Was Spectre disappointing?

edited April 12 in SPECTRE Posts: 4,197
It's been a while since I wrote one of these but they have typically gone down well on these forums so I thought I'd share some of my recent thought on 'Spectre' in essay form.

Here's some of my past efforts if people want to check it out:
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/8089/skyfall-analysis-sam-mendes-s-ode-to-aging-and-death#latest
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/15872/is-tomorrow-never-dies-the-most-formulaic-bond-film/p1
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/8906/dr-no-analysis-breaking-down-the-first-bond-film#latest
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/12633/is-tmwtgg-one-of-the-best-proper-bond-films/p1


Is 'Spectre' Sam Mendes's Victory Lap?

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In 2014 Sam Mendes gave an interview with Charlie Rose where he insisted his decision to return to Bond came after attending the premiere of 'Skyfall'. Upon hearing the buzz of nostalgia rush through the audience upon the Aston Martin's reveal, the director knew he would be back. Furthermore, in a interview discussing his involvement, writer John Logan mentioned that audiences "enjoyed when we had references to things they grew up with". It was clear early on that the follow-up to 'Skyfall' would be an unashamed celebration of all things James Bond. This is even evident in the title they chose for the 24th 007 film.

'Skyfall' wasn't afraid to celebrate the mythos of Bond, but in the most part it felt wholly distinct. Mendes clearly wanted to distinguish his entry from previous films in the series. Naturally, in the build-up to 'Skyfall''s release there had been trepidation about Mendes's involvement: Could he direct action? Would it be too arty? Etc. The simple answer was to both question is "yes". In 'Skyfall' we were presented with a film that not only adhered to the Bond formula but found a way to be inventive, melancholic and subversive.

After the billion dollar haul, universal critical approval and a bevy of awards, it's no wonder that Sam came back. However, after proving his credentials and silencing his doubters with the last one, Mendes could finally relax and have a little fun.

He's noticeably more confident at the helm of the Bond machine, with his less self-conscious approach evident in his decision to embrace the series' iconography and have a little fun. With 'Skyfall' you got the impression that Mendes was deliberately trying to be post-modern, earnest and iconoclastic; in comparison 'Spectre' is his victory lap, his encore. In place of the doom and gloom of 'Skyfall', we are met with a more mischievous and flamboyant film.

For better and worse, 'Spectre' is a proper Bond film (Arguably Craig's first) - following the well-known formula to the letter. Subsequently, any of the creative chutzpah and vision that made 'Skyfall' so intriguing is dulled down by convention. It may even be possible to say that Mendes played it a tad safe with his second entry, delivering a fairly routine and mundane film.

Whilst 'Skyfall' embraced certain elements from the Bond lexicon, it was also able to transpire and elevate them within an engaging narrative. 'Spectre' is never more than the sum of it's parts, and most of it we've seen done better in a myriad other films. There are beautiful women, psychotic villains, amazing locations, and some fun action sequences. However, they never quite come together in a perfectly satisfying package.

Mendes half-heartedly continues many of the same themes that were explored in his previous film. Is Bond relevant? Do we need MI6? What was Bond's origin? But these questions never seem to be fully on the director's mind. Instead it's the folly and escapism that is engaging him this time.

There is certainly more levity to be found in 'Spectre' (Mendes and Craig are both channelling their inner Roger Moore) but it's awkwardly packaged with the Nolan-esque portent that defined 'Skyfall'. Personally, I found the more grim and mournful moments to be memorable and engaging. In the most part 'Spectre' is not afraid to be ridiculous or silly. Despite my misgivings, there is something quite reassuring about the Bond team going back to this model. However I cannot be alone in feeling that the latest film seems something of a misstep after the hard and bruising action of 'Casino Royale' and the more artful 'Skyfall'.

In many senses you have to applaud Mendes's confidence for attempting to fluctuate in tone so readily - even if it can be jarring at times. In many ways the tone is influenced by the location - Mexico is fun and vibrant, Rome is basically a camp 70's Bond film, Austria is sombre, Morocco is mysterious and romantic and London is overcast and grim.

The real problem is that after seeing 'Skyfall' those anticipating something with more depth will be disappointed. There is nothing in the film that has the wit or brio of the William Tell scene, or anything approaching the poetic significance of the Tennyson inquiry. Instead 'Spectre' is messy and frothy in comparison. It's most definitely entertaining but it feels like Mendes and co have very consciously attempted to make a proper old-fashion 'Bond film', for better or worse.

The Action

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The opening tracking shot is a confident show of swagger and bravado. It's masterfully done and a perfect example of not just Bond as a character but Mendes as a director. The Day of the Dead imagery is vibrant and intoxicating and plays nicely into the film's spooky haunting themes. Additionally, the explosion and subsequent chase through the parade is brilliantly engaging. The actual helicopter fight is symptomatic of much of the action in the film, as the choppy editing and dodgy CGI insert shots undermine the sequence considerably. The right decision was surely to just play the sequence in a long shot and allow the audience to marvel at the ariel acrobatics.

