SPECTRE: Can it receive universal praise?

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  • MansfieldMansfield Where the hell have you been?
    Posts: 1,263
    The sentiment seems plainly clear that universal appeal is next to impossible to achieve. The point of asking the question wasn't just a formality. There is an obvious follow-up question intended to be asked:

    Since it is so unlikely for everyone to approve of a Bond film, should there even be an initiative to try?

    There is a creative detriment that comes from attempting to recapture all of the elements people expect to be in a Bond. Each decision has an impact on all of the other choices the franchise attempts to make. For example, they attempted to make a statement about how they don't want to focus on the bells and whistles in the form of fancy gadgets, but have now gone back to tricking out a car for Bond. It's just a minor point in defiance of the overarching narrative.

    It's kind of a question of substance versus spectacle, and a discussion that has probably already been shared in regards to early Connery and later Connery films.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2015 Posts: 23,883
    Mansfield wrote: »
    The sentiment seems plainly clear that universal appeal is next to impossible to achieve. The point of asking the question wasn't just a formality. There is an obvious follow-up question intended to be asked:

    Since it is so unlikely for everyone to approve of a Bond film, should there even be an initiative to try?

    There is a creative detriment that comes from attempting to recapture all of the elements people expect to be in a Bond. Each decision has an impact on all of the other choices the franchise attempts to make. For example, they attempted to make a statement about how they don't want to focus on the bells and whistles in the form of fancy gadgets, but have now gone back to tricking out a car for Bond. It's just a minor point in defiance of the overarching narrative.

    It's kind of a question of substance versus spectacle, and a discussion that has probably already been shared in regards to early Connery and later Connery films.

    A very good question. Not easy to answer that one.

    I think, since it's a business, they should at least attempt to make something that can make a fair amount of money on a net basis (not SF levels, but at least be profitable so control the costs like they did in CR if they are planning to be daring), implying it should please a fair amount of people, but still try to push the creative envelope.

    I think they have achieved that in all three of the Craig films, in different ways:
    1. CR - shaking the entire formula up and throwing out all the tropes
    2. QoS - artsy direction & quick edits, combined with very bare bones characterization and exposition. Very ballsy move
    3. SF - thematic resonance & excellent characterizations - a bit more conventional, but maybe that was the intention, as a 50th anniversary film
    4. SP - ?

    So I think EON have been trying to push things and shake things up with each film. This should continue. It's the only way the franchise will survive. That will not please everyone all of the time, but that's the way it has to be.

    It's a question of finesse though, and that's why the directors must know what they are doing. As an example, nearly every major scene in SF is a reimagining of a previous scene from a previous Bond film (an anniversary tribute), and yet it's done in a new and interesting way, so you don't really recognize it as such while viewing the film. That can be contrasted with the comparatively hamfisted & obvious ways in which scenes were repeated/thrown-in or history was referenced in DAD as a tribute.

    I don't think EON is as worried as the studio if each film makes more money than the last one. I think that is precisely why this franchise has survived so long......basically because it does not chase the lowest common denominator (money) to the exclusion of everything else, and that's to the Broccoli's credit.

    So, in conclusion, they should care about pleasing people......but not too much, if you get my point.

    It's more important to know the boundaries of the Bond character (in terms of what the public will accept) and push to the edges of those boundaries in different creative ways each time, imho.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,698
    bondjames wrote: »

    I don't think EON is as worried as the studio if each film makes more money than the last one. I think that is precisely why this franchise has survived so long......basically because it does not chase the lowest common denominator (money) to the exclusion of everything else, and that's to the Broccoli's credit.
    Always sounds nice...
  • The budget on this really seems reckless, but given how backlot much of SKYFALL was with an insanely high budget, it is how they operate now (more of an 'f you' to the studio than a matter of spending top dollar for quality, which separates the offspring from the original.)

