SPECTRE - Press reviews and personal reviews (BEWARE! Spoiler reviews allowed)

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  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited December 2015 Posts: 23,883
    Birdleson wrote: »
    It is simply a poorly written film. And it is dull. It is just as simple as that.

    You hate SP. We get it already. Now would you please be so kind as to stop inflicting your misery on the rest of us?

    Does he not have the right to share a negative opinion of Spectre as much as you have the right to share a positive one? The same debate sprung up after Skyfall, and it's just as pointless today.

    With respect to the broader question of why Skyfall was praised for its winks to classic Bond while Spectre wasn't, I have a few reasons. The first and most important one is that Skyfall told a compelling story. Silva was tortured because of M, Silva wants revenge against M. Bond was also hurt by M, but he wants to protect her. Watch them collide. Skyfall also developed its ideas about the obsolescence of MI6 and Bond's relationship to his job, whereas Spectre halfheartedly throws some lines about data collection and Bond's job before abandoning them. Spectre also retreads some of the exact same ground that Skyfall did, in the villain with a personal vendetta against Bond and government bureaucrats wanting to shut MI6 down, but again, they don't develop the ideas half as well and we're left with a mishmash of tropes thrown out there.

    Now, it's also true that reviews of Spectre weren't unanimously negative. It still has a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and most reviews still praise some of the old school Bondian tropes, like Mr. Hinx and the chase in the Alps and so on. I haven't seen Star Wars, but I will in a few hours, so I will comment on any perceived differences after that.

    Of course he has that right. But his opinion would be considerably less rebarbative if it wasn't one constant, unmodulated whinge. He has nothing to say except "Woe is me! I hate SPECTRE!" The banging-the-spoon-on-the-highchair act has gone far beyond tedious.
    I don't see it that way. He is a respected member with intelligent opinions to share, and I for one am interested to hear what he says about the film and why he dislikes it. I haven't seen him take on anyone for having a positive opinion of the film, which is to be respected. He predominantly shares his view on the film.

    I take issue with having a go at members for expressing their opinions, no matter how positive or negative they may be. If one has a problem with the opinion (and that's all it is at the end of the day) then it is more productive to counter it with your own opinion, which you have done nicely in your lengthy post above, rather than attacking a member imho.

    Let's not make any of this personal. It's not necessary.
  • Posts: 13,338
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Here's my take:



    SPECTRE Tantalizes with Beauty and Beastliness

    James Bond films are first and foremost exercises in a unique and increasingly archaic aesthetics. The visual and aural template for these films was established in the first half of the 1960s, a demi-decade in which refined formality and a belief in beauty still held sway in the Western world. This elitist aesthetic was conjoined with a peculiar sense of the bizarre to produce a sensual cocktail which intoxicated film audiences with the very first sip in 1962, and continues to do so in 2015 with the latest 007 adventure, SPECTRE.

    The very longevity of the Bond series and its throwback aesthetics is a slap in the face of postmodern vulgarians who have pronounced the death of beauty and consigned good taste to an anti-egalitarian Jehannum. It is also a standing assertion of the timelessness of beauty and its centrality to what we deem a human existence worth living.

    And it is along these aesthetic lines that SPECTRE makes its mark as yet another unqualified James Bond success. But of course, a film series in its 24th instantiation could not have survived by simply recapitulating the imagery and the sounds of its preceding films. Doing so would be filmic plagiarism and would terminally bore audiences. The trick is to hew to the traditional Bondian aesthetic while deviating just enough to produce novelty. It is a matter of varying a distinctive and appealing theme.

    This is what SPECTRE does so well. The film, directed by Sam Mendes, reprises the beauty and tastefulness we expect from Bond films. Daniel Craig in the lead role is as natty as ever in Tom Ford couture. Craig, at aged 47, has never looked fitter, tougher and more dashing. Nor has he portrayed James Bond more convincingly. His smirk, swagger and sarcasm bespeak a spy who is supremely confident, not only in his ultimate triumph, but also the righteousness of his cause.

    In addition to the handsome chap in immaculate suits and tuxedoes, SPECTRE naturally features women of astonishing beauty. The headliners are 51-year-old Monica Bellucci, the wife and then widow of an assassin dispatched by Bond in the film’s pre-title sequence, and Lea Seydoux, the daughter of yet another villainous gun-for-hire.

    Bellucci infuses her tragic character with a dignified beauty that is both convincing and captivating. Seydoux, while perhaps not the most classically beautiful Bond girl of all, nevertheless possesses a strikingly unforgettable appearance, and beguiles with a spirited girlishness that contrasts well with Bellucci’s more worldly and careworn demeanor.