It's really an issue that underscores much of the action throughout the film. Unfortunately, a lot of it feels very mundane or too poorly plotted to truly invest in. For instance, the Rome chase should be the jewel in the film's crown (The DB10's aquiline features are a work of art). However, despite being beautifully photographed, the chase itself is somewhat tepid. The same can be said of the snow plane sequence, it's probably the most creative of the film - but it's nonsensical logic issues keep it from being fully involving.

The most successful action sequence is in fact the train fight. In no small part because Dave Bautista is terrific as the silent and suave Mr. Hinx (he arguably wears a suit better than Daniel Craig). The sequence works so well essentially as it is a character beat. Bond is fighting someone who he has no chance of winning and he's physically unable to keep up with Hinx. Therefore, he needs Madeleine and the sequence gives her agency and ties into an earlier moment where she discussed a traumatic childhood experience. This in turn brings her and 007 closer together. Sadly, the rest of the action in the film doesn't integrate character quite so well. Furthermore, the way Bond takes a punch is very reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the choreography is confident enough to be both cartoony and brutal.

Finally, despite it's low-key nature, I really enjoyed the London finale; here we see the MI6 team take on C’s New World Order, whilst Bond is taking a psychological ride through the empty carcass of the once proud MI6 building. There is a certain tinge of 'The Third Man' in those shadowy corridors, and even a slight whiff of the dank and dreary world of le Carré.

The Cast:

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The cast are also terrific, in particular the new MI6 team who more than live up to the promise they displayed in 'Skyfall'. It's great to see the flirtatious relationship between Bond and Moneypenny grow as we witness 007 placing his trust in her early on.

Also Ralph Fiennes's M has something pleasantly old-school about him. I enjoyed the take on the character as an overworked and exasperated bureaucrat who is struggling to keep ahold of his department amidst the Whitehall shakeups. He's a man who wants people to listen but is being undermined by all those around him. It's nice at the end to see Mallory's resolve solidify as he confronts the police and arrests Blofeld.

However, it's Ben Whishaw who steals the show as Q. Whishaw is the new secret weapon of the Bond films, as it turns out the young performer has marvellous natural comic-timing. In particular, he has great chemistry with Craig and the pair's scenes are a real delight.

Monica Bellucci is terrifically utlised in her cameo role. She's everything you'd expect from the woman; sexy, mysterious and sultry. Despite her limited screentime, her surprisingly racy scene with Craig is one of the film's most memorable. The entire Rome portion of the film is the most fun we've seen Daniel Craig's Bond have on screen and Bellucci's appearance only makes those sequences that bit more entertaining.

A more thankless task goes to Andrew Scott as C (a character solely set-up for a punchline). He's left to play what feels like the same scene with Ralph Fiennes over and over again. He mostly does a good job with the material he's given, but the baggage Scott brings from 'Sherlock' clearly signposts his allegiance from the second he steps on the screen. What made 'Skyfall' great was it's ability to play with audience expectations.

When Mallory begins to cause trouble for Judi Dench's M, we immediately suspect him as the villain because he's played by Ralph Fiennes. However, the smart decision is made to reverse our expectations and reveal Mallory as an ally. 'Spectre' in contrast to 'Skyfall', is a much dumber film, so it's not surprising that a more obvious direction was taken.

Now on to the man himself: Daniel Craig gives his most holistic performance as Bond. He keeps the stony-faced thuggish quality that defined his earlier entries but there is clearly a more louche and confident edge to him. I think the experiments with comedy in his earlier films fell a little flat, but here they've given Bond a slightly more acerbic and sarcastic wit that suits Craig perfectly.

He is also at his most urbane and suave in 'Spectre'; both him and Mendes aren't afraid to indulge the character with a few self-aware touches (once again, a little Roger Moore). Nonetheless, during the action he is as wily and psychotic as ever; Craig's Bond is a wild animal locked in a Tom Ford suit. 'Spectre' is a much more efficient and proactive interpretation of the character with Bond actively seeking answers. The more romantic tinge given to 007 is also welcomed, as are the slightly angrier and more intimidating moments. Finally, I feel compelled to repeat: Daniel Craig is just plain cool.

Life of an Assassin

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It's a relief to report that some of the class that defined 'Skyfall' is present in this outing. When Bond first goes to Austria to confront Mr. White we suddenly leave behind the camp exploits of Rome and have found ourselves in a fairly grim espionage story. Here we see Bond stalking the halls of a forgotten chalet in search of an old foe. The Mr. White scene is truly fascinating, mainly due to Jesper Christensen's brilliant turn. There is a tragic sense of melancholy in seeing the once powerful White now reduced to a husk of a man. White is a career assassin who has been left for dead and is now forced to die alone. In this sense, he is something of a cruel reflection of Bond's potential future.

