Skyfall trailer analysis

Feature Mark Harrison 1 Aug 2012 - 14:16

The latest trailer for Skyfall landed yesterday, so what have we learned? Resident Bond expert Mark’s been having a look...

A couple of months ago, we got the first teaser for the 23rd James Bond adventure, Skyfall, and it didn't go far beyond teasing. Yesterday, we caught a look at the new international trailer - many of the tantalising shots seen in the previous promo were repeated, and given greater context in the over-arcing plot.

Without a sky-diving monarch in sight, let's explore the secrets of the latest Skyfall trailer.

You only live thrice

The biggest surprise in this trailer was already wrecked by the increasingly annoying trend of releasing teasers for trailers online. M orders Naomi Harris' field agent, Eve, to shoot Bond as he fights a foe atop a moving train. Eve obliges, and 007 seemingly falls to his watery grave. We already saw the shocking opening, on Monday, however sobering it may be, to see M typing up Bond's obituary before this sequence is shown in the trailer proper.

Still, if you've never, ever seen a James Bond movie before, you might think he really is a goner. To the initiated, it's reminiscent of You Only Live Twice, which memorably begins with MI6 faking 007's death in order to restore his effectiveness as a secret agent. As we speculated when we saw the row of Union Flagged coffins in the teaser, it seems as though the other 00 agents are less spry than Bond when it comes to avoiding certain death.

After a brief flash of Bond “enjoying death” in a seedy bar, he's back on duty, sneaking up on M in her home. Ralph Fiennes' Mallory is surprised that Bond is back, asking why he didn't just stay off reservation and admit defeat. As he misses a target in MI6's shooting range, Bond looks like he has some way to go before he's back at the top of his game; Craig's portrayal has always been less unflappable than his predecessors, and this could get very interesting.

“Think On Your Sins”

We also learn more about the film's plot from this trailer, specifically that M's much-speculated indiscretion involved a “judgement call” that resulted in the loss of some very important information - the names of every field agent working undercover. This information goes public, in a YouTube video, and we're guessing that leak directly leads to the line of coffins.

Leading the charge against M is Silva, (Javier Bardem) who features prominently throughout the trailer. Following his Oscar-winning turn as Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, Bardem once again puts his hair on the line, this time to play a nasty, bleach-blond terrorist who antagonises Bond and MI6. He sees them as old-fashioned, and chastises M's deployment of Bond after the earlier events. “Mommy was very bad,” he asserts.

If we can presume that he's behind the YouTube leak, then his final message, “Think On Your Sins”, could bode ill for M. Ever since the first synopsis was released, it's been said that M will be more central in Skyfall. With Judi Dench having played M since 1995's GoldenEye, even surviving a complete reboot of the series, perhaps this is being built as an endgame for Bond's stalwart boss?

A new quartermaster

One of our favourite parts of this trailer is our first glimpse of the new Q, played by Ben Whishaw. Meeting Bond in a gallery, he provides him with a gun that is coded exclusively to his palm print, recalling a very similar gadget that appeared in Licence To Kill. With Q Branch having been absent in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, it's exciting to see the new dynamic between Bond and Q.

Although Desmond Llewellyn defined the role over the course of 19 films, the series had the opportunity to introduce a younger Q once before. When Llewellyn retired, making his farewell in The World Is Not Enough, we were given John Cleese as his replacement, who carried on into Die Another Day. Cleese had zero chemistry with Pierce Brosnan, and was burdened by some bloody awful dialogue over the course of his two cameo appearances.

With a Q who is younger than Bond, there's real opportunity. While Bond is much cooler than Q, as it always was, it feels fresh to have a whippersnapper who can boss 007 around. It's not glimpsed in this trailer, but we liked the description of Whishaw's dialogue from the Comic Con teaser, in which he primly informs Craig that he can do more damage with his laptop in an hour than Bond can do with a whole year in the field. Given how there's no beating Llewellyn, why not mix things up in much the same way as Bond and M have been reinvigorated over the years?

How much do you know about fear?

On the darker side, the usual wham-bam that you expect from a James Bond film is present and correct, and it looks like Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins have done a terrific job of shooting it. There's also far more oomph put into Silva as a villain. After the underwhelming Dominic Greene in Quantum Of Solace, they had to compensate, and it seems like they might be on the right track. If nothing else, Bérénice Marlohe's Sévérine seems very afraid of him, judging by her chat with Bond.

Not to overstate a point, but we're really curious about his connection with M. There's an intriguing shot in the middle of the trailer where he's in a transparent holding cell, like Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs, and he goads M, while Bond is present, by saying “The two survivors. This is what you made us.” We're left in the dark about that one, but we like the idea of a villain who can really get under the skin of our hero and his allies.

