We came over Waterloo Bridge after sunset and to the east St Paul's dominated the view. I never tire of it. There were coloured lights and white lights and the blackness of the river. It looked just like it did on Skyfall.
We suspended our disbelief, peeped through our fingers, laughed and gasped through Skyfall. From the start, London was the one of the co-stars. The underground car park by Smithfield Market led us into the relocated MI6. Fortunately for this vegetarian, they had moved the meat carcasses, but the offices with their half moon windows were as I remember them from a visit nearly twenty years ago. There were aerial views of the city, a scene filmed from a rooftop on Whitehall by the Ministry of Defence, Trafalgar Square, underground stations, the National Gallery. I had my London anorak firmly on throughout.
I really enjoyed the interplay between the the lead actors. Usually I feel a certain pity for actors forced to share a screen with Judi Dench, because when she gets into her stride, she simply eclipses everyone else with the merest twitch of the eyebrow. Her portrayal of a woman in fear for her life was a master class on its own. But the film felt like a real ensemble effort, and my instinct was that everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves.
It was also something of a travelogue. Not just London, but also Scotland, and I am sure I recognise that view as they drive into the Highlands. Is it Glencoe? Personally, it didn’t make me want to visit Shanghai, but some people might be quite happy to spend an evening in the company of monitor lizards. I think that's what they were, but do correct me if I have mistaken my reptiles.
I enjoyed the various homages to earlier Bond films, but I am sure I missed loads that serious Bond aficionados would be clocking. The dialogue was dry, pithy, much tighter and funnier than I had anticipated.
Only as we left the cinema and I confessed that this was my first Bond film did I learn that my friend too had been a Bond virgin. Somehow that struck us as very funny that two women of a certain age, who could truthfully be said to have grown up in the Bond era, should now be discovering what the rest of the world has been enjoying all these years.