Some of the gags work: The DB5, guns blazing, is pulled off almost perfectly. But did the nice moment with the ejector seat really then have to be over clarified with M's line about being ejected ? We already got the joke just with their glances (they're both great actors), it worked, so why rub out noses in it with dialogue.
That moment was awkward.
Every time I saw the film, the audience reacted, at most, with a tired laugh.
Anatomy of a cock-up:
I've only seen it once so far, but it was a very big audience at the BFI imax in london. When Bond flipped open the gearstick to reveal the red ejector button there was a tingle of acknowledgement and appreciation throughout the audience. Then the nice knowing glances between Bond and M, which stated all too clearly and in good humour that M had watch it or he'll press the button got a warm laugh. Great moment and for just a moment everyone is feeling non-patrinized and complimented by the smart humour that they all obviously understood.....
Then the dialogue, saying out loud what that moment had already said very clearly without any words - saying to the audience that they're probably pretty stupid and need it said out loud. A jaded sigh passed audibly around the seats and the film had much work to do win them back.
The sparse and stylish arrival into the highlands achieved this - Newman's score excelling here; despite aping the soundscape of Zimmer's Dark Knight (which in itself owes a lot to The Shinning and David Lynch's whole catalogue) we were transported wholesale into the drama - the isolation of those haunting hills, setting up 'the haunted house' of Skyfall. It was as though Newman hated having to use the Bond score and put all his efforts into the moments that didn't require it.
But, sadly, it just takes one DB5 to be destroyed by a chopper and Bond is back in parodic-comedy mode with his enraged reaction. Never mind that his dearest M and childhood friend are being blown to bits elsewhere - they killed his car!!! Now they gotta pay.
Then once again the action wins us all back, until the unbelievably implausible decision of Secret Service supremo M to allow a torch to light their escape in the other dark landscape making them clearly visible for the bad guys. Perhaps she was too overcome by the bullet wound to protest, but why then would this seasoned gamekeeper, Finney, decide to use the torch, or even need the torch since he's been on keeping that land since before Bond's birth?
But ho-hum, it's a great death scene from Bardem, doing his best Dennis Hopper cum face for M (though i wish i hadn't had to find out after the film what Bond had said to him), and we're into the superbly presented epilogue that leaves you itching for Bond 24