Ranking Bond: Spectre (2015), Part I

In what was a precursor to Fun with Franchises and as a lead up to the release of Skyfall in 2012, Colin and I did a series called Ranking Bond. We watched all the movies in the franchise wrote them up and ranked how we liked them. We did it as a movie a day, which is absolutely insane. Though it did make me realize we could get more out of splitting each movie into parts, and how much fun the two of us riffing on films can be, and thus Fun with Franchises was born.

But, since Bond movies keep coming out, we keep going back to the franchise. Because we love it. We did articles for Skyfall when that film got released on Blu-Ray, and now we’re doing Spectre.

Here is Part I of Spectre:

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Aww shit. It’s Spectre time.


Oh man. I’m so ready for this. It’s been so long. Actually, I know how long it’s been – 1070 days. I saw Skyfall on opening day in Tokyo, which was December 1, 2012. And I saw Spectre opening night in the US, which was November 6, 2015. If we put that timing into the perspective of World War II, that’d be like me seeing Skyfall the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and seeing Spectre as American troops were preparing to cross the Rhine. Aren’t you glad we don’t have to invade Germany to see a new James Bond movie?

I remember those three weeks. I’d seen it opening night over here, and I couldn’t talk to you about it for three weeks. And I remember your brother was also unable to talk to you about it, so I exchanged emails with him about it talking about how you were gonna lose your shit when you saw it.

Those were fun times.

And we’d just finished all those Bond articles, which at the time were crazy amounts of work and now look like nothing compared to the shit we do per film.


And it’s Spectre! We love Daniel Craig, and the only negative thing you can really say about his tenure is that he can’t do his own thing AND Connery’s thing. And now he’s doing Connery’s thing. How great is this?

I went in very cold, too. No Sony leak stuff, no spoilers, no reviews – nothing. I watched each trailer twice. 

To be fair, though — I also went in cold, but there’s no way you weren’t at least aware of some stuff. You knew Christoph Waltz was Blofeld. The minute they cast him, you knew exactly who he was playing. Plus, the title of the movie. How you gonna have Spectre and not have the man who runs it? So it was nearly impossible to really go in cold for this. At least as cold as we went into with Skyfall.

I remember going into that movie knowing nothing about what I was getting, and also having that inkling that they might kill Judi, which I was patting myself on the back for months afterward. I remember pulling that email out from like a year beforehand.

Anyway, onto the film.

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First time in the Craig era we start with the gun barrel. Which positions this as more of a “traditional” Bond film than any of his others.


Gun barrel! The pacing of it moving across the screen and the way it opens up on him is much closer to the Connery era gun barrels. No shimmy. They brought back the old look. Good for them.

My issue with the recent gun barrels is that they look too CGI and clean. I’d also say they’re too fast, but this one felt okay.

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Why all the low tones in movies these days? Cut to black – BOOM. BOOM.

I blame Inception.

And to a lesser extent Law and Order.

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“The Dead Are Alive” is a good way to start here. Since this film is basically tying all the dead bodies together with its narrative.

Also, “in my pants.”

Also, I know a lot of hippies from the 70s who are really happy to hear that.


Kinda weird to start with this text, huh? What’s that all about? It’s fine, only the dead are dead. That’s why they’re dead.

Plus this is basically what Skyfall was. People assumed dead were not. This is kind of a continuation of sorts. Though that’s also a bit of a recurring motif in Bond. Assumed deaths.

I want to be assumed dead one day.

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Also, Baron Samedi hat.


That’s how I’m going to be prepared when I’m dead.

Reminds me of that news story I found years ago, back when I’d search for crazy news stories — a family opened up the casket for a funeral, only to find a black man in a pimp suit with a cigar in his mouth instead.

The funniest thing about that news story is picturing what happened when the other funeral opened the casket.

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Love how it begins with an unbroken shot.

Does not cut from the opening crane shot until the window with the guys talking.

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This could be the title card if you didn’t know better.


This is why El Chapo has the run of the country, by the way. A note to whomever is in charge of Mexico’s budget: fewer massive prop skeletons, more Federales.

Fun fact, the equivalent of the “El Chapo Escapes” headline in English is “Shawty Get Loose.”

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I love the festival thing going on, though. We’ve certainly seen that in past James Bond movies. Thunderball, for sure, which featured Bond running through the Bahamian Boxing Day festival of Junkanoo. And how about Moonraker, when they’re at Rio Carnival? Jaws coming down the alley in the clown outfit is still the scariest thing I’ve yet seen in a Bond film.