This in turn leads to the introduction of the Madeleine Swann character. You can really feel the movie changing gear upon Madeleine's arrival; this is in no small part thanks to the sublime performance given by Lea Seydoux. Most Bond girls are characterised for their tough personas but Madeleine is far more complex. She's no less sassy or feisty as other female characters in these films, however, her vulnerability and fragility make her more compelling. Furthermore, her ugly past provides her with an arc even more interesting as we see her grieve for the loss of her father. She's an incredibly soulful character and her scenes with Bond in Morocco are insightful and illuminating. Their conversation in the hotel is a refreshing pause in such a bombastic and busy action film.

Madeleine is clearly evocative of Vesper Lynd (even her name is a Proustian reference to Bond's past life) and she allows Bond to confront the central thematic conundrum of the film: Should 007 continue being 007? Can he leave it all behind?

The third act sadly mishandles the Madeleine character by reducing her to a 'damsel in distress'. I feel it would have been far more fun and interesting if the Bond team did something more inventive. For instance, why couldn't Blofeld have been bluffing about her hiding in the MI6 building? Sadly, 'Spectre' is not that film. Instead Bond is left on Westminster Bridge for the most boneheaded finale where he has his MI6 life on one side and his potential new life with Madeleine on the other. Which will be choose? (Sigh) These sequences are salvaged by the photography and score.

There were undeniably more creative and inventive ways to get to the same conclusion. 'Spectre' takes the more gooey and emotionally accessible of them, but in the end it's effective. Furthermore, it's likely no mistake that Madeleine's rescue evokes Bond's failed attempt to save Vesper in Venice. Clearly this is 007 getting the chance to redeem himself and finally leave his old life behind.

Bond's existential crisis is also somewhat reflective of both Craig's (supposed) and Mendes's (firm) decision to walk away from the franchise. As we witness the character of Bond realising there is more to life than living in the shadows. Thus Mendes finds a way to let Bond leave within the body of the film. If Craig does decide 'Spectre' is his swansong than there is a clear meta-narrative occurring simultaneously within the confides of his final story. Bond does not need to be defined by his job - concurrently, nor does Daniel Craig.

Blobhauser:

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Like many I've been excited for years at the prospect of Spectre returning. However, like many I can't help but feel that Mendes fudged the organisation's grand return, and it's chief figurehead's revival.

Let's start with Spectre itself: Beyond the great Rome meeting where they are indicated as being an Illuminati-type group who are manipulating world event's for their nefarious ends, little further reference is made about the organisation. Any sense of menace they possess is quickly diminished as a result. Additionally, there plan to gain access to the Nine Eyes programme is never explained. Does Blofeld wish to use it to gain access to information to blackmail governments? Does he merely want access as it will give him supremacy? What is the overarching plan here? Sadly, the hazy and ill-defined plot doesn't take any real time to explain this.

Now on to the man himself: I have no real problem with the half-brother angle, however, in the final film it feels like something of an afterthought. If the film wished to make Blofeld and Bond childhood enemies then 'Spectre' needed to be built around this conceit. However, the angle is totally lost in what is a massively busy blockbuster. 'Spectre' wants to be a love story, a meditation on the loss of civil liberties and the rise of a Big Brother state, it wants to be a big bawdy Bond film with all the frills, and finally, it wants to tie together all Craig's previous movies in a neat package. In the midst of all that, the relationship Bond has with the villain isn't even a tertiary concern for Mendes.

It also isn't helped that Waltz seems so subdued in the role, arguably sleepwalking his way through to collect his cheque at the end of the day. Personally, I quite liked Oberhauser/Blofeld's aloof nature, there is something oddly sociopathic and detached about this amateur philosopher/surgeon. It's also quite nice to see that the actor isn't in typical 'Christoph Waltz mode' (I wonder how many houses he's bought playing charming articulate villains).

A personal highlight for me is the scene where he explains Spectre's philosophical goals and simultaneously brings Bond and Madeleine together. It's a surprisingly effective moment that has deeper resonance on repeat viewings. Only on a few occasions does Waltz dig into his usual box of villainous tricks - even then they're not entirely unwelcome. Personally, I feel this film is something of an introduction to the character and possibly hints to a more developed turn in a future 007 movie. We are yet to have a definitive take on the Blofeld character.

Despite this, I must applaud Mendes for the way he slowly trickles out the character before finally revealing him. Despite his lofty status as Bond's archenemy, in the past films Blofeld was never anything more than a collection of gimmicks. Mendes has fun playing with the iconography of the character before providing the punch that Oberhuaser is indeed Ernst Stavro Blofeld. For instance, the first time we see Oberhauser is in a burnt-out photo, on the next occasion we witness him presiding over his organisation framed only in silhouette, next he's seen in his nehru jacket, then we catch a glimpse of his infamous persian cat, before finally he is bestowed with his magnificent scar. 'Spectre' in many is 'Blofeld Begins'.

