There’s the high speed chase terminating in a collision with fruit carts – Yes! Fruit cart collisions are to Bond movies what mugshots are to Lindsay Lohan – the day’s not complete without one.
There’s the mano-a-mano fisticuffs atop a speeding train. Bond spends more time on top of trains than inside. Bring it on!
There’s a certain car whose return is as welcome as anything that has ever been on this or any other screen.
There’s the opening credits where Daniel Craig is pulled to the bottom of the sea by the hand of a giant naked lady, and anywhere a giant naked lady wants to take this franchise, I say let her take it there.
And there’s that wink-nudge sense of humor, long subdued in the Daniel Craig era, back in a small-enough serving to make everything else sparkle.
We begin with Judi Dench talking into her hearing aid while the rest of the cast humors her by pretending they’re talking back.
Bond is shot off a bridge and tumbles a distance that would kill any man who was not part of a 23-and-counting chapter movie franchise. Yes, we can all live forever if we’re part of a movie franchise, as long as we don’t mind being replaced by younger actors every few years.
Bond is trying to rescue a hard drive that contains every NATO agent embedded in terrorist groups. Here’s to the genius intelligence organization that puts every undercover NATO agent’s name on a hard drive! ”We should have just kept them on the MI6 softball team t-shirts where they used to be,” said M.
Hey, Bond lives! And he’s hanging out in some open-air shack on an island in bed with some age-appropriate background actor. Does “age-appropriate background actor” fit on a resume? There he’s drinking buddies with a scorpion, until the scorpion decides to bogart the top-shelf booze.
But MI6 is in danger and Judi Dench is getting shorter all the time, so Bond returns to London to stack some books on Judi’s chair so her chin is above desk-level.
There he discovers that Valdemort is now in charge of British Intelligence. Ironicus Happenstance-icus!
Time to meet 12-year-old Q, who’s desperately trying to explain to Judi Dench that when your PC is hacked such that deadly messages replace the list of nuclear launch codes you were editing in Excel, it’s time to stop using that computer.
“Q, the best gadgets I have are a radio and a personalized pistol?” asks Bond.
“No, Bond, the best gadgets you have are your elephantine ears which can flap you out of any scrape.”
It’s not long before Bond is Bond – that is, in a tuxedo in a Far East casino, where virtually all spies and super-criminals play together before trying to kill each other. Why is it that super-criminals never concoct espionage plots during a NASCAR race?
Enter evil genius Javier Bardem in the Gayest introduction of any Bond villain. He’s sporting Brett Michaels’ hair and is evidently playing the last surviving BeeGee.
“Wait a minute, did I just walk in on The Man with the Golden Groin?” asks Bond.
“I was going for Thunderballs,” says Bardem, “but let’s settle on yours!”
For a time, there’s enough Gay banter here to fill up a Kathy Griffin act.
“Let’s see who ends up on top,” says Bardem, who has it in for Bond’s boss, M.
“She never tied me to a chair,” says Bond.
“Her loss,” says Bardem. ”Has she at least tickled your testicles?”
“Long live the Queen,” says Bond, who seems to have been referring to Javier.
“I’m one ascot away from my own runway show on Bravo and a press junket full of movie stars,” said Bardem.
By the end of this movie there’s a vibe that all can never be more right in the Bond universe.
Bond may be shaken, but I’m the one who’s stirred.
One word: Fantastic.