WARNING: If you haven't yet seen Skyfall -- and plan on doing so -- then don't read any further. Otherwise, carry on.
After watching the latest James Bond movie this weekend, I realized that it had done something no other Bond film had been able to do before -- touch me on an emotional level. Granted, it was a fairly brief and none-too-deep emotional level, yet it was there. I refer, of course, to the death of Judi Dench's M character.
It became clear, as I exited the theater and reflected on what had just transpired on the screen, that the past 17 years of the Bond franchise hadn't been two eras (one of Pierce Brosnan and one of Daniel Craig in the title role), but simply one era: that of Judi Dench. Having played the head of MI-6 since 1995's GoldenEye, Dench has made the role of M her own.
When it came time -- after a four year hiatus -- to re-boot the Bond series with Casino Royale, the only constant was Dench's M. She presided over the introduction, and first three films, of Daniel Craig as the British secret agent. Now, in Skyfall, we must bid adieu to the powerful lady. After a series of cock-ups and mistakes that cost several lives, M dies in the arms of Bond. Upon seeing his tears, her last words are, "Well, at least I did one thing right."
More than one thing, M. More than one thing.