In November of this year, SkyFall, the 23rd James Bond film, will be released and thus the word SkyFall will, for at least a little while, become part of the English lexicon. That is ridiculous enough since, what is a SkyFall anyway? It's ridiculously gnomic. And, since in two years time, when, as MGM announced at CinemaCon, James Bond will return to the big screen again in an as yet unnamed Bond flick, it might be a good time to pause and consider just how weird James Bond titles have become.
The Bond films began in 1962 with a straightforward title: Dr. No. The other films of the 1960s, what many consider the golden years of Bondhood, were either pithy Bondisms or the proper names of villains. This naming trend was established straight through the 1980s, as Bond transubstantiated from Sean Connery to Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton. Thus we have, Diamond Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, on one hand, and Moonraker and Octopussy on the other. Yet, somehow in the 1990s, when the mantle was passed to Pierce Brosnan, things veered to strange truisms and random word generation.
Brosnan's first film was entitled GoldenEye. That's cute, since the Bond author Ian Fleming's estate in Jamaica was called GoldenEye, but beyond that any connection was tenuous. Then we have Tomorrow Never Dies which sounds great but makes no sense, and The World Is Not Enough, which again, sounds lovely but from which meaning escapes like a villain through an open window.
At first blush, Die Another Day is sensical enough but really, what day? Had one died yesterday the point would be moot and one can't die tomorrow since, as we saw in 1997, tomorrow never dies. Admittedly, Die At Some Point In The Future, though true, lacks stickiness. Things really turned weird after Daniel Craig's first film Casino Royale. Whatever Quantum of Solace, his dark follow up, means is well beyond the normal cognitive abilities of the layperson. Sure, we know what a small unit of comfort may be but just because one can decipher something doesn't mean the thing itself makes sense. It's like ordering a cup of C8H10N4O2, instead of a cup of coffee. This leads us to SkyFall which, apart from coming out in the Fall and a bit of a Chicken Little reference, is just two words that were put together. One might as well call it AppleTeeth or FishDetergent. The point is, what? The 24th film will represent the point at which the number of James Bond movies will outstrip the number of James Bond novels by ten. Either the studio namer of movies is running out of vaguely debonair pairings of words or he's a fan of Exquisite Corpse. That, by the way, is not a half bad title.