    Then, too, there is the extravagantly cosmopolitan cinematography for which the Bond films are justly renowned. SPECTRE opens in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead, moves on to Rome, the Austrian Alps, and Morocco before finishing up in London. And cinematographer Hoyt van Hoytema has certainly lived up to his illustrious predecessors in Bond cinematography.

    The aerial shots in this film are particularly spectacular. Much of the Mexico City sequence, including a harrowing punch-up in a helicopter that careens over thousands of terrified revelers, high-perspective views of the villain’s meteorite crater lair in the Sahara, and nocturnal views of London all benefit from being filmed at altitude.

    But Hoytema’s work is even more telling in the frigid, remote bleakness it lends to the proceedings. This first becomes evident in the funeral scene set in Rome. The mourners, all in black, contrast starkly with the white stone of the church and mausoleum. Likewise with Bond’s black sunglasses against his pallid visage.

    This aesthetic theme carries over into the snowy Austrian Alps where Bond traverses a mountain lake by boat in search of information about the SPECTRE organization that is behind a series of terrorist attacks designed to frighten the victim nations into embracing a new panoptic surveillance network that, unbeknownst to those nations, is itself a SPECTRE project.

    After obtaining a crucial item of data from a terminally ill ci-devant SPECTRE agent, Bond travels to a glassy and icy clinic atop an Austrian mountain where he links up with Seydoux’s character, Madeleine Swann. The viewer fairly shivers not just at the beauty of it all, but also at the coldness that radiates from the movie screen.

    Although climatologically opposed to Austria, Morocco shares the European nation’s utter austerity in this film. The vast expanses of desert, punctuated only by lonely roads and rail lines, and rimmed by distant bluffs and mountains, create a sense of profound isolation as Bond and Swann close in on SPECTRE’s heart, its secrets, and its mastermind.

    Complimenting this aesthetic which disquiets via its bleakness, is a palpably ominous sense of dread that manifests itself immediately—the sentence “The dead are alive” displayed across a black screen opens the film—and only relents in the waning frames.

    The opening credits are dominated by a massive black octopus whose tentacles writhe around Bond and various other people and objects as Sam Smith’s dolorous threnody keens in the background. At one point the octopus’ head becomes a skull to produce an image straight out of nightmare-land.

    The element of horror, immediately and thoroughly established, remains an idee fixe. A meeting of SPECTRE agents in Rome, which serves as the introduction of both the main villain (played by Christoph Waltz), and the obligatory henchman (played by Dave Batista), is utterly chilling, and the horror is augmented by an act of shocking violence perpetrated by henchman Hinx on an unsuspecting SPECTRE agent.

    Batista’s Hinx, incidentally, is easily the most frightening henchman in all of Bond cinema. He is a hulking and malign Teddy bear with an exceedingly nasty disposition. Hinx’s elemental fearsomeness comes to the fore in a fight with Bond on a train in which Bond actually shows fear and the viewer too fears that Bond cannot cope with the behemoth. The danger Hinx presents to Bond is completely convincing, and that makes all the difference.

    And speaking of elements, fire, the infernal element, is a pronounced trope in SPECTRE. While being chased by Hinx in Rome, Bond’s tricked out Aston Martin disgorges gouts of flame at the pursuing car. During the train fight, Bond hurls a burning oil lamp, which explodes upon impact with Hinx, but ultimately does not deter him. And more disturbing, at various points in the film, cities in flame, victims of SPECTRE, can be seen on television monitors. The frequent use of fire—as opposed to mere explosions—adds hellishness to the film’s already disquieting aesthetic kit.

    In this vein, we would be remiss not to mention a torture scene in which SPECTRE’s leader subjects a seemingly helpless Bond to the ministrations of a dental drill. Warning: this sequence is not for the squeamish.

    What this all adds up to is a Bond film which possesses all of the aesthetic polish and beauty that is a series hallmark, while also descending into bizarre and grisly horror. (Ian Fleming meets Edgar Allen Poe.) The result is a Bond film whose imagery impresses itself upon the viewer’s mind, and is not easily forgotten. And at the end of the day, that is what matters the most in this genre.

    And I thought you didn't like the movie.

    Not sure how you got that idea. After my first two viewings, I felt ambivalent about SP. I didn't dislike it; I didn't like it; I just wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But my third viewing--last Sunday--put me firmly in SP's camp. I still prefer SF, but SP will probably settle in at around No. 5-No.7 in my rankings. That's pretty dam' good.

