Thursday, November 15, 2012

Age and Treachery


At the core of the conflict within Skyfall is age versus youth, treachery versus skill. Silva's near-Oedipal obsession with M pits his (relative) youth and skill against her cunning and experience. Bond's first encounter with the new Q goes less dramatically but highlights the same issues. Q brags that he could do more damage with his laptop while wearing his pajamas than Bond could do in a year of field work. Bond ultimately reminds Q that judgment--a singularly human capability--is the most important element.

Skyfall is not a reboot of the franchise as much as it is a return to its core values. We are left with Eve Moneypenny, the bloom of youth whose inexperience in the field nearly killed Bond; Q, the consummately skilled technician whose poor judgment permits Silva to access MI6's computer network; Malory, the new M, who though younger than 's M has seen his share of treachery at the hands of the Irish Republican Army; and Bond himself, the figure at the crossroads whose youthful skills have now become experienced judgment in the exercise of treachery--all in the service of Her Majesty, of course.

Skyfall permits Bond to mature, and in so doing, it extends the franchise even farther away from its supervillain, planet-destroying past. The supervillain of today is the lone wolf, the small group, the sleeper cell. I, for one, bid the Moonrakers of the past goodbye as I greet this Bond with warmth and regard. 

Here's to age and treachery. 

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