There couldn’t have been a better symbolic choice…Turner’s “The Fighting Temeraire” (1839) depicts an old ship (and a war ship at that) which has passed it’s prime and is now being towed up the Thames by a steam boat to a shipyard for scrap. There are obvious thematic comparisons with “Skyfall” as a whole…the ship could very well represent M (her competences being questioned from both within and from outside), Bond (physically, psychologically, even ideologically questioned) or even the Bond movies themselves as “Skyfall” respects the past but also attempts to reinvigorate the series at it’s 50th birthday. You could even suggest that the painting represents Bond and Silva. However, we could also see it as a simple reflection of this first meeting between Bond and Q, both as who and where they are professionally but also, as they touch on in their conversation, what they represent professionally.
In the painting the sun is setting. Time is running out for the old war ship…a sailing ship…old technology and beyond it’s best days. Often overlooked though is the rising moon (top left) signalling the start of another cycle. Like the steam boat, the ‘new guard’ is ushered in…and hopefully more Bond.
A superb, symbolic choice….here’s the scene…
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