    Well, you seemed very critical of the casting of Waltz for instance, although I understand you did seem to appreciate the way Blofeld was written/depicted. Maybe that gave me the wrong impression.
  • Ludovico wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Here's my take:



    SPECTRE Tantalizes with Beauty and Beastliness

    James Bond films are first and foremost exercises in a unique and increasingly archaic aesthetics. The visual and aural template for these films was established in the first half of the 1960s, a demi-decade in which refined formality and a belief in beauty still held sway in the Western world. This elitist aesthetic was conjoined with a peculiar sense of the bizarre to produce a sensual cocktail which intoxicated film audiences with the very first sip in 1962, and continues to do so in 2015 with the latest 007 adventure, SPECTRE.

    The very longevity of the Bond series and its throwback aesthetics is a slap in the face of postmodern vulgarians who have pronounced the death of beauty and consigned good taste to an anti-egalitarian Jehannum. It is also a standing assertion of the timelessness of beauty and its centrality to what we deem a human existence worth living.

    And it is along these aesthetic lines that SPECTRE makes its mark as yet another unqualified James Bond success. But of course, a film series in its 24th instantiation could not have survived by simply recapitulating the imagery and the sounds of its preceding films. Doing so would be filmic plagiarism and would terminally bore audiences. The trick is to hew to the traditional Bondian aesthetic while deviating just enough to produce novelty. It is a matter of varying a distinctive and appealing theme.

    This is what SPECTRE does so well. The film, directed by Sam Mendes, reprises the beauty and tastefulness we expect from Bond films. Daniel Craig in the lead role is as natty as ever in Tom Ford couture. Craig, at aged 47, has never looked fitter, tougher and more dashing. Nor has he portrayed James Bond more convincingly. His smirk, swagger and sarcasm bespeak a spy who is supremely confident, not only in his ultimate triumph, but also the righteousness of his cause.

    In addition to the handsome chap in immaculate suits and tuxedoes, SPECTRE naturally features women of astonishing beauty. The headliners are 51-year-old Monica Bellucci, the wife and then widow of an assassin dispatched by Bond in the film’s pre-title sequence, and Lea Seydoux, the daughter of yet another villainous gun-for-hire.

    Bellucci infuses her tragic character with a dignified beauty that is both convincing and captivating. Seydoux, while perhaps not the most classically beautiful Bond girl of all, nevertheless possesses a strikingly unforgettable appearance, and beguiles with a spirited girlishness that contrasts well with Bellucci’s more worldly and careworn demeanor.

    Then, too, there is the extravagantly cosmopolitan cinematography for which the Bond films are justly renowned. SPECTRE opens in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead, moves on to Rome, the Austrian Alps, and Morocco before finishing up in London. And cinematographer Hoyt van Hoytema has certainly lived up to his illustrious predecessors in Bond cinematography.

    The aerial shots in this film are particularly spectacular. Much of the Mexico City sequence, including a harrowing punch-up in a helicopter that careens over thousands of terrified revelers, high-perspective views of the villain’s meteorite crater lair in the Sahara, and nocturnal views of London all benefit from being filmed at altitude.

    But Hoytema’s work is even more telling in the frigid, remote bleakness it lends to the proceedings. This first becomes evident in the funeral scene set in Rome. The mourners, all in black, contrast starkly with the white stone of the church and mausoleum. Likewise with Bond’s black sunglasses against his pallid visage.

    This aesthetic theme carries over into the snowy Austrian Alps where Bond traverses a mountain lake by boat in search of information about the SPECTRE organization that is behind a series of terrorist attacks designed to frighten the victim nations into embracing a new panoptic surveillance network that, unbeknownst to those nations, is itself a SPECTRE project.

    After obtaining a crucial item of data from a terminally ill ci-devant SPECTRE agent, Bond travels to a glassy and icy clinic atop an Austrian mountain where he links up with Seydoux’s character, Madeleine Swann. The viewer fairly shivers not just at the beauty of it all, but also at the coldness that radiates from the movie screen.

    Although climatologically opposed to Austria, Morocco shares the European nation’s utter austerity in this film. The vast expanses of desert, punctuated only by lonely roads and rail lines, and rimmed by distant bluffs and mountains, create a sense of profound isolation as Bond and Swann close in on SPECTRE’s heart, its secrets, and its mastermind.

    Complimenting this aesthetic which disquiets via its bleakness, is a palpably ominous sense of dread that manifests itself immediately—the sentence “The dead are alive” displayed across a black screen opens the film—and only relents in the waning frames.

    The opening credits are dominated by a massive black octopus whose tentacles writhe around Bond and various other people and objects as Sam Smith’s dolorous threnody keens in the background. At one point the octopus’ head becomes a skull to produce an image straight out of nightmare-land.