    QUANTUM at least did some actual globetrotting and blew a ton on double-overtime for VFX and post, so I can SEE where the money went there, but not on SKYFALL at all.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,698
    SF did crazy business I never saw coming. SP will either be AS crazy, or be just okay. Time will tell.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited September 2015 Posts: 4,399
    Mansfield wrote: »
    Since it is so unlikely for everyone to approve of a Bond film, should there even be an initiative to try?

    i will answer this with my independent filmmaker cap on....... ready?..........



    No.



    the answer is really that simple.. No.. why? Because you can't.. it's impossible.

    you absolutely cannot make a film that will please everyone. You need to have a clear and concise story, direction and theme - and either the majority of people will like it, or they'll hate it.. if you try to throw in things to please everyone, you'll end up with a clusterf*ck of a film that will be tonally all over the place.. it just can't work, and it will never work.... as a filmmaker, you make the best film you possibly can - and you tell the story you want to tell.. and at the end of the day, your only hope is that more people like it than dislike it.. thats it.
  • MansfieldMansfield Where the hell have you been?
    edited September 2015 Posts: 1,263
    @bondjames

    I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment you made in regards to approaching a production from a creative and popular standpoint. The creative continuity is one of, if not, the greatest need for the Bond series. You have to be able to buy the plot in order to get emotionally attached. That's the major cause for dissent in Skyfall. I don't take the way the plot is set up quite as literally as some people in regards to the following:

    (1) The mission is to recover the stolen hard drive. This one clearly changes once it is in Silva's hands. It would be pretty narrow-minded to imagine him recovering it after the PTS and assuming they didn't put the data into back-up storage. The mission at this point essentially becomes read and react to Silva in order to stop him from getting all of MI6's undercover agents killed. Which leads to the next one...

    (2) Bond failed his objective. This is only true if you expand his mission briefing to keeping M alive. Is that really the case? Probably the subject of a great debate. Taking her to Skyfall with the technology (crude and outdated) and back-up (Kincade) available is not the best possible move Bond could make in this situation if in fact his greatest care is for M's life. In fact, it seems plausible that M has become like many of his other Bond girls: a means to an end, expendable. That's why I find a lot of their dialogue (and periods of silence) so powerful. There is a sense that they don't know what is coming and they might not win. It's reflective of everything they were and are. Alternatively, the next point can be made...

    (3) The villain wins. I'm not going to even offer a rebuttal on this point. I like that Silva gets what he wants, though. The series becomes cliche and predictable if the same positive outcome occurs in every film and each one just essentially seeks to recreate the wheel. Not to mention, how many times do we give villains and henchmen a bad reputation because of their own uselessness or ineptitude. All of the classic Bond villains were ultimately foiled, but had myriads of success along the way.

    (4) Silva is clairvoyant. This is the apex problem for some in Skyfall. It is a problem in the film that ultimately stems from a piece of dialogue Q tells Bond while he is searching for Silva in the London underground. "It was years in the planning." This never needed to be established. Silva clearly spent years conducting cyberterrorism and like shady dealings from his base in Asia in capacities not at all related to England or MI6. He suggests this with his list of things he could do, such as, "Rig an election in Uganda all to the highest bidder." Secondly, he has henchmen to deliver him police clothing and commandeering a police car. I prefer to view Q's line of dialogue as a false assumption and understand that Silva had and required help to pull off his escape.

    That's a lot about Skyfall, but it evokes so much discussion because of the way the film was crafted. There is a very simple relationship at the heart of the story with the potential for every event in the story to be expanded to try to apply some greater meaning to the picture. Sometimes it is planned and deserved and other times it was unintentional and distorted. It's in those moments where continuity leaves the film if it somehow contradicts some established truths, which Skyfall is at fault of. The dissent arrises from the alternatives that are provided in the film either disrupting or disengaging members of the audience from an otherwise spectacular set of personable performances. Most of the cast really sink their teeth into their respective roles and play them close to perfection for the way in which they're framed. That is the ultimate strength of Skyfall, but naturally, if people get disengaged along the way, they won't feel the same way as someone like me who held on through the entire film.

    This is a lesson for Spectre and the collective franchise. You can throw together all of things people like to try to grab everyone into loving the product, but unless it's cohesive, it could backfire. Now I think the enigma of universal praise exists (and by universal I don't mean literally 100% of people loving the film). People will always find fault in other's work, even good work. What I make universal praise out to be is that the criticisms for the film are minor and there is no general swell of dissenters. It will come down to the continuity of story and all of its elements as to whether or not it can be achieved.
  • AceHoleAceHole Belgium, via Britain
    Posts: 1,727
    As the OP pointed out - EoN's desire, nay necessity, to appeal to a larger audience will have a huge impact on the final product from a creative point of view.

    Everything we have seen from SP so far - from the online press release to the posters and choices for the title song suggest that they have indeed gone down the safe route, hence there will be no creative risks.

    Universal praise almost always goes hand in hand with dumbing down and not taking too many risks. So yes it can receive universal praise, just like SF, but it will do so at the expense of character & originality.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,871
    All that I can say is let us hope so.
  • AceHoleAceHole Belgium, via Britain
    edited September 2015 Posts: 1,727
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    All that I can say is let us hope so.

    But why? Why is this affirmation from the media and non-Bond fans important to you?
    Who cares what SP scores on the International Moron DataBase.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited September 2015 Posts: 17,871
    AceHole wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    All that I can say is let us hope so.

    But why? Why is this affirmation from the media and non-Bond fans important to you?
    Who cares what SP scores on the International Moron DataBase.

    It's not important to me in the slightest but just let us realise here and now that a Bond film has to appeal to the wider masses and not just diehard Bond fans in order for it to be a commercial, if not also a critical success. I obviously do want Spectre to be a success, commercially as well as critically. Why, as a Bond fan, would I ever wish otherwise. Also, I'll reserve my judgement on the the film until I actually see it in full, not based on hearsay evidence. It seems the only right and sensible thing to do in my book.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited September 2015 Posts: 4,399
    AceHole wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    All that I can say is let us hope so.

    But why? Why is this affirmation from the media and non-Bond fans important to you?
    Who cares what SP scores on the International Moron DataBase.

    IMO, it's not so much about that.. but we as a collective fanbase are bi polar.... you talk about them not taking too many risks and playing it safe - as many including yourself seem upset about - but as soon as they take creative risks - the other side will stand up and want more normalcy.... this has been perfectly illustrated during Craig's run... with CR and QOS, EON sought to shake things up a little bit and not adhear to certain bond formulaic traditions, and even take some creative risks... some fans cried that there wasn't enough traditional Bond elements, and that they want them back... in SF, and now in SP, they are slowly reincorporating some of those elements - now you got fans crying about "playing it safe and not taking any risks"...... this is a game that EON can't win with fans - which is why universal praise if a fool's quest.

    but, do realize that there is a much larger audience that goes to see Bond beyond just us dedicated fans... we are but a very small percentage here - the films aren't made to appeal to only us.
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 6,601
    antovolk wrote: »
    On your last point @Mansfield - Craig mentions in the Esquire interview I posted in the Production Timeline thread that this is the "denouement of the story that began with CR: Bond’s determination to confront his past and figure out his place in the world, and MI6’s place in the world, and whether he might be able to fashion a life away from all that."

    I think if anything the ones who actually read it won't be affected as much - it's the negative reviews/reactions from attention-seeking sites like Gawker that's the issue.

    Do you mean Empire? Because Esquire doesn't have a real interview?
  • Posts: 3,164
    Germanlady wrote: »
    antovolk wrote: »
    On your last point @Mansfield - Craig mentions in the Esquire interview I posted in the Production Timeline thread that this is the "denouement of the story that began with CR: Bond’s determination to confront his past and figure out his place in the world, and MI6’s place in the world, and whether he might be able to fashion a life away from all that."

    I think if anything the ones who actually read it won't be affected as much - it's the negative reviews/reactions from attention-seeking sites like Gawker that's the issue.

    Do you mean Empire? Because Esquire doesn't have a real interview?

