Christoph Waltz as Blofeld - Hit or miss?

edited December 2015 in SPECTRE Posts: 7,040
When Christoph Waltz was officially announced to be Spectre's main villain, the decision was met with a lot of enthusiasm from fans and critics alike. Now, one year later, the assessment of his performance has been mixed to say the least. Many critics claim he is a tame disappointment, others have been far more positive.

So what do you think? And did the controversial back story work for you?

Personally I thought he was teriffic, with a great understated menace. A more OTT perfomance could easily have been overkill, and for me he found the perfect balance.
«13456720

Comments

  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 4,042
    Very pleased so hit for me.
  • DariusDarius UK
    edited November 2015 Posts: 354
    ANY SPOILERPHOBES WHO HAVE NOT SEEN SPECTRE SHOULD STOP READING THIS NOW

    I thought the character of, ahem... Oberhauser worked very well, and whilst I was originally opposed to his being Bond's foster brother, this seems to work in the context of SP because it makes the conflict between him and Bond take on a more personal dimension, which makes the character better suited to be a recurring one.

    If we turn the movie clock back a few decades to OHMSS, it is really never that clear why Bond had this personal desire to catch and kill Blofeld after the events of TB and YOLT, since they only met briefly in YOLT. If, however, we introduce the fact that Blofeld had a personal grudge against Bond and worked to be "the author of all your pain", then Bond's desire to bring Blofeld down makes better sense. Making Bond a relative of a brilliant but sociopathically insane criminal such as Blofeld gives rise to all kinds of story ideas that otherwise would not be available or credible.

    As far as Christolph Waltz's portrayal as Oberhauser/Blofeld is concerned, I think he got it spot-on. There's just the right level of brooding, shadowy menace to create a feeling of real fear in the viewer -- it did me, anyway. A lot of this is down to good direction and cinematography, but the way Waltz delivers his lines is nothing short of brilliant. He's calm, assured and full of understated steel-hard menace, in which insanity is implied, rather than overtly thrust in your face Joker-style.

    The Spectre board meeting in Rome is very well done -- it has all the spooky gothic overtones of a Mafia meeting, with Oberhauser/Blofeld being a much feared and respected Don. HIs shadowed figure is treated with deference and respect that more than borders on fear, and much of this permeates to the audience and, indeed, to Bond himself as he watches from the balcony. All that's missing is the calm pitiless green-eyed inhuman gaze of the white Persian cat as a metonym for Blofeld's face, especially as Hinx puts out the eyes of that hapless minion -- but that would have been giving the game away too soon, wouldn't it? Pity.
  • Posts: 7,040
    By now we are of course allowed to refer to the character as Blofeld outright! I intentionally overdid the warning signs in the introduction for that purpose: So we can discuss Waltz' version of Ernst Stavro Blofeld without concern. ;)

    Nice analysis, @Darius. I agree with all of it.
  • Posts: 6,601
    For me he is a miss on par with Almaric. I didn't see the madness in his eyes. I saw nothing there. Dissappointing really, because Javier was an important figure for SF's success and they don't have that here.
  • DariusDarius UK
    Posts: 354
    @Germanlady

    I think that because there was nothing behind the eyes emphasises Blofeld's almost shark-like presence. If Waltz had portrayed Blofeld as a drooling boggle-eyed maniac, the character would have lacked credibility and menace, because this is something many associate with insanity and can therefore relate to. When there's nothing behind the eyes, then that is something that instils real fear because everyone fears the unknown.
  • Posts: 6,601
    I hear you and agree, but here it didn't work at his advantage. Something was missing from his portayal.
  • Posts: 2,486
    Dissapointment ? I thought Waltz was great. He didn't get enough screen time tho. I mean....Waltz was great. But...the character was..eh...could have been handled waaaay better.

    Silva in SF was better villain. Same goes for Le Chiffre.
  • dragonsky wrote: »
    Dissapointment ? I thought Waltz was great. He didn't get enough screen time tho. I mean....Waltz was great. But...the character was..eh...could have been handled waaaay better.

    Silva in SF was better villain. Same goes for Le Chiffre.

    I guess Le Chiffre's bloody eye was a nod to Blofeld.
    and vice versa.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,440
    He was excellent. It could've strayed into pantomime, but it didn't. Silva appears to bring more because because he's a very expressive, extroverted character. A lunatic, in the ilk of the Joker. Where Waltz brings a sense of the introvert, the egotist. There are certain moments where you can see it in his eyes. Inside he's dancing at the thought of Bond's rage, but the exterior remains calm. The only time that cracks is the finale when he's convinced this is it for Bond. I thought he was excellent, dare I say underrated, given some of the things I've seen and heard.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Enemy of the state
    Posts: 41,558
    I believe he will be back, and I will be thrilled if he does.
  • Posts: 1,068
    RC7 wrote: »
    He was excellent. It could've strayed into pantomime, but it didn't. Silva appears to bring more because because he's a very expressive, extroverted character. A lunatic, in the ilk of the Joker. Where Waltz brings a sense of the introvert, the egotist. There are certain moments where you can see it in his eyes. Inside he's dancing at the thought of Bond's rage, but the exterior remains calm. The only time that cracks is the finale when he's convinced this is it for Bond. I thought he was excellent, dare I say underrated, given some of the things I've seen and heard.

    Totally agree: Waltz is superb with a quiet menace
  • Have to agree with @Germanlady.
    To tell you the truth, I didn't think he was very intimidating.