    The element of horror, immediately and thoroughly established, remains an idee fixe. A meeting of SPECTRE agents in Rome, which serves as the introduction of both the main villain (played by Christoph Waltz), and the obligatory henchman (played by Dave Batista), is utterly chilling, and the horror is augmented by an act of shocking violence perpetrated by henchman Hinx on an unsuspecting SPECTRE agent.

    Batista’s Hinx, incidentally, is easily the most frightening henchman in all of Bond cinema. He is a hulking and malign Teddy bear with an exceedingly nasty disposition. Hinx’s elemental fearsomeness comes to the fore in a fight with Bond on a train in which Bond actually shows fear and the viewer too fears that Bond cannot cope with the behemoth. The danger Hinx presents to Bond is completely convincing, and that makes all the difference.

    And speaking of elements, fire, the infernal element, is a pronounced trope in SPECTRE. While being chased by Hinx in Rome, Bond’s tricked out Aston Martin disgorges gouts of flame at the pursuing car. During the train fight, Bond hurls a burning oil lamp, which explodes upon impact with Hinx, but ultimately does not deter him. And more disturbing, at various points in the film, cities in flame, victims of SPECTRE, can be seen on television monitors. The frequent use of fire—as opposed to mere explosions—adds hellishness to the film’s already disquieting aesthetic kit.

    In this vein, we would be remiss not to mention a torture scene in which SPECTRE’s leader subjects a seemingly helpless Bond to the ministrations of a dental drill. Warning: this sequence is not for the squeamish.

    What this all adds up to is a Bond film which possesses all of the aesthetic polish and beauty that is a series hallmark, while also descending into bizarre and grisly horror. (Ian Fleming meets Edgar Allen Poe.) The result is a Bond film whose imagery impresses itself upon the viewer’s mind, and is not easily forgotten. And at the end of the day, that is what matters the most in this genre.

    And I thought you didn't like the movie.

    Not sure how you got that idea. After my first two viewings, I felt ambivalent about SP. I didn't dislike it; I didn't like it; I just wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But my third viewing--last Sunday--put me firmly in SP's camp. I still prefer SF, but SP will probably settle in at around No. 5-No.7 in my rankings. That's pretty dam' good.

    Well, you seemed very critical of the casting of Waltz for instance, although I understand you did seem to appreciate the way Blofeld was written/depicted. Maybe that gave me the wrong impression.

    I've even come to appreciate Waltz's take on Blofeld somewhat. I still don't rate him as one of the great Bond villains, but neither do I regard him as a weakness.

  • edited December 2015 Posts: 4,622
    timmer wrote: »
    Saw it again yesterday and thought it was still great. My only real gripes are the torture scene, that Bond doesn't display any signs of weakness after the drilling. This kind of goes against what we have come to expect with the Craig era, that he suffers physically after an ordeal. We don't see any of that after his torture.

    And the ending on the Thames still has a feeling of being tacked on, and suddenly becomes too implausible. The fact that Bond gets caught, then escapes, then walks into the trap. Why lay out a trap if Bond is caught? Or did Blofeld expect Bond to escape and then follow the trap? That just didn't make sense.

    This tacked on scene reminded me of 2 others which also felt tacked on - the ending to Speed, when Sandra Bullock is caught by Hopper after walking off. And Bond shooting Blofeld in the helicopter reminded me of the ending to Die Hard 3, which I always felt was tacked on.

    The torture scene doesn't work because there really is no way to make it work.
    Torture in reality is death, just a slower more painful death.
    Part of the ongoing fantasy of Bond is that he does not get killed or actually be helplessly tortured.
    He escapes before this stuff goes down.
    Fleming created one torture scenario in which Bond was truly doomed.
    Bond did not escape. He was fortuitously rescued
    That's it. Then he had weeks of convalescence and healing.
    Yet Tamahori, Mendes, and assorted continuation authors think it somehow makes sense to willy nilly subject Bond to torture because Fleming created ONE, operative word ONE, iconic torture scene, from which Bond was only lucky to get rescued
    Just say no to "Torture Bond" unless dramatizing Fleming's first novel.
    @timmer
    I've replied to your post before about torture scenes in Bond novels, which were littered with them.

