Aisle of the Damned: 08/18/17- The Back to Skull Special

Art Repurposed for a Reason

Kent and Bryan are ready for fall, but is your local multiplex? The Damned boys discuss what we have to look forward to in the next few months with their annual Back to Skull Fall Preview and there are a few places on the calendar which feel like a wasteland.

They also take a look at some Kevin Smith news straight from Boston ComicCon, discuss some big news from Movie Pass and talk some Bond.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

Music:
The Aquabats-
Stuck in a Movie
The Hives- Fall is Just Something Grown-Ups Invented

Aisle of the Damned- 12/23/15: Nazi Rick Astley (“Goddamn it.”)

Space Dandy. He's a Dandy Guy. In Space.

Bryan and Kent both love Star Wars. They also both love Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But such is the power of the force, that their disagreement over it’s light and dark sides¬†brings all sorts of Sturm und Drang. They are more in agreement over the greatness of Creed and the okayness of Spectre. Plus, The Night Before and The Final Girls! All this and less in this episode of Aisle of the Damned. (Spoilers for Spectre around 19:00 or so, Creed around 37:00 and for Star Wars around 57:00.)

Music
The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Nerf Herder- I’m the Droid You’re Looking For

Kent’s Damned Movie Reviews: Skyfall

Skyfall is in some ways a better version of The Dark Knight Rises (itself a fine enough film.) Both are about an inescapable pop culture figure going through a kind of death and resurrection as the films (if not themselves as characters) ask if they are still relevant not just to the fictional universes that they occupy, but to the world at large. Both involve an almost cathartic destruction of the remnants of the most important pieces of their personal histories. Both make huge leaps to bring in classic elements of their mythology in some instances.

In the case of Bond, the reboot of the series seems complete by the end of Skyfall. While it is only moderately connected plot-wise to the previous two films in the Craig cycle (there’s nary of mention of the shadowy Quantum), it has much in common with emotional through lines previously established as Bond brings a character arc full circle. One hopes that he will continue to grow and change as the films proceed, rather than have it sink into an episodic mess like the old series. It could easily fall into the trap as many of the classic parts of the mythology are reintroduced to the new generation. Most notable is probably the addition of a new Q, in this case much younger and less world weary than the late Desmond Llewelyn, but equally as fastidious. Judi Dench, the last real link to the old Bond films, returns and with a much larger role than the previous two. Ralph Fiennes joins the cast as the new government oversight figure in charge of MI6 and manages to be as excellent as he always is. Javier Bardeem is arguably given little to work with as the main villain of the piece (his backstory is practically a passing moment of wispy exposition) but he manages to put enough character spin in his delivery to establish himself as not just a classic villain in the series, but as the kind of crazed rogue that occupies the same weird-space as Jaws or Blofeld. A far cry from the more toned-down baddies from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (which were actually kind of appreciated in a way.)

In a lot of ways, this film feels like it’s trying to be all things to all Bonds. As it is being released on the 50th anniversary of Dr. No, it works in a lot of references, both literal and tonal, to the previous eras of the series. The villain feels like an old school villain. The character arc feels naturally evolved from the Fleming novels, with a shadow boiling under the surface (a far cry from the suave agent usually presented.) And, as with Bond pantheon at large, the weakest spot in the movie is a Roger Moore-ish set piece involving kimodo dragons with a cheesy line to wrap it up. But the callbacks hit much more than they miss and to ruin many of them would be to ruin the fun for the enthusiast. That it succeeds in managing to mash up so many years and interpretations is nearly a miracle unto itself.

Actually, one could make the case that as the third film since the reset button was pushed, there are a lot of parallels one could make between it and the third Connery film, Goldfinger. Goldfinger was the film where everything about what a Bond film would mean for the rest of the Connery years began to fall into place (though I would argue it was never surpassed.) Where Skyfall leaves us with the feeling it is setting up the new continuity in a similar way; that this will be the new norm and with its success, the rest will follow its example.

Skyfall is the best Daniel Craig Bond film. It is not a stretch to say that Skyfall is definitely the best Bond since Goldeneye. It may even be the best Bond has been since the sixties.

(Four out of five stars)