Spectre (2015)
November 5, 2015 4:29 AM - Subscribe

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

This is the 24th James Bond film adventure.

The Wikipedia entry.
The James Bonding podcast (Matt Mira and Matt Gourley) covers the Spectre announcement press conference and the Spectre trailer.

Some Top Critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Craig's expression is so unchanging it might as well be chiseled out of stone, and his emotionally uninvolved performance is similarly lacking in nuance."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Daniel Craig's stated goal was to make Spectre "better than Skyfall." Not quite, but it's still party time for Bond fans."

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: "A slick, beautifully photographed, action-packed, international thriller with a number of wonderfully, ludicrously entertaining set pieces, a sprinkling of dry wit, myriad gorgeous women and a classic psycho-villain."

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: "In the end, Spectre is just too much of a good thing. Though each scene is carefully wrought, there's little grace, majesty, or romance in the way the pieces are connected."

A.A. Dowd, A.V. Club: "For those who have been waiting patiently for Bond to stop brooding so heavily, Spectre is about as close as the Craig version of the character is probably going to get to the quipping, unflappable 007 of yore."
posted by doctornecessiter (58 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"In the end, Spectre is just too much of a good thing. Though each scene is carefully wrought, there's little grace, majesty, or romance in the way the pieces are connected."

Yep, that's how I felt. Still enjoyable for the most part, but not as captivating as Casino Royale or Skyfall.
posted by Laura in Canada at 6:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by Naberius at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2015

From Travers' review: The 25th movie about the British MI6 agent with a license to kill is party time for Bond fans, a fierce, funny, gorgeously produced valentine to the longest-running franchise in movies.

I'm going to go ahead be a pedant here, but China's Wong Fei-hung films number 89, there are 66 Hopalong Cassidy films, and, even allowing the idea that we're discussing films that come from the same producers, Republic's Three Mesquiteers series had 51 titles during its run. There have been 24 Bond films produced by Eon.

I just feel like film critics should know this sort of thing, and that Rolling Stone should fact check.
posted by maxsparber at 8:15 AM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm totally willing to zap Travers* for not doing his research, but he did say longest-running, not most titles...Have any of those series cited been going regularly for 50+ years?

* and myself, but I'm on my phone at my desk at work and can't be doing all kinds of googling right now.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:32 AM on November 5, 2015

The Wong Fei-hung films were filmed over a period of eight decades. They're still being made.
posted by maxsparber at 10:04 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was looking forward to this but found it as bit disappointing. It felt like they were happy with the retro elements of Skyfall and decided to do the whole thing by referring back to Bond's greatest hits. Weird brutal sub-Jaws character, fight in wooden railway carriage, exploding watch, plane chase in snow, mountaintop retreat, secret base which gets blown up (and very lazily too), slightly comedy car chase, RIB coming out of the MI6 building and more. Just didn't work for me. It felt like they could have learned from Fast and the Furious on the action sequences. Really!

I have to say I didn't find Spectre's motivations to be very clear, too much like the press baron's in Tomorrow Never Dies but without a clear route to actual power.

I liked Seydoux but was a bit meh about most of the rest.
posted by biffa at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Routine Maneuvers, by Adam Nayman
Writing about mega-franchise entries upon their release means treading lightly when it comes to spoilers. But even if it’s possible for this critic to get through his review without revealing the true, Fleming-canon identity of Waltz’s global-crime-syndicate-head character (as if you haven’t guessed it already, you clever reader you), the fact is that this figure is central to Spectre’s failure, both in terms of how he’s played—this is probably Waltz’s laziest English-language acting to date—and, more importantly, how he’s been conceived and mobilized by a quartet of screenwriters in thrall to the very silly idea that James Bond movies should be bound by continuity.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to thank you again for these posts.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:24 PM on November 5, 2015

I felt like Waltz must have been directed by Mendes to tone it down, way down, since this is probably the most restrained performance I've seen him give. I think it's a laudable effort — trying to create a believable supervillain — but it's not really as interesting or fun as you might like your supervillains to be.

As for the rest of the movie, eh. It has its ups and downs but generally peters out as it goes along. Not nearly as good as Skyfall but not as boring as Quantum of Solace, either. I really miss cinematographer Roger Deakins; Skyfall looked great, and this one is comparably nondescript. (Don't get me wrong -- Hoyte Van Hoytema is a groovy cinematographer, but he's no Roger Deakins.)

