We drove to Lubbock yesterday to see the latest James Bond installment, Skyfall, and to check out the new Premiere Cinema theater that has recently opened at South Plains Mall.
The theater is one of these new types that has a bar and restaurant in the lobby, and patrons can eat or drink there or eat and drink while watching the movie. I was expecting that the seating arrangement for watching the movie would somehow have tables and chairs to accommodate the eating part, and I imagined waiters delivering food to your table. Silly me. I was told you could order from the menu and take it in with you, or order and be given one of those little lighted buzzer things that would alert you when you order was ready and someone would meet you at the door with your food, which you would then take back to your seat and eat. Oh, yeah, like I am going to want to walk into a darkened theater and climb over people to get back to my seat, all the while balancing food and drink without dumping it into some poor person’s lap. And eating in the dark? Eating popcorn is one thing. One dish listed on the menu is a Chihuahua sandwich, also known as a Chihuahua burger at the Lamesa drive-in where, as far as I know, it was invented, which involves fried corn tortillas, pimento cheese, chili, and shredded cabbage, which, I guarantee, you don’t want to eat in the dark. Well, unless you don’t mind leaving with chili juice stains from your hands to your elbows and all over the front of your shirt and your chin. And by the way, those who have never eaten a Chihuahua sandwich think it sounds gross, but it really is good. You should try one. Just not in the dark.
We chose not to indulge in any refreshments and just watched the show, which started with the pre-requisite improbable and implausible James Bond chase scene which was too long but well done, which ended with him falling off the top of a moving train a couple of three hundred feet down into a river and then down a waterfall which dropped him into the other required James Bond opening, the beginning credits montage with theme song accompaniment, this go-round provided by Adele, the new singing sensation from England. Fitting, no doubt, since we are dealing with British spies and all.
Diehard 007 fans will not be disappointed. He miraculously lives to die another day more times than you can count, gets the girl, well, sort of, goes to exotic and mysterious locations like Istanbul, Shanghai, Scotland, and proper old England, and drinks his martini shaken, not stirred. And what about that business with Heineken beer? From all the early advertising, I expected him to be quaffing beer from a green bottle all night. As far as I counted, there is one scene with a beer. Whatever.
The rest of the movie is tons of cars, buildings, street vendors, London’s Tube(underground) trains, and other stuff I’ve probably forgotten, since I didn’t take my notebook with me, smashed and demolished, numerous unexplained plot connections, lots of bad guys killed, some good guys killed, the continuation of historical Bond characters-think Q and Moneypenny, a few allusions to classic Bond trivia that will be lost on today’s younger audience, and even one textbook example of foreshadowing and irony involving a weapon. As a former English teacher, I enjoyed that.
I think the last third of the movie is the best, which also happens to delve into Bond’s background and early life (and shows his emotional side) when he and M travel to Scotland in-spoiler alert-James’ original Aston Martin that had been safely tucked away all these years, thus providing another one of those implausible plot twists. I mean, what are the chances of a car in cold storage having aired up tires, a full gas tank, and a charged battery so they could go on their merry way without a stop for petrol? But one mustn’t dwell on reality when traveling with James Bond, right?
The aerial nighttime shots of Shanghai are breathtaking, the rooftops scenes of Istanbul and London are engaging, Javier Bardem is the appropriately menacing and diabolical villain, and the action is non-stop. On the other hand, I found the dialogue hard to hear and understand at times, I grew weary of yet another bang-up pile-up of demolished stuff and guns that always magically never ran out of bullets and always hit their targets, well, when James was shooting, anyway. Oh, but on the train he did have a gun that was useless against the bad guy’s gun that had an unlimited supply of bullets. The movie is about 30 minutes too long and much more serious than the first generation Bond movies.
David Blaustein from Good Morning America says that Daniel Craig “becomes the best James Bond there ever was” based on the merits of this one movie. I’m not so sure. But then of course I am of the older Bond generation and for me Sean Connery will always be 007. Daniel Craig seems to have perpetually pursed lips and a grim expression that gets a little old.
But, hey, it’s a bang ‘em up, smash ‘em up good versus evil romp with glamorous people in exotic settings, and you can even have food right there in your lap. What a deal!
Oh, I have to leave you with this little tidbit. I am one of those people who likes to stay after the movie, read the credits and listen to the music. Bill is not. He chose to hit the restroom while I read where they made the movie and marvel at how many people it takes to make a movie. The unemployment rate in Hollywood must surely be the lowest in America. Anyway, I am the only person left when the lights come up, and I am walking to the door when two young men are coming in to do the cleaning. The first one sees me, grins, and says, deadpan, “ Your husband is waitin’ for ya.”
I laughed, walked down the hall, and we left.