A clown slowly walking toward you might be the scariest thing you ever see.

Try that sometime. Dress in a clown costume and go someplace and night and slowly start walking toward people.

You know, for fun.


I guess you could also count the opening sequence of Quantum of Solace, where Bond chases Mitchell though the palio di Siena horse race. I feel like I’m missing at least one, but festivals are very Bond.

Bond’s never done Mardi Gras. Unless we count that N’Olreans funeral in Live and Let Die.

Though Roger Moore did dress like a clown. So there is that.

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Look at Craig, just standing there, waiting for his cue.


How do you get to be the guy on the swing? Is that a job? An appointment? Or do you just show up and convince them you’re the guy with the most skeleton charm?

That guy is getting so laid tonight, too.

Is Day of the Dead the kind of holiday where you get some? Is it like MLK Day?

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Oh, and we’re walking past him. Interesting.


Does literally everyone have one of these costumes just chilling in their closet for this one day of the year? Is their party supplies store full of these things? Or is there someone who just modifies existing clothing? “You know what your tuxedo really needs? A skeleton painted onto it.” 

That one asshole in the middle is just in a regular shirt.

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Skeleton suit is very Baron Samedi.


White suit, red tie. This is awesome. He’s the only guy dressed in white among the throngs of people in black. Film is a visual medium, and when you make proper use of it, I smile.

What does she think is happening? He’s just standing there in this square for like, five minutes, and she’s just holding onto his arm. Does she have any thoughts going through her head right now or is she literally just a walking sex object like the movie presents her?

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Man in a white suit being followed. We’ve seen that before.


Watching this for the first time, I was thinking, “Is this going to be Bond? Oh, wait, he has a ponytail. James Bond can be black, but he can’t have a ponytail.” Of course, the camera has already passed over Bond without alerting us.

Guy in the foreground looks like he’s about to get fucking SHANKED.

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Does Tom Ford also make skeleton suits?

Also, that’s twice now that girl has looked straight into the camera.

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This is very Bond. Pick up the chick first, then follow the target.


And here he is, with a Mexican woman. She fine. And look at that outfit! He’s got a CANE!

The face of that skull in the back is hilarious.

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Close up on the eyes. That lets us know this is Craig. They love showing those baby blues.


This is how you set up a chase without knowing who’s who. Guy walking as the camera follows him. Camera stops on another guy, who turns to look at the first guy passing and then starts to follow him.

There’s a little Bond riff here, so you know it’s him. This woman also has no fucking thoughts going through her head right now. She’s literally here as arm candy.

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Asian lady in Mexico.


Damn. Aight, sweety.

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This woman literally has nothing else to do except wait for him to take her back to the hotel room to fuck.


This girl is most definitely alive. Also, there’s a cop literally right there. Presumably still there when there’s an explosion right down the block in a few minutes.

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Yeah, you told us.

Also, was that a hidden cut? Had to be.

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His booty is wiggling more than hers. Don’t act like you didn’t notice.


Are corsets a thing now or does Mexico still do old clothes for fun?

I like yo frilly afro.

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When you hear someone talking about you after you walk away.

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So are these all cartel guys, or…?

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Old timey elevator, just like the Peter Franks fight in Diamonds Are Forever.


EXCELLENT elevator. It reminds me of the one in Diamonds are Forever, in which Bond kills Franks. Of course, the open center and black and white finish of this place reminds me of the hotel in Quantum of Solace. Here’s the surprise: it’s actually the Gran Hotel de la Cuidad de Mexico, which was where Bond stayed in License to Kill. You can even see him and Pam Bouvier riding in this exact elevator. There are so many “Greatest Hits” moments in this movie.

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She got her key in her titties.


I don’t know what she whispers, but I love titty keys.

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I don’t speak Spanish, but I think that translates roughly to, “I’m gonna suck yo dick.”

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Was that not the plan, to go back to her room? What did she think was happening?

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Pretty great seeing him seduce someone without a word and a giant mask on his face.


How does Daniel Craig manage to work this perfectly even with the mask on? I’d be jerking my head around, like, “What? I can’t see out of this thing.”

Where did he get this mask? That seems more expensive than something you get in Fiesta Ciudad, you know what I’m saying?

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Just so we’re clear, still one shot, though it looks like they buried a cut as they’re getting to the door.

There’s gonna be some trick photography in a second.

