From the opening scene to the closing credits, James Bond movies are packed with intense fight scenes, pretty women, big explosions, and fast cars. Skyfall, the latest in the Bond movies, was no exception. The movie begins with Bond already in hot pursuit of a man who has stolen a hard drive containing highly classified information. A car chase through a market place quickly turns into a fight on top of a train with both actors barely staying on as it speeds down tracks overlooking a deep ravine. One misstep or hard punch and they will fall hundreds of miles to their death. In similar fashion, the movie ends with a very dramatic scene as James returns to his childhood home with M, his director, in hopes of defeating the antagonist of the movie. The result of the fight is an explosion that destroys the entire house, wrecks a helicopter, and sees the demise of his famous Aston Martin. I chose to focus on these two scenes to show how the special effects used to create them affect the ethos, logos, and pathos of the movie. Overall, the special effects in Skyfall enhance the moving, adding a dramatic element that keeps the viewer’s attention from the moment they sit down to watch the film.
The special effects required to create these scenes add credibility to both the movie and the actors. In a world where most movies are created using a green screen, it may be shocking to learn that Skyfall did not use a green screen for either of these scenes. . “There was discussion early on about shooting it all against green screen – but that’s not the way we do things on Bond” (HeraldSun2). Rather than placing the car on a trailer in the first scene, they used a remote control to drive the car which allowed the actors to focus on acting rather than hitting someone. This also added credibility to the movie because it makes the scene more realistic. In the film, 46-year-old Daniel Craig plays the character of James Bond. Interestingly enough, the theme of Skyfall revolves around the idea that “the old ways are sometimes the best” (imdb.com) and he gains credibility be performing a lot of his own stunts, including the scene on top of the train.
The special effects in this movie serve a very important purpose because they help create the world of James Bond, making the plot more realistic and drawing the viewer into a world where a man can escape an exploding building with barely a scratch. This plays on the emotion of the viewer in many ways. The intense gunfire and car chase makes the viewer feel as if they are right alongside James in the middle of the fight. Also, if all the drama leading up to a large and intense explosion didn’t match the intensity of the explosion, the viewer would feel a sense of disappoint and could easily become disinterested. This would pull them back to reality, where people don’t really survive near death experiences as often as James Bond has managed.
Lastly, the special effects influenced the logic of Skyfall. The reaction of the people when an explosion occurs in a film is almost as important as the explosion itself. If the reactions of the people don’t seem realistic, the viewer is drawn from the trance that the movie has created and reminded that it’s just a movie. In Skyfall, the reactions of the characters are realistic, showing fear and confusion, adding to the logos of the movie. During the car chase, people are running, trying to avoid getting hit. Some may argue that Daniel Craig doesn’t react like a normal person would when he was on top of the train fighting or watching his childhood home blow up but I would argue why should he? He’s James Bond. It is logical for him to be un-fazed by these events because that is the trademark of his character. Face danger, survive it, date hot women, and beat the bad guy. Fear doesn’t have any room.
Overall, I would give the special effects in Skyfall 4 out of 5. They enhanced the moving, creating a more realistic atmosphere for the viewer. As a viewer, you believe that you are apart of the movie, apart of a world where James Bond saves the day and will live on forever. It helped promote the credibility of the movie and of Daniel Craig, they showed logical reactions to the effects, which made it more realistic, and they played on the emotion of the viewer to make them more involved in the movie. Skyfall did not disappoint and it a must see addition to the Bond legacy.