    DAF with Bond nearly being kicked to death by football boots. This would have been far worse to show on screen than the ball whacking in CR. Bond's long, torture ordeal in Dr. No's nasty assault course would also be very nasty if it was shown in a true adaptation. Bond and Solitaire being tied to a boat and being dragged along a coral reef is a particularly nasty way to go. Bond getting his finger broken in LALD. Bond trying to commit suicide while tied down to a table after Oddjob does a few things to him, before the ordeal of being sliced in half very slowly. Even Bond being strapped to a chair while Drax furiously lets rip and beats Bond severely about the face sounded fairly horrific in MR.

    Fleming always had a sick, sinister side to his writing, and it showed in nearly all the novels, not just in CR.

    So you are wrong when you say a torture scene only happened once. It happened numerous times, in different forms.
    We have different definitions of torture then.
    I'm talking about the CR scene, and what Amis did in Colonel Sun, and what Wood did at beginning of his TSWLM novelization - the strapped to a chair, no chance of escape, with torturer applying the pain. Sure Fleming put Bond thru the ringer, but he only had him strapped down to endure painful torture until death, the one time, at least that's how I see it.
    Anyway there are no rules. But my preference is that Bond not be subjected to torture scenes.
    It ruins the escapist fantasy that is Bond.
    Even in Bond fantasy land I don't think its realistic that any agent escape such predicaments with regularity.
    Broz I guess was tortured by Elektra in TWINE, but she was also smooching him too.
    Some.might even willingly endure a little neck squeezing in exchange for smooches with a woman as fetching as Marceau's Elektra.
    All in all it didn't appear too grueling,and it was of course tempered by the smooches.
    Scariest bit about the SP torture tedium was of course that the torturer wore no socks. Shudder.

    @wizardofice I only just read your robust riposte now. Entertaining as always.
    You missed my point though about asking Sir Ian to ditch the CR torture scene.
    This was to spare us the imitators trying to earn their CR torture bonafides, not a suggestion that the scene didn't resonate in the original Fleming novel.

    @khanners Great review.I even learned about 10 new words , none of which I could use in sentence, but they might come in handy playing Scrabble.
  • Shoudn t you be called starwarsboy instead, then?

    ....um...good one?

  • Posts: 13,338
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Here's my take:



    SPECTRE Tantalizes with Beauty and Beastliness

    James Bond films are first and foremost exercises in a unique and increasingly archaic aesthetics. The visual and aural template for these films was established in the first half of the 1960s, a demi-decade in which refined formality and a belief in beauty still held sway in the Western world. This elitist aesthetic was conjoined with a peculiar sense of the bizarre to produce a sensual cocktail which intoxicated film audiences with the very first sip in 1962, and continues to do so in 2015 with the latest 007 adventure, SPECTRE.

    The very longevity of the Bond series and its throwback aesthetics is a slap in the face of postmodern vulgarians who have pronounced the death of beauty and consigned good taste to an anti-egalitarian Jehannum. It is also a standing assertion of the timelessness of beauty and its centrality to what we deem a human existence worth living.

    And it is along these aesthetic lines that SPECTRE makes its mark as yet another unqualified James Bond success. But of course, a film series in its 24th instantiation could not have survived by simply recapitulating the imagery and the sounds of its preceding films. Doing so would be filmic plagiarism and would terminally bore audiences. The trick is to hew to the traditional Bondian aesthetic while deviating just enough to produce novelty. It is a matter of varying a distinctive and appealing theme.

    This is what SPECTRE does so well. The film, directed by Sam Mendes, reprises the beauty and tastefulness we expect from Bond films. Daniel Craig in the lead role is as natty as ever in Tom Ford couture. Craig, at aged 47, has never looked fitter, tougher and more dashing. Nor has he portrayed James Bond more convincingly. His smirk, swagger and sarcasm bespeak a spy who is supremely confident, not only in his ultimate triumph, but also the righteousness of his cause.

    In addition to the handsome chap in immaculate suits and tuxedoes, SPECTRE naturally features women of astonishing beauty. The headliners are 51-year-old Monica Bellucci, the wife and then widow of an assassin dispatched by Bond in the film’s pre-title sequence, and Lea Seydoux, the daughter of yet another villainous gun-for-hire.

    Bellucci infuses her tragic character with a dignified beauty that is both convincing and captivating. Seydoux, while perhaps not the most classically beautiful Bond girl of all, nevertheless possesses a strikingly unforgettable appearance, and beguiles with a spirited girlishness that contrasts well with Bellucci’s more worldly and careworn demeanor.

    Then, too, there is the extravagantly cosmopolitan cinematography for which the Bond films are justly renowned. SPECTRE opens in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead, moves on to Rome, the Austrian Alps, and Morocco before finishing up in London. And cinematographer Hoyt van Hoytema has certainly lived up to his illustrious predecessors in Bond cinematography.

