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Some Ramblings - Skyfall (2012)
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla

Get the man a couch, for Chrissakes! He is tired, weak, aging, and finding it hard to pull his own weight; he started sulking for long intervals and hurting both inside and out; he is showing signs of turning into someone who actually cares about others' feelings...Gasp....No more... Rush him to a shrink and get him on a couch, the man has a lot to talk about. All the decades of flirting, philandering and bedding without any emotional connection, all the years of killing, maiming and putting serious hurt on other people with utter nonchalance, all the while bottling up the good and the bad with a shrug and a smirk and drowning it all in shaken martinis, have finally taken a toll on his mind and body. Welcome to the real word, Mr.Bond, where break-ups are often messy, adultery almost always leaves a victim, opening fire in public places, even if with a license to kill, causes for a suspension, if not the cancellation, of the right to discharge the weapon, and globe trotting adventures assuredly results in the chewing up of the diplomatic corps by the host country on whose ground Bond carelessly trotted upon. Oh! And his villains! their evil designs no longer smack of megalomania or reek of incredulity, but in fact, they are ripped straight out of the headlines of newspapers - Palling with terrorists, waging proxy wars, funding their operations with monies springing from the other side of the loophole blackholes of taxation systems, pitting one country's security interests against others - these villains have certainly stepped up their game from being mere lunatics with a lot of time, money and criminal intent to spare. And Bond had no choice but to follow suit, even if it means loads of work with lot less time for fun. Guess that's the price he has to pay for his previous licentious ways. Comeuppance has come calling, and Bond is finally answering the doorbell!

Compare 'Dr.No' to 'Skyfall', and one can scare believe that it is the same suave secret spy, for the makers of the latter have taken a sledgehammer to the myth of Bond built over all these decades and razed it to the ground. And that is a good thing. Thanks to the era of the information overload, things have ceased to exist in a strict monochromatic hue, like Mujahiddeen good, USSR bad way. Once that greyness crept into the picture, Bond lost his institutional villains, the KGBs, the Stasis and other 'Arab' warlords, but gained more dangerous ones, the mercenaries with no affiliations to associate or causes to espouse. And when the Bond villains shrunk, the stature of Bond invariably faced downsizing, and the battles got more and more personal. 'Skyfall' is as personal an outing as it could get for him (along with 'License to Kill', which was only a one-off) for here is a veteran, already burdened by the weight of his reputation, struggling to keep up with the changing times, shifting strategies and dwindling loyalties. Gone are his carte blanche ways and blank check means. (Remember in 'Casino Royale' how he is reminded Vesper Lynd that he is answerable to the tax payer if he lost at the poker table which would mean that the lost money now directly funds terrorism?). And now suddenly accountability to Finance Secretaries and oversight by Cabinet Committees are thrust upon him. The redefining of the secret spy for the modern times, which had started off with 'Royale', but had veered off the path in 'Quantum', is in full realization in 'Skyfall' (even the title is the most personal reference in the entire Bond mythology).

It has to happen to every super human character, who has grown too big for his own shoes, that he scale back to his roots and start rebuilding himself all the way up in order to stay relevant. Just like how 'Royale' showed how Bond's hurt turned him into a closed, cold and a calculating assassin, 'Skyfall' tries to explore his domestic past, where the opportunities would be aplenty to examine how his scarred seeds sowed his wild ways. Sherlock Holmes had to killed off, Superman had to die, Dark Knight had to grow old and weary - only for all to be brought back again retooled and repurposed for a world that had moved on. And Bond is no different. Letting Bond sport a proper grey beard, 'Skyfall' took the first step from where there is no turning back. Brave move this, Bravo!

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This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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