For Queen And Country?
From the opening shot of the Skyfall teaser trailer , there’s no mistaking 007’s cultural heritage. As the most iconic British movie character around, James Bond has long played on his defiantly British charm, even as the films have absorbed influences from Hollywood cinema.
But there’s a particularly British flavour to Skyfall (the first of Daniel Craig’s Bond films to actually be directed by one of his fellow countrymen).
In the year of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics (of which Bond will play a part in the opening ceremony), it appears that Skyfall will also be flying the flag for this fair nation.
So, why is England playing such a big role here? The cryptic synopsis has hinted at a threat to MI6 that Bond must stop, “no matter how personal the cost.” Is the threat here specific to the UK?
That shot of the coffins, draped in Union Jacks, suggests it might be the focal point, at the very least.
How mentally stable is Bond?
Craig’s Bond has always been more vulnerable, scarred and battle-damaged than his former screen counterparts, and that looks to be approaching its logical conclusion here.
The biggest questions from the whole trailer play out in the interrogation scene. Just how mentally stable is Bond? For whose benefit is he being assessed? Is he being treated as a victim or a threat?
Kitted out in a sweater and trackpants, its another step away from the ultra-suave, unflappable Bond of yore, and suggests he’s been caught up in some rather unsavoury business (we’re guessing it’s not just dress-down day at MI6).
It’s an intriguing, tantalising opening, that obliges us to wonder whether or not Sam Mendes will be playing with the narrative structure? Is this scene a flashforward that’ll frame the events up to this point? A barely seen flashback raises the next key question…
What is Skyfall?
Of the all keywords thrown at Bond in during the interrogation, this is the one that we wish he’d elaborate on.
Just what the hell is Skyfall? Internet rumour suggests it could be the manor house seen ablaze later in the trailer.
Even then, what’s the significance? Is it the residence of a key MI6 figure, or does it hold some sort of special resonance for Bond?
It certainly gives Bond pause for thought, as he’s been able to fire off a keyword to all the other prompts without hesitation (“Murder?” “Employment.” “Agent?” “Provocateur.”), and the shot is intercut with the briefest glimpse at a flashback (pictured).
The stark silhouette (which judging by the gun and stance must surely be Bond) is pinning an unidentifiable bloke to a chair at gun point, in a dingy apartment. Just what did Bond have to do for this mission?
Or, as TF.com reader ‘dkjm74’ suggests , is Bond delivering the word “Done”, in a “Consider it done…” context? It’s possible, considering the way Bond leaves the interrogation.
Can Ralph Fiennes be trusted?
Well, can his character, MI6 man Gareth Mallory be trusted? We know Ralph can be. He’s a lovely bloke.
Of all the new characters in Skyfall , Fiennes’ is possibly the one most deeply shrouded in mystery. Only one image has been released so far (surprisingly, picturing him in the midst of a gunfight), be we know precious little else about him.
When we asked Fiennes about his character previously, he told us: “I’m afraid that all I can tell you is I’m a government agent.”
For the brief time we see him in this trailer, he shoots a steely, unreadable glance at Judi Dench’s M, tellingly while Bond is hesitating on his response to Skyfall . There’s a lack of trust for 007 implied here, and a sense of concern for M. Is she in trouble?
Whats happening in Shanghai?
Despite the Brit-heavy opening to the teaser trailer, Bond movies are synonymous with exotic locations, and Skyfall ain’t scrimping when it comes to 007’s getting his passport stamped.
Easily the most visually striking of the foreign locales is Shanghai. Whether it’s an immaculately tuxed Bond gliding down a resplendently decked-out river, the dramatic skyline, or the TRON -like neon interior of the communications building Bond stalks, it’s looking to be one hell of a location.
Is it going to be the source of the attack against MI6, or merely a stepping stone in Bond’s quest for the truth?
Adding to the intrigue: The fact this is the only location where we see Bérénice Marlohe’s Sévérine in the whole trailer…
How many films will Sam Mendes homage in Skyfall?
Talking of that shot of Sévérine, there’s more than a hint of Rear Window about it.
As 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond’s first screen outing in Dr No , there have been plenty of hints towards Skyfall homaging Bond movies past.
There’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse at Bond’s vintage Aston Martin, and Craig sports some classically cut suits, but can we expect nods to other movies? That shot of the body falling down the chute in the Shanghai communications building couldn’t help but remind us of Die Hard , though that might just be us.
One thing's for sure, the whole trailer has a very Nolan-esque feel. Inception was said to be Chris Nolan's take on Bond, could Skyfall be Bond's take on Chris Nolan?
And one question has been definitively answered: this is all but guaranteed to be the most gorgeously lensed yet, with striking framing sitting comfortably alongside some satisfyingly hefty action set-pieces.
Whats the deal with Bond and Eve?
OK, so the question of whether or not Naomie Harris’ character Eve will actually become Moneypenny is likely to persist until the credits roll on Skyfall , but Bond’s other lady is presented as enigmatically as Sévérine here.
What do we learn? Well, she’s handy with a straight razor, for one thing. And considering she’s a field agent, and most of the promo footage thus far has dealt with her weapons training, it looks like she gets the chance to get close to Bond.
So, ‘Bond enjoys innappropriate relationship with a female colleague’ is hardly headline-making news, but the shaving imagery is interesting. Does she wield a position of power over Bond? Is he comfortable with her scraping that blade so close to his jugular?
And is she the one to symbolically cleanse the stubble-smattered Bond we see sprinting across London?
Whats causing the disruption on the London Underground?
Could the attack on Bond’s home turf mean that Mendes is favouring ‘reality bites’ action over the excessive-to-the-point-of-absurd grand schemes of Bond villains of yore?
There’s no sign of satellite lasers intent on melting ice caps, or even nefarious schemes to steal the water supply from rebellion-stricken countries. Just devastating destruction.
And is Javier Bardem’s Silva behind it all? We barely see him in this trailer; he makes the briefest of appearances as he strolls away from (or is that towards) a burning building.
The fist fights glimpsed in the teaser are so fleeting that it’s impossible to tell if Bond’s going hand-to-hand with Silva. The production team are certainly keeping him tightly under wraps, with nary an official still revealed thus far…
Is it true that Mendes isnt limiting action?
When Sam Mendes appointment to the Bond franchise was first announced, the most persistent rumour revolved around the fear that Mendes – a director best known for character-based dramas – would reduce action set-pieces in an effort to gun for Oscar recognition.
Mendes has been keen to refute that talk, and if anyone was still questioning the level of octane in Skyfall , the teaser should definitively silence them naysayers.
From a VW Beetle-slinging chase (pictured) that has more in common with the scale of Transformers than American Beauty , to the startling shot of Bond and motorcycle hurtling of a bridge at full pace, it looks like Mendes’ skill with actors and a taste for pulse-pounding spectacle aren't mutually exclusive.
Count us in.
Is Craigs Bond starting to enjoy himself?
“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.”
Delivered with the faintest crack of a smile appearing at the edge of his mouth, it appears that Craig’s Bond is not just good at killing for a living: he’s practically revelling in it.
Add that to the fact that we see Bond brandishing some pretty mean hardware in the trailer, and Craig’s admission that Bond will be ‘funny as hell’ in Skyfall … are we finally going to be seeing Craig’s Bond loving the secret agent lifestyle.
Find out the answers to all of these questions (hopefully!), when Skyfall opens on 26 October 2012.
Did the Skyfall teaser trailer raise any questions for you? Theorise below!