I never feel like story matters so much to these movies, but boy is this one overwritten. The double-0 program is being dissolved, Bond is falling in love FOR REALS, and we learn that a single bad guy has been responsible for most of the misery in our hero's life. I feel like the best parts of the movie are all near the beginning, before the screenwriters get around to raising the "stakes." Still like the performances, though, including Waltz.
posted by Mothlight at 8:40 PM on November 5, 2015

a single bad guy has been responsible for most of the misery in our hero's life

It did strike me that this effectively was retconning the deaths of the female characters in these movies into "women in refrigerators". Instead of M being killed because Silva is embittered about her perceived abandonment of him its because someone wants to get at Bond. Likewise with Lynd.
posted by biffa at 11:19 PM on November 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

I think this is the worst Craig film. I honestly think Quantum of Solace was better, having something approaching a decent through line. This was poorly plotted, very talky with those talks being deeply uninsightful, and the action was often uninspired.

The opening was initially impressive, but the fight in the helicopter wasn't very good (and made Bond look like a dick, as he kept punching a pilot who didn't actually attack him once! If the helicopter had crashed, it would have been entirely his fault!). The moments of brutal violence were really unpleasent and uncalled for, especially the random torture scene, and everyone is right that Waltz motivation seems's very obscure. I guess he's just a dick, but why does everyone work for him? He waffles about a greater purpose but seems incapable of defining it.

On that torture scene, it was deeply unpleasent to watch and again, served no purpose. There was a whole spiel about it affecting his vision or something, but... it just didn't. So what was the point? Why did Bond walk in unarmed in the first place? If he was going to kill everyone there, why not... just kill everyone there. And again, once he escaped the action was incredibly unremarkable, Bond just calmly shoots everyone and they leave.

Also, the family ties thing, as well as not being very well done, was precisely the point of Skyfall, and Silva was a lot better at it.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:04 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]

Gawker on the leaked earlier version, which makes sense of why the third act feels so messy.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:18 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Spectre: a waste of Monica Bellucci
posted by frantumaglia at 1:11 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]

The opening was initially impressive, but the fight in the helicopter wasn't very good (and made Bond look like a dick, as he kept punching a pilot who didn't actually attack him once!

I kept wanting the pilot to turn around and ask if Bond minded if he just dropped him off as it seemed like a better result for both of them. Both the helicopter fight scene above the crowd and setting off the bomb close to the parade made him seem unnecessarily careless about collateral damage.
posted by biffa at 2:46 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Why did Bond walk in unarmed in the first place? If he was going to kill everyone there, why not... just kill everyone there.

I agree with everything you said in your comment, but especially this. Why did he just show up at that train station & wait to get picked up with no real plan?

The more I think on the movie, the less I liked it, which makes me sad as I was thrilled by Casino Royale & Skyfall (and even Quantum of Solace to a lesser degree). I loved Craig as Bond, but could have done without this movie.
posted by Laura in Canada at 7:19 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is the angriest review of the movie I've seen.

"Craig's expression is so unchanging it might as well be chiseled out of stone, and his emotionally uninvolved performance is similarly lacking in nuance."

This is exactly why I don't like Daniel Craig. I remember counting how many times in Skyfall his expression ever changed and it came out at 12. Which was 11 more than I was expecting.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

Well, I liked it and plan to see it again. I have to wonder though if Daniel Craig's claiming that Spectre would be his last Bond film was partially because he expected crap reviews to be flung at it. For that reason alone I think he needs to do another one so he doesn't go out on a down note. However, it seemed rather clear in Spectre that he is so over playing 007.

Am liking the spumors that the next Bond film will a new take on On Her Majesty's Secret Service and that Moneypenny's mysterious boyfriend is 009.

Weird brutal sub-Jaws character

As I was watching I thought he was a call back to Oddjob--but without the weaponized hat.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:28 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I saw this for free on Wednesday through work, and even then I thought I paid to much.

Everything up to getting onto the helicopter to fight in the beginning sequence was pretty awesome, I'll give it that, but it was all downhill from there.

I could literally write pages of complaints, but the fact that he just showed up two places (secret society meeting and the desert train station) with the "plan" of just hanging around until someone tried to kill him is a good symbol of how bad this movie is.

Actually, the fact that the main bad guy said he was drilling into Bond's brain to do specific damage, but absolutely no ill effects came out of it, is probably better.

