Hubs and I took in a couple of a flicks over the last few weekends in Skyfall, the 23rd installment of Sir Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 and Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s film about our 16th President.
Let’s start with Skyfall. I’ve always been a casual fan of the Bond series and really started to pay attention when Pierce Brosnan stepped into the role because I was a fan of the TV series Remington Steele when I was a kid and always found him to be super Rico Suave, even when he was kicking the ass of some villain. But since Daniel Craig took over the role with 2006’s Casino Royale and became the first blond Bond, I’ve been really paying some attention. Not only because Daniel Craig is sizzling HOT but because he brings a certain grittiness to the role of 007. Dare I say it…James Bond likes to get grimy and me likey quite a bit. At any rate, I looked forward to Skyfall and it did not disappoint. There was less overall action (but there is a fantastic chase scene to kick off the movie) than Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace but the story line was more nuanced, as it took the viewer into the pasts of both M and 007 and even dared to query if 007 and his spycraft was outdated and passe’. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the Bond film series, the nods to the past were quite appropriate. The movie wraps up at Bond’s abandoned childhood home with a twist you won’t expect and I’ll leave with you that. This is a definite must see. Read a review from the LA Times here.
I have to admit that Myron wanted to see Lincoln more than I did, being that he is a big history buff in general and is interested in the Civil War specifically. Now don’t get scared and think this is a sprawling, epic (read boring and long) bio-pic about Lincoln’s entire life. It isn’t. Instead, Spielberg smartly chooses the 4 month period between January and April 1865 to frame the movie, when Lincoln, fresh off re-election attempts to get 2 big ticket items accomplished: end the Civil War and get the 13th Amendment passed, which would abolish slavery. Spielberg quite deftly weaves in several story lines such as the relationship between Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln who is grieving the loss of their son Willie, the tension between Lincoln and his oldest son Robert, who has been forbidden to join the Union Army, and the back room dealings that the Lincoln cabinet had to undertake to get the necessary votes (these scenes are some of the funniest of the film). Tommy Lee Jones is a straight up scene stealer as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, an aging abolitionist and has a very interesting back story based on historical fact. Daniel Day-Lewis melts into character as Lincoln, down to the halting deliberate gait that he was known to have.
A comment related to the slavery story line: I noted a bit of discussion on my social media feeds about the lack of screen time given to the treatment of slaves in the movie. There is a notable opening scene where two black Union slaves speak with Lincoln and one dares to question the President about further rights for blacks and there are a few other scenes involving Lincoln’s house servants, who are both free people of color and his interaction with them, but to be fair this was not a movie expressly about slavery. It was first and foremost a film about trying to get the 13th Amendment ratified and the inner workings of Washington DC government at that time period. It’s a political movie that just happens to be tackling a difficult, soul wrenching topic. I think it’s done quite masterfully. This is a definitely a must see (in particular for older children and teens) and needs to be added to your DVD collection as well. Read the NY Times review here.
Are you planning to see Skyfall or Lincoln this holiday season? What other films are on your to be seen list?