    The aerial shots in this film are particularly spectacular. Much of the Mexico City sequence, including a harrowing punch-up in a helicopter that careens over thousands of terrified revelers, high-perspective views of the villain’s meteorite crater lair in the Sahara, and nocturnal views of London all benefit from being filmed at altitude.

    But Hoytema’s work is even more telling in the frigid, remote bleakness it lends to the proceedings. This first becomes evident in the funeral scene set in Rome. The mourners, all in black, contrast starkly with the white stone of the church and mausoleum. Likewise with Bond’s black sunglasses against his pallid visage.

    This aesthetic theme carries over into the snowy Austrian Alps where Bond traverses a mountain lake by boat in search of information about the SPECTRE organization that is behind a series of terrorist attacks designed to frighten the victim nations into embracing a new panoptic surveillance network that, unbeknownst to those nations, is itself a SPECTRE project.

    After obtaining a crucial item of data from a terminally ill ci-devant SPECTRE agent, Bond travels to a glassy and icy clinic atop an Austrian mountain where he links up with Seydoux’s character, Madeleine Swann. The viewer fairly shivers not just at the beauty of it all, but also at the coldness that radiates from the movie screen.

    Although climatologically opposed to Austria, Morocco shares the European nation’s utter austerity in this film. The vast expanses of desert, punctuated only by lonely roads and rail lines, and rimmed by distant bluffs and mountains, create a sense of profound isolation as Bond and Swann close in on SPECTRE’s heart, its secrets, and its mastermind.

    Complimenting this aesthetic which disquiets via its bleakness, is a palpably ominous sense of dread that manifests itself immediately—the sentence “The dead are alive” displayed across a black screen opens the film—and only relents in the waning frames.

    The opening credits are dominated by a massive black octopus whose tentacles writhe around Bond and various other people and objects as Sam Smith’s dolorous threnody keens in the background. At one point the octopus’ head becomes a skull to produce an image straight out of nightmare-land.

    The element of horror, immediately and thoroughly established, remains an idee fixe. A meeting of SPECTRE agents in Rome, which serves as the introduction of both the main villain (played by Christoph Waltz), and the obligatory henchman (played by Dave Batista), is utterly chilling, and the horror is augmented by an act of shocking violence perpetrated by henchman Hinx on an unsuspecting SPECTRE agent.

    Batista’s Hinx, incidentally, is easily the most frightening henchman in all of Bond cinema. He is a hulking and malign Teddy bear with an exceedingly nasty disposition. Hinx’s elemental fearsomeness comes to the fore in a fight with Bond on a train in which Bond actually shows fear and the viewer too fears that Bond cannot cope with the behemoth. The danger Hinx presents to Bond is completely convincing, and that makes all the difference.

    And speaking of elements, fire, the infernal element, is a pronounced trope in SPECTRE. While being chased by Hinx in Rome, Bond’s tricked out Aston Martin disgorges gouts of flame at the pursuing car. During the train fight, Bond hurls a burning oil lamp, which explodes upon impact with Hinx, but ultimately does not deter him. And more disturbing, at various points in the film, cities in flame, victims of SPECTRE, can be seen on television monitors. The frequent use of fire—as opposed to mere explosions—adds hellishness to the film’s already disquieting aesthetic kit.

    In this vein, we would be remiss not to mention a torture scene in which SPECTRE’s leader subjects a seemingly helpless Bond to the ministrations of a dental drill. Warning: this sequence is not for the squeamish.

    What this all adds up to is a Bond film which possesses all of the aesthetic polish and beauty that is a series hallmark, while also descending into bizarre and grisly horror. (Ian Fleming meets Edgar Allen Poe.) The result is a Bond film whose imagery impresses itself upon the viewer’s mind, and is not easily forgotten. And at the end of the day, that is what matters the most in this genre.

    And I thought you didn't like the movie.

    Not sure how you got that idea. After my first two viewings, I felt ambivalent about SP. I didn't dislike it; I didn't like it; I just wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But my third viewing--last Sunday--put me firmly in SP's camp. I still prefer SF, but SP will probably settle in at around No. 5-No.7 in my rankings. That's pretty dam' good.

    Well, you seemed very critical of the casting of Waltz for instance, although I understand you did seem to appreciate the way Blofeld was written/depicted. Maybe that gave me the wrong impression.

    I've even come to appreciate Waltz's take on Blofeld somewhat. I still don't rate him as one of the great Bond villains, but neither do I regard him as a weakness.