The Rome meeting is also terrific. It's perfectly menacing and atmospheric but with a hint of camp in there as well. It's one of the best examples of Mendes balancing tone perfectly in a film that can feel wildly divergent at times.


Technical Contributions:

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The editing of the film also lets it down; scenes are allowed to play too long and it draws more attention to the ridiculous and thin nature of the plot. No real scenes need to be removed but there are certainly moments that could have used tightening. It isn't helped that the storytelling and plot are a little silly and cannot be held up to scrutiny. Especially the MI6 and London scenes; when you consider these sequences in isolation they don't really work and upset the rhythm of the film. 'Spectre' is not a film made for multiple viewings and whilst it's very watchable, it's 150 minute runtime isn't entirely justified.

Hoyte Van Hoytema masterfully picks up the formidable task of following Roger Deakin's efforts and does so spectacularly. His whiskey-hued photography is rich and romantic - the decision to go back to 35mm also gives the film a great grainy and rough texture. I loved the feel he brings to 'Spectre' that expertly combines the grimness of le Carré with the glamour of Fleming.

The title sequence is a career nadir for Danny Kleinman. I'm afraid to say that his efforts here feel a little passé and embarrassing. It isn't helped by Sam Smith's song, which is by no means as bad as the stick it got last year (the instrumental is used brilliantly in the train scene), but it does little to enrich Kleinman's weak visuals. Thomas Newman's score is strong but not a compelling as his work on 'Skyfall'. Themes that really stood out include the motif used for Madeleine and the music used throughout the finale.

Dennis Gassner's sets are typically beautiful and he is able to bring a different flavour to the film depending on the location he's working with. Meanwhile, the script is mostly a mess. It's overburdened with ideas and in desperate need of simplification. Finally, the dialogue can be woefully bad and cliched at times. I couldn't have been the only one to roll my eyes at "a licence to kill is also a licence not to kill" and Madeleine's awkward "two Jameses...lucky me". What happened to the elegant grace and nuance of the 'Skyfall' script?

Summary:

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'Spectre' is an undeniably entertaining film that channels the glory days of 007. However, through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia it looses the chance to be distinctive and unique in its own right. Surprisingly, despite inheriting many of the same ideas found in its predecessor, 'Spectre' is a very different beast. The 24th Bond film is big, loud and fun - which in some ways, is how they should be.
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Comments

  • A very, very good film review @Pierce2Daniel! I agree with many of your points.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Meant to comment on this last night.

    A very fair review I think although you are being rather generous to call it a victory lap (although perhaps you actually mean it disparagingly in the sense that he's taken his foot off the gas) rather than complacency. I suppose it means after the triumph of SF and EON clamouring for him to return he had the mandate to enjoy himself and take it easier. So it's hardly a compliment.

    I think these are the key paragraphs from your dissertation:
    In 2014 Sam Mendes gave an interview with Charlie Rose where he insisted his decision to return to Bond came after attending the premiere of 'Skyfall'. Upon hearing the buzz of nostalgia rush through the audience upon the Aston Martin's reveal, the director knew he would be back. Furthermore, in a interview discussing his involvement, writer John Logan mentioned that audiences "enjoyed when we had references to things they grew up with". It was clear early on that the follow-up to 'Skyfall' would be an unashamed celebration of all things James Bond. This is even evident in the title they chose for the 24th 007 film.

    This gets to the nub of the problem with SP. Rog's films never 'homaged' or, lets stop beating around the bush with euphemisms here and use the proper word, copied other Bond films. Making a Bond film you need to have the confidence and chutzpah to just go out and make an exciting, thrill packed, romp within the Bond envelope and then greatness and iconic moments will follow. Thats a world of difference to taking old iconic moments and reheating them in the microwave. Doing this is just methadone Bond - it kind of satisfies your cravings temporarily but its still not the same as a hit of pure heroin.

    The above quotes from Mendes remind me of the following exchange from Partridge:

    Partridge: ‘Shoestring’, ‘Taggart’, ‘Spender’, ‘Bergerac’, ‘Morse’. What does that say to you about regional detective series’?

    Tony Hayers: There’s too many of them?

    Partridge: That’s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is, ‘people like them, let’s make some more of them’.


    And when you're basing the direction you're going to be taking your film in on Partridgeian values you're on very shaky ground.

    For better and worse, 'Spectre' is a proper Bond film (Arguably Craig's first) - following the well-known formula to the letter. Subsequently, any of the creative chutzpah and vision that made 'Skyfall' so intriguing is dulled down by convention. It may even be possible to say that Mendes played it a tad safe with his second entry, delivering a fairly routine and mundane film.

    Whilst 'Skyfall' embraced certain elements from the Bond lexicon, it was also able to transpire and elevate them within an engaging narrative. 'Spectre' is never more than the sum of it's parts, and most of it we've seen done better in a myriad other films. There are beautiful women, psychotic villains, amazing locations, and some fun action sequences. However, they never quite come together in a perfectly satisfying package.

