Friday, 4 November 2011

James Bond 23, Skyfall And Other Google Search-Friendly Keywords

Despite some of the most shamefully unseemly begging emails I've ever written, I failed to get myself invited to yesterday's press conference to launch the new James Bond film. Why the inventor of the world's greatest Bond-related blogging project should be passed over like this is not just a mystery but technically a felony, and I look forward to Sony's personal apology, hand-delivered by Daniel Craig, any day now.

But enough about me and the cruel, hurtful snub I was forced to endure. What about Bond? Well, first things first: the brand was finally granted access to the 21st century this week when the official James Bond Twitter and Facebook accounts were opened. The MySpace page is surely just a few short years away.

The official James Bond Twitter page was particularly useful for reading news from the press conference shortly after everyone else who was there had already tweeted it, and the Facebook page has already become a repository for some of the most incisive commentary the internet has to offer:
Foreigners, eh? Cuh!

Back at the press conference, where Dame Judi Dench was heard to enquire forlornly of my whereabouts, the title of the 23rd Bond film was officially announced - in a move that surprised everyone who's my mum - as:
Or, as the press kit would have it:
I probably prefer black on white, but in all honesty the first one looks better on this dirty beige background.

What do we know about the title? Well, not much. In fact what we really don't know is how to type it in mixed case. Notice the slightly larger S and F? And the way the S is vertically centrally justified whereas the F is top justified so that its tail hangs below the rest of the title? No, of course you didn't, because you're not a massive loser. Here's some detail with added red lines to illustrate my pointless point:
All I'm saying is that I'd like to know whether to type Skyfall as in Thunderball, or SkyFall as in GoldenEye, because we've got twelve months of me banging on about this film ahead of us and my public demands continuity.

Whatever, Skyfall (we'll go with that for now) isn't as good a title as my frequently repeated and ignored suggestion Blood And Thunder (anyone would think Barbara Broccoli doesn't read The Incredible Suit), but nor is it total cock. It's nice and short, because everyone likes a short Bond title, and it's as far removed as possible from Quantum Of Solace, which was so mind-thumpingly obscure to non-Fleming fans that it threatened to drown web forums in a tsunami of WTFery when that title was announced in 2008.

It does bother me that it sounds a bit like a Coldplay album, but I suppose it's the kind of thing Ian Fleming would probably have resorted to if he'd written two dozen books. [Vaguely relevant self-promotional link to an article I wrote for a well-known website] Several commentators have also pointed out that Sony won't be able to insert the 007 logo into it diagonally on the posters, as they did by using the 'O's of Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace. This is clearly a good thing, because the day a Bond film is only allowed a title with two or more 'O's in it is the day we end up with a Bond film called Boobies Boogaloo. Although... *mind wanders for several hours*
Back in the room, director Sam Mendes introduced his cast, and once again anyone who's been following the internet rumour mill remained unamazed. Javier Bardem was finally confirmed, as were Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw (is he Q? Is he? EH?) and Albert Finney, who I sincerely hope becomes the new M by the end of the film, thereby terminating the reboot-crossover nonsense that DJD's presence has perpetuated for two films.
Naomie Harris won't be Moneypenny, which is a bit disappointing - instead she'll play Eve, a field agent who's definitely not Gemma Arterton, and the foreign-totty-with-minimal-command-of-the-English-language quota is filled by Bérénice Marlohe, whose character will almost certainly be dead before the halfway mark. Incidentally, when asked how she felt about working on a Bond film, Naomie Harris claimed she was "rearing to go". I can only assume this means we might finally see some Reverse Cowgirl action in a Bond film. That's almost certainly what Daniel Craig was thinking at this exact moment:
Skyfall? Eyeful, more like

In other news, it's hardly original to suggest that one Bond film's plot might be slightly similar to another's, but the brief synopsis afforded by today's events does little to quell the naysayers:
"In SKYFALL, Bond's loyalty to M is tested [a bit like Licence To Kill] as her past comes back to haunt her [a bit like The World Is Not Enough]. As MI6 comes under attack [also a bit like The World Is Not Enough], 007 must track down and destroy the threat [a bit like every other Bond film], no matter how personal the cost [a bit like Casino Royale]."
Still, at least they're all at the better-quality end of 007 reference points: if you're going to make a Bond cocktail, you may as well use the best ingredients.

Little more was divulged about the plot, although Mendes did say that "[Skyfall is] its own story. It doesn't connect with the last two films." And that pisses me off a bit. They teased us with Mr White in Casino Royale, gave us a little more by revealing the SPECTRE-esque Quantum organisation in Quantum Of Solace - surely it would make sense to bring that to some kind of conclusion? Apparently not. And that's what it's like being a Bond fan: frequently brought to near-climax and simultaneously frustrated by every little announcement.

I'll be honest, though: it's worth it.

Skyfall is released in 357 days and has already begun filming. Let's hope a certain international sex symbol gets a good night's sleep before he's required on set.


  1. The 7 in 007 being a gun sticks out a subtle distance below the line of the two 0's. The F in SkyFall is a mirror of the 7 and like a gun it too sticks a little below the line of the lettering. This explains the use of Caps & Small Caps and the large cap for the F. If you sit the capital S. If you sit the captal S on the lower text line it would contrast too much with the F. The graphic designers has juggled the position of the letters and the difference between caps and small caps until it looks just right.

    If previous experience is anything to go by this typographical curiosty is likely to be more interesting than any analysis of the film itself. Bond films are best viewed with an empty head and an overflowing libido.

  2. Please forgive my failure to proof read my last comment. The Incredible Crestfallen Suit was probably unwise to relate his failure to blag his way into the Bond presser. The BBC does not in theory carry advertising yet provided the Bond producers chunks of free advertising simply by wheeling out a few actors with the earth shattering news that filming has started on a new movie. Books, films and concerts are all just retail items that get free advertising in a way that no other products enjoy. I salute the Bond producers for getting the worlds press to turn up for a complete 'so what' 'what is the story?' total non event.

  3. I love your in-depth analysis of the font, Neil. Over on my blog I got as far as 'sexy and distressed'. No Moneypenny is a little disappointing, I agree. But hats off to Sony for blanket coverage with absolutely no new reveals and spots on BBC and ITV news next to the Euro crisis. Bravo

  4. Katie, I saw your sexy-and-distressed and liked. There are spoilertastic Moneypenny rumblings out there if you look hard enough (i.e. my Twitter feed)...