Some initial thoughts on the Skyfall trailer

Back in May when the Skyfall teaser trailer was released I felt rather disappointed, rather at odds with much of the James Bond fan base, who were overwhelmingly positive about it.

However, the new trailer gives us much more to go on and my reservations of the time have now been replaced with something much more positive, so here I’m going to take a look at the thoughts that come to mind.

Spoiler alert: some of my comments below may be considered spoilers. Don’t read on if you don’t want to know!

First of all there is the look of the trailer, and in fact that was one of the positives about the teaser trailer too. The cinematography by Roger Deakins looks outstanding; the digital photography looks crisp, but at the same time it seems to have a warm classic look too. That’s something that I also feel that Casino Royale achieved – although that film was shot on celluloid – but was sadly lacking in the follow-up, Quantum of Solace.

The international version of the trailer is slightly different to the US version although they are within two seconds each other in run time; the international version starts with M apparently writing at the obituary of Bond, while this comes later in the US version for some reason.

Anybody who is familiar with the novels will recognise this is a plot device used by Ian Fleming in You Only Live Twice (and continued in his last novel, The Man With The Golden Gun) and what we can see written by M matches the text from the former almost word for word.

In fact as it went on I felt that the trailer looked rather like The Man With The Golden Gun, although there isn’t really much substantial to go on to give that idea having watched it several times; Javier Bardem with a pistol, perhaps, but it certainly seems that Skyfall is unlikely to follow the beginning of The Man With The Golden Gun due to the way in which 007 introduces himself to M.

There is perhaps slightly too much emphasis on action rather than story, but that’s something we’ve become used to the more recent James on films anyway and something that they are unlikely to change. However, Javier Bardem’s character looks weird with his blond wig – in fact he looks positively strange, and rather artificial – and he reminds me of Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) in A View To A Kill crossed with Dominic Green from Quantum of Solace, especially when he says to Bond: “Mummy was very bad”. And the new Q is far too young and geeky, although I’m glad that they haven’t tried to replace Desmond Llewelyn with a clone.

The other thing that I think you can pick up from the trailer is that Bardem appears to be one of the agents that was put at risk after the loss of the hard drive, when he tells Bond: “The two survivors. This is what she made us.”

The trailer does use a version of the James Bond theme which I think adds to the atmosphere, rather than the electronic grunge sound on the teaser, and anyone missed “Bond, James Bond” in Quantum of Solace won’t be disappointed. I don’t like James Bond with the beard, but I’ll have to live with it; and believe these are the first scenes released where James Bond is AWOL and sitting in a bar playing a drinking game involving scorpions.

I was a little surprised to see how little of the Aston Martin DB5 appeared but I can wait, no problem, and the shot of the sailing boat was rather reminiscent of when Bond and Vesper sailed to Venice in Casino Royale; I don’t know if that was done deliberately.

All in all I think we’re shaping up for what could be an good James Bond film again – I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed. Let me know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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6 Responses to “Some initial thoughts on the Skyfall trailer”

  • Raul Martinez

    That’s just the problem, I’m afraid–more of the same. In this fan’s opinion the ‘reboot’ was a gross mistake, & they need to ‘reboot’ back to how the franchise was before ‘Casino Royale’. Bond needs to be ‘the ultimate wish-fulfillment figure’ once more; they need to bring back the gadgets, the larger-than-life villains bent on world domination, the humor & all the far-fetched elements that made the series so distinctive. For the record, Bond was NEVER portrayed as a loose-cannon borderline psychotic rogue agent–the way he’s portrayed now– in ANY of the Fleming novels or the movies for that matter.

  • M

    Thanks for the comment Raul. If they had rebooted the series and made Quantum of Solace I’d agree with you. However, Casino Royale, whether you agree or not, was the most popular 007 film for a long time and the majority of Bond fans and general cinema goers preferred it to the tired style of the Pierce Brosnan movies.

    You’re right, Bond was mostly never portrayed as a loose cannon pyscho (apart from after some brainwashing from the Russians), but he was never portrayed as a comedy figure either. In fact there are lots of things that he’s become in the films in his various incarnations that he was not in the books.

    But, however much you or I may wish for a return to Ian Fleming, it’s not going to happen. The film series has seen Bond take on a new life that has been updated numerous times and will be again and again if he’s to stay relevant to audiences.

  • Peter Yeh

    Very interesting thought.
    Great answer!

  • Raul Martinez

    Touche. Although I myself HATED both ‘Casino Royale’ & its sequel ‘Quantum of Solace'(which, by the way, bears little or no resemblance to the brilliant short story on which it’s based)I concur that a great many liked them. But I know I can’t be alone in this. So how about it? Show of hands–any Bond fans out there that CAN’T STAND the current ‘re-booted’ 007?

  • Largo1

    Well, Casino Royale the novel was a much better story, but what can we expect? Bond has survived script writers, directors, actor interpretations, and the worst ever, Quantum of Solace. Now he needs new elements, part of the Quantum failure was a boring rehash. Craig is the best actor to play the part, not the best “character”, Connery, but the best actor.

  • Raul Martinez

    Hear ya, Emilio Largo. But you shouldn’t have ordered your henchmen to toss that poor guy in the shark pool–that was none too nice! Anyway, I think Brosnan’s done the best job of all as Bond. You can tell he did his homework, i.e., studied all the novels & such. Everybody raves about Connery, but to my mind he was just shooting from the hip !