We're missing a good henchman though. Let's not forget that Greene's sickeningly unmemorable lackey, Elvis, must also be atoned for. If we can have Q in this one, why not some henchmen with deformities that are more like superpowers? A Jaws or an Oddjob would not be entirely unwelcome, right?

Off the cuff

Our other favourite moment of the trailer should be immediately obvious: the scene with the JCB and the train. The digger takes a massive chunk out of the back of a moving train carriage, just as Bond jumps inside. He lands on his feet, regains his footing and immediately attends to his shirt cuff before moving on. Between his teething troubles in Casino Royale and the uber-serious tone of Quantum Of Solace, we haven't seen a lot of Craig doing this more cheeky brand of Bond swagger, but we like it a lot.

In fact, it brings us to a point that we've noticed: when you look back at the previous Bonds, it tends to take an actor two films before they perfect their portrayal in their third outing. George Lazenby never got there, and Timothy Dalton arguably perfected it in both of his turns in the role, but look at Sean Connery in Goldfinger. Then there's Roger Moore, in The Spy Who Loved Me; on the DVD commentary, he acknowledges that film as his best as Bond.

Even Brosnan, in The World Is Not Enough, gets something of an unfair drubbing, given how it's his most distinctive take on the character. Aside from the absurdity of Denise Richards' nuclear scientist character, and a bit of hokey dialogue here and there, the film itself is a cracking mix between the post-modern angle they were going for in the 1990s, and the Moore-era slapstick and comedy.

In this writer's opinion, each of those aspects served to undermine certain parts of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, respectively, before going completely stupid in Die Another Day, but The World Is Not Enough was the film where the balance worked very well indeed. It also has a larger-than-usual role for M, and that one bit where Brosnan straightens his tie underwater, which is what the cuff moment in this new trailer first called to mind.

This film does look far moodier, but if it means that Daniel Craig's third outing will consolidate the good, serious stuff from Casino Royale, as well as bringing back old elements like Q and the sense of humour, we're definitely up for a bit of The World Is Not Enough in our Skyfall.

What were your favourite parts of the new trailer? Are you looking forward to this one? And are we completely off the mark in our appreciation of The World Is Not Enough? Share your thoughts below.

Skyfall is released in cinemas, and on IMAX, on October 26th.

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I didn't notice the lack of a henchman in the trailer, but that really doesn't bother me, because not every Bond villain needs a henchman. If anything sometimes it's better if there isn't one, because it means you can focus more on the character of the villain and let them do all the dirty work, instead of leaving it to the henchman. So I welcome the fact that Silva doesn't have one, as no doubt he'd loose his menace if he did have one.

The one thing that really came through on the trailer for me though is how it seems we're getting back to classic Bond, instead of the serious tone from Craig's first two films. Even as someone who liked the more serious approach (from Casino Royale more than QoS) every time I see those two films I always feel there's something missing, so it'll be so refreshing to see DC in a classic style Bond film.

I really hope Skyfall reassures and convinces Daniel Craig doubters and haters that he is right for the role and that Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace was purely about Bond's beginnings, hence the difference in tone. But what we've seen so far seems to indicate it will do just that.

Аhem! The "JCB" is actually a CAT 320D (obviously) excavator! Please continue!

Just a quick note. Desmond Llewellyn didn't "retire" from the role following The World Is Not Enough, he was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident, hence the replacement with John Cleese in Die Another Day. I would've expected a Bond expert to know this!

Surely he'd already retired from the role at this point though, taking himself out of it when he disappears into the floor looking whistfully up at Bond? Open to interpretation I suppose.

Llewellyn said not long before his death that he actually had no plans to retire and that it was just written into the script for his character. Presumably at the stage they thought it was time to introduce a new Q given
Llewellyn was in his mid-late 80s at the stage.

There was a special trailer for it before the Dark Knight Rises at the imax I was at yesterday, the bits with Q were great there were some very cool exchanges between them ("I can do more damage in my pajamas on a laptop than you can in a year in the field"), its definitely looking like things are back on track after Quantum of Solace.

Obviously! Thanks for the comment. :)

Skyfall isn't a film. It's a mashup. You Only Live Twice + The World Is Not Enough + Goldeneye + Mission Impossible + Mission Impossible 2 = Skyfall.

Jacket bardem reminds me of zorin /Christopher walken

Oops should be javier bloody spellcheck

If you want to be sure of enjoying a Bond film, always watch Die Another Day first. It is so gut twistingly awful that anything that comes after is a joy. It really is an absolutely septic, soul eradicating piece of rotting matter. Punch yourself violently in the face instead, you'll reap more reward.
But I quite like the other Brosnan ones, they're just the right side of cheesy and rather entertaining. In fact most of them manage to be excellent fun! Yes ma'am!

