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Bond’s snobbery; IMAX robbery

Chet Greason, Popcornucopia

Once or twice a year here at Popcornucopia, I seem to have to write the obligatory whiney column about how expensive it is to go and see a movie; however, this would not be the case if theatres weren’t upping the prices once or twice a year.

And this is not a nice indie theatre like The Hyland or The Bloor that’s trying to make the transition to digital projectors, a switch that is killing some of the smaller cinemas. This is the big media conglomerate of cine-silver-colossal-plex.

It was my fault, really, for not checking the times. We drove into London to see Lincoln, only to find we were 10 minutes late. So, the girlfriend and I settled on Skyfall, the new Bond movie.

What I didn’t notice was that Skyfall was playing on the theatre’s new IMAX screen. This results in a whopping $17.50 per ticket, meaning two tickets were $35. Add another $17 for popcorn and pop, and you’re looking at a second mortgage for a night at the movies.

The IMAX experience is not like I remembered it from the days of my youth at Ontario Place. Firstly, you have to choose your seat when you buy your ticket, so, of course, the only ones left were right up front. Maybe that was why it seemed like just another night at the movies, but with an extra $5 per ticket tagged on. Wasn’t even in 3D.

Look at me, though, being all classy, complaining about the price of a movie ticket. James Bond would never complain about how much it cost to take his girlfriend to the movies. He hands off $4 million in Skyfall like it’s nothing. The dude doesn’t even have girlfriends, really. Just random sexual encounters with strangers.

Skyfall reeks of boardroom intervention. It being the 50th anniversary of 007 on film, the studios went out of their way to make sure Skyfall was rife with nods and nuances towards the franchise’s history. The Aston Martin is back, as are classic characters Q and Miss Moneypenny.

The plot, too, deals with staying relevant with age. Bond is stiffer, sorer, and slower. He’s got the mind and the drive to be the best in the game, but will his body cooperate? Likewise, his overseer, M, played by Judi Dench, finds herself explaining the relevancy of British spy agency MI6 in the modern age to the public.

Even the villain, played by Javier Bardem, is a dated Bond; an agent who’s gone rogue in his retirement, and M’s former favourite from earlier in her career. He spends much of the film trying to convince Bond that age does not bode well for spies.

Like any good Bond film, there’s plenty of action, most of it well-choreographed stunts with minimal CGI. There are exotic locations, beautiful women, elaborate deaths of said beautiful women (if you’re into the whole sex and violence thing…personally it creeps me out), and intrigue.

Not too much time is spent on plot…the angles are there to get us to the next chase, shootout, or fistfight atop a really high place.

All in all, it was exactly what you would expect of a Bond film. However, I would like to see the franchise spend more time on its villains…perhaps come up with a really good one that could carry over into subsequent films; a boss like Ernst Stavro Blofeld or a goon like Jaws. Bardem’s character, Silva, would have made an excellent nemesis, him being an effeminate, but equally violent, mirror image to Bond.

Also, for next time, skip the IMAX. Those suitcases full of cash are rare in the real world.

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