    It's extremely difficult to create the perfect (literary) Blofeld onscreen. Maybe I'm easier to please regarding Waltz because I think we could have far worse (African warlord Blofeld or mini Blofeld). But I do think he conveyed at least some of the malevolence of the literary incarnation.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Costa Mucho
    Posts: 42,003
    Waltz was the best thing about Goldeneye, but a lot better in Spectre.
  • timmer wrote: »
    timmer wrote: »
    Saw it again yesterday and thought it was still great. My only real gripes are the torture scene, that Bond doesn't display any signs of weakness after the drilling. This kind of goes against what we have come to expect with the Craig era, that he suffers physically after an ordeal. We don't see any of that after his torture.

    And the ending on the Thames still has a feeling of being tacked on, and suddenly becomes too implausible. The fact that Bond gets caught, then escapes, then walks into the trap. Why lay out a trap if Bond is caught? Or did Blofeld expect Bond to escape and then follow the trap? That just didn't make sense.

    This tacked on scene reminded me of 2 others which also felt tacked on - the ending to Speed, when Sandra Bullock is caught by Hopper after walking off. And Bond shooting Blofeld in the helicopter reminded me of the ending to Die Hard 3, which I always felt was tacked on.

    The torture scene doesn't work because there really is no way to make it work.
    Torture in reality is death, just a slower more painful death.
    Part of the ongoing fantasy of Bond is that he does not get killed or actually be helplessly tortured.
    He escapes before this stuff goes down.
    Fleming created one torture scenario in which Bond was truly doomed.
    Bond did not escape. He was fortuitously rescued
    That's it. Then he had weeks of convalescence and healing.
    Yet Tamahori, Mendes, and assorted continuation authors think it somehow makes sense to willy nilly subject Bond to torture because Fleming created ONE, operative word ONE, iconic torture scene, from which Bond was only lucky to get rescued
    Just say no to "Torture Bond" unless dramatizing Fleming's first novel.
    @timmer
    I've replied to your post before about torture scenes in Bond novels, which were littered with them.

    DAF with Bond nearly being kicked to death by football boots. This would have been far worse to show on screen than the ball whacking in CR. Bond's long, torture ordeal in Dr. No's nasty assault course would also be very nasty if it was shown in a true adaptation. Bond and Solitaire being tied to a boat and being dragged along a coral reef is a particularly nasty way to go. Bond getting his finger broken in LALD. Bond trying to commit suicide while tied down to a table after Oddjob does a few things to him, before the ordeal of being sliced in half very slowly. Even Bond being strapped to a chair while Drax furiously lets rip and beats Bond severely about the face sounded fairly horrific in MR.

    Fleming always had a sick, sinister side to his writing, and it showed in nearly all the novels, not just in CR.

    So you are wrong when you say a torture scene only happened once. It happened numerous times, in different forms.
    We have different definitions of torture then.
    I'm talking about the CR scene, and what Amis did in Colonel Sun, and what Wood did at beginning of his TSWLM novelization - the strapped to a chair, no chance of escape, with torturer applying the pain. Sure Fleming put Bond thru the ringer, but he only had him strapped down to endure painful torture until death, the one time, at least that's how I see it.
    Anyway there are no rules. But my preference is that Bond not be subjected to torture scenes.
    It ruins the escapist fantasy that is Bond.
    Even in Bond fantasy land I don't think its realistic that any agent escape such predicaments with regularity.
    Broz I guess was tortured by Elektra in TWINE, but she was also smooching him too.
    Some.might even willingly endure a little neck squeezing in exchange for smooches with a woman as fetching as Marceau's Elektra.
    All in all it didn't appear too grueling,and it was of course tempered by the smooches.
    Scariest bit about the SP torture tedium was of course that the torturer wore no socks. Shudder.

    @wizardofice I only just read your robust riposte now. Entertaining as always.
    You missed my point though about asking Sir Ian to ditch the CR torture scene.
    This was to spare us the imitators trying to earn their CR torture bonafides, not a suggestion that the scene didn't resonate in the original Fleming novel.

    @khanners Great review.I even learned about 10 new words , none of which I could use in sentence, but they might come in handy playing Scrabble.

    Heh. Thanks, timmer.

  • Posts: 13,338
    Waltz was the best thing about Goldeneye, but a lot better in Spectre.

    I am sure it is very funny, but I don't get it.
  • Posts: 1,098
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Waltz was the best thing about Goldeneye, but a lot better in Spectre.

    I am sure it is very funny, but I don't get it.

    nor do i, but you have to remember that @Thunderfinger, is quite mad.

