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Wendy Bradley Headshot

The Other Half of the Skyfall

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First of all, don't read this if you haven't already seen Skyfall, the new Bond movie. No, seriously, off you go - bookmark it to come back to after you've been to the cinema. You'll thank me later.

Sam Mendes, of course, is welcome to read this whenever he likes.

Dear Sam Mendes, then, can I just say: thank you. Thank you for a Bond movie - finally! - that I'm not embarrassed to have enjoyed. Thank you for forgetting to include the naked chicks writhing in silhouette in the titles. Thank you for giving the women names like Eve and Severine instead of Pussy Galore and Xenia Onatopp. Thank you for making a film that behaves as if it thought women were people too. I loved it, and I loved that I didn't have to feel embarrassed or ashamed for loving it, and that you remembered that women watch Bond movies too, and you didn't address the audience as if they were all and only teenage boys. I'm not claiming it's any kind of feminist classic, and I'm not claiming it would be a better movie if it were a feminist classic. It's a romp, a piece of fun; but all the more fun for the twenty-first century sensibility behind it. I'm not sure it quite passes the Bechdel Test, though (where you look at whether a film has two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man). There were two women talking, right enough - but does it count if it's over a radio, and if they're not talking about the man but about, well, shooting the man? I think the jury's out on that one.

I still have three questions, though, so - if you're still reading, Sam - I'd be interested in your thinking.

First of all - the ejector seat? Whatever happened to Chekhov's gun? You have bad guys arriving by helicopter, you have gas cylinders ready to be used as bombs, and you have already established that the vintage Bond car still has the ejector seat, because you've pointedly had Bond threaten to press the button and eject M from the car. Can I be the only person who was waiting for a good old-fashioned Bond special effect where he used the ejector seat to fire the gas cylinders at the helicopter? Seriously, why not: after all, Rambo brought down a helicopter with a rock! I thought perhaps you were trying to subvert audience expectations by not doing that... but, if so, no. I still feel a bit cheated, to be honest.

Secondly - where was M's gun? You'd already referenced Reichenbach, Bourne and Speed and were rapidly heading towards the A Team - what harm would there have been in going by way of Raiders of the Lost Ark? That whole scene in the parliamentary sub-committee room would have been much more fun if M had taken a big old pistol out of her handbag and put a bullet through the first bad guy through the door like Indy did to the guy with the whip. I could have forgiven you the damsel in distress stuff and believed she needed to be ushered to a place of safety if you'd just let her knee someone in the balls first. I mean, come on, Judy Dench is awesome, Judy Dench's M is even more awesome, but you didn't give her even one scene of awesomeness. Wasted opportunity, sorry.

Final question. Adele's title track. Awesome tune, terrible earworm, I'm still singing it in my head two days after seeing the film. But why - why, lord, why! - did you let her rhyme 'skyfall' with 'crumble'? 'Let the sky fall, when it crumb-aaaalllls, we will stand taaaaal....'