    But I hope he grows into his role like DC did, should he make a return. :)
  • imranbecksimranbecks Singapore
    Posts: 889
    He's a hit! He'll be back.... Watch this space.....
  • OnlyManWhoCanOnlyManWhoCan Greater London
    Posts: 202
    I don't think there was really enough of him to make a fair judgement.

    I've only seen the film once (so far) but I really felt he was playing the role exactly the same as every other Christoph Waltz character. I do not think an actor always has to have the greatest range, and I think Christoph Waltz is wonderful, but I got a sense that I had seen his shtick before, and consequently did not find him as threatening or revelatory as Javier Bardem's performance in Skyfall.

    Still, on further viewing, and with the (obvious) revelation of Oberhauser's true identity out of the way, I expect I will appreciate him more.

    I am VERY pleased that they managed to bring Blofeld's cat and scar into the film. I think the greatest triumph of SPECTRE is how it embraced the cheesier aspects of the series but managed to do it with style!
  • Posts: 4,412
    He phoned it in IMHO
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Enemy of the state
    Posts: 41,558
    patb wrote: »
    He phoned it in IMHO
    Must have been a really good phone. Do you know which model?
  • edited November 2015 Posts: 1,498
    Bit of a miss, but not horribly so. To be honest I just didn't care - this is DAN's Bond movie, and he certifiably nails it.
    Each and every bit of criticism I had for the guy was blown out of the water in SP. From the way he swaggered across the screen in the PTS tracking shot to how he handled the playful script. Waltz could have been on screen for just 2 mins for all I cared.
  • Posts: 2,486
    ^ I keep seeing great things for Craig in SPECTRE. I mean..I liked Craig...but am I the only one feeling that Craig felt...idk..tired? in SPECTRE..sort of like..Connery in YOLT I guess. I don't know if you know what I'm trying to say but that's how I felt...I'll probably enjoy Craig more the 2nd time I see the movie but I thought he had better showings in other movies.
  • Posts: 582
    A hit!
  • Posts: 582
    dragonsky wrote: »
    ^ I keep seeing great things for Craig in SPECTRE. I mean..I liked Craig...but am I the only one feeling that Craig felt...idk..tired? in SPECTRE..sort of like..Connery in YOLT I guess. I don't know if you know what I'm trying to say but that's how I felt...I'll probably enjoy Craig more the 2nd time I see the movie but I thought he had better showings in other movies.

    I don't think his performance was tired, quite the opposite. He seemed really assured in the role and like he was really enjoying it. He seemed a bit tired during interviewing but I would be if I'd spent 6-8 months non-stop on one project. I've written screenplays and just that takes a lot out of you. It takes me typically 6 months from first idea to a final draft and you don't feel like writing the next one straight after but look forward to a break from it.
  • edited November 2015 Posts: 582
    I think Waltz' performance was the essence of good screen acting, the use of restraint, like John Wayne he was a great actor for the screen.
  • Posts: 4,412
    Some of the writing did not help. No socks? since when has showing your toes been a sense of menace?
  • Posts: 582
    patb wrote: »
    Some of the writing did not help. No socks? since when has showing your toes been a sense of menace?

    I don't know that felt very Fleming to me somehow.

  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,090
    I'm indifferent about the back story. It doesn't bother me and nor do I find it particularly interesting. It's whatever for me. However, Waltz was good but he's had better material to work with. That being said, I'm glad he wasn't cartoonishly maniacal because such a character running a huge operation and syndicate needs to have some grounded stability and Waltz' portrayal lended the character the right disposition to make the role credible. He remained collected in his villainy and didn't need to be ranting and raving. The understatement of his sinister self recalled, at times, Julius No and I appreciate that.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,090
    RC7 wrote: »
    He was excellent. It could've strayed into pantomime, but it didn't. Silva appears to bring more because because he's a very expressive, extroverted character. A lunatic, in the ilk of the Joker. Where Waltz brings a sense of the introvert, the egotist. There are certain moments where you can see it in his eyes. Inside he's dancing at the thought of Bond's rage, but the exterior remains calm. The only time that cracks is the finale when he's convinced this is it for Bond. I thought he was excellent, dare I say underrated, given some of the things I've seen and heard.

    This.
  • Posts: 582
    doubleoego wrote: »
    I'm indifferent about the back story. It doesn't bother me and nor do I find it particularly interesting. It's whatever for me. However, Waltz was good but he's had better material to work with. That being said, I'm glad he wasn't cartoonishly maniacal because such a character running a huge operation and syndicate needs to have some grounded stability and Waltz' portrayal lended the character the right disposition to make the role credible. He remained collected in his villainy and didn't need to be ranting and raving. The understatement of his sinister self recalled, at times, Julius No and I appreciate that.

    Yeah I liked the Dr. No feel
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,440
    tigers99 wrote: »
    patb wrote: »
    Some of the writing did not help. No socks? since when has showing your toes been a sense of menace?

    I don't know that felt very Fleming to me somehow.

    Agree. It was a great touch.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited November 2015 Posts: 5,131
    Not keen on the step brother stance, but strangely it did feel Fleming with the Fleming based Hannes Oberhauser link. Telly Savallas remains the best.
  • SirHilaryBraySirHilaryBray Scotland
    Posts: 2,138
    I thought Waltz was a highlight, Some of his lines were delivered superbly in particular the "author of all your pain" and "I suppose that's all a mater of perspective". I even enjoyed the "Cuckoo".
  • Posts: 12,241
    I thought he was brilliant and want to see him more!
Sign In or Register to comment.