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I think by TB he was playing Bond in a very casual way. Dr. No/FRWL he is the most Fleming, but GF he hits the right blend of Fleming and the cinematic version.
You could say TB/YOLT he looks the most bored. DAF/NSNA Connery doesn't seem that bored, but more like he is relaxed and having fun with the character - older, wiser, slightly slower.
It looks like he's clocked out by TB to me. I really like him in DN-GF. I don't mind his performance in DAF as much, and I actually like the fact that he seems a lot more relaxed/good humoured after Blofeld's 'death' (it reminds me a bit of TMWTGG where he seems a lot more good humoured after returning from being brainwashed).
If that link doesn't work, go to @adotgif, if you're super dedicated haha.
Brilliantly written. There is some in film textual validation of your theory. Blofeld does call his behavior "unusual."
All those performances more or less suit the films, but there’s no attempt at trying to present an evolution of character in a linear sense because they’re largely standalone films, made at a time when no one imagined having the films widely accessible at home for repeat viewings, pausing, frame by frame, etc.
I feel that. And it makes intellectual sense to me. But I can tell you, again, that it really didn't feel that way watching them all together. It felt like a totally different guy showed up. And not just post PTS. End-to-end. I wasn't looking over my shoulder..., How did they know I was here??
This is why you've always been among the very best. Great, perfectly within the film's text, analysis!
I thought about the "dropping the armor" angle, as I had that line directly in my mind, and I legit think that's what Craig is going for. So, maybe we should, indeed, give him props for a considered performance? I can see that, and I think in subsequent, non-in-flight delerium rewatching of NTTD, I will adopt that as my in-head-canon.
That being said, the CR CraigBond, post armor stripping, also does not act like this guy.
I don’t meant to say they’re exact, but the idea of opening up is there, plus his time with Vesper seemed a lot shorter. Maybe a few weeks, and we’re only just seeing him open up himself for the first time to someone. Like when at the beach he’s talking about needing to change his lifestyle and being honest about how he’s not sure where to go from there.
With him in NTTD, you’re seeing a much older character having gone through so much in life. He’s not going to be the same guy he was with Vesper. Even with Madeleine in those moments she still sensed that he was closing a part of himself, probably because there’s that part of being a 00 that’s difficult to shake off no matter how hard he tries to open himself up “you’re looking over your shoulder”. The moment he gets a hint of betrayal is both his 00 instincts and triggered emotions erupting and colliding.
I always liked it when Craig would surprise me with something new: like the little wave at the funeral in Spectre. I thought it was great that he wasn't always repeating himself.
Wonderful little moment. Or "No, stay!" at the clinic. Nice to see have a moment here and there without intense emotional turmoil!
That’s just another aspect to why SP feels so disjointed. It’s like Craig wasn’t on the same wavelength of the filmmakers.
Yeah, something as subtle as that, is always cool. I liked the SP wave too. Just like the wink in SF, when he arrives to save M from Silva during the inquiry, or his smile in CR, after him and Vesper finish their repartee on the train. Like you said earlier, which I agree. Campbell and Mendes get Bond.
I too love the Blofeld scene. I remember @4EverBonded enjoyed it as well.
What I particularly love about it is what you mention: how Bond and Blofeld are sarcastically cordial to each other (a "sales pitch" is a great way of describing the scene). I remember finding the lines "happy birthday by the way" and "a celebration of all that is Ernst Stavro Blofeld" exhilarating on my first watch, both in terms of dialogue and delivery. Also, I don't find Craig's acting out of place. To me, his performance in that scene and the film as a whole is a continuation of what he started in Spectre, a more relaxed, more charismatic, but still human take on Bond that is tinged with latent danger. I always associate it with another generally maligned performance I love --Connery in DAF-- because I think both achieve a sort of deadly nonchalance that is incredibly exciting to watch.
Most of the time, Waltz's performance in Spectre and NTTD displays an undercurrent of cruelty and sadism in such a relaxed way that it makes him seem more threatening. His surface joviality and calmness emphasizes his cruelty by contrast. I think it also provides a welcome touch of black comedy that emphasizes the unusual nature of the situation-- a secret agent confronting a criminal mastermind after having had several deadly run-ins with his seemingly omnipotent, omnipresent organization. Blofeld, a man enthralled and engrossed by himself, a man with a deranged sense of self-importance, and Bond, who at this point is so accustomed to confronting a world of depravity and violence, that he takes it in stride. The whole thing is strange, rarefied, unrealistic, baroque, in a good way.