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Is it me or does he look a lot less ripped in this one? This is also the first one where he doesn’t appear shirtless. My money’s on he didn’t want to get into the super shape for this.

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Does 327 have significance for Bond? It’s a Shining reference at worst.

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“Yeah, I’m ‘bout to get it in.”


I like that glance he gives over his shoulder as he’s going into the room. “You guys keep being Mexican, I guess. We’re going to be looking for the, um, stationery.”

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“Hold my pimp cane, umbrella stand.”


Slip that cane right in.

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Why do you retreat, Mexican woman?

Does he have a room in this hotel? Who is she that she can afford this?

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The only reason to have a top hat is to do exactly that.


Hat toss! Very Bond. Turns out she’s as fine as we expected. Dear lord. Are we redoing the hotness ranking?

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The Bond riff as he takes off his mask. Classic 007. I want a sexy oboe theme when I’m gonna sleep with a chick.

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I like her gloves.


Wait, is that his mask hanging from the lamp? How did that get there?

Maybe he tossed it like From Russia with Love.

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“Where are you going?”


“So…what had happened was…”

Normally this is said after the sex.

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“I won’t be long.”

Typical Craig Bond. Connery would always fuck first and then do the business. Or else he’d keep them waiting while he did it and then fucked as soon as it was over.


This is how you know he cares about his country. He’s leaving NOW to do his JOB. Not really sure about the upside down champagne.

Here’s something neither of us thought to bring up after probably six or seven total watches of this movie and two drafts of this article — how the fuck did he get out of that suit so fast? It certainly wasn’t a onesie. That shit was a jacket, a black shirt and a skeleton tie. He was not wearing another suit underneath that. And there is no way you’re telling me that was all one piece, because I could see his dark collared shirt underneath that. So not only is there a hidden cut in between this, but they don’t even bother holding up the logic of the fact that he’s completely changed clothes in the span of about ten seconds.

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Hidden cut. In case it wasn’t obvious. Though not as impressive as the one where he CHANGED FUCKING CLOTHES.

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Stunning suit from Tom Ford, as usual. Prince of Wales check, black and blue mix. Good tie, good shirt, good handkerchief.

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This is a brilliantly choreographed opening shot. The beauty of this is that there aren’t that many obvious places to cut. Just two so far.


Still effectively one shot, and it’s really working for me. I also love how the street is covered in a big cloud of…Mexico.

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I’ve noticed I don’t get drunk on rooftops nearly as much as I’d like to.

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This score feels more Bond than I’m used to with the Craig films. This is almost GoldenEye video game music.

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You never see the legwork he has to do in advance, making sure to get a room on the right side of the hotel and walking this route to make sure he can jump all the gaps. But then, maybe he doesn’t do that because things just work out for James Bond.

He didn’t get the room. He made sure to pick up a chick with that room. Couple more gaps he had to suss out.

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This is some shit you gotta do in Grand Theft Auto.

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Is he going to kill Don Fanucci?

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I appreciate a city where you can hop across the rooftops.

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Five minutes in, still on the opening shot.

Also, Teatro — is he about to blow up a movie theater?

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Five minutes, and we have our first conspicuous cut. That’s a Glock 17, by the way.

Why would you keep the sight on? Especially when it’s blue like that?

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Heil, baby.


Was that a heil thing?

I like that he’s already bugged this room.

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So this is Monica Bellucci’s husband who is blowing up a soccer stadium for Spectre.


Didn’t you already tell someone not to touch your ear? It’s okay, they can’t see him.

He’s not exactly hidden. All you gotta do is look out the window and he’s right the fuck over there, pointing a gun at them.

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After that, he’s gonna visit “The Pale King.”

Which is my euphemism for masturbation.


That face. “Hm….Italian stuff.”

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“To death.”

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“Bottoms up.”

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Now – we’re fucked.

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Yeah, take out all the guys except the one you need. He never learns, which is why we get interesting movies.

Still curious what is happening here. He’s just here to make sure they’re sticking to the plan? He didn’t bring money, or the bomb. These guys are doing it. He shows up to be like, “You got this? Good, Imma go kill this other fuck.”

Also, do they just all know about White? So Boss has got beef with the guy who quit, and now we all know about it and openly talk about how we want him dead in our meetings. Okay.

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Explosions have a way of depleting one’s blood sugar.

What’s the hot chick doing right now? Still in the room? Out looking for someone else to fuck? He said he’d be back. So I guess she’s waiting for him? Is she chilling in bed in her underwear? Does this explosion make her curious at all?