    Mendes half-heartedly continues many of the same themes that were explored in his previous film. Is Bond relevant? Do we need MI6? What was Bond's origin? But these questions never seem to be fully on the director's mind. Instead it's the folly and escapism that is engaging him this time.

    I think you sum it up perfectly here. Halfheartedly seems to nail Mendes' attitude (pretentious tracking shots and pointless explosions aside) here and you have to wonder if, once he saw the state of the script and wanted to walk, that the die was cast and he wasnt going to put his heart and soul into it after that? I'm not saying he downed tools and he was pretty much stuck with the script (I hold EON responsible for this) but where themes, ideas and concepts all gelled in SF here they fall very flat. I suppose if people were able to just turn up and deliver billion dollar films that easily everyone would be at it.

    Ultimately SP feels like TB to me. Not in the sense as is meant in the 'What Bond film does SP remind you of' thread but in the sense of a film that is trading on the success of its predecessor but is somewhat inferior and one where everyone involved has the cigars and champagne out and is still toasting their success last time round and assuming that they just need to turn up for another triumph.

    So I guess victory lap is a pretty good way of summarising it.

    CR = Qualifying lap: The driver cuts every corner as fine as possible to shave off every 10th of a second and was right on the limit the whole time.

    QOS = Opening lap: Chaotic, dangerous, a bit out of control but thrilling nonetheless.

    SF = Fastest lap: Nicely ahead of the pack with the car running well and everything just gels together perfectly. Not as fast as the qualifying lap of course but still an excellent time.

    SP = Victory lap: The prize is already in the bag the foot lifts off and the driver spends his time waving to the crowd.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Paradox Hotel
    Posts: 38,293
    One of the few people whose very lengthy posts I always bother reading.
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 4,197
    @Thunderfinger @TheWizardOfIce @IncompetentHenchman Thank you all for your kind words.

    I have to agree with @TheWizardOfIce with many of the points he's raised. (Also you're right in your deductions concerning the title of the thread)

    It's a shame that the Bond franchise has become so backwards-looking and self-congratulatory. It's a series that loves nostalgia and loves even more to pay homage to its own history.

    The problem is that it stifles innovation. If you're constantly looking back and celebrating your heyday, you don't get a chance to do something relevant and interesting for our own time.

    When the Bond series began in the 60's, it was the height of fashion and cool. The film's never try and plunder what makes this era interesting. also, I don't mean I want copious CGI action or anything in the Marvel films. But there is amazing architecture, fashion, music and art in 2016. Not everything has to be a throwback.

    The Bond franchise is a tad stale and could do with some edge. They need a filmmaker like Nicholas Winding Refn. Someone who can adhere to the principles that established the series but isn't afraid to make something distinct.

    In many ways Mendes was this director with SF. He retreated into convention with SP.

    The funny thing is Bond fans will die if convention is broken. They want stodgy reheats. "Why do all the missions have to be personal?" "Why does Bond have to have an emotional arc?" "Why have they screwed around with the gunbarrel?" These are people who crave the conventional and mundane.

    We need innovation.

    Watching SP again reminds me that, whilst he did a great job, we also need a new director.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,159
    Hmm.

    I like the GB at the beginning of the film. So sue me. I guess I'm craving the mundane.

    True I find the personal mission have out stayed their welcome - you could argue that LTK was the first of these.

    I've enjoyed, for the most part, Craig's emotional/character arc. From bullish agent in CR to his more worldly performance in SP, I can see the evolution of Bond's character.

    So don't try to over simplify things, and lump the "Bond fans" into one distinct group. You're better than that. I think most of us on here were disappointed with the "homages" in SP.
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 148

    We need innovation.

    Watching SP again reminds me that, whilst he did a great job, we also need a new director.

    "And youth is no guarantee of innovation"...

    kidding, I agree with your ideas. What's make Skyfall special to me is the new stuff it brings. Spectre to me is a disfunctional celebration. And I'm tired of meta and celebrations. I just want a nice and memorable thriller made by its own merits.


  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited September 2016 Posts: 9,117

    "Why have they screwed around with the gunbarrel?" These are people who crave the conventional and mundane.

    You had me up until this point.

    I am pretty much a fundamentalist when it comes to the GB. It belongs at the beginning. End of.

    All it is is a little treat to say 'strap yourselves in and get ready for a new Bond film.' It's not part of the character arc or indicative of some wider narrative. 'It's at the end of QOS because it signifies the end of the Vesper plot and Bond is the Bond we love and know so he's earned it now' winds me right up. F**k off. Imagine just opening on outer space and then having the Star Wars crawl at the end? It loses all its impact.