I find Craig works in sync with Waltz. I agree with your point that Bond isn't going to act the exact same way around every character. He (and the directors and other people who contributed to shaping his performance) probably thought there was something to having Craig and Waltz engage with each other through mocking politeness. Waltz already was an expert at that style of acting at the time of Spectre, and as far as I'm concerned, in that film, Craig showed he was every bit as capable. There had been shades of that quality in his previous performances, but in Bond's scenes with Blofeld, the disconnect between surface cordiality and masked rage is greater than ever before. Apparently, Craig and Waltz's interplay doesn't work for most people, but I get what they were going for, I think they totally succeeded at it, and I greatly enjoy it.
I don't even have any problem with Bond's delivery of the word "die" in NTTD. By saying it in a near whisper, it sounds to me like he's trying to indulge as lightly as possible in the anger he feels at the moment, while still trying to remain in control of himself.
It's fantastic stuff.
Oh, I don't think so. Craig shows the requisite shock and horror and fear upon seeing Oberhauser leading a frightening criminal organization. But after living with that knowledge for a few days, I don't see why he should be thrust into fresh turmoil upon his learning that a guy he doesn't like anyway killed a guy he already knew was dead, twenty years before. And he had already figured that out before Blofeld told him. Going back into QOS-mode would have been inappropriate.
Especially with this villain. Waltz's Blofeld clearly thrives on Bond's misery, and he constantly goads him and puffs himself up as the "author of all his pain" to get an emotional reaction out of Bond. Of course Bond isn't going to give him that. He brushes most of it off with a "living well is the best revenge" attitude that is supposed to (and does) frustrate Blofeld, whose motto seems to be "revenge is the best revenge". ("Blow up my base, will you? Maybe I'll blow up YOUR base!") It's also exactly what I should expect from James Bond after the arc of QOS.
Of course, Blofeld does get his reaction once, when showing Madeleine the death of her father, and after Bond is enraged, Blofeld seems satisfied to knock him out and take him to his execution.
Great comment, the whole thing. Waltz actually gave me my favorite villain moment ever, when he finally cracks himself up a bit saying, "I've really put you through it, haven't I?" The exchange you referred to ("Everything that is Ernst Stavro Blofeld", "Cuba was a disappointment") is probably next on the list, followed by a bunch of Sanchez.
I went from disliking to tolerating to celebrating the deeply unpopular backstory of Waltz's Blofeld because of the way it facilitated this wonderful dynamic between him and Craig's Bond.
The only time it feels like Blofeld truly gets under Bond’s skin is in the prison in NTTD.
I agree with this, and I also agree with those who say Craig's performance is off in the Blofeld scene in NTTD. I found it jarring on first watch and it still sticks out to me even now.
Pretty much the whole Blofeld-arc in the Craig era was well-intentioned but misjudged, I feel. The only time he felt like an intimidating presence was when we could hear him but not see him, like in the PTS of NTTD or during the Cuba party sequence.
Well, again, I'm not sure why he would be shocked by that, not in some QOS kind of turmoil way, for the reasons I outlined above.
He doesn't not kill Blofeld because it's "not worth it". The conclusion was set up in the conversations with Madeleine before, about "stopping" his current life, and obviously the unloading of the gun is foreshadowing. It would have been downright bizarre for Bond to kill Blofeld after that.
And telling Blofeld (who is asking Bond to "finish it") that he has "something better to do", and letting him see that once again Bond is unfazed by Blofeld's effort, and that he saved himself AND the girl, is kind of the point. More of the "living well is the best revenge" ethos he utilizes against Blofeld. Killing him would have been completely out of step with everything the movie had been doing with Madeleine and Blofeld!
Bond also shows plenty of anger at Blofeld, but not to his face. The way he looks at the helicopter is pretty vicious.
Having Blofeld instead of Safin, the payoff at the end would have had far more impact when Bond finally kills him.
His quote, "We crossed paths so many times yet you never saw me" was a cheat, a cover-up for the fact that CR-SF were clearly not made with Blofeld in mind. The producers should have just kept Quantum as the adversary of the Craig era, then reintroduced Spectre for Bond #7.