Nah, the fact that they made up Quantum (of Quantum of Solace) because the didn't have the rights the SPECTRE, but now they do have the rights, so let us make up this convoluted secret society hierarchy where they have to have board meetings to promote people. That's it.

No, the fact that main bad guy (who the movie expects you to know all about from the previous movies, except Craig's Bond was a reboot so we can't know anything about old SPECTRE because it never happened in this timeline) was actual Bond's foster brother. And, the bad guy killed his dad and became super bad guy because the dad and Bond were too bro with other, or something. Or maybe it was just to show the audience he was eevviiiil. Honestly don't remember if that was ever made clear. All that is the best indicator.

Anyway, here I am ranting anyway. If you must see everything Bond, then I guess it beats a punch in the face. Otherwise, it was a pretty cliche and confusing movie.
posted by sideshow at 5:13 PM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]

I enjoyed this quite a bit, as a Bond film, right up until the last part which I hated and I'm not surprised to find out that it was tacked on later. Once I saw the red LED readout of the bomb, I almost let out an audible groan. I mean there was a lot of dumb stuff but there's always dumb stuff in a Bond movie but leaving the Madeline character to wander off into the streets of London without protection was just too much.
posted by octothorpe at 8:08 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Agree that it seemed that Craig just didn't want to be there.
As in Wesley Snipes In Blade Trinity Didn't Want To Be there.
If I had Rachel Weisz waiting for me at home, I might be distracted as well.

I hope they regroup, get a better script, a director with a more dramatic touch, back away from cat-stroking Blofeld, and throw enough money at Craig to bring him back one more time for 25.
It needs to be Casino Royale or even Skyfall good for 25.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 2:50 PM on November 8, 2015

I saw this this weekend, and I literally began keeping a counter in my head of "% of this movie that makes sense." It too dropped to zero.

The whole movie was like the Now That's What I Call Bond! of filmmaking. It's literally just the greatest hits strung together -- I'm far from a completeist, but even I could identify pretty much every single sequence has having a near-identical precursor in other films. Some of that was deliberate, clearly, but a lot of it just felt lazy. The the whole script was just 120 pages of "Bond does Bond things."

And watching them lazily tread through the tropes again, it just struck me how few of them even make sense anymore...Bond is such a creature of the Cold War. Yes, he's generally fighting criminals, flamboyant supervillians of one kind or another, but the sort of underlying framework of it, the whole construct, is informed by that context: Giant, shadowy organizations which have practically unlimited resources and access to wondrous technology but which cannot fight in the open, instead employing agents and cat's paws to do their work for them. The good guys constrained yet also supported by a Man In the Grey Flannel Suit bureaucracy. But that whole underlying ethos just doesn't make the same kind of sense in a era in which the great fear is terrorism; terror is the weapon of the weak, the path you are compelled to take when you have extremely limited resources, and it's used openly, in as public a manner as possible. SPECTRE does not have a Twitter account; ISIS does.

The film does make some nods towards attempting to recognize that it's set in 2015....but then it goes and sets a 10 minutes fight sequence on the goddamn Orient Express. Passenger trains with first class dining cars with a dinner jacket dress code are not a thing that exists in our world. The whole thing feels as beholden to convention as Noh drama, but instead of white masks and fans it's a 1930s public school boy's idea of cool.
posted by Diablevert at 6:20 PM on November 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

I kind of which that they'd re-reboot the series back to the fifties where it began and where it makes more sense.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I need to stop thinking about this film because it keeps making less and less sense the more I think about it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 PM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is exactly why I don't like Daniel Craig. I remember counting how many times in Skyfall his expression ever changed and it came out at 12. Which was 11 more than I was expecting.

I can't agree with this criticism. I think Craig is the best thing about these films. Being Bond is not easy, as there is a certain pose and style every actor is pretty much required to give, but I honestly think Craig's has been more reactive than I've seen. We can compare this to Brosnan's Bond, who often had a more modern script thrown at him (Sean Bean taunts him about the dead women), but never showed the slightest hint of being emotionally effected. Brosnan played Bond as a professional sociopath, frankly.

By the way, in the scene where Blofeld is about to show Dr Swann the footage of her father's death, why is Bond so desperate for her not to watch? It felt like he was worried that it would contradict what he had said, but it mostly didn't. Did he just not want her to watch her father take his own life? Fair enough I suppose, but he seemed so panicked by it.

