I love me some James Bond. His brash and sassy alcoholism coupled with his very clearly misogynistic ways are always good for a laugh. They bring us back to a time when women were second-tier citizens, generic goons were being hired and subsequently killed by the hundreds, and there were vagina name references abound. I haven’t even touched on the spy aspect. Almost everyone wants to be a spy after seeing a 007 film. There have been two dozen different examples of the spy business that the Bond universe has shown us. It’s pretty inviting to say the least. To this day, I have a not-so-secret desire to own a Lotus Espirit that can turn into a submarine.
We got a new 007 film last week. Unfortunately, it falls drastically short of the expectation I have set when it comes to Bond films. I’ve seen them all. I know what I should be getting with each one. The problem I encountered with this newest film is that I feel like it was a bunch of throwback vignettes to older 007 films and there was simply nothing new. While the “world is being held captive, superspy will save the day” motif is always predictable, I felt this latest venture was especially lazy. I’m going to not just tread into spoiler territory here but dive head-first into it unabashedly.
There was a car chase scene. There was a boat and helicopter chase scene. There was helicopter fight scene. There was a plane chase scene. There was a train fighting scene. There was a diabolic arch-nemesis with a secret base. There was a torture scene meant to terrorize all that viewed it. Based on this, the movie should be awesome. It should have been a go-go-go ride for an hour and a half, leaving the audience in a frantic orgasmic state. Instead, we are left with a film that was almost three hours long and simply inserted a few generic action sequences to break up the boring exposition. The car, the boat, the plane, and the train need to be discussed. A three million dollar bulletproof Aston Martin that shot some fire out the ass end ended up in the Tibor river after a rather pointless three minute chase. There was a scene involving our titular hero attempting to bring down a helicopter with a handgun while driving at breakneck speeds in a boat. He obviously shot out the engines skillfully and grounded the chopper. A plane being flown behind a Land Rover with trees on either side attempted to help pass a few more minutes. The opening scene saw a fist fight in a helicopter above a crowd of people in Brazil directly following an attempted assassination causing an entire city block to come crashing down. A train fight scene where the interior of several cars got demolished saw the demise of the latest henchman hired by the diabolical villain. I don’t feel that there’s much more detail required because the scenes are pretty self-explanatory. As there exists a precedent for action sequences in 007 films, I guess these scenes were required. While it’s fortunate that the action broke up the exposition, The film otherwise didn’t benefit from any of the scenes. In older Bond films, the gadgets were ridiculous and exciting, the exposition was over-the-top, and there was almost always a tongue-in-cheek vibe. Now were are faced with a macho attempt to increase testosterone. Blah.
I have to talk about the notorious villain – Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It feels like a lot of his story arc (a lot of plot in general as well) was ripped right from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service(OHMSS). A bit more detail was provided in how he got his eye scar and it was made clear that Blofeld was created as a way to deal with daddy issues, but otherwise we simply saw the insertion of Bond’s main antagonist because why not? He wore the same jacket that his five previous iterations wore. His fluffy white cat made an appearance again. There was an oh-so-maniacal torture scene involving 007 getting his head drilled so he would be “unable to recognize faces”. This was made to feel more dramatic because of exposition given by Blofeld explaining how the torture would leave Bond unable to recognize the apparent love of his life. I’d like to deviate for a moment to speak about this latest “Bond girl”. The actress’ name is Lea Seydoux and she was fucking terrible. She was wooden and stiff the entire time. I couldn’t see any chemistry between her and Daniel Craig whatsoever. I saw more connection between him and the widow of the guy he threw out of a helicopter. Back on target, all this movie appears to have done is take highlights of OHMSS and set them in modern day. I will make note that Spectre has left out the big plot twist at the end of the film in what I predict will be the motivation for at least one more film in this modern 007 series. I predict we’ll see Bond get married to the awful actress. In an act of revenge for the events of this current film, Blofeld will kill her. Obviously, this will cause Bond to go on a murderous rampage and eventually resort to the steely cold demeanor that the print version of 007 is known for.
I could spend some more time attacking Spectre. I could speak about how the attempts at humor fell short. I could mention how the movie went on about an hour too long. I could speak about the motivation for Blofeld was really pathetic and possibly ruined the character. I genuinely did not like this film save for one seemingly off-the-cuff line I won’t ruin. It happens at the mountain health retreat (OHMSS anyone?) when the French woman is about to be kidnapped. If there is an intention to see it, this line might not justify the eighteen dollars for admission but it is a good line. Save your money. I highly recommend watching other 007 movies if you need to fulfill an urge. Stop at Casino Royale and you’ll be fine. Good luck.