As Skyfall talks about age and relevance, what emerges is a fascinating theme about death and the circle of life—in with the new, out with the old. Casino Royale and Batman Begins were often compared when they released less than a year apart, and now Skyfall shares a lot thematically with The Dark Knight Rises. Both are about rising and falling, with a lot of symbolism throughout. Take a note of Skyfall's many scenes featuring characters literally climbing or falling. Characters fall as the consequence of actions and must choose to rise . . . and choose how.
The death/resurrection motif here is highlighted by two parallel journeys. Both Bond and Silva were once very much the same and fell victim to controversial decisions into metaphorical death. But when they rose, they choose starkly different paths. But why? What is the difference between them? It's left for our judgment.
One return to the James Bond of old is not so welcome. Skyfall includes insensitive, negative commentary about women. We expect Bond to sleep with and dismiss random women. But when we look at assumptions, connotations, and implications in Skyfall, there are deeper problems.
Three key female characters are shown in varying positions of power and leadership. And all fail. Two make detrimental mistakes that cause substantial tragedy and consequence—chiefly affecting male characters. The female Prime Minister of England is a meddling complainer upstaged by a subordinate male who is depicted as the voice of reason. To get results, he has to covertly go around her. And one female field agent finally realizes in the end that her rightful place is behind a desk.
In the end of the film, Bond realizes the only way to defeat his new enemy is to retreat to old ground. To gain the advantage, he must return to an old setting he knows well—out of the digital world. M asks: "Where are we going?" "Back in time," James asserts.
Skyfall takes the same journey; back to what the Bond franchise knows—for both better and worse.
Talk About It
- Both Bond and Silva metaphorically die with the same person to blame. But when they rose, they choose starkly different paths. But why? What is the difference between them? What is motivating James? What is motivating Silva?
- M says that despite what we think about the rise of digital communication, "The world is not more transparent now but more opaque." What does that mean to you? How have you seen the digital revolution change your life—how view the world?
- What does Skyfall say about women in leadership positions? How does this depiction compare with biblical views of women?