3:48 PM CST, November 15, 2012
First of all, let me say: Love the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall.” Love D-Craig as a bitter, narcissistic, outdated, substance-abusing Bond. Love Bardem as the villain. Love the babes, especially some woman named Berenice Marlohe who I'm going to leave the future Mrs. Markley for. Love stuff blowing up.
And let’s face it, the only measure of a good Bond movie is a pretty simple equation of babes + villain x car chases. Who cares what it’s about?
Nevertheless, in watching “Skyfall” I kept getting this weird feeling that I’d seen almost every component of it in several other films, which led me to think that the screenplay to “Skyfall” was the product of some kind of crowdsourcing. I’ve definitely identified two components for sure, but I’d love to hear from anyone who picked up on others.
[Warning: spoilers ahead, but, I mean, it’s a Bond flick, so what do you care? How is it possible to spoil it? If I tell you the helicopter crashes into the house at the end, will you really be surprised? Would you watch the helicopter come onscreen after seeing James Bond find some dynamite that he doesn’t know how to use in this particular situation and not say to yourself, “Oh, he’s going to set that dynamite on some propane tanks to blow up the house and send rubble spewing into the blades of the helicopter.” Would you really not?]
First of all, instead of the secret Russian satellite program as I expected, Skyfall turns out to be the childhood estate of one James Bond where apparently his parents were killed. Therefore, Skyfall is simultaneously his Rosebud and his creation myth.
Oh, and were we talking about creation myths? Because rich, dead parents are not the only thing he has in common with Batman. Javier Bardem’s villain (Mr. Silver or something—who was paying that much attention) is basically like a gay version of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Don’t get me wrong, I totally loved it, but he even has the grotesque facial injury.
This plays into the plot when Silver purposefully allows himself to be apprehended and then has like a 27-point escape plan that includes Joker-esque near-psychic forward-thinking. Does this sound familiar at all? It’s like the “Skyfall” screenwriters just cribbed the entire second act of “The Dark Knight.”
Oh, and the bio-metrically enabled gun that can only fire when the hero is holding it? Ever seen a little Sly Stallone/ Rob Schneider classic called "Judge Dredd"!
Then there are other elements that I know I’ve seen elsewhere while not quite being able to pinpoint a specific film. The low-tech showdown in a run-down old mansion with booby-trapped floorboards and light fixtures? The avuncular landlord played by Albert Finny guarding that estate with a shotgun? The komodo dragons eating an Asian bad guy? Shit! I know that’s happened in something I’ve seen (Maybe “Lincoln”?).
Help me out, movie people. Let’s reconstruct the entire “Skyfall” screenplay based on what its writers borrowed from other movies.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC