Being fifty-something, I love when a movie “speaks” to me.
You know … when the screenplay contains so many elements you love and connect with that it feels a little like the writer and director reached inside your head, plucked your favourite things and wrapped them in a brown paper packaged movie (tied up with string).
… when you legitimately forget where you are (for just a moment)
… when the cinema narrows and feels like it’s just you and the story.
I haven’t come to expect that from a Bond movie, even though I’ve always enjoyed the action, the glamour and the brilliant cinematography. With Skyfall, I got much more than I anticipated.
Beneath the omnipresent good versus evil premise was a sub-plot posing a topical-to-me question about M, Bond’s female “boss” played by Dame Judi Dench. Had she passed her use-by-date? Could she still cut it in the tough world of international espionage?
Very relevant questions for fifty-something boomers and midlifers, methinks.
How affirming that pouting Daniel Craig (I mean James Bond) deems M worthy of fighting for, indeed worthy of risking his life for.
The Bond movie action moves from the rooftops of Istanbul’s bazaars, to London to one of my favourite locations … the barren highlands of Scotland, complete with a bleak stone mansion reminiscent of Wuthering Heights.
I haven’t travelled much at all but if I had just one golden ticket left, I’d more than likely choose to revisit Scotland, where you can feel the history and tradition in the very ground on which you walk … and, if you listen really carefully, hear Mel Gibson, (I mean William Wallace) imploring: “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
And then came the deal-closer-for-me in this latest of the Bond franchise offerings … my favourite quote from a favourite poem.
During a climactic scene characterised by fast cut-and-shut editing, Dame Judi delivered the following excerpt from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s epic Ulysses:
“One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Rapid intake of breath.
I may have lip-synced the piece along with Judi.
Hell, I may have echoed the words out loud. Right there in the theatre. Just because I could.
I studied that poem in my final year of high school and credit it with opening my mind to the power of words. I have carried that quote close with me ever since. The strength and simplicity of that final line fascinates me.
And now, thanks to a collection of my favourite things, so do Bond movies.
Then the kicker (there’s always a kicker) … with the final credits a logo popped up celebrating “50 Years of Bond”.
Now I get it. Bond is fifty-something. We have a special affinity. That’s why we feel so close.
And I haven’t even mentioned Adele’s singing, or the dreamy new Q or the cameo by Bond’s original Aston Martin.
Bond movie marathon anyone?