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It’s hard to look back on Skyfall and not consider the film a raging success. The reviews were among the best the James Bond series has ever received. The box office netted more than one billion dollars in worldwide grosses, and the majority of fans seem to think the franchise is in better shape now than at any point since Sean Connery was leading the charge in the early to mid 1960s. The majority of fans, however, does not include everyone, and for a reminder of that, I now bring you Monty Python co-founder and beloved actor John Cleese.
The seventy-four-year-old Englishman famously worked with 007 on The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, first as the assistant to Desmond Llewelyn’s Q and later as Q himself. When the series rebooted with Daniel Craig as James Bond, however, he was not asked to return, and if John Cleese himself is to be believed, it’s because Asian people don’t understand the British sense of humor. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. Either way, the comedian thinks the new tone is dragging the franchise down.
Speaking on the Radio Times, he called the decrease in jokes a "fundamental flaw". Here’s an excerpt, courtesy of The Telegraph…
"I believe that they decided that the tone they needed was that of the Bourne action movies, which are very gritty and humourless. Also, the big money was coming from Asia, from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, where the audiences go to watch the action sequences, and that’s why in my opinion the action sequences go on for too long."
Skyfall has a few jokes that really work, but the cheesy one-liner James Bond who is effortlessly in control at all times and excited about making little cracks here or there is definitely gone. In a way, that is sad for hardcore 007 fans too. The Roger Moore era might have its share of detractors, but all of those films are fun, breezy watches. They’re the type of things to put on during a relaxing Sunday afternoon with family members. Say what you will about Skyfall, but it’s not that type of movie.
It all comes down to expectations. If the goal here is to make the most emotionally affecting and dramatic movie possible, then the franchise is on the right track. If the idea is to evolve with the times and keep James Bond modern, we’re all good. If the idea is to keep the secret agent with his classic tone as a throwback relic, then John Cleese is right.