Today I saw SPECTRE, like I have done most every James Bond film I’ve ever seen, in the company of my Father. The first long movie line that Father Geek ever stood in was for GOLDFINGER and he’s been attending these action adventure spy films from DR. NO forward. He raised me to believe Sean Connery was the one true Bond, but I grew up loving Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby… and I really wanted to love Pierce Brosnan’s BOND, but never felt the writing was on par with his casting.
Then along came Daniel Craig. The Blonde Bond. Remember when that was actually a problem? Bond is as powerful a cinematic religion as any of the other holy grails… steeped in tradition, a storied history and knowing iconography. From the theme to the gun barrel openings, shaken not stirred martinis and Bond, James Bond.
My big desire for the Daniel Craig BOND series was the introduction of SPECTRE. I adore SPECTRE. As an organization of EVIL, it’s the cat’s pajamas! And boy did I let out a little squeal when I saw that Pussy!
Most of SPECTRE is the search for something wrong with the world. The real “M” sets Bond upon a trail that this Bloodhound won’t give up upon. The world has been struck by a series of terrorist attacks, the world of DOUBLE Os seems to be coming to an end - and Bond’s new bosses are a choice between Voldemort and fucking Moriarty. So he chooses to listen to a dead Dame, and in this film - that is absolutely the right choice.
Now, I’m writing this review on Saturday - and I assume if you’re a James Bond geek, you’ve rushed out to see this one already, but just in case - I am going to dive into spoilers, but this is a James Bond film, for a big run of these movies we had books as our guides - and now that we’re in the realm of free range Bond tales - I suppose there are spoilers - but after the following Bond phrase - I’m going straight into Spoilerville.
Welcome to Spoilerville.
So when the title SPECTRE was released - and the casting of Christophe Waltz announced - and we were told, He’s not Blofeld, well that was totally a JJ. Of course he’s Blofeld - and that’s really not a big deal, because it is a huge deal because we’re getting THE ORIGIN OF BLOFELD in our SPECTRE movie - and that’s exactly what I wanted from this. We get to see him get his scar and possibly his injury that places him in his wheelchair. They get a bit Tim Burton/Joker origin tied to Bruce Wayne for my tastes, but fine… In a galaxy far far away they’d be blood relatives. But a Bond film called SPECTRE, without the origin of Blofeld would be profoundly disappointing to me.
Moreso, we learn that behind everything that Craig’s Bond has been involved - has had it’s strings pulled by SPECTRE. Now, I know - you’re used to stand alone BOND films - but that’s kinda bullshit, cuz usually - SPECTRE is behind everyone and everything. That’s what super secret evil organizations do. Profit from tragedy. I’ve seen some writers bitch that Waltz’s Blofeld toys with Bond instead of killing him.
ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF THE FILMS YOU’RE COMMENTING UPON?
This series essentially invented Monologuing Egotistical SuperVillains… They all toy with Bond cuz he’s beneath them, but they all want him to respect their delicious evil plans. And if you think this is AUSTIN POWERS-y, sincerely FUCK OFF, Bond did everything first! Let’s also bitch about Bond not killing Blofeld when he gets his chance… I guarantee you he’ll regret that down the road. James Bond and Blofeld are Batman & Joker, Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, Reed Richards & Doctor Doom! They are locked in an eternal struggle of good & evil. And that’s as it should be.
Look at the organization at Blofeld’s command, think of that Kubrickian room in Rome, all those shadowy people. Casually talking about massive sex slave trafficking. This group has its fingers in thousands of dirty pools of scum & villainy! Cuz it is SPECTRE. No government can hold Blofeld, and even if they do, his subordinates will be up to no good, constantly.
Now - how’s Dave Bautista? Kick ass. He’s a villain with relish. A twinkle in his eyes. He may not be JAWS, but his screen exit conjures memories of BRUCE all the same… and I absolutely think he’ll be back - though obviously that shoulda killed anyone, but there’s one thing I’m sure of… Dave Bautista ain’t just anyone. He isn’t given speeches, but actions. Bond throws everything he has at him and he just keeps coming. I like that. I like that the fight on the train felt like a throwback to Connery and Shaw in FROM RUSSIAN WITH LOVE, and while this fight covers a lot more ground than that one, I believe that is exactly what makes the Shaw vs Connery battle all the better. The claustrophobic nature of that train fight still dazzles me. But with Bautista - Sam Mendes can’t help but play with his hulking physique and so walls mean nothing to Hinx the Destroyer! I think my fave moment of the fight is when Bautista swings and hits a steel pipe and the pipe cleanly breaks way as the sound of a hammer pounding an anvil is heard. Fucking A! That’s how hard Bautista hits!
For me, SPECTRE is either a new Chapter for Bond, or the final chapter of the Daniel Craig/Sony Bonds. If it is - Craig has served the role impeccably well. For an entire new generation, he is their James Bond. I’ve enjoyed each chapter and if he leaves the franchise, I won’t be happy. We’re at a point, where the series can play on a larger landscape still. After this, Bond should have the full support of the British Intelligence services. I love the evil SPECTRE base being in the center of a crater! And that Bond & Evil Base - always ends with the base being totally fucked up, even if an army of British badasses wasn’t backing him up this time.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this Bond film was the lack of final resolutions for the characters. We don’t see either Monica Bellucci or Lea Seydoux die. In fact, I get the idea that Monica Bellucci’s Lucia is headed to America with Bond’s buddy Felix Leiter - and CIA agent! Lea Seydoux, the daughter of a criminal is driving off with Bond at the end. Blofeld will kill her. This is assured. No way she lives past the opening credits of the next film. Both she and Monica are stunning women. I adore Bellucci being an older Bond lady - and the scene with her and James is the hottest of the film. I also love that James seems a bit jealous at hearing a male voice at Moneypenny’s flat after hours. Take that James!
Lastly - that Dia De Los Muertos action start to the film… I just went gaga for that. When Bond starts going nuts on the helicopter pilot with an enormous crowd beneath him, I was kinda dying. Really. I’ve no idea of the actual numerical size of that crowd, but it looked like a mass disaster waiting to occur. However, as Bond tells his boss, it could’ve been a lot worse. That’s kind of how Bond operates, he’s the least amount of evil to accomplish a happy ending. Hollywood has always tried to make him as palatable as he can be, but there’s no denying - Ian Fleming created a man to do the kind of jobs only this man could do. He’s a cold blooded killer that uses everything he has to get what he needs. He’ll fuck who he needs to, beat who he needs to beat and kill everyone that gets between him and the end of his mission.
SKYFALL was a helluva great Bond film - easily the most beautiful Bond film filmed. But I had a blast with SPECTRE and I’m looking forward to more JAMES BOND, because I just don’t want to be in a world with out James Bond. Nobody does it better. Makes me feel sad for the rest. Nobody does it half as good as… well, you know.
I’m just glad we’ve moved past the silly fluffy Bonds - and have Bond films with spectacular action and furious fights… and SPECTRE - thank Lucifer for SPECTRE - and the original grumpy Cat!
So gather up your BOND mates and check out SPECTRE, it’s a solid good fun Bond film. And that comes from someone that still feels the best Bond was ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. But that’s just me.