Friday, February 15, 2013
Oh, James! A Skyfall Critique
I love me some James Bond movies. About this time every winter, I'll drag out the collection and watch 'em all--well, most of 'em, because some are shite! (but let's not throw the tiny-swimsuit-clad Connery or Craig Bond out with the bath water!)
This is not to say, though, that they are flawless films, particularly from a quasi-feminist perspective. (I say quasi- because I think that feminist parlance is sometimes at odds with My Jerk Self).
There are some very distressing constructions of womanhood in Bond books and films. Some Bond ladies are positively irritating with their inability to do anything for themselves but shriek. (I'm lookin' at you, Tanya Roberts!) But one Bond dame I adore is M, Judi Dench.
And so it was with Exceedingly Heavy Heart that I watched her DIE (!!!) at the end of Skyfall! I expected M to smart-assedly dodge death, or to have Bond save her, and they bloody well killed her off! They pushed my beloved Dame J down a figurative flight of stairs to make way for he who shall not be named to take over the role!
The film makes it clear that all the officious parliamentary turdlets thinks that she's too old to do her job; that times have changed; that she should retire. So why did the writers deny her that dignity? I have no idea if Dench wanted out of the franchise, but from my quasi-feminist stoop, I can't help but think that if they were retiring a Man M for another Man M, he would have had a respectful send off with bagpipes and verklempt old dudes raising toasts to his good health. M's character was no more or less a dick than anyone else in the 007 spy biz, and she deserved better.