Perhaps this is a bit of a 'weird' topic at this stage. But I do think however that it wouldn't be a bad idea to sum up all the things that director Sam Mendes and his producers actually did right
with this 24th Bond installment. I think that too many times we're spiralling down into "comparison sickness". Perhaps this is a result of the social-media heavy environment we're living in. And perhaps mostly it's because people really don't like this 24th Bond film.
What I refuse to believe though, is that "SPECTRE" only works in the first half of the running time. For me "SPECTRE" was a an entertaining TGV-train that passed me by so fast, that I couldn't believe afterwards this was actually the longest Bond film of the franchise. I left the cinema on such a high note, with such good feeling. I understood the story, the plot. So one can feel a bit disheartened if he/she reads mostly negative reviews.
Therefore, time for some proper appreciation in which we shamefully mention all the good things "SPECTRE" gave us. A true appreciation thread with sometimes objective, but also subjective opiniated arguments supporting the wonderful entertaining quality this film gave us.
I like to kick off my appreciation with some of my favourite scenes. Some of these elements were quite similar to "Skyfall" and "Casino Royale". But I think the slower, more 'deadlier' moments of "SPECTRE" were actually the highlights.
"The Dentist Drill Torture"
If someone has read a bit about Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Ian Fleming's novels "Thunderball", "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "You Only Live Twice", then you know that he is much more psychotic than, let's say, Silva and Le Chiffre. Those villains more or less were brandmarked by their pasts, but were also acting out of pure desperation and hate. So that sets this particular torture sequence apart from, for instance, the Rope Torture Sequence
in "Casino Royale".
Having said all this, I just loved the newly re-imagined way of Blofeld not directly fighting Bond, but using machinery and buttons instead. The sequence felt like the more lush, luxury version of the rope torture sequence from "CR" or the Boat Dragging Torture
from "For Your Eyes Only". And for me it was especially cruel and psychotic when he detailedly describes the killing of the previous SPECTRE-head. I liked it when he was fascinated by the fact that he tried to kill the soul earlier than the actual body. Slightly gory, but so was "Skyfall". And those tiny little droplets of blood attached to these miniature dentist drills. Won-der-ful. Highlight of the film! Brings me to the 2nd highlight....
"The S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Board Meeting + Killing A Member"
I was glad that the board meeting worked so well. Together with the cinematography, the lighting and all the shadows the scene reminded me a bit of Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut
" and several of David Fincher's films. It started off rather 'ordinary', like another of those top secret Bilderberg meetings (which this S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is slightly modelled after). Dr Vogel does off course the German introduction and talks about all the successes of the pharmacy acquisition (possible biological warfare plot for the future?).
When then the Spanish S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-head is being challenged by one hell of a big man: Hinx. Perhaps the nicest introduction ever of a henchman. What follows next is the prelogue to the killing of the Spanish member. Hinx has a signature weapon....his steel thumb nails. And then it happens: Hinx grabs the poor man, pushes out / destroys the man's eyeballs. Leaving a lot of blood. You feel the soul leaving his body. And then, in an instant, Hinx kills the man entirely by snapping his neck. Won-der-ful-ly re-imagined S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-meeting and not as cheesy as Austin Powers feeding a man to the sharks.
"The Train Fight Sequence"
Off course this scene pays tribute to past Bond films. But what especially worked for me was the fact that I haven't seen Bond so...vulnerable. Finally he's not someone's equal physically, and he has to use other methods than his bare fists. The fight is as elegant -or not as elegant- as the stairwell fight sequence
from "Casino Royale". And you see him suffering, even hearing him moan as Hinx tries to use his thumbs again.
But the fight sequence particularly works because it's set in two parts. During the 2nd part Madeleine joins and Thomas Newman's track 'Hinx' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oup3E5xfG5Q
) kicks in. It works deliciously. The strangling makes Madeleine suffer and moan too. And as this fight sequence is quite long, it therefore really never feels long. The final scene is very funny then, when Bond manages to make Hinx say one final word: *beep* Lovely :-)
What I also loved about "SPECTRE" was the good story and personal backgrounds of several characters. I for instance loved the family backgrounds. And the connection with the previous films didn't feel contrived to me. I liked them! Introducing a family background in the reasoning of the villain is by no means an error in writing or stupidity in screenplay/plot writing. It's more a fact of simply....disliking that aspect of family history
. At first I was a bit sceptical about this, but I thought it was decently executed and with enough elaboration explained.
Saying that "Bond should not have a family background in a Bond film
" is merely the voice in someone's mind screaming for conservative familiarity. Similar to how critics slammed the ending of "OHMSS" when it premiered in 1969/1970. As if James Bond marrying a girl, and then being killed off at the very end "is not Bond
With such notions people are limiting themselves. And it doesn't let the franchise move forward in new territories. I agree that Bond is more realistic than, let's say "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight Rises". But there is also a similarity
: Both Fleming's novels and DC Comics are firmly grounded in fantasy
. Sometimes larger-than-life, bordering sci-fi, but most of the time they have a cinematic reality to them.
Having said that: the entire personal background histories of Bond, of Silva, of 'M', and Blofeld -when re-reading the novels "You Only Live Twice" and "Octopussy"
- that Sam Mendes, Marc Forster and Martin Campbell brought to us, feel entirely satisfying to me. And they are mostly properly explained to us as well........if you like it or not
Sadly, the "Mission: Impossible"-franchise isn't daring enough to do this. But for the reasons I just explained I actually really liked "Mission: Impossible III". It takes some guts to make a character vulnerable, to make him more 'rounded' with personal backgrounds and therefore deep emotional reasoning. Instead, Ethan Hunt plays the 'Bond of the past', that perhaps many conservative Bond fans miss so much. But not me. I've seen that with Bond already. Done that, been there in the past. Not with Bond. And this is one of the reasons why perhaps individually "Rogue Nation" is a very good film, but it also makes the actual franchise less appealing to me.
