestones in an aquarium full of hair
-A picture of Bond's house Skyfall just as Adele sings "Skyfall", in case you hoped to be surprised by what Skyfall actually was
-Bond's eyeball turning into the Mines of Moria
-Bond shooting his own shadow, in case you were looking for metaphor
-A bunch of splooging blood that turns into another skull
-The inside of a gun barrel turns into a rocky vagina
-The target clownfish, now on fire, swim around some terrible 1983 CG of Chinese dragons
-A bizarre barrage of mirrored images of girls, deer, crosses, and other assorted fuckery
-Bond's grave, in case you were fooled into thinking he dies in this one
-Bond in a carny mirrored funhouse
-An apocalyptic rain of blood melting the Skyfall house
-A weird floating orange silhouette of Skeletor
-Bond peeking through a rip in the space-time continuum

Christ, all Tuesday! What the what IS all that shit? That was exhausting. Roger and I would have been happy with some tits, some ass, and some guns.

3. The Hacking Warning

When Anton Chigurh HACKS (I'm having flashes of both Angie Jolie AND Sandy Bullock here, people) into MI6, he leaves a signature that can best be described as a fawning homage to shit-tastic 80s and 90s movies about HACKING.


Hang on - this guy is a mastermind of evil who lives on an island entirely populated by giant computers and he's only capable of making a derpy-looking cut-and-paste animation of Queen Elizabeth's head turning into Terrence (or Phillip, or Ike) on top of the Union Jack with some pre-programmed Casio jams playing in the background? Nice try, Movie Makers.

4. Don't Bullshit Me About Stuff I Know Is False

After Chigurh blows up MI6 with his mad hacking skillz, Generic Agent tells Bond they have moved to new digs that used to be part of Churchill's bunker. I've been in Churchill's bunker, along with bajillions of other people, because it's a famous museum now. Nowhere in it is a vast arched space with elegantly distressed brick and lighting that looks like it belongs in a TriBeCa loft. Just...take that line of dialogue out, Movie Makers. Don't Bullshit Me About Stuff I Know Is False.

5. The Idea of Q Doing Anything In His Pajamas

Gross! New Coke-flavored Q is a patent sop to the Youngs in the audience, who of course by the time the movie came out were already tired of hipster hacker types. Toooooo slow! Brush your fucking hair before meeting with your field agent, and don't talk about your pajamas, for crying out loud. The old Q would shit himself with horror over the new Q's blase attitude. I almost prefer the chumpstain from 'XxX' who graduated MIT, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum loddie!

Postscript: hylarious that this movie is packed to the gills with 'tech,' but Q hands Bond an envelope with a plane ticket in it like it's fresh out of the travel agent's dot-matrix computer printer. Shit, my MOM uses her smartphone to have her boarding passes scanned!

6. I Can't With The Komodo Dragons

Bond goes to a floating casino that has a Komodo dragon pit in it as, presumably, a security measure, or maybe because the interior decorator saw one at Jackie Chan's place and thought it worked with the throw pillows. It's not a bad idea; Sharon Stone would concur, since Komodo dragons are mean motherfuckers who like to poison you, watch you die, then eat you. Kind of like Sharon Stone's character in 'Basic Instinct'! *weak rimshot*

So when Bond gets stuck in the dragon pit, he gets out by springboarding off the back of a digital Komodo dragon which was conceivably executed by a ninth-grader taking summer school visual effects classes at the Art Institute. It would have been nice if they'd had him do a flip and stick his landing, but oh well, you never really get what you want.

Sorry, I just really like that picture. And it's relevant enough here!

7. Computer Bullshittery Overload

As with product placement, to a certain extent, I get it with making production design work where you sometimes have to say, "Shit, just make it look cool." Not everything out there translates well in a movie, especially an action movie with explosions and tits and stuff in it that necessitates fun visuals. Real computers, unless they've been Bedazzled, are boring-looking.

