Image from Spectre

Shaken, not stirred

I’d heard mixed things going into Spectre, the latest offering in the James Bond franchise, and the critics are not wrong, this one is a bit of a corker. It’s not just that the film falls well short of the high note set by Skyfall. Spectre seems largely designed to future proof the franchise, putting all the aspects of Bond’s character back where they found them. Spoilers beyond …

Planning for the inevitable turnover of the actor playing 007 is a smart move. Remember the tanty the fanboys had when Craig was announced as the new face of the iconic super-spy? He went on to more than prove himself: Casino and Skyfall were great fun, and the other two were passable. As he moves on, his held high, and all he leaves behind is a hard act to follow.

Unfortunately, when Bond is returned to his first position, it becomes apparent how dated the character is. The idea of a spy agency from the world’s “capital of surveillance” rallying against C’s plan is laughable. When M explains that 007 is now on his own, that doesn’t apparently include the pipeline of couriers and dry cleaners that keep him in freshly laundered evening wear. And he’s immune to brain surgery just … ’cause?

If you’re a fan of the old school Bond, complete with Mandarin collars, fluffy white cats and super secret bases, then this film is for you. The rest of us? We’ll always have Skyfall.

Other thoughts

  • The opening shot isn’t as impressive as they think it is. A long tracking shot is far easier to create nowadays, what with light cameras/digital film, and apparently the filmmakers had money to burn. While still visually impressive, they need some sort of emotional/visual punch at the end or they aren’t serving the narrative. This one fizzles. I couldn’t even tell you what the first cutaway from it is. Go back to film school and get it right next time:

  • I understand that Bond is a bit of a bastard, but punching a man in the back of the head when he is piloting a helicopter over a square crowded with people is psychopathic. I blame the edit here, we needed a punch to come from the pilot first so that Bond was reacting to something, rather than indulging in a king hit.
  • And in another dick move: Moneypenny catches up to Bond to give him some personal effects recovered from Skyfall … his response? “Bring them around to my house later.” Just take the box man, the woman has actual work to do.
  • Ben Whishaw is adorable as Q, I hope he comes back!
  • They really should have give Dave Bautista more to do 🙁
  • Good on South Africa for declining to join “Nine Eyes”
  • I’m pretty sure you can’t take down a helicopter from that distance with a pistol. But if you can, it should a least crash into that big ferris wheel by the Thames so that your suave super hero can say: “Damn, lost another eye.”

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