God this film annoys me so much. It annoys me that they take the time to have Blofeld make a big speech, but fail to at any point explain what his plans are. Why is it a problem that Spectre have access to surveillance? What are they going to do with that? Make money? Kill people? What is the point of Spectre, what is it's driving goal. It comes to something when Hydra's driving philosophy is more coherent than Spectre's.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:21 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

I have to say, even though the plot of this film was ludicrous enough that during Bond's escape from Blofeld's desert lair I thought that how easily he dispatched the guards could be interpreted it as a dying dream during torture, Spectre was still overall a better movie than Skyfall: the pacing was improved sufficiently that even though I had to go to the bathroom for the last forty minutes, it still didn't feel as tortuously long and as tedious as Skyfall.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:07 AM on November 9, 2015

Spectre is essentially the Star Trek: Into Darkness of reboots. It wasted a great actor and a legendary, iconic archvillain in a convoluted scheme, the final action sequence was as cliche as it was inelegant, and its attempt to inject real-world moral quandaries into the plot was superficial at a comic book level.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:23 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

The reveal of Blofeld's name was exactly like the reveal of Khan's name and it made just as little sense. Those names are only significant to the viewers who've seen the previous films but are meaningless within the context of the film.
posted by octothorpe at 4:22 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

It is hard to believe this movie is directed by the same guy who directed Skyfall. The scripts are equally hollow, but in Skyfall he elevated it with dramatic staging of every sequence and tense performances from the actors. Spectre has little to none of that.

The loss of Roger Deakins as cinematographer was a bigger blow than I would have predicted. The sets in this movie might be as impressive as those in Skyfall, but they just aren't shot with the same level of drama.

The extended opening shot was super-cool, but in retrospect, I don't know why Bond brought that woman back to her room when he could have just broken in there.

The "seduction" of Monica Bellucci's character was absurd. Bond basically throws himself at her, and she takes pity on him.

-- shaking my head --
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:12 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

My partner summed Spectre up with "Captain America: Winter Solider was a better James Bond movie than this James Bond movie." It's a nearly identical plot: a mysterious organization that looms over every bad thing, a villain planted within the good guys who is butting heads with the struggling-to-toe-the-line boss, out dated technology that reveals the secret to this top secret organization, and a surprise bad guy from the hero's past.

Even the Bond song for this movie was "meh."
posted by thefang at 7:05 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

I really liked it! I'm surprised it's getting fair-to-middling reviews because I thought it was just a damn fun movie and very much the return to form for Bond that was promised by Spectre. I also want to reiterate my appreciation for Bond Club, as I think this movie with all of its classic Bond references is so much more enjoyable now that I've seen them all.

Things I particularly liked:
-More character details for M, Q, and Moneypenny. I have been and continue to be really happy with the casting choices for all three, and how well their character comes through in just a few scenes. (Q HAS TWO CATS.)
-The filmography, but in particular that totally gratuitous-in-a-good-way Steadicam sequence.
-Great choice of settings. We got a lot of different types of landscapes and cityscapes, such that it always felt fresh whenever they moved on to a new location.
-All the action sequences, but especially the train scene! It was an awesome callback to The Spy Who Loved Me, and was just brilliantly filmed and such a fun, madcap fight with an old-school-Bond henchman character.
-The three-Bond-girl format is back, and I loved Lea Seydoux in particular. I've heard a lot of complaints that people aren't buying the sudden romance, but it just felt very much like a throwback to me (all the old Bond girls fall in love with him), and I felt like she was competent, smart, and skilled on her own. She's also incredibly beautiful, but y'all know that. That and Daniel Craig's butt was all the eye candy you could ask for.
-BLOFELD IS BACK! (Blofeld's cat is back!) He felt appropriately megalomaniacal for a Bond villain, and the added emotional quality to his arc worked well for me. I predicted that Christoph Waltz's Oberhauser was going to be a fakeout and a surprise actor playing Blofeld would be the true villian; Waltz as Blofeld is a very pleasing compromise and I look forward to his inevitable return. I was a little scared they were going to kill him off and squander the potential of a great actor/character, and I'm glad they didn't.

