Up until this point, we knew exactly one thing about Bond’s family – the slogan on their crest is “The World is Not Enough”. That’s it. And while this isn’t exactly a biopic, we get references to Bond’s childhood and a trip to his family’s estate. It’s rarely acknowledged that James Bond had an existence before he became a killing and/or humping machine, and chipping away at his invulnerability finally makes it possible.
What’s impressive to me is the way Skyfall invokes so many of the classic Bond tropes that Casino and Quantum sought to discard. There is a Q in this movie, for example. True, Bond’s gadgets are more real world this time around, but he still gets a box of stuff from Q. And new Q even teases Bond about the kind of spy props he used to use, even though Craig’s Bond never used the Connery/Moore-style gadgets. It’s still a nice nod to the history of 007. Similarly, the unpleasantness of using women as props returns in a scene that would have been played as purely sexy for any other Bond. Here it’s horrifying as it plays out to its logical conclusion. The Aston Martin returns, and it still has an ejection seat and grill-mounted machine guns. Given the way the Daniel Craig movies have so thoroughly tried to purge Bond’s history, it’s legitimately surprising and thrilling when the car appears onscreen. There’s even an alarming twist on Jaws, the classic Moore-era villain.