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That bomb would definitely not take out an entire stadium.

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Nice reaction.

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Mistake #1: watching the building as it’s gonna come down.

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Building piñata!

Looks like it’s just about to be 5 o’clock.

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Good thing no one lives in this house.

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So, I guess that gun is now lost forever.

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Way to tear up a city block. You can already tell he’s gonna catch hell for this. That’s the great thing about Daniel Craig. He spends his early sequences getting into trouble.

Except Quantum. No one seemed to mind there. Or Skyfall, really.

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GREAT shot. Sliding down with him.

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If we’re honest, most of old Mexico City is just pre-debris.

I want to see the person who lives in that apartment walk outside and see all this.

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Would be funny if that were the room to where the hot chick was waiting.

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Way to stick the landing, sliding down and then hopping all around. The couch gag is unnecessary, but okay. Roger Moore would have had the couch and a fat Mexican woman on it who wanted to make out with him.


He just rode a building collapse onto a couch, and his jacket is still buttoned. Tom Ford is looking pretty good right now.

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“Fuck you, Mexico.”

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What’s all of this paper falling from the sky? Was that actually a building piñata?

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That is still a theater marquee right there. Where exactly was the theater?

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Great shot.


That thing blew up with him in the building. Big enough explosion to take down the building, and he was IN THE ROOM. 

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“I eat those.”

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They trade looks, and there’s a chase. That’s so perfectly taken from the Casino Royale chase with Mollaka.

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Only in Mexico could you blow up a building and then run away from it without being pursued by the police AT ALL.

Large, poor and badly governed.

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Great face, lady.

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Tom Cruise shot.

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With the light three-piece suit, this guy is looking a lot like Javier Bardem.

Why does this shot make it look like Sciarra’s not wearing any pants?

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I like how the parade still goes on even after what could be a giant terrorist attack.


Now that they’re walking through the parade, it’s like a perfect reversal of Thunderball.

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These cops are watching the parade instead of responding to the explosion that took out a city block just up the street. Maybe Mexico doesn’t need more Federales, they just need better ones.

Look at that fucking costume back there.

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Are those women on hoverboards? I bet they’re on hoverboards.

Is that Mexican Costco back there?

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They keep trading looks, which is pretty awesome. The best Bond sequences are the ones where both guys know exactly what’s up and stop to acknowledge the deadly game they’re playing.

They’re gonna do something exactly like this later on in a ski lift and it’s not gonna be as interesting.

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Very underrated shot here, the helicopter and panning down to him without cutting.

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This is all confirming to me that I can murder someone in a foreign country during a major party and no one would ever know.

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A building just blew up, guys!

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Now, I know a lot of people were disappointed here. “Another helicopter scene?” was a common refrain in reviews. But Bond chases are all about vehicles, and there are only so many options. We’ve had plenty of car chases, several plane chases, a few train chases, and even boat chases. There was a motorcycle chase in Skyfall, and there aren’t too many other options. I think it’s totally fine that they brought a helicopter here, especially because it isn’t a chase.

I will say one thing about this movie’s helicopter action, though: at least it isn’t product placement. Skyfall featured three helicopters, but two of them were made by AgustaWestland. It made you wonder, what sub-Saharan African dictator is the target for military-grade helicopter product placement in a movie? Like some ruler in Zamunda’s watching Skyfall and saying, “Hey, I want to blast ‘Boom Boom’ from a PA system on the bottom of a helicopter too!”

This helicopter is a Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm BO 105. They keep trading looks, which is pretty awesome. The best Bond sequences are the ones where both guys know exactly what’s up and stop to acknowledge the deadly game they’re playing.

I don’t even consider this a helicopter scene like the others. This is way more artfully done because all the action is taking place in and around the helicopter an the copter itself isn’t going anywhere.

Also, was there another helicopter scene in a Craig Bond film? I feel like they’re all planes. The plane scene in Quantum was a bit much, just like the plane scene later on here is gonna be a bit much.

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This is why Bond movies are exciting. He’s like, “Helicopter seems to be landing over that way, so right now I should go…this way.” Is there training for stuff like that? “Here’s how you cut off a bad guy on his way to the getaway helicopter.”

Here’s something to pay attention to during the next five minutes: does Bond’s pocket square make it all the way through the sequence?

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Love that this guy’s about to land a chopper in a public square during a celebration.