    :)
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,098
    Waltz appeared in the 1989 Fleming Biopic GoldenEye.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Costa Mucho
    Posts: 42,003
    Murdock, you are mad.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited December 2015 Posts: 23,883
    mepal1 wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Waltz was the best thing about Goldeneye, but a lot better in Spectre.

    I am sure it is very funny, but I don't get it.

    nor do i, but you have to remember that @Thunderfinger, is quite mad.

    :)
    Don't you guys mean DAD rather than GE?
    a6yL3Zq_700b.jpg
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,098
    Murdock, you are mad.

    Yes as it's the only GoldenEye I haven't watched yet.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Costa Mucho
    Posts: 42,003
    They are both below mediocre.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,098
    They are both below mediocre.
  • M_BaljeM_Balje Amsterdam, Netherlands
    edited December 2015 Posts: 3,820
    105s3o5.jpg

    Christmas time is for some people a day of giving a way gifts, my gift for your is this and the message that i have seen Spectre on 30 November 2015. Review Comingsoon..

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Costa Mucho
    Posts: 42,003
    Best gift I got this year! Thanks.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    @talos7, I scanned that list...but did movies like 'American Ultra,' 'Spy,' and 'Jurassic World' make the list, and SP didn't?! Wow.
  • talos7talos7 New Orleans
    Posts: 6,154
    I haven't seen 'American Ultra or' 'Spy' but did see Jurassic World and enjoyed it very much.
  • Posts: 4,622
    I have read at various places, mostly non-Bond places that Swann "passing out' in her dress and walking up much later in her nightie is a continuity error of oh so greivous proportions.
    It is not. It is perfectly possible that she awoke at some point and slipped into her nightie.
    People do this all the time ie fall asleep in clothes, awake later and change into bedclothes.
    An actual contuity error is Dench walking into Mallory's office in SF with purse, placing it on floor.
    But when she leaves, no sign of purse, either with her or on floor where she put it.

    Purpose of Swann wake-up scene though is clearly to show off her smashing figure and cleavage in nightie.
    It would not have been good filmmaking to insert another scene showing her putting it on.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited December 2015 Posts: 23,883
    talos7 wrote: »
    That is a reasonable top 10 list. Sicario is missing, and I would have put MI-RN ahead of MM-FR, but the top 3 are acceptable to me. I haven't seen American Ultra either (I didn't even realize it was an action movie).
  • Posts: 5,767
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    @talos7, I scanned that list...but did movies like 'American Ultra,' 'Spy,' and 'Jurassic World' make the list, and SP didn't?! Wow.
    bondjames wrote: »
    talos7 wrote: »
    That is a reasonable top 10 list. Sicario is missing, and I would have put MI-RN ahead of MM-FR, but the top 3 are acceptable to me. I haven't seen American Ultra either (I didn't even realize it was an action movie).
    Sicario for sure is not an action movie, and one could argue that SP is more thriller than action movie.

  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    @boldfinger, 'Sicario' is definitely not an action movie, and SP is much more of an action movie than something like 'Spy' or 'American Ultra' is. They're just as much comedies as SP is a thriller/spy movie, which, to me, balances more on the action side of things than the former two do.
  • Too long, flat in the middle. Otherwise it was OK.
  • My biggest problem with Spectre still has to do with Blofeld and how they handled him, they were trying to combine the old aesthetics of the cat, the clothes and the scar with a new more "emotional" connection of family, but neither end up working. There's an odd disconnect between Blofeld, the supposed feared leader of a terrorist organisation out to control the world and Blofeld, the sockless cat lover with daddy issues running around abandoned buildings setting up traps for Bond. It's hard not to come away and feel like Waltz was miscast, a fine actor that can dominate and captivate like no other, but he feels wasted on a character with little presence.

    But then again, has Blofeld EVER really worked beyond the faceless, nameless leader sitting in a chair stroking his cat? As much as they try to prove that he's Bond's "arch-nemesis" he's always been fairly uninteresting. Pleasance's Blofeld has been parodied to death, but looking past that, all you really have is a scar, an evil lair and a rather small, dull, unimposing man. Savalas' version improves somewhat, but he's still reduced to just an egomaniac living in exile with a really awful bobsled helmet. And Charles Gray just turned him into a campy joke, a complete cariacture. The next we see of him, he's offering Bond something no sane man would ever want while getting thrown into a chimney. Maybe it's time to let go and stop trying to make him work.
    Entirely agreed , Blofeld has generally been bad in the films, out of 4 appearances YOLT OHMSS. DAF & FYEO he only worked in OHMSS.

    Horribly overrated villain not even close to Bonds Moriarity and they did not succeed in bringing him back in a good way, what a waste
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