Oh look! Another James Bond film is coming out! Who could have seen that coming!? The new film, simply called Spectre, is the twenty-fourth film in the long running series and the fourth film to star Daniel Craig in the title role. His track record has actually been pretty good so far with Casino Royale and Skyfall being great films in their own right (no one remembers Quantum of Solace so just shut up about it), but with them finally tackling the infamous organization in earnest (bringing in more of the old school features of the franchise), are they finally going to end up biting off more than they can chew? Well we won’t know until November, but for now let’s look at the trailer!!
The trailer begins with James Bond getting lectured by the new M (if you want to know what happened to the old M, watch Skyfall) for going off on his own to Mexico for some reason. Not sure what he was doing there, but it involved blowing up a building.
Moneypenny then begins to talk over scenes of James walking and her dialogue suggests that whatever James has been doing recently is going to end in him getting fired or worse from MI6. Seriously, how is it that EVERY Craig Bong film is about him not wanting (or not being qualified) to be a secret agent!? He quit his job in Casino Royale, in Quantum of Solace he… okay no one remembers Quantum of Solace, but then in Skyfall they were already making old man jokes at him! In this one, it appears that James is starting to go off book more often (possibly due to the circumstance around there being a new M), and his search is for some organization that I THINK they mentioned in Quantum of Solace, but I don’t recall being brought up in Skyfall. Anyway, his seemingly unsanctioned searches appear to have produced some scraggly looking mother fucker who knows about this secret organization.
The information scraggly man provides (at least as far as the trailer’s narrative shows) leads to some woman who of course knows too much and therefore is in great danger now that Bond has found her. We don’t learn who this is in the trailer, but my guess is either a daughter or an accountant/secretary of someone in the evil organization. What is this evil organization? Well she informs us that it is none other than Spectre!
Alright, time for a bit of honesty here. I have almost no idea what Spectre is. My knowledge of Bond films is shamefully limited with only the first few Connery films and all the Craig films. If I’m not mistaken, Spectre is a rather constant presence in a lot of the James Bond films and seems to be pulling the strings at least to some extent on the evil doings of whatever villain is in that particular movie. For those young people out there, think of Hydra in the Marvel movies after Captain America 2. ALSO, if I’m not mistaken, the leader of Spectre is Blowfeld who’s very much the Professor Moriarty to James Bond’s Sherlock Holmes. While I think I’ve only seen him briefly in From Russia with Love, he’s usually portrayed as a bald dude with a scarred eye and of course the pet cat. You know Doctor Evil? Well he’s actually a spot on parody of that guy’s design. Speaking of Blofeld, who’s playing him THIS time around?
Alright, as far as I can tell it STILL isn’t technically confirmed that this is Blofeld. IMDB is calling his character Franz Oberhauser and Christoph Waltz is denying that he’s actually playing Blofeld, but I’m not about to fall for this song and dance or sleight of hand bullshit that we already had to suffer through with Star Trek Into Darkness. Here, though I’m HOPING it’s who I think it is instead of absolutely dreading it. Now clearly Mr. Waltz looks nothing like Blofeld in previous incarnations so maybe that will be a sticking point for some people which I can understand. For me as somewhat of a neophyte to the Bond films, I just want him to be Blofeld because anyone else being the head of Spectre just feels like pointlessly drawing out the Bond lore once again. I mean, Daniel Craig is KIND of running out of time to keep fucking around on the outskirts of Bond mythology if he actually wants to embody the role that others made so famous. Even Skyfall felt like pre-Bond Bond finally learning to BECOME the true James Bond. Now we’re going to get a pre-Blofeld Spectre? Plus, it will hopefully mean that Christoph Waltz would have a chance of showing up again which would a definite plus considering what a great actor the guy is. After the reveal of Spectre, the trailer begins to flash some amazing imagery while the presumed Bong girl this time around (not the lady who knows about Spectre) starts to lecture Bond about being a super spy. Yet again, a Bond movie seems to be about how much he SHOULDN’T be Bond. Not only is he about to get fired from MI6, but even the Bond girls don’t want him kicking ass!! What the hell!? Anyway, we transition from her to not-Blofeld (let’s call him Shmofeld) monologuing about how much he’s been fucking with Bond over the years. Wait a minute. Did I just see who I THINK I saw!?
Well THAT’S pretty awesome! PLEASE don’t underuse him!! I had to sit through Doctor Who being boring in Terminator Genisys, I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO ANDREW SCOTT!! Where was I? Oh right! The monologue from Shmofeld is another thing that’s annoying me about this film. I have no doubt that Mr. Waltz will bring his-A game to this role, but he’s talking about how much he’s been on the outskirts of Bond’s life. BULL! SHIT! That’s about as convincing as Dr. Gero’s spy camera bug that was recording Goku’s actions for like twenty years. It’s just a hand wave to give his character menace and is completely unconvincing. I also don’t like the idea that this entire organization is focusing on messing with James Bond. From my limited exposure to the Bond films, they tend to come across as James Bond coming in on someone’s plan and stopping it (because it’s his job) rather than it focusing on James as a character and a target for the bad guys. I’m sure that’s not true for ALL the films, but with the reveal that James Bond is in fact James Bond (and not a code name which was a pretty popular theory for the previous films) and this one seemingly about an evil organization pooling all its resources onto this one dude, it turns his character into another clichéd CHOSEN ONE story instead of about a guy who’s damn good at his job and his job is to save the fucking world!
It’s not a BAD idea to try to give James Bond more depth, but the depth they’ve chosen to give him in the Craig movies is boring. He’s a badass because his parents are dead!? WHERE HAVE I SEEN THAT BEFORE!? Hopefully the trailer is somewhat misleading and the JAMES BOND IS MOST IMPORTANT PERSON EVER narrative is a small part of a much larger story. Aside from the Bond worship, I like a lot of what I see here. Christoph Waltz is perfect casting for a Bond villain (even if it turns out he’s NOT playing Blofeld), Daniel Craig is as great as ever in the role, and the cinematography (despite the fact that Roger Deakins didn’t return for this film) looks fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed the Craig films so far (even Quantum of Solace to an extent) and I’m hoping this one manages to be just as good if not better than the other ones. While some of the story elements they chose to reveal here are giving me some doubts, the Craig James Bond films have always been highlights in whatever year they’re released and with Sam Mendez returning, I can only expect greatness once again even if the story drags things down a bit.