I’m digging the wide shots. Does Mexico City really look like that? I mean, you hear that the whole city is basically built on a sinkhole, and you don’t picture it like that.

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That’s a hell of a cane.

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That dude just got FUCKED UP.

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I love that he just dives in and tackles the dude.

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That’s a lot of people they packed into this square.


Would have been fun to be an extra in this sequence.

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Here’s a few questions: so he has this helicopter on stand by to pick him up. Okay, sure. Was this just a stopover for him? Did he chopper in just to make sure the guys were gonna blow up the stadium and now he’s out? Also, he’s gotta go kill the Pale King. Why is he taking care of two jobs at once? Sr. Guerra certainly only had one job to do before he got his eyes gouged out. Why is Sciarra multi-tasking? And where is this chopper taking him? To the airport? Because you’re like, seven miles from it right now. There’s a lot of logic here that makes no sense when you think about it.

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This is a pretty great opening sequence. Nice action, contained. Doesn’t add more to it. The helicopter stunts make up for how simple it is.

Plus, this place looks nice.

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Why is the pilot fighting? Shouldn’t he be flying and making sure they don’t fuck up the trip?

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What can be said about a spinning helicopter fight, other than, “Hey, fellas, this looks like a bad idea.”

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How many of these are extras and how many are digitally added? Must be mostly added. Because look at that street up the center. That’s a lot of fucking people.

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Everyone wears a watch in these movies.

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This face about says it all.

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That pilot looks so wooden in this shot.

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A lot of these shots of them on the side of the helicopter, particularly the one with their footwork, are taken directly from him and Mollaka on the crane in Casino Royale. Who knows that well enough to catch it in the movie theater on their first viewing? Mike and I. That’s who they do this for.

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Facial expressions.

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Weird that he somehow knows to take the ring off the guy’s finger.


Nice little moment of stillness so you can look at the hand.

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This would be a fun theme park ride.

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They ROLL the helicopter. That is so stunning, and actually possible in a helicopter like this. You need a helicopter with something called a “rigid head” (not touching that), but it’s quite doable, and very impressive.

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THREE rolls? Peppy would be proud.

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This is how you do good action on a limited budget.

The joke being that they have all the money in the goddamn world to make this movie.

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That was an involuntary tally-ho. The defenestration of some dickbag.

Wonder where he landed.

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This must be terrifying for the people below. Because you can’t really run anywhere (though they are very laisez faire in doing so).

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This is like them climbing in the DC-3 in Quantum of Solace, as lights flash and alarms beep. A loop is also totally possible in a helicopter like this. Who the hell did this stuff?

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Why are you guys still fighting? Just let the pilot take it wherever.

Here’s a question — what happens if the pilot doesn’t want to kill him and is a civilian in all this? Does Bond drop him off wherever and take off with his chopper?

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That’s nice. Gravity pulls him away and then brings him back and he goes right back to choking the guy.

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It just be rainin’ black people bad guys in New York Mexico City.

Are they going fast enough for him to be sucked out like that?

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Remember the beginning of GoldenEye? Though this is another very beige opening sequence.

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You know, if that building doesn’t get blown up, this isn’t so bad, damage-wise.

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Flying away in the helicopter is very For Your Eyes Only. Which coincidentally is the last time we saw Blofeld in a Bond movie.

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Thomas Newman has been on fire with these two movies. I love David Arnold, but Newman’s brought back the brass-over-harps style that I love about the 60s movies.

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And now our credits.


SPECTRE ring! It’s amazing nobody else had one of these. Le Chiffre didn’t have one, and neither did Greene.

Remember that dude in From Russia with Love? At a chess tournament, gets the sign to leave and then fucking beats the guy in the next move before going to see Blofeld. This version of Spectre is so disjointed.

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“Writing’s on the Wall,” by Sam Smith.


Oh, right. The song. Which…they just announced Oscar nominations, and it’s between this and the Gaga song. I really didn’t like this song, which stinks because Skyfall had such a great song. You’ve got Adele and Chris Cornell, both of whom did awesome songs. Then you’ve got Jack White and Alicia Keys, plus this, neither of which are great.

Here’s what bothers me. This could very well take home the second Oscar for a Bond song, after Adele’s. Three others were nominated (Live and Let Die, Nobody Does it Better, For Your Eyes Only), and the first two of those were pretty deserving. I don’t care about For Your Eyes Only because the song was only okay and it lost to Arthur’s Theme, which is awesome. But after Carly Simon and Paul McCartney were denied, Sam Smith taking it home is a little depressing, no? Maybe he’ll lose, in which case disregard all of this, and instead, let’s all remember Academy Award Winner Lady Gaga.