But Chigurh's weird island fortress of technology is - erm - uh - well, is:

Why the shit are all those computer innards sitting on Metro shelves from Williams-Sonoma? Why would anybody working in a supercomputer fortress want to sit in one of those vintage metal soda shoppe chairs? Wouldn't they want an Aeron chair, for lumbar comfort? Why are they disassembling VCRs - do they need the parts to sell on Ebay? Who's monitoring all that shit - is everybody at lunch at the same time? How do all those computers not overload the power grid of the entire Southern Hemisphere without any fans?

And Too Cool For School Q's computer situation is as ridonk as his Monkees 'do. He plugs Queen Elizabeth's corrupted laptop into MI6 (!?! Even I know that's a bad idea!) and then he and Bond spaz out over the gargantuan screens full of EPIC TECHNOLOGY that are plastered all over the inside of Not Churchill's Bunker. Somebody get Sandy Bullock in here, or, at the very least, Lexie from Jurassic Park. She'd be able to handle this shit with one velociraptor tied behind her back, whereas Q describes the EPIC TECHNOLOGY as "trying to fight a Rubik's Cube that's fighting back." We get that you are 11, Q, but James Bond doesn't know what a Rubik's Cube is. He was too busy fucking girls to play with Rubik's Cubes.

Then, when Chigurh HACKS the system again, Q's all, "Who did this!?" before realizing that HE did it by plugging Queen Elizabeth's corrupted laptop into MI6. *facepalm* Who hired this clown?

WOPR would not be amused at this technological tomfoolery. He would declare Global Thermonuclear War just to teach these bitches a lesson.

8. Anton Chigurh's Raiders Of The Lost Ark Melty Face

Bond catches Chigurh and puts him in a giant Cone of Silence in the new MI6 digs, because of course they would have one of those lying around for any mass murderers Bond might bring by for tea. It's a lame rip-off of Hannibal Lecter's cage in 'Silence of the Lambs,' but I still give Javier Bardem props for trying to do the best he can with the warmed-over side of grits version of Lecter he's going for in this movie. Then, in a deeply comedic moment that's obviously supposed to be ERMAHGERD SCERRRY, Chigurh takes out his upper teefs like he's preparing to suck on a Werther's Original and half of his entire face goes droopsters like the Nazi who looked inside the Ark of the Covenant, hoping for a pot o' gold and instead finding some really pissed-off ghosts. Naughty, bad Nazi!

I love that Chigurh's eyeball and janky Chiclet teefs start floating around like they're being wiggled by a joystick. Jesus, what were those false teef holding up in there!? He can afford his own island but he can't afford reconstructive surgery?

9. I Also Can't With M MacGyvering Weapons

It's simply undignified, people.

Bond and M escape to Skyfall, which is out in the sticks in Scotland. Scottish Cooter, the Olden Tymey caretaker who walks around in wellies with a rifle all the time because that's what everyone in Scotland does, helps Bond and M MacGyver up a bunch of booby traps for when Chigurh shows up. There is literally a Gettin' It Together (TM) montage where M makes grenades out of lightbulbs at the dining room table like she's shelling peas for Sunday dinner.

Okay, it's supposed to be a siege, fine, outmanned and outgunned, right? But are you asking me to believe that that Aston Martin - which has machine guns built into it, remember - doesn't have a boot full of badass weaponry to use in a pinch? I have handier shit in the bugout bag in the back of my car! And here's Bond making M build weapons for him! She should be sitting around drinking Scottish Cooter's best Laphroaig with her feet up and a blankie over her lap. Nobody makes M do ANYTHING, she is the HBIC!

10. Not Enough Cunnilingus Jokes

IMHO this is the weakest entry in all the Bond films with regards to the pussy Bond gets. The bulk of the relationship situation here is supposed to be about his (M)ommy issues (SNORE), but still, Bond's always been able to work a quality fuck in here and there! This time he makes it with some random lady on the beach for 5 seconds and he makes it with the hot casino prostitute for 5 seconds, but we don't give a crap about either encounter - they aren't fun and the sex-ay-time banter is either weak or nonexistent. He doesn't even drop his towel when Moneypenny shows up in his hotel room! Lazy, Bond, just - lazy!

Isn't that how it's supposed to go? Boo, you whore!

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