My friends have tried to say that it strengthens Silva in SF and explains how he was able to fund his operations, even though Severine already did this and all Blofeld does is name drop “Silva” once or twice and then show him that silly production still in MI6, which doesn’t do a damn thing other than diminish Silva’s own revenge plot.
Yeah, a guy like Silva didn't need big organizational backing to build an army. Paul LeRoux, a computer programming genius, ran a global drug and mercenary empire from his apartment in the Philllippines.
Well, it's barely a retcon at all. CR and QOS are already linked, and Spectre is a sequel to those films. It's also very clear that Le Chiffre, Greene, and Mr White are all subordinate figures to someone or something. Plenty of people wondered what was coming next with all that stuff after QOS, so there was a clear gap to be filled, if the producers so wished. Skyfall, yeah, that's a retcon. But it's not nuts to think Silva, doing his Spectre-like work, would be part of Spectre. That the man who visited Madeleine was Lyutsifer Safin was also a retcon. Who cares?
They could have saved Spectre for Bond #7, I certainly agree, but at the end of the day, there's a lot of fans out there who only really like 2 of the last 9 Bond movies, and feel that Blofeld was never better than when he was a camp Transylvanian accent petting a cat off-screen. The producers can not and should not cater to these folks. Most of them will probably not love Bond #7 all that much and would probably not like most anything that would be done with Spectre in the 21st century.
Back in the days of CR/QOS I thought it was clear that Mr. White was going to be the main villain of the Craig era, the guy who's always lurking in the shadows and perpetually escaping Bond in a cat-and-mouse game. They had a good foil for Bond in him but they sidelined him with Waltz-Blofeld.
Specter would have worked better with Mr. White as the villain. They could've done the same basic plot with him trying to control global surveillance while Bond falls in love with his daughter. That would have been a strong foundation for character development and conflict, with Bond having to choose between killing Mr. White- the guy who was actually responsible for changing his life, not Blofeld- and having his daughter as a love interest.
Unfortunately it feels like they just wanted to make Skyfall 2 instead of Bond 24, so they haphazardly throw Blofeld into the continuity and gave him a lame backstory that somewhat mirrored Silva's.
That's a good observation. I guess the point of the film is that Blofeld is obsessed with the past, but Bond isn't - the only time Blofeld ever makes him truly angry is when he tries to take away Bond's future i.e. Madeline.
I guess it's kind of an interesting switcheroo: traditionally Bond has always been the one who is associated with the past and status quo, with his old suit and oak panelled drawing rooms, whereas the modernist-suited villains in their high tech lairs usually represent the threat of the future.
Yeah I like that :)
Where Eon really messed up was with Quantum of Solace, in naming the organization. Had they not, it could have been Spectre all along.
By SP, when they finally had the rights, a la TB, they could have kept Blofeld as a shadowy voice and had a separate Oberhauser as the main villain, saving the reveal of Blofeld for NTTD.
I didn't need more backstory for Bond in SP after SF, but apparently Mendes did. And NTTD could have been Bond vs. Blofeld with their backstory being simply that Bond ruined his plans in the past.
Say it with me, again: this is all Mendes' fault.
Bond's parents died in a climbing accident. He had a house called Skyfall with a groundskeeper. He stayed with a guy called Oberhauser, whose son was a jerk. That's it, right?
Isn't about half of that from Fleming, and didn't Fleming give a whole bunch of other info? And didn't Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies throw in some one-off backstory for the purpose of those plots?
The complaints about excessive backstory in the Mendes films reminds me of the complaints about how much taxation of trade routes is discussed in The Phantom Menace. In reality, it's like a minute, max. There are reasons one might not like TPM, SP, or SF, but these seem like odd nits to pick.
Personally, I think Bond's past being tied into the actual film should be used with caution. With SP I didn't feel Bond showed any familiarity with Blofeld anyway, and the foster brother subplot didn't add anything to the story. I do, however, appreciate subplots such as the Paris Carver relationship in TND, and think this is a case where something like that does work well.
The half of SP that worked was again Fleming, Oberhauser, Sr. It really didn't need to be tied into Blofeld. And lifting Oberhauser out of the other half of the OP story--in essence, giving Oberhauser, Jr. Smythe's guilty backstory--just felt weird.
These are the aspects of the Craig era that I am happy to leave behind.