I was gonna say, by the time this goes up, we’ll know who have won as of two days ago.

It also says more about the Oscars than anything else. I don’t think about previous categories so much as I look at what I’m presented with at the moment. They only fixed the category three years ago, making it easier for Bond songs to even get nominated.

So to me, looking at those old categories is like, “Yeah, worthy winners and all, but that was before they started letting in black people.”

Oh, wait…

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I’m gonna give the song a pass. Every time I hear it, I’m more okay with it. Sure, Sam Smith is not a great choice, and he sings too high for my taste. But the song isn’t the worst. Also really seems to spell the end of Craig’s tenure as Bond.

The credits, though – awful. Some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The octopus motif – of course. But then Bond being touched by all the women and flames coming out?

And then him falling during the part of the song where it talks about falling? Now we’re getting into L.A. Woman territory? (You guys know that video? It’s perhaps the most literal interpretation of song lyrics I’ve ever seen.)

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This is too CGI for my taste.

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Japan LOVED these credits.


Japan LOVED this opening, as you can well imagine.

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Is that the skydiving sequence from Quantum?

Is she still alive? Olga’s still out there. All the women in his life can’t end up dead if she’s still out there somewhere.

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And then the shower sex from Skyfall?


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Oh man, Japan lost its mind at this part.

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The woman being squeezed by the octopus – cool. But him and the woman and the octopus – no.

Also, you guys ever see the movie Spring?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it.

Movie’s really good, though.

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“A million shards of glass.” Come on, buddy.

Also, clips from other movies in the credits – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. And those are the worst opening credits of the franchise.


Lots of callbacks, sorta like they did in the Goldfinger opening.

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“That haunt me from my past.” COME ON!

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Notice how they deliberately skip Quantum.

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Smoke Judi!

I hope Judi Dench doesn’t vape.

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“Would you care to dance in that octopus gazebo?”

They’re dancing the Christoph Waltz.

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Into the octopus’ nether regions we go.

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Ernst Stavro Chaney.


When the eyes open, it sure looks a lot like Lon Chaney’s Phantom.

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Don’t sing that high, Sam Smith.

People love falsetto. Coldplay is the greatest band of all time.


Well, I wasn’t sure before, but I think the Super Bowl Halftime Show sealed it for me. I forget who else was performing.

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They’re literally showing us things we’re going to see later.

This is why I can’t get fully on board with these credits, even though some of the imagery is great.

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Octopus on the gun is good.

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Ink bullets!

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Bullets whizzing around, naked women doing weird dances…no question what franchise this is.

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Could be octopus tentacles, could be menorahs.

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Blofeld with the octopus tentacles is too easy.

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Remember when Alfred Molina was Doc Oc?

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What’s with the Peter Sellers eyes?

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The credit sequence was designed by Daniel Kleinmann, who has been with the franchise since GoldenEye, taking over for Maurice Binder. His first three sequences were really good. GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, World Is Not Enough. I liked those. Die Another Day was good and actually did further the plot. Casino Royale was amazing. Quantum he didn’t do, but that was pretty good. Then he came back for Skyfall, which I didn’t particularly love. The images were good, but it went way too fast.


I liked Skyfall. Didn’t love Tomorrow Never Dies. A little too of the moment, with the static and the screens breaking. I think Casino Royale still takes the prize overall. Great song, great sequence. 

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If I had to say what the bottom five credit sequences were for all of Bond, I’d say:

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • The Man with the Golden Gun
  • For Your Eyes Only
  • Diamonds Are Forever
  • The Living Daylights

Living Daylights just isn’t very interesting, but it feels like classic Bond and isn’t overly CG, which earns it some respect. Diamonds Are Forever is just pictures of diamonds, which isn’t particularly interesting, but at least you have Shirley Bassey over it, which is really what you want anyway. For Your Eyes Only has Sheena Easton singing. And I don’t’ want to see my singer singing over the credits. So no on that. Man with the Golden Gun is just pictures of women and water. Really not interesting at all. And On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a highlight reel of Sean Connery, which is just terrible. This one has a so-so song and a really uninteresting credit sequence. Together, they really belong near the bottom of the list.

This doesn’t end up too close to the list, simply because a lot of Bond’s actual credit sequences aren’t overly interesting. But at best this ends up middle of the pack for me.

