Knee-jerk review: "Skyfall"

* Casino Royale is still the best Daniel Craig Bond movie.
* The first 90 minutes here are dynamite... so we thought Casino Royale was about to be dethroned, but then the movie takes a very odd detour for the climax.  It's somewhat unsatisfying, even if it makes sense from a thematic perspective.
* Real men do scorpion shots.
* Albert Finney?  Seriously?  It's like he's walking in from some other movie.  Worse, it's like he's walking in from some other movie parody.
* We love movies where there's a footchase through crowds of people.  Nothing cooler than a hero shoving aside clueless bystanders as he's sprinting past.
* Our fellow moviegoer made the point that the Craig movies are steeped in psychology.  Which is precisely the point, post-Jason Bourne.  This is not your father's empty-headed spy caper.  This "blunt instrument" Bond has angst.  Indeed, this movie's exploration of the M/Bond surrogate mother/son relationship adds a nice layer of emotion we weren't expecting.
* Yeah, the Adele heme song is good.  But let's all back away from the suggestion that it's the best Bond song ever.  "Live and Let Die" owns that title until ever.
* Komodo dragon fu.
* That is one disgusting rat story.
* Ralph Fiennes is always a welcome presence.
* The idea of a broken-down James Bond was explored sort-of in Die Another Day when Pierce Brosnan languished in a North Korean prison, but it's taken to more plausible, dramatic extremes here.
* Aston Martin fu.  (With some much appreciated Goldfinger references.)
* Always good when the villain seems rational and logical in his villainous thinking, rather than deranged and irrational.  Helps also, of course, that Javier Bardem is playing him.
* It's a long-standing Bond film tradition: one of the pretty actresses you've never heard of gets killed by the villain midway through to prove that he's ruthless and evil.  Look it up.  Just about every Bond movie follows this model.
* We also love movies set in the sleek, glass-and-neon cityscapes of Asia.  The Shanghai sequence here is beautiful to look at.  Like a manga.
* "Take the bloody shot."
* Cool title.  Lame in-movie explanation for the title, however.
* Miss Moneypenny was never that hot.  We like.
* When we heard there's a big third act twist, we had an idea what would happen.  We were right.
* Does this mean Bond grew up with money?  Is that part of the Ian Fleming canon?
* For the record, Quantum of Solace, to us, seems unfairly denigrated by fans and critics.  It's not that bad.  Victim of the last big writer's strike.
* James Bond's hobby is "resurrection."  What a cool line.
* Worth seeing, yes.

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