On the list of reasons people turn to the Vatican, one would assume spiritual guidance and Catholic counsel would come before movie recommendations—but the Holy See appears to be taking the latter more seriously. Earlier this week the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, offered no fewer than five glowing articles about the newest James Bond film, Skyfall, Reuters reported.
L’Osservatore Romano declared Skyfall one of the best installments in the 23-movie Bond franchise. The paper raved that the new film makes its protagonist more human, real and emotional. Besides its lead story on the movie, the newspaper also offers a comparison of the various James Bond actors, an interview with Skyfall star Daniel Craig, an article explaining the selection of the iconic MI6 officer’s name and a breakdown of the 23 Bond soundtracks, Reuters noted.
Reuters pointed out that the 151-year-old newspaper’s recent James Bond frenzy indicates the kind of transformation it has undergone since editor-in-chiefGian Maria Vian took over in 2007. Vian has followed Pope Benedict XVI’s mandate to revive the Vatican’s semi-official paper and change its image from boring and dry to trendy and current, Reuters reported. The multi-lingual paper has reportedly incorporated more female writers and transitioned to a more reader-friendly design, which is perhaps helping it shake a reputation so austere that it has been compared to the Cold War-era Kremlin mouthpiece Pravda. The paper has also launched a monthly edition written entirely by women.
(WATCH: 5 Reasons We Still Love James Bond)
L’Osservatore Romano has a print circulation of just 15,000 copies—the population of tiny Vatican City itself is only about 830 people— but it maintains notable influence over local and global Catholic communities, and its editorials are often picked up by larger media outlets, Reuters noted. L’Osservatore‘s website, which is produced in seven languages, garners tens of thousands of visits each day.
Although the newspaper’s coverage of Skyfall focuses primarily on Craig’s introspective portrayal of the British super spy, it did take the time to heap some un-ascetic praise on the film’s “extremely beautiful Bond girls” and its inclusion of the “essential vodka martini,” the Guardian pointed out.
Skyfall comes 50 years after the release of the first 007 film, Dr. No. Even beyond the Vatican, early reviews have been largely positive and the movie is expected to be a blockbuster, according to the Los Angeles Times.