    I hate to keep quoting Partridge on here but he spraks more sense than the bible or the koran and is as close as I come to having a religion:

    'Stop getting Bond wrong!'
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Paradox Hotel
    Posts: 38,293
    royale65 wrote: »

    True I find the personal mission have out stayed their welcome - you could argue that LTK was the first of these.
    So do they see that as a classic or do they try to finally get it right?
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 3,963
    @Pierce2Daniel a very detailed and well written take on SPECTRE, I'm nowhere as pleased with it as you but you do highlight the problems with it but @TheWizardOfIce take on it being a victory lap is closer to my feelings.

    Although I just don't even think it's solid, no it's not DAF, DAD or TWINE to name a 3 of the worst offenders for me but the fact is that in some ways it's worse because it's potential was so great and I think that is what makes it that more tragic.

    I had no investment in the Brosnan era so if they were naff I just accepted it but I seriously invested in Bond when Craig came on board and even with the shakey elements of QOS I was pretty happy with everything up to this point.

    I know certain members one in particular think SPECTRE is so much better than Skyfall. Although as the Wiz said it feels like Mendes just thought SF was so well received he could coast on that. He was going to walk at one point and I think when he decided to stay his heart wasn't in it. I think he wanted Logan's ideas and the Mallory as a double agent was an element he really wanted despite RF nixing it.

    Also Craig has to take some responsibilty as well as EON because if he'd said no to foster brothergate I don't think they'd have gone there.

    Waltz obviously initially thought it was fine but I think even him in retrospect thinks it was a mistake and reading between the lines about his recent comments is part of why he never nailed the part down successfully.

    This might of been his approch to make Blohauser so sedate and relaxed and some how cut it with an underlying menace like Hans Landa but if he did his performance is so sublte I just didn't see the menace.

    As for the action, every set piece for me is the weakest of the Craig era and everything
    before it was considerably better, even the PTS with that totally unescessary huge explosion just feels lacklustre, the helicopter sequence would have been much better served with something more gritty and visceral like more of chase that CGI explosion didn't impress me at all.

    As for the car chase, the action sequence in Austria and even the train fight was good but not mind blowing. The crater and London sequence were devoid of suspense, I was literally board by this point.

    The best moment of SPECTRE is the meet up with White but his use in the story seems like an after thought rather than being something that could have really served the story well. It's a testamant to Jesper and Daniel that the scene is so good.

    Skyfall's PTS is infinitely better, yeah it's OTT but it has suspense and I love Mendes Russian doll like approach the way it changes from one type of sequence to another.
    Also I know that arty shot that made him nix the GB at the start but I loved that beginning.

    I know some of have their problems with the Home Alone/Straw Dogs climax of SF but that was memorable, maybe the humour at the end with Craig's deep water joke isn't suitable but that whole sequence from the moment they arrrive in Scotland you see the money on the screen.

    The idea he was coasting on the success of Skyfall definitely makes sense that and he was pissed off with having to change the direction of the film, I just don't think his heart was in it and hopefully he thinks the same and won't attempt to return, lets hope we've seen the last of him near Bond.

    In retrospective I wish he'd stuck with his decision after SF when he said he wouldn't return and wasn't tempted back by EON & Craig.

    Bond 25 needs some new blood and not someone who's just continue down this lazy greatest hits fest that SPECTRE was.
  • Posts: 1,296
    The funny thing is Bond fans will die if convention is broken. They want stodgy reheats. "Why do all the missions have to be personal?" "Why does Bond have to have an emotional arc?" "Why have they screwed around with the gunbarrel?" These are people who crave the conventional and mundane.
    Agreed completely, personal missions and misplaced gunbarrels bring Bond into the 21nd Century in the best possible ways to shake you on your head and make you say, this isn't your granpda's Bond film and that's why we need to keep doing this and will never a real Bond fan with a mind to the futeur get tired of it.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,587
    Again someone telling us what "real" Bond fans think and do.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,690
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Again someone telling us what "real" Bond fans think and do.

    Agreed - I get turned off when 'Real' prefaces anything - from fandom to patriotism (to Madrid ;-) ) It's exclusionary superiority and posturing that immediately devalues the substance of the discussion.

  • Posts: 1,296
    I'm sorry guys let's keep playing the quote conversation game.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited September 2016 Posts: 4,373
    SP a victory lap?.... it's more akin to him winning a race (SF), then right after saying "let do all that again, but this time i want a different car."... does he feel more relaxed and confident at the helm - yes, and it's that (as you said) 'playing it safe' that i feel really hurt him this time around.. there really wasn't a sense to tread new ground, forge a new path, or try something new - it felt like a very safe B-O-N-D film - for better or for worse...

    the nostalgia thing is starting to wear thin with me... i understand that a series thats been around as long as Bond has - you are often times going to have some overlapping similarities (doesn't mean they are intentional homages).. but in the past 15 years, we've gotten 3 films that more less said "hey, remember all this cool old shit?? well here it is for you all to look at again.".... one film was subtle about it, one film kind of teased you, the other just whipped it out and slapped you across the face with it.... instead of patting themselves on the back for making 50+ years, when can finally get back to looking forward - the quickest way to kill off any franchise is if it turns into a snake eating it's own tail...

