Shaken and Stirred by the “Skyfall” Teaser

007 has a license to kill, but did he lose his razor?

A teaser trailer is supposed to do precisely two things:  generate a bit of a buzz before the movie opens and not send off major warning signs that it’s going to suck (Green Lantern, I’m  looking at you).    The teaser for James Bond 23 , Skyfall does its job with workmanlike precision in a tidy 94 seconds.

A lot of quick cuts and ominous music does not a good movie make,  But a new James Bond movie is always something to look forward to.  Nobody is more pleased by than I am that Skyfall doesn’t give off the tell-tale odor of flop sweat.

Casino Royale was a return to glory for the franchise, but the follow-up Quantum of Solace killed a lot of the good will.   In the theater it’s busy and gets to point “A” to “B” faster than its predecessor, but Quantum of Solace  doesn’t go anywhere special.  Even though the story picks up immediately after Casino Royale all it establishes is this is a Bond who really seems to enjoy killing people.   Daniel Craig is once again the most joyless and cold-blooded 007 ever, but he’s got nothing to work with in Quantum.   The plot was murky, the bad guy  wimpy and bug-eyed and the standard “Bond girl “nearly non-existent with the whole tiresome mess anchored by Marc Forster’s sloppy and scattered direction.

Forster, who had never handled a big-budget franchise film tried copying the fight and chase scenes from the previous film and demonstrated he simply couldn’t shoot an action scene.  Either he shot everything too close, too dark and cut it so fast it’s hard at times to figure out what’s happening on screen.

Roger Moore, the third actor to portray Bond on film put it well.  ‘I enjoy Daniel Craig, I think he’s a damn good Bond but the film as a whole, there was a bit too much flash cutting for me.’

‘I thought Casino Royale was better. It was just like a commercial of the action. There didn’t seem to be any geography and you were wondering what the hell was going on.”

“She needs help! She watched ‘Quantum of Solace’ three times in a row.”

I’ve watched Quantum on DVD, but it still leaves no impression.  Things zip by on screen, lines are delivered, guns shoot, and Bond wins.  The end.  Roll credits and put the license to kill in a drawer for four years.

Skyfall  arrives in November both liberated and burdened.   Four years is a long time between Bond entries and it’s the longest lay-off between films since the six years from License to Kill (1989) to GoldenEye (1995) which featured a long legal battle and the recasting of the lead between Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.  Skyfall doesn’t have to be as good as Casino Royale.  It  only has to be better than Quantum of So What.   How hard could that be.

Since the last time we saw Bond onscreen he was scowling his way through a pedestrian movie, there is pressure on Craig and Sam Mendes, the Academy Award director of American Beauty to regain the momentum.

One way to do it is to give everyone a reason to hope the five months from the teaser to the film fly by  Bond’s longest line of dialogue goes a long way to get me there.

“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re gonna kill them first.”

That sounds like the bad-tempered Bond we’ve come to known and love.

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