There, for me "SPECTRE" is definately the best spy film of 2015. And that doesn't surprise me a bit :-).
Spectre is the best movie of this year.
It is also for me the best Bond since GoldenEye, only Casino Royale is similarly good.
The box office proves that BB + MGW were right to bring back the fun and OTT action to Bond that made Bond so successful in the last 3 decades.
With Spectre, DC has shown that he can indeed be a full Bond and I say it's up there with the best Bond performances of the past 5 actors.
Blofeld delights in torturing Bond in this way because he hates him for stealing his daddy's attentions. Sun was motivated in Amis' book by a twisted need to experiment with the limits of human pain. He even explains to Bond, nothing personal, these experiments are for the greater good. Very satisfying later when Bond utterly destroyed him.
I thought the torture scene was contrived nonsense. Worst scene in the film. Fleming subjected Bond to torture exactly once, at the hands of Le Chiffre and that's it.
Problem is that because Fleming's scene is so iconic, the Fleming immitators from Amis, Gardner Chris Wood, Lee Tamahori toSam Mendes etc feel a need to establish their own CR torture bonafides..
I prefer Bond not be subjected to actual torture. The Bond mythos is such that he manages to escape before being subjected to such indignities.
In real life being helplessly torutured is a death sentence. Its a form of slow killing.
Even Fleming didn't allow Bond to escape. Rather he was rescued.
With that I actually disagree. I do think many of the Brosnan films were quite funny. Especially Brosnan's first two films, "GoldenEye" and "Tomorrow Never Dies". But for me the humour in "SPECTRE" works because how Daniel Craig plays with this aspect so smoothly.
Brosnan had to say "Beg your pardon....forgot to knock!" before he punched the Soviet guy's face in the toilet upside down. Daniel Craig probably wouldn't have said a thing. Just one eye-wink probably. And if he utters a funny line, then for me it's a bit more convincing. "Open. The. Doorrrr!" when Craig jumps on that metro train in "Skyfall". Lovely.
A) Trying to use a rear-end missile....and the frikkin' thing isn't loaded gave my laughters I haven't had in a long time.
B) Similar when suddenly 009's music taste becomes known to us. Bond: "Ooowh NOOO!" hehe. Loved it.
It was the best spy film of this Century.
Daniel flippin' floggin' Craig. He owned it like Connery did. And the movie let him show us.
This is very true. I will probably watch this movie at least 50x and then get started on another 50x, mainly because of Craig's double plus awesome turn as 007, plus I am ecstatic that we finally have another Blofeld and Spectre film, with cat, with jacket, with scar..............but without socks.. arggh.
I plan to keep skipping back to the theatre until someone take the movie, or maybe me away.
As for the Bond genre, I can't help but rank the actual Bond film of any given year as the best of its genre, so sure SP vets my vote.
Uncle 2nd, MI 3rd.
And thanks for a POSITIVE thread. So tired of negative threads as to all that's wrong with Bond.
This forum often reads more like a hate forum than a fan one.
Yes I'm guilty too ...
I actually agree. You know, I am critical too. Always. But usually in the light of being a Bond fan. I am not the person who actually works at EON Productions, nor do I influence their decisions. Still, if one of your all-time Bond wishes was to see the return of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and Blofeld, then one can understand how excited I have been with this particular Bond production :-).
Great point that I forget. The return of SPECTRE and Blofeld is a huge deal and triumph for the franchise regardless of one's opinion of the film.
The cinematic image of Blofeld including the cat is also a triumph. It's Bond taking back from Austin Powers and others what was Bond's to begin with.
Who else loves the gun barrel? I Love the build up of a slow James Bond, then the bombastic melody, and finally the white dots... It's so epic! :D
Kingsman: Just a bunch of action scenes
Mission Impossible: Bond copycat, full of absurd action scenes
Spy: Tries to be funny but it is not. At all.
UNCLE: I missed it because the theatres removed it a week after its release (something which had never happened in my town), which really indicates how bad it performed, thus how bad it probably is.
I wouldn't let the box office performance influence you. UNCLE was great IMO, but not nearly as great as Spectre.
Moreover, I thought he introduced a consistency to the franchise as well: Slightly more intellectual espionage thriller/drama instead of a non-stop John Glen-esque action caroussel.
And even SP has more action, but for me the strongest scenes still are the ones were actors really need to show off their qualitues, like:
--> The S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Board Meeting / Hinx killing with his steel thumbs
--> Bond interviewed by Madeleine Swann
--> Bond and Swann facing Hinx during a tense train fight sequence
--> Blofeld introduces himself in the meteroid room
--> Bond being tortured, mentally and physically, by Blofeld
I think SF and SP are both typical Sam Mendes films. There's enough 'theme' to it that makes you heavily discuss the film.
As I said before, what I loved about both films is the wonderful amounts of true 'Oscar moments'. The more dramatic, less action-heavy scenes for me are the best bits of SF and SP.
In SP Bond not only triumphs over Blofeld but also the equally fiendish Mendes (obsession with Bond's childhood)
Long live Bond!
This road, that has lasted four films, is unique in the entire franchise history. And it angers/saddens me that actually the entire year Daniel Craig was constantly slashed by the press and media.....to such an extent that every top critics review I am reading does NOT speak about Daniel Craig's portrayal as 007 in "SPECTRE". It truly hurts me.