    and i also vehemently disagree about Daniel Kleinman's work... the titles of SP are a career low point? While i don't think they are as visually striking as either SF, CR or GE, i still think it's miles ahead of TND, TWINE and mk12's QOS... if you just don't like the style, or it didn't appeal to you - then i understand.. but from a technical and artistic standpoint they were excellent, and he hasn't nearly reached the same level of complacency and (dare i say) laziness that Binder did during the 80's..
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 676
    In 2014 Sam Mendes gave an interview with Charlie Rose where he insisted his decision to return to Bond came after attending the premiere of 'Skyfall'. Upon hearing the buzz of nostalgia rush through the audience upon the Aston Martin's reveal, the director knew he would be back.
    Yes, this does seem to be the moment that informed Mendes' approach the second time around, for better or worse. I would argue he shouldn't have bothered - he said his piece with Skyfall and should have stepped aside. Great essay, @Pierce2Daniel.
    This gets to the nub of the problem with SP. Rog's films never 'homaged' or, lets stop beating around the bush with euphemisms here and use the proper word, copied other Bond films.
    Really? LALD lifts from the old Connery films (structure similar to Dr No, inspecting hotel room, "what happened to Goldfinger/Kananga?," "say goodbye to Felix," train fight). FYEO's Kriegler is a poor man's Red Grant. OP repeats Oddjob crushing golf ball (Gobinda crushing dice) and the duck-in-water disguise (crocodile disguise). AVTAK's blimp meeting scene is a copy of the gangsters in GF, and Operation Main Strike = Operation Grand Slam (replace gold with microchips, Fort Knox with Silicon Valley). And these are just off the top of my head. Let's not put on the rose-tinted glasses re: lazy recycling of ideas in Moore's films.
  • I understand people's backlash to my comment. i was deliberately trying to be inflammatory and hyperbolic.

    I understand there are key pieces of iconography that are loved and should be respected. However, I'm not attacking the GB's positioning in the film, I'm exploring the mindset that puts it above anything else and ideology perhaps behind it.

    For me there does seem to be a section of the fan community who want things to be the same and don't want the series to change things up.

    Here's an example: People may remember that last year I attended the press screening of SP. I wrote on here directly after that SP was a much frothier film compared to SF and a bit more of a disappointment. People were mostly elated at my disparaging comments. They wanted more fan-service as a film like SF deliberately bucked the trend. (In some sense they're right - it can be seen as a tad naval-gazing)

    When SF came out there were a section of fan community who decided immediately they wouldn't take to the film as M had suddenly been made the lead character and would die in the finale. These people just got their head around M being a woman, now they had to contend with her being the lead. Additionally, they think the M role should only be there for 5 minutes at the start. Because tradition dictates that. It felt like no real thought was spent considering the quality of the film.

    Maybe this is the same ideology that underpins the logic of those who dismissed a female Ghostbusters film or hate the notion of changing a character's race.

    I understand the mentality though. These things are immensely important to people and they want it to feel like it did when they were children. This is the very essence of nostalgia. Any why shouldn't it be celebrated?
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited September 2016 Posts: 4,373
    Maybe this is the same ideology that underpins the logic of those who dismissed a female Ghostbusters film or hate the notion of changing a character's race.

    i know a lot of people, including myself, when it comes to these 2 particular examples are of the mind that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." ... but also tired of pandering to certain demographics... instead of creating something bold and new for those audiences to gravitate to - they are taking something that was, changing it around, and piggybacking off of previous successes and parading it around like it's "new", "innovative" or the million dollar word "progressive".... there is nothing progressive about copying an existing piece of material and just swapping genders, or races - that's just f##king laziness, and cashing in on people's nostalgia over stuff.... it's change, just for the sake of change - it's never something that is usually needed or asked for.
  • A fairly uneventful, but nonetheless intriguing, video of Purvis and Wade talking about Spectre:



    A slightly more interesting video where P&W talk of Bond's development over the course of the Craig films:

  • mcdonbbmcdonbb deep in the Heart of Texas
    Posts: 4,116
    If victory lap, he tripped at the gate.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,159
    You of though P&W would of maybe research their Bonds better beforehand. If we can remember stuff from the Bond films, surely its not too much hassle for the writers?
  • edited October 2016 Posts: 4,197
    I had a look over Spectre again and I feel that there is a lot of great stuff in the opening half of the film. It does sorta run out of steam after Austria - it's also interesting to note that there is no major action sequence after around the 70-80 minute mark; which leaves the final 50 minutes of the film to feel a little stodgy and rhythmless.

    How do you fix these issues? Should they have cut the London finale (which I quite liked) or could they have chopped the Morocco portion out? They film definitely has some big story problems - but how could they have streamlined these issues?

    Firstly, I think they needed to coherently figure out the story of the Mi6 team because those scenes are distracting enough but the narrative is messy.

