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Skyfall - John C. Kirk

Nov. 13th, 2012

01:00 am - Skyfall

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I went off to watch Skyfall on Saturday (the new James Bond film), and I enjoyed it. I've lived in London for a while, and I still get a buzz from seeing familiar places in TV episodes or films: "Hey, I recognise that bridge!" In particular, I'm gradually getting a better sense of geography in central London (by cycling around) which makes chase scenes a bit more interesting when I can keep track of where they are. That said, it does depend on how faithful the film is to reality, e.g. the live action version of 101 Dalmations apparently involved teleporting between several different parks.

I started watching Bond films in the 1980s, so I'm quite happy to suspend my disbelief when it comes to rocket cars or space lasers. However, speaking as a regular commuter, there was one bit in the new film where I had to stop and say "No, that's not right." Minor spoilers follow.

During the film, Bond chases the bad guy into a tube station. Bond then takes a shortcut, by sliding down the metal bit between the escalators. Here's a photo of the escalators at a tube station:

Escalators

I took that photo at Canary Wharf (on my way to the Jubilee line) but the layout is pretty common across London stations. Note the blue signs at regular intervals which say "Please stand on the right". As well as optimising traffic, I think that they are also in place specifically to stop people from sliding down. At the bottom, there are also the red emergency buttons to stop the escalator and the oblong metal bits. Bond slid down a "single width" escalator, so he wouldn't have been able to dodgy around them. I've also seen stations where they put railings up to separate the escalator queues into "lanes"; the railing then joins the middle of the escalator barrier, so anyone who slid down and avoided all the other obstacles would then land on their groin at the bottom.

Actually, as I recall this was a minor plot point in Octopussy: James Bond (played by Roger Moore) was sliding down a banister rail, then he saw a big wooden sculpture at the bottom which would be painful to collide with so he had to shoot it into smithereens with his machine gun before he got there. Now that's the kind of realism that I'm looking for from Daniel Craig.

sulkyblue has also written about problems with this film; her blog post is a bit more in-depth than mine.

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From:dwagon
Date:November 13th, 2012 08:07 am (UTC)
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Also, the tube he got on was the wrong stock for that line - iirc, it was Jubilee line stock on the District line?

This was the number one complaint from the group of geeks I saw the movie with, though I do remembering noticing the lack of 'blocks' during Bond's slides like you :)
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From:johnckirk
Date:November 13th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
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I didn't notice the stock, but I'll take your word for it. I know that some trains do get jumbled around (particularly District and Circle); I'm not sure whether Jubilee line trains are compatible with other lines, although I really should since I worked on the Jubilee Line Extension Project back in 1996.

I'm glad that I wasn't the only person being picky about the slide :)
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