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Eyeball with the tentacles is nice.

There are nice images here, but they didn’t turn them into a good sequence.

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This song does remind me of one of my favorite moments from the Brosnan years, though.

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Hey, it’s The Guardian! But it’s not Judi about to chastise him about shooting up an embassy.

What are they outraged about, exactly?

How dare people die on the Day of the Dead!

Are they allowed to be outraged when cartels basically rule the country?

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That’s a good headline.

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“Start anywhere you like.”

Like, read the papers, or…?

“Take your time, 007, but in five minutes the head of the Joint Security Service is going to walk through that door and I’ve got to explain to him how one of our agents decided to potter off to Mexico all on his own and cause an international incident.”

So, don’t really take his time, then.

Also, Head of Joint Security Service. M shouldn’t be answering to people that we should see. He should just scold Bond and all his political shit should be off screen.


They REALLY haven’t tried to stick with the Judi Dench office or general style. This has Bernard Lee written all over it.

Her office is blowed up. He’s in some new other building entirely.

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“With all due respect, sir, it could have been worse.”


How could it have been worse? You never even made it back to that Mexican chick waiting in the hotel room!

“Worse? You blew up half a bloody block.”

“Well better half a block than a whole stadium full of people.”

Shouldn’t he just be like, “It’s Mexico!”?

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“You had no authority. None.”


The way Fiennes is growling is very Bernard Lee, and he’s got the door to match.

Doesn’t he have a license to kill? Technically he has every authority.

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“As you know, we’re in the middle of the biggest shakeup in the history of British intelligence.”


“The ink’s barely dry on this merger with MI-5, and already they’re itching for a chance to scrap the double-o program forever. And you’ve just given them one.”

So now there’s one less MI? How did that merger work, exactly?

“You’re right, sir. You have got a tricky day ahead.”

At least he’s a smart ass.

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“This is an official question. Mexico City, what were you doing there?”

Was the rest of that conversation unofficial?

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“It was just a coincidence. I was taking some overdue holiday.”

Why wouldn’t you jut tell him? Do you not fully trust him still? I don’t understand.

“Okay, fine. As of this morning you are officially grounded.”

Grounding – punishment for children and spies.

“I’m standing you down from all operations indefinitely.”

All operations? How many are there?

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Yeah, you angrily button that jacket!

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“007 – I don’t know what you’re playing at but whatever it is, it has to stop. Now.”

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Enter the douchebag.


Hey look, it’s James Moriarty. If you’ve seen Sherlock, you know not to trust this bastard.

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“007, I’d like you to meet Max Denbigh.”

What a name.

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“I suppose we should call you C now.”

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“No, no, Max, please.”

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“No, I think I’ll call you C.”

Where does he get C from? Does he pull it out of his ass? It makes for a nice joke later, but C for Chief? I don’t get it.


I love it when Craig’s a dick. Which is most of the time. I like Craig. Also, the C comes from how these British organizations name their bosses for the first letter of the acronym. MI6 gets M and the Centre for National Security (CNS) gets C. Apparently. Though you’d think there’d be a lot of ‘centres.’

I thought C was just a randomly assigned letter, I didn’t know it stood for…

Callous, apparently.

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“As you wish. Well, my door is always open, 007, for my employees.”

Ooh, sick burn.

“This merger’s gonna be a whole new chapter for us.”

Merger – what is this bullshit? I don’t want this.

Is 007 gonna break up a Trade Federation blockade?

“It’s going to bring British Intelligence out of the dark ages and into the light.”

Right there, you know he’s evil.

Which is bad writing and terrible foreshadowing, but that gets beside the point, which is – why is he in this movie? Why do we need him? To give M something to do? You can easily cut his entire plotline out of the movie and nothing would change.


Agreed. You’ve failed already. This is the worst plotline, especially given that we already spent the whole last movie talking about cyberterrorism and why the 00 program was outdated.

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Ralph Fiennes.

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NICE shot.

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Nice, nice.

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Did you not see her coming from before?

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Moneypenny should be outside M’s office. Why is she walking? Especially if he was going to invite her to his place, which he’s about to do.


Naomie Harris shows up with Davy Jones’ lockbox.

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She’s got personal effects from Skyfall. Which apparently they didn’t get sooner?

“Perfect. You can bring it to me later.”

With that sweet ass of yours.

“What do you mean?”

“My place, 9 o’clock.”

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He just assumes she’s gonna show up. What if she didn’t?

