words by Carol King
The Pope likes James Bond – or so it seems because the Vatican’s daily newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ has given a thumbs-up to the latest 007 movie, ‘Skyfall’.
Beneath the headline “007 Licensed To Cry” the paper’s review of ‘Skyfall’ declares that the film depicts “A Bond more tormented over the years”. ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ says that the 23rd screen outing of the British spy lives up to the high standard expected from the film franchise on its 50th anniversary. The review says ‘Skyfall’ “is one of the most successful in the longest-running film series in history.”
Director Sam Mendes comes in for fulsome praise from ‘L’Osservatore Romano’. Its review says he has made film that lacks “none of the classic ingredients that made James Bond legendary: the catchy song on the opening credits, adrenalin action and breathtaking hyperrealistic chases... exotic locations, beautiful Bond girls, the usual super bad guy... but also the inevitable vodka martini – shaken, not stirred – and even the old, mythical and super-equipped Aston Martin DB5”.
‘L’Osservatore Romano’ heaps plaudits on the cast too, singling out actor Javier Bardem for his portrayal of a Bond villain comparable to that of iconic past antagonists Goldfinger, Dr. No and Rosa Klebbs. Yet the paper reserves its greatest acclaim for the film’s original interpretation of the 007 and M characters, saying that today’s Bond is less clichéd. ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ pays tribute to an 007 “less attracted by the pleasures of life, much more sombre and introspective, less invulnerable physically and psychologically, and therefore more human, even capable of being moved and to cry: in a word, more real.”
Now in online versions in seven languages as well as in print, ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ was founded in 1861. The title has had to move with the times and admits “it has undergone a profound transformation in order to respond to the expectations of [Pope] Benedict XVI.” The review of ‘Skyfall’ was one of five articles the paper devoted to the film, illustrating that the fictional secret agent has fans among top-ranking members Roman Catholic Church.
The title’s rave review of the latest outing from Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite spy franchise proves that the Vatican can be equally stirred, if not shaken, by 007’s antics. After the Queen’s successful outing with Bond at the London Olympics in the summer, perhaps the Pope – or at least a cardinal – may be persuaded to appear in the next 007 movie, ‘Bond 24’. Set to hit the big screen in 2014, scriptwriter John Logan has begun work on ‘Bond 24’ according to ‘Hollywood Reporter’. The movie will be the first in a two-part original 007 story, so there is still a chance a cameo role could be arranged.