    Esquire had an interview with Craig.....the one where he said he doesn't see himself coming back at the moment.
  • Posts: 6,601
    antovolk wrote: »
    Germanlady wrote: »
    antovolk wrote: »
    On your last point @Mansfield - Craig mentions in the Esquire interview I posted in the Production Timeline thread that this is the "denouement of the story that began with CR: Bond’s determination to confront his past and figure out his place in the world, and MI6’s place in the world, and whether he might be able to fashion a life away from all that."

    I think if anything the ones who actually read it won't be affected as much - it's the negative reviews/reactions from attention-seeking sites like Gawker that's the issue.

    Do you mean Empire? Because Esquire doesn't have a real interview?

    Esquire had an interview with Craig.....the one where he said he doesn't see himself coming back at the moment.

    OH, ok, the old one. Thanks
  • Last_Rat_StandingLast_Rat_Standing Long Neck Ice Cold Beer Never Broke My Heart
    Posts: 4,444
    SF, I think sits at 92% and CR is 95% on RT. I think SP will get somewhere between 85-90%. For some reason, 87% is a number that really sticks out at me. But at the same time, I have never been so excited for a Bond film and I really think that this one will be the best yet.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    I have never been so excited for a Bond film and I really think that this one will be the best yet.

    If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this.
  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    edited September 2015 Posts: 2,252
    bondjames wrote: »
    1. make sure the money is up on the screen
    2. cast charismatic actors who know how to act
    3. get a great performance out of their James Bond
    4. ensure the plot is coherent (and limit the amount of visible holes in it)
    5. film it the Bond way (wide angles, sweeping vistas, focus on the locations/glamour)
    6. ensure their leading lady has brains and shows it
    7. make sure the villain is a suitable foil for Bond, has brilliant lines, and is magnetic
    8. the dialogue has to be up to snuff - limit the corniness & give us more like the Silva/Bond or Vesper/Bond intro

    I'll add to that great action and stunts (and for me, a good score)

    From the way they've spun it in the trailers, it looks like they've achieved all of the above. Aside from the PTS, SF was lacking in memorable stunts such as the parkour chase and Aston flip. The standout action sequence would probably be the fight with Patrice, more from an artistic rather than action point of view.

    The only unknown at the moment is number 4, the plot and story. And I don't think the masses care about plot (see Transformers)
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,871
    RC7 wrote: »
    I have never been so excited for a Bond film and I really think that this one will be the best yet.

    If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this.

    Yes, it happens every time a Bond film is about to be released I would say! But this time is different... :D
  • Posts: 7,653
    I will judge SP on its merits once I have seen it, as I know nothing of the story have seen a trailer once I will be interested if the new 007 with Mendes will be half as entertaining as the new Heineken add which I like a lot.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2015 Posts: 23,883
    w2bond wrote: »
    bondjames wrote: »
    1. make sure the money is up on the screen
    2. cast charismatic actors who know how to act
    3. get a great performance out of their James Bond
    4. ensure the plot is coherent (and limit the amount of visible holes in it)
    5. film it the Bond way (wide angles, sweeping vistas, focus on the locations/glamour)
    6. ensure their leading lady has brains and shows it
    7. make sure the villain is a suitable foil for Bond, has brilliant lines, and is magnetic
    8. the dialogue has to be up to snuff - limit the corniness & give us more like the Silva/Bond or Vesper/Bond intro

    I'll add to that great action and stunts (and for me, a good score)

    From the way they've spun it in the trailers, it looks like they've achieved all of the above. Aside from the PTS, SF was lacking in memorable stunts such as the parkour chase and Aston flip. The standout action sequence would probably be the fight with Patrice, more from an artistic rather than action point of view.

    The only unknown at the moment is number 4, the plot and story. And I don't think the masses care about plot (see Transformers)

    I agree on the score and should have mentioned it. This is critical to me as well (and an area where Arnold in particular failed, almost unforgiveably, in TWINE & DAD imho). I've been doing a Bondathon of late, and realize now how instrumental Barry was in saving some absolutely ridiculous scenes with his score. I have also realized some other elements that are important to me, namely:

    -I need just a little OTT in the villains and I think the public does as well. It's a fine line, but they have to cross over slightly into camp for me. More Klebb, Silva, even LeChiffre (bleeding eye) and less Dominic Greene or Kristatos. This is a movie after all, and not a 'book'. What may read well doesn't necessary translate as well on film which is a visual medium.