Things I didn't like:
-Theme song/title sequence, as others have said. While I get that the title sequence is a reference to specific previous Bond title sequences, it lacked the dazzling graphic design of Casino Royale's and Skyfall's titles and just felt kind of meh to me.
-The extra plot with C and the fate of MI5/6 was superfluous. Having the 00 program hanging in the balance was over the top even for an over-the-top movie, and it kind of cheapened the other conflicts. In fact, in general, this was a pretty long movie and could have been cut by about half an hour by reducing some of the C stuff and cutting the final Blofeld confrontation. We could have just assumed he died in the explosion, and then the final scene is Blofeld's scarred eye opening from somewhere in his lair.
-Speaking of Blofeld's lair, the torture scene was pretty dumb, although I was amused at the continuation of the theme of Bad Men Doing Bad Things to Daniel Craig--in a highly sexualized way, with Blofeld even literally saying "I will penetrate you".
-Spectre being responsible for not only a bunch of crimes, but All The Crimes. The meeting sequence was kind of humorous as I think it ought to be for anyone who has ever attended a business meeting, but it also just felt overly comical in a way that the rest of the movie wasn't.
posted by capricorn at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

*promised by Skyfall, that should be.
posted by capricorn at 10:47 AM on November 9, 2015

Christopher Orr's take in The Atlantic's is the closest to my own...and Anthony Lane nails it too
posted by lalochezia at 8:37 PM on November 9, 2015

I thought this was very entertaining but I'm increasingly frustrated by Hollywood's insistence that all protagonists and antagonists must be narratively linked from birth. This io9 article says it better than I can. Other thoughts:

- As a gay man, I've never had much interest in Bond girls but Dr. Swan was particularly bland, and that actress and Craig didn't seem to have much chemistry.
- I'm glad Q, M and Moneypenny got a little bit more to do
- I liked the throwback references to previous Bond films
- I'm getting tired of the "James Bond, rogue agent" trope. I'd be more interested in seeing how an enormous security apparatus actually uses a blunt instrument to achieve their aims.
- what would the consequence have been if Q had switched off Nine Eyes five minutes after startup instead of ten seconds before?
- Boy that Spectre HQ was flammable
- Spectre already had live camera feeds from inside MI6 and had placed their mole at the top of the organization. Stopping Nine Eyes seemed like closing the barn door after the horses got away.
- Bond doing a thorough search of the condemned MI6 HQ within 3 minutes was a little ridiculous even by Bond standards.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:11 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

- Boy that Spectre HQ was flammable

Bond villains really need to hire contractors who follow building codes.
posted by octothorpe at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

This was disappointing. There's a huge amount of build: this man, he's the ultimate man of mystery, responsible for crime all over the planet, he's everywhere at once, knows all, has huge wealth at his disposal. He is out to get James Bond, hates him with a burning total intensity, but somehow hasn't killed him yet? And then, one exploding watch, and it's BOOMLATERBITCHES.

So yeah, the whole "it's personal" angle needs to be nuked from orbit, as stated by sevenyearlurk.

The theme song was a big yawn, too. Sam Smith is arguably a great vocalist (not to my taste), but this song was not memorable. But who wants to follow Adele?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:39 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was amused that the secondary antagonist turned out to be Moriarty.

I enjoyed this movie but probably won't see it again. I only marginally care if the plot makes sense, but I like it when the actors act and they didn't much bother in this one.

- I didn't like the title sequence, which is often my favorite part.
- I didn't like the blatant absence of non-whites. They travelled all over the world and yet one only saw the people who lived there in the background or in partial shots. Mexico City was the one sort of exception (and of course Moneypenny.)
- I didn't like Madeleine Swan. She seemed bland plus she looks uncannily like my friend's 5 year old daughter, which was distracting in a bad way.
- I resented that they didn't give Drax anything to do except HULK SMASH.

*I did like the Britishness-feeling of the MI6 crew. I also liked the tech nerd. I know he's a caricature but I liked him anyway.
*I did like the car chases.
* The Day of the Dead street scene was pretty fantastic.
* The helicopter flying was pretty fantastic.
*I always like Daniel Craig as Bond though it astounds me that people think he's handsome. I like him precisely because he looks like an average thug in a suit when he's Bond.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:51 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is the first of the Daniel Craig as Bond that I've seen, and I enjoyed it. Love M, Q, Moneypenny (Naomie Harris! and she has her own apartment and life!). Enjoyed Moriarty showing up in this, goddamn that guy does effective stuff with his weaselly facial expressions. I enjoyed the callback Bond stuff. I liked the (few) little comedy moments. I thought there was a lot to like here, but then I went in with zero expectations - haven't seen an Bond movie since one of the early Brosnan ones, so maybe this is a step down from the other recent ones.

