January has been a surprisingly quiet month for us fans. Quiet not in absolute terms – just take a look at the wildly exciting speculation about all six Bond actors possibly showing up at the Oscar ceremony, the guessing game around this event’s Bond tribute and the five nominations for the Academy Awards – but quiet in a post-coital sort of way; a deeply satisfied, warm, lush and drowsy dampness after a major climax in the eventful history of Her Majesty’s favourite parachute escort. It borders on melancholy and one would like to turn back time and live through it all again.
Not that everybody was downright ecstatic about ‘Skyfall’. Yet it’s hardly overstated to claim the film has met with an overall very favourable reception by audience and critics alike.
As often is the case with this kind of ‘event’ productions numerous public figures seized the opportunity to delve into the – for most of them – foreign realm of film criticism and give their own opinion, often with entertaining results. One of the more illustrious figures to weigh in was none other than Sebastian Faulks himself, a favourite with British literary critics and ennobled by a fate which chose him to pen 2008’s ‘Devil May Care’, a Bond continuation novel tasked with commemorating the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, written “as” Ian Fleming and, in so doing, giving us Bond playing tennis, a Bond girl masquerading as a sex-slave heroin addict, death by administration of paddlesteamer and M doing yoga.
Mr Faulks delivered his opinion on ‘Skyfall’ together with his up-to-then-missing verdict upon ‘Quantum of Solace’, and for good measure provided readers with his professional insights into Ian Fleming’s literary character; all in a day’s work. A buy-one/get-three sort of deal; we are sure you can acquire ‘Devil May Care’ in such an arrangement, should the fancy take you. The resulting critique embraced such a revealing nature that it went a long way towards explaining – perhaps unwittingly – some fundamental misconceptions about both film and book Bond; though on whose side, one comments not.
However, Mr Faulks succeeded in making it into the headlines of The Telegraph and – never miss a good rehash; I know what I’m talking about – the Daily Mail. Further January headlines concerned themselves with the case of brutal butchering ‘Skyfall’ underwent at the hands of Chinese censors in order to gain access to Chinese theatres. The chopped version omits a few tiny details that weren’t deemed worthy of amusing the audiences under protection of the PRC. We were so very not-amused about this revelation.
Though on closer inspection the mutual outcry indeed seems a bit hard to understand. ‘Skyfall’ shares its fate with the likes of ‘MIB3’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and countless other productions I can’t be bothered to list here. It would have been much more of a sensation had the film made it to China’s cinemas without any cuts and changes.
A different sort of ‘Skyfall’ review was provided by cartoon artist, writer and illustrator Josh Edelglass, creator of the film parody web comic MotionPicturesComics.com. In January he finished a six-week run covering ‘Skyfall’. Premise of his web-comic series are a boy and his robot jumping into various films and commenting on the spectacle in tongue-in-cheek manner reminiscent of movie parodies in MAD magazine tradition . His take on ‘Skyfall’ can be found here.
Finally Jason Whiton’s fanblog Spyvibe rediscovered a piece of surviving Fleming trivia on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs website. The programme featured prominent figures in interviews with host Roy Plomley, discussing the show’s premise of which records to have with you on a desert island. Fleming was Plomley’s guest for an August 1963 broadcast, of which just short of 10 minutes can be heard. Intriguing stuff indeed.
Worth another shot will return… in March.