    -pacing: make sure it doesn't start to lag in the 2nd half, which I've noticed a lot of Bond films do

    As with everything, having just seen most of the Bond films again, it's all about balance. That's the hardest part. Some of the Bond films get it more correct than others, and that's why they rank very highly despite being very different (FRWL, TSWLM, OHMSS, CR).
  • @Mansfield, I find the opening question of this topic a bit weird.

    Every movie being produced eventually can receive universal praise. So far I can think of 6 Bond films who actually received so much praise in the press, but also from viewers, that they can be labeled with 'universal praise':

    - "From Russia With Love"
    - "Goldfinger"
    - "The Spy Who Loved Me"
    - "GoldenEye"
    - "Casino Royale"
    - "SkyFall"

    The latter two actually came close to what you call 'universal praise' (except on the over-critical forums maybe).

    In any case, we simply have to wait and see. And until that time your question is rather...useless. What if I say: "Yes, it can receive universal praise"? Doesn't change a lot....
  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    Posts: 2,252
    bondjames wrote: »
    I agree on the score and should have mentioned it. This is critical to me as well (and an area where Arnold in particular failed, almost unforgiveably, in TWINE & DAD imho). I've been doing a Bondathon of late, and realize now how instrumental Barry was in saving some absolutely ridiculous scenes with his score. I have also realized some other elements that are important to me, namely:

    -I need just a little OTT in the villains and I think the public does as well. It's a fine line, but they have to cross over slightly into camp for me. More Klebb, Silva, even LeChiffre (bleeding eye) and less Dominic Greene or Kristatos. This is a movie after all, and not a 'book'. What may read well doesn't necessary translate as well on film which is a visual medium.

    -pacing: make sure it doesn't start to lag in the 2nd half, which I've noticed a lot of Bond films do

    As with everything, having just seen most of the Bond films again, it's all about balance. That's the hardest part. Some of the Bond films get it more correct than others, and that's why they rank very highly despite being very different (FRWL, TSWLM, OHMSS, CR).

    Barry is so important to me, makes me enjoy DAF and AVTAK, a bit like how some people say Deakins cinematography masks SF's weak points.

    Good point about the villains. They don't need to have a grotesque feature, just a big larger than life.

    And you were right to leave the score out of the list, I don't think the general audience care about it that much (I certainly don't for non-Bond films, except for iconic themes like Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc).
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    I guess this has been answered now?
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    Posts: 4,343
    Well, here in this community is generally hated. Still SP has a lot of hardcore supporters among fans and general people thought was good. Not great but still not the tragedy that seems inhere. We're speaking about the 4th highest grossing Bond movie adjusting the inflation. BTW I think that in time things will change, speaking about fans perception of the movie. Look what happened with QoS in 10 years...
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    edited November 2018 Posts: 4,343
    I know a lot. SP in Europe was far better received than in the US. Back in 2015 a lot of critics loved it here. Plus, in Europe made excellent bo numbers and it was not just because of the Skyfall boost. It was because people liked it. For sure, it's not the tragedy that lot of fans pretend it to be...
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Top ten entry for me, but around here it seems like the Trump of the franchise.
  • Top ten entry for me, but around here it seems like the Trump of the franchise.

    Naw, it's only the GW Bush of the franchise...
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Born on the bayou. I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'.
    Posts: 8,735
    Right, the Trump one remains DAD...
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,642
    I have been defending the film since day 1. It is my second favourite of the Craig era, well above the highly praised SF. I read and hear people's complaints but every time I watch the film, I discover that most if not all of those complaints barely matter to me. I see improvement where I felt that SF hit a very low bar, including score, action and Bond girl. I really like the MI6 staff, including Fiennes, Wishaw and Harris. L'Américain is one of my favourite moments in the Craig era. I really love the opening titles too.

    1 - CR
    2- SP
    3 - QOS
    4 - SF
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