I agree the theme song was instantly forgettable.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:38 PM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

(I mean, you're all right about the plot silliness etc.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:41 PM on November 12, 2015

Welp, I think I'm done with the franchise. That was a dull, nonsensical movie. Insulting, really.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:17 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

But who wants to follow Adele?

I didn't think Adele's song was all that great either. She seemed to be holding back to me and I wondered if she was worried about unfavorable comparisons to Shirley Bassey. I bet for the next film they're either going to go with someone like Ariana Grande or reach back and get an old school crooner from the '60s or '70s.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:58 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Whereas I still get "The World is Not Enough" stuck in my head sometimes.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:36 AM on November 13, 2015

It was weird that the big meeting in Rome was well underway before Blofeld showed up. If they can start the meeting without him, how important a boss is he?

They were on the train a long, long time. Why did it take Mr. Hinx so long to attack Bond?

Too much monologuing.
Oberhauser: Why did you come?
James Bond: I came here to kill you.
Oberhauser: And I thought you came here to die. [Shoots Bond in the head.]
posted by kirkaracha at 10:24 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

This film was terrible. And I'm one of those people who liked Quantum of Solace.
posted by crossoverman at 12:35 AM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

I guess I felt that it seemed just a little too "by the numbers". The car chase... was there any real tension there? The plane on the snow reminded me of License to Kill’s snow chase on the cello case. The escape from Evil Gas Plant Lair seemed a bit too easy—were most of the henchman stuck in a meeting or something?

It was nice to see that there were any "throwaway" women that get killed the day after sleeping with 007 (Solange Dimitrios in Casino Royale, Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, Séverine in Skyfall)—that at least was an improvement.

And I guess it was cool that there was a bit of a different ending—although I'm sure that will most likely be retcon’ed in the pre-title sequence of Bond 25.
posted by blueberry at 6:14 AM on November 14, 2015

Oh, and I liked that Moneypenny isn't some heart-eye’d office worker holding a torch for Bond—and that Moneypenny actually had company when 007 called.

That Day of the Dead parade marionette thing was pretty cool, but I felt bad for the people that the helicopter-ejected people landed on. And yeah, maybe they shoulda made the helicopter pilot a bit meaner or something—like he sees what's going on and pulls a pistol and tries to shoot Bond over his shoulder. As it was, it seemed a little too “Dude, what are you doing—I'm trying to keep us airborne here—my boss just told me to pick a guy up from the parade...”

I also like the idea of Mr. White coming to that hotel each year, and then having to spend the last two days drywalling, or putting up lathe and plaster—he must've gotten quite good at it after all of those years. I could see him lying in that canopy bed thinking to himself, “You know what—screw it—this year I'm going to put in some recessed lighting, or a little nook... class this room up a bit.”
posted by blueberry at 6:33 AM on November 14, 2015 [6 favorites]

I liked the opening scene, but the film that followed it had a lot of pretty locations used to no very good effect. The personal motive for the villain was ludicrous: Spectre should be the epitome of "it's just business" as a foil to Bond's faith in his county.

The title sequene briefly made me hope that Bond would be fighting intelligent octopodes eager to get back at humans for our cuisines. Which, honestly, would have made slightly more sense than the actual plot.

Maybe the next Bond film could be about Moneypenny being called out of retirement for "one last job."
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:45 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Current Guardian livechat with Andrew Scott (C in Spectre/Moriarty in Sherlock).
posted by biffa at 5:59 AM on November 16, 2015

My blog post on the film, delving into all the things that didn't work for me. There were a lot of things.
posted by crossoverman at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be from what I'd read.

I actually started clapping when the cat appeared. (There were only three other people in the theater.)

I would like to know why Monica Bellucci was even in this besides looking pretty. Her being here kind of just served to point out how good the acting of Berenice Marlohe was in Skyfall. I get what MB's character was there plot wise to do but they either shit the bed on directing Monica Bellucci or it was a crappily written part going in. Waste of MB.

Christoph Waltz actually being understated for being Christoph Waltz was kind of nice as Blofeld.

Andrew Scott as C was very Moriarty Lite. I hope he finds a role where he's not a cocky bastard cause I've seen him in that role enough. I don't know if it's overacting on his part or if that's just what directors want of him. I could have done without most of that storyline.

Daniel Craig's acting didn't bug me. Bond is supposed to be a blunt instrument.

I loved that Q has two cats and that those cats are important enough to him that he referenced them. Nice small character detail.

The train - good callbacks to previous bond movies. There were some nice callbacks throughtout.

