Skyfall, the latest entry in the James Bond franchise, has received near enough universal acclaim since the reviews started flooding in last week. Sam Mendes, who was originally cited as a somewhat strange choice for a Bond director, can sit back and relax, then, knowing that he’s produced an excellent Bond adventure (an outing that some critics have called “the best Bond ever”).
So where exactly did Mendes – who is best-known through his association with pretentious plastic bag in the wind sequences, composer Thomas Newman, and former-wife Kate Winslet – hone his action chops? Well, according to the man himself, he took notes from Christopher Nolan:
“In terms of what [Nolan] achieved, specifically ‘The Dark Knight,’ the second movie, what it achieved, which is something exceptional. It was a game changer for everybody…
We’re now in an industry where movies are very small or very big and there’s almost nothing in the middle […] it would be a tragedy if all the serious movies were very small and all the popcorn movies were very big and have nothing to say. And what Nolan proved was that you can make a huge movie that is thrilling and entertaining and has a lot to say about the world we live in, even if, in the case with ‘The Dark Knight,’ it’s not even set in our world.
It felt like a movie that was about our world post-9/11, and played on our fears, and discussed our fears and why they existed and I thought that was incredibly brave and interesting. That did help give me the confidence to take this movie in directions that, without ‘The Dark Knight,’ might not have been possible. Because also, people go, ‘Wow, that’s pretty dark,’ but then you can point to ‘Dark Knight’ and go ‘Look at that – that’s a darker movie, and it took in a gazillion dollars!’ That’s very helpful. There’s also that thing – it’s clearly possible to make a dark movie that people want to see.”
So is Mendes slyly telling us that Christopher Nolan is actually responsible for the success of not only the Batman franchise, but the resurgence of the James Bond franchise, too? Well, probably not, but Nolan’s influence is certainly finding its way into all sorts of franchises these days. We’re looking at you, Man Of Steel.
Skyfall opens in theaters and IMAX on November 9, and will be the third Bond movie to feature Daniel Craig in the famous role.