Skyfall's Abandoned Island

Craig And Bardem In Skyfall

I'm going to speak freely here, so if you haven't seen it, don't read this. Unless you want to know what happens at the end, of course. Or you want to know more about the island.

I'm a fan of James Bond films, but not enough of one to have seen the entire collection. I have seen most of the recent ones, though, and I know enough about the franchise to be able to list the Bonds in order: Sean, Roger, Pierce, Daniel. (Blast. I know I'm missing a few. Ah, George and Timothy somewhere in there. Sorry, guys.)

But I loved Skyfall. I loved the awesome credits. Naked girls and guns, this time with skulls, daggers and gravestones swirling in the requisite '60s, psychedelic fashion. And Adele with a song that perfectly sums up the vibe of this film - modern yet classic.

It also thought it was kind of nice to have a (dare I say) relatable villain who was not some evil doctor planning the end the world. Though I certainly don't mean to downplay the exceptionally creepy villain that is Javier Bardem, who reminded me of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. But the death of M? I guess I didn't see that coming, and I'm sorry to see her go. (But maybe it's just because I love Judi Dench.) The takeaway is that I need to own some grey pearls to take me through the next 40 years.

All of that aside, here's what I was left wondering about: the crazy abandoned island where Bardem's Silva meets Bond (and kills what appears to be the only Bond girl in the film). It's called Hashima Island, or Gunkanjima (Battleship Island), and it's located about nine miles off the coast of Nagasaki. It was used for coal mining until 1974, which is when the last inhabitants left. Travel to the island has been permitted since 2005 (for journalists only), and since 2009, to small numbers of tourists.

Aside from looking scary, impressive and post-modern, one of the reasons it's so interesting is because it shows the decay of concrete after only 35 years of abandonment. Gunkanjima has been put forth for consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but South Korea has objected because Korean labourers were forced to work there during World War II. (If you need a refresher of what UNESCO stands for, you're not alone. It's the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. It's made up of 21 countries, which are elected for four-year terms, and consider proposals during their annual meeting.)

But back to the fun, fabulous fearlessness that is James Bond. We have Daniel Craig for at least two more films, Miss Moneypenny, and Ralph Fiennes as M. Oh, and an excellently geeky Q. We're so ready for the modern classics that are to come.