As to Bond showing up without an actual plan at the first meeting. I thought he just kind of stupidly went to gather information. I guess from that perspective he got some info.

I loved that Q lied and said Bond was in Chelsea. Q is such a badass...always saving Bond's ass.

I'm glad they gave Moneypenny a life but I wish she'd actually seen a little bit of action as well.

Not my favorite Craig Bond movie but also not my least favorite.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:17 PM on November 19, 2015

In my head canon, Mr White and Madeleine were actually working together to take over Spectre and using Bond and MI6 to do it. The end scene I have to completely rewrite but obviously MI6, M and Bond come away thinking they've destroyed Spectre.

More seriously re the main villain claiming he's the cause of all Bond's hurt I took that got the usual exaggeration and credit stealing. Makes his character more unstable to think of it that way.
posted by R343L at 10:50 PM on November 21, 2015

I usually try not to analyze the plot of action movies, but can someone explain what happened in the Spectre meeting? Was David Bautista a hired goon or a full member of Spectre?
posted by donajo at 11:49 AM on November 22, 2015

I finally saw this. I enjoyed this one but I thought it was a bit of a departure from the other Craig movies. The earlier ones, as much as I enjoyed them, appeared to be attempts to bring the whole "gritty realism" thing to an inherently silly super-spy story. The cartoon villain in particular took it into "over-the-top silly Bond movie" territory this time, which I thought they were trying to get away from with Casino Royale. That said, over-the-top silly is fun, too, and it's why a lot of the Moore Bond films are still worth watching. Some of the comments here...I mean, yeah, it was pretty dumb, but...we just went through the whole series, no? Bond films are completely ludicrous 99% of the time. Plots, villains, stunts, locations, the works. In one of the opening scenes he jumps from precarious ledge to precarious ledge as a building collapses all around him and lands comfortably on a couch. I thought it set a bit of a tone that's not out of place in the series.

Anyways, some of the cheaper/sillier things I noticed:

-Blofeld. Blofeld must have wasted literally billions of dollars over the years just to fuck with Bond. Like, there was no other purpose for much of what he did. I bet he had that eye-pokey drill restraint chair made just in case Bond happened to show up at Head Office some day. Probably never used it before; he wasn't very good at it. And they even made it so the villains in the past movies were also part of the "let's fuck with Bond just because" mission. And yet Blofeld managed to fail at nearly everything; all of his lackeys from the previous movies failed, all of his attempts to kill Bond in this movie failed, but he keeps doing these elaborate setups like he's got it all figured out instead of just fucking shooting him, to paraphrase Seth Green from Austin Powers. Also "pretty cool meteor huh guys? Anyways let's go do something else now"
-Blofeld's security staff suffers from some serious Storm Trooper Aim issues
-what was with that scene with Q and the ring? The ring had all this data in it or something? In general this movie suffered from a lot of "Hollywood GUI" but the ring scene was bad even for that.
-the whole "00 Section is not relevant" thing coming up again. This has pretty much been a theme in every Craig Bond movie and they all end with him pulling off some ridiculous redeeming victory that is instantly forgotten by the intelligence bureaucracy for some reason.
posted by Hoopo at 3:06 PM on November 24, 2015

all of his lackeys from the previous movies failed

We have talked before about how Skyfall sees Silva largely succeed. His agent captures the list of MI6 agents and he starts publishing it on the web. He bombs MI6 HQ, he infiltrates MI6 files. He kills M. Bond fails to stop all of these, albeit that he manages to kill Silva finally.

If we accept Blofeld's claim he did all this to fuck with Bond then we accept that everything in Skyfall was mission accomplished. But do we also recast Casino Royale so that the death of Vesper Lynd can actually be put in the win column for Blofeld, because it too badly fucked with Bond?
posted by biffa at 3:55 AM on November 27, 2015

"And yeah, maybe they shoulda made the helicopter pilot a bit meaner or something—like he sees what's going on and pulls a pistol and tries to shoot Bond over his shoulder."

That's exactly what happened in the movie.
posted by I-baLL at 12:38 PM on December 7, 2015

I-Ball, yep I just watched it again.
The helicopter pilot was a lot more of a baddie than I had a first thought.
posted by blueberry at 1:49 AM on July 2, 2016

I bet for the next film they're either going to go with someone like Ariana Grande

Well done, fuse theorem!
posted by Apocryphon at 1:59 AM on October 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

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