I got the impression, from the trailer, that Bardem's villain was, like Bond, another spy who fell foul of M's data loss - but where Bond came back good, Bardem came back bad. I may have misinterpreted it, but that's how it seemed to me.

Not to necessarily disagree, but are we sure that M orders Eve to shoot Bond? What if she was trying to shoot the other man on the train and hit Bond instead? The fact that she doesn't seem surprised later on when he shows up could be due to her trying to keep her cool, and it's not like he didn't do it before in Casino Royale.

He still aint Bond!

Hey, it's not necessarily disagreeing- we're both going off of a trailer, after all, and it's very much open to interpretation. This is also very possible, but I got a You Only Live Twice vibe from it- if other agents are compromised and dropping like flies, perhaps Bond's death is staged for the world in order to make him more effective in investigating afterwards? Looking forward to finding out either way. Thanks for the comment :)

Says the guy with a picture of the actor that hasn't played The Doctor in 32 years...... lol

Yeah, plus, as I've been going off the US Domestic trailer, the order of scenes are slightly moved around so it really can be interpreted differently-there's definitely a "rushed" feeling to the US one, making it seem like the train sequence is a hurried plan to recover the data and might not have been all planned.

Yay for Q! 'Bout time we got another too-cool-for-school nerd in our popcorn action.

Get over it, he's been Bond for 6 years, 7 if you count from the time of his announcement, that just as long as Brosnan was in the role. He's made his stamp on the series and critically has been as well received as Connery, at least based on Casino Royale.

If you don't like him fine, but just leave it. You're acting no differently to those David Tennant fan-girls with Doctor Who, who refuse to move on and accept that things change in order for them to work in the current world. Craig is Bond and is a damn sight better than Brosnan, and this is coming from some who essentially grew up with Brosnan's films.

So you've seen the film have you? Thought not, so don't try to be clever about it.

Whilst the new trailer looks pretty decent all round, they're going to have to really shoot for the moon to beat the utterly magnificent 'Casino Royale', still the very best Bond film thus far - by a VERY wide margin - and featuring the definitive portrayal of the character by any actor to date... and just for the record, I like 'Quantum of Solace' quite a bit, but it's basically an extended epilogue to 'Casino Royale' and not really a Bond film in it's own right, 'Skyfall' is a brand new story however, unrelated to it's two predecessors, so it'll be interesting to see just how good it is compared to 'Casino Royale'...

I absolutely agree with every point you make. Loved Casino Royale! I liked Quantum, but did feel it was maybe a little unnecessary. Can't wait for Skyfall.

I say, kindly, that if some feels that Dan Craig "ain't no Bond" simply don't watch him, It's that easy. Although Die another Day was a letdown and a sad way for Pierce to end the series, because of all the CG the intro was great with the torture scene- paving the way to a more realistic Bond that gets beat-up, bloody etc. For Skyfall, they had time to write a script that should be well worth the wait. (sadly studios prefer remakes than originals) My 2 cents worth: 007's death is not faked, but a decision M makes so he won't kill the lead-or be captured. If it was planned, he wouldn't have appeared out of form, hence the phrase " it's not a shame to admit that you've lost the stuff" He appears to have taken several hits besides the shot from Eve. he gets shot driving the excavator (2.02) and when he lands there is blood on the right side of his chest.Ola Rapace is a great villain, and of course Silva (Javier Bardem) Lets hope that the wait was worth it. Rumors have that Bond 24 is already in the works

Die Another Day is fantasy escapism. I have very fond memories of my beloved Pierce. It's not his best, but it smashes other films as The man with the golden gun and a view to a kill any day.

Agreed. Craig is fantastic as he play's Bond differently, he makes him his own. I don't agree with the 7 years thing though, thats a technicality, he's only made 1 critically acclaimed film and 1 disappointment so hes not the hero you make him out to be, but if SkyFall is a success he will be on his way!

You people must not be true Bond fans. Craig is terrible as Bond. Casino Royale was awful. It felt like the producers were trying to compete with Jason Bourne when they should have realized that Bond is the OG. John Cleese was great as Q. I wish you tweeners and posers would cut the crap so we can get a real Bond-type (Tall, Dark, Handsome) to play 007. Not an actor that is short, blonde and ugly. This new series has taken all of the fun and charm out of the franchise and replaced it with gloom. This new Bond is dark, sullen and dull. And unfortunately, so is the franchise.

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