    For instance, how does Moneypenny know to turn to Q after doing some digging on Franz? Those two have never even ha a scene before. M threatens Q saying he wants to see him when he returns from Tokyo; however, in the next scene Q's suddenly in Austria to use his magic ring device. Then suddenly Q and Moneypenny interrupt M's dinner at Rule's with virtually no new plot information.....

    Maybe giving the Mi6 team more of a story this time was a mistake.


  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 3,963
    Both of those featurettes are an utter waste of time unless you don't have clue about the series.

    I really can't see the point of them at all.
  • Posts: 1,678
    I think they needed 15-20 more minutes in Austria. I would have liked to see Bond stay the night at the clinic & at least a gun battle between Bond& Spectre agents.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    Spectre is Craig's victory lap.
    At last, he has become Bond, 100%. It only took him 9 years.

    The 50th Anniversary was fine. And that's about all that will be remembered in 20 years by the general public, oh and some guy in a funny wig.

    Spectre will stand the test of time and be considered one of the greats like Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me or Octopussy.

    Craig finally has a performance that can be compared to Connery. In Spectre you get the Bond feeling, immediately and I don't mean the gun-barrel at the beginning.

    CR was the perfect start.
    QOS was a mere epilogue to CR, but what a great action-roller-coaster ride it is, even when it's as Bondian as Jason Bourne.
    SF was trial and error for Mendes, life and humourless, wrapped in shiny gift paper so nobody would mind.
    With SP Mendes got it right and it is his victory lap. Every scene stands out. Spectre actually has saved the Craig-era from becoming a boring failure.

  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,432

    Spectre will stand the test of time and be considered one of the greats like Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me or Octopussy.

    This reads like you picked names out of a hat, or tipped up your blu-ray collection and noted the three first to fall out of the box.

  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    RC7 wrote: »

    Spectre will stand the test of time and be considered one of the greats like Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me or Octopussy.

    This reads like you picked names out of a hat, or tipped up your blu-ray collection and noted the three first to fall out of the box.

    Are any of those 'greats'?

    I realise I'm in a minority in thinking TB is tedious drudge, TSWLM has its moments but is a tad lacking in parts and whilst I absolutely love OP it has too many flaws to be classed in the same bracket as FRWL, OHMSS and CR.

    These are more like solid top half of the table entries. A Southampton or an Everton - probably will sneak a Europa spot but nowhere near the CL places or the title.

    And then there's SP which hasn't even stood the test of one year yet alone the ravages of time. On a good day in sneaks into the top half of the table; West Brom if you like.
  • Posts: 10,274
    I consider TSWLM one of the greats, but not so much TB or OP.

    FRWL, GF, OHMSS, TSWLM, CR are some of the (mostly) objective greats IMO.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    RC7 wrote: »

    Spectre will stand the test of time and be considered one of the greats like Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me or Octopussy.

    This reads like you picked names out of a hat, or tipped up your blu-ray collection and noted the three first to fall out of the box.

    Are any of those 'greats'?

    I realise I'm in a minority in thinking TB is tedious drudge, TSWLM has its moments but is a tad lacking in parts and whilst I absolutely love OP it has too many flaws to be classed in the same bracket as FRWL, OHMSS and CR.

    These are more like solid top half of the table entries. A Southampton or an Everton - probably will sneak a Europa spot but nowhere near the CL places or the title.

    And then there's SP which hasn't even stood the test of one year yet alone the ravages of time. On a good day in sneaks into the top half of the table; West Brom if you like.

    I consider them objectively as part of the greats yes. At least 12 Bond films fall into that category and that's even quite a conservative guess.

    And I didn't say of the greatest. Those would be a few like FRWL, OHMSS, GF and maybe GE and CR.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,098
    CR was the perfect start.
    QOS was a mere epilogue to CR, but what a great action-roller-coaster ride it is, even when it's as Bondian as Jason Bourne.
    SF was trial and error for Mendes, life and humourless, wrapped in shiny gift paper so nobody would mind.
    With SP Mendes got it right and it is his victory lap. Every scene stands out. Spectre actually has saved the Craig-era from becoming a boring failure.
    Pretty much agree here. I sat there in the theatre grinning & enthralled. Best ride I had since TND.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,432
    chrisisall wrote: »
    CR was the perfect start.
    QOS was a mere epilogue to CR, but what a great action-roller-coaster ride it is, even when it's as Bondian as Jason Bourne.
    SF was trial and error for Mendes, life and humourless, wrapped in shiny gift paper so nobody would mind.
    With SP Mendes got it right and it is his victory lap. Every scene stands out. Spectre actually has saved the Craig-era from becoming a boring failure.
    Pretty much agree here. I sat there in the theatre grinning & enthralled. Best ride I had since TND.

    You agree that prior to SP, the Craig era was a boring failure? I think even the most hardened Craig detractor would struggle to find any sort of evidence to prove that.
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