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I want this set up.

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His apartment makes sense.

Also, Bond’s apartment. We see it… what, twice before this? Dr. No and Live and Let Die.


Bond’s apartment! This hasn’t happened since Live and Let Die, in that pretty awful sequence during which Bond makes M an espresso while a naked chick hides in the closet. Before that, there was Sylvia Trench in Dr. No, which I certainly approve of. They did their homework here, keeping it incredibly Spartan and unlived-in. The only thing is that Ian Fleming made a point of explaining that he doesn’t own a TV, which is okay. There was one in the Dr. No apartment, too, and we see why it’s necessary in this movie. At least he doesn’t make espresso like an asshole.

At Least He Doesn’t Make Espresso Like an Asshole.

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I like that door latch. Never seen that in a movie before.

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You’re still wearing your work clothes and not your fuck clothes.

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“Have you just moved in?”


She makes fun of his apartment. I approve. I also approve of him wearing the holster randomly at home, which is something past Bonds have done.

Is she? Or is that a legitimate question?

I mean, she should know that he’s lived here a while. She has the address. That should be on file somewhere.

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That’s a man that knows what he’s doing.

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“I’m not staying.”

So? It’s a drink. Drink it fast and leave.


Why would you ever turn down a drink?

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“What’s going on, James? There’s not one person at MI6 who isn’t talking about it.”

About what? MI6 gossips?

“Talking about what, exactly?”

His dick.

“That what you did in Mexico was one step too far. That you’re finished.”

That seems like a jump. This dude’s saved everyone’s asses several times by now. I think he’s earned the benefit of some doubt.

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“And what do you think?”

“I think you’re just getting started.”

Was that code for his tenure in the role?


“Witty James is closer dan you tink!”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I don’t know what anyone means. Get to the part that matters.

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“All right. I think you’ve got a secret.”

A secret?

“And it’s something you won’t tell anyone, because you don’t trust anyone.”

And yet, here we are.

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That was subtle.


They have excellent chemistry, and the writers have nailed the Bond-Moneypenny dynamic for the 21st century. They still have the flirtatious relationship and mutual admiration, but it’s a lot sexier and you know that she’s more than just a secretary.

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“If anything happens to me, 007, I need you to do something.”

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“Find a man called Marco Sciarra. Kill him. And don’t miss the funeral.”

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“Jesus. Where did you get it?”

“In my mailbox, just after she died.”

Couple of questions – did her husband mail it? Who had that ready to mail in case of impending doom?


I think lawyers do that stuff. In the event of my death, go to the lockbox and mail its contents to this place. I think we all want to see the cameo where Jeff Goldblum plays the lawyer of Judi’s estate.

Also, now the question is – does she know about Spectre? How much? Why has she kept this from him? Was she waiting to tell it to him? That’s kind of a big thing to keep from a guy. “The biggest criminal organization in the world that no one knows about is being run by the guy who was your adopted brother of sorts, who you think is dead and he’s responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in your life since you became an agent.” I like that the video is spurring this on, but that does open up a whole bunch of logic issues that I don’t think this film can answer.


I think you have to look at it in context. She prepared this before her death, meaning it was probably right after Silva turned up and she went through some files looking for known associates. She might have just figured it out then, but wasn’t going to drop it on Bond at that moment because he was too caught up in the Silva mission and she was worried that something could happen to her.

Nice little insurance policy, and you can make it in a heartbeat on your computer. I’m going to start leaving little video messages for people in case something happens to me. “Mike, in case something happens to me – the good whiskey’s hidden in a hole in the wall behind the fridge.”

You’ll see no such note from me. There won’t be any good whiskey left when I’m gone.

Though that would be an interesting thing to do with friends. Send a video like this. Give them a name and tell them to kill that person. How many people would do it?

Here’s a question we’ll probably revisit later – is Blofeld deliberately fucking with Bond because he hates him, or because he’s a double-o? If Bond was just some ne’er-do-well who fucked rich women and lived off of them, would Blofeld still be doing this?

But anyway…

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“Well she was never short of surprises.”

“She was never gonna let death get in the way of her job.”

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“I’ve been tracking Sciarra ever since.”

How long is “ever since”? Either you just referred to like, six weeks as “ever since” or it took a fuck long time to get those personal effects back from Skyfall.

“And what have you found?”


“Nothing significant.”

Except, you know, a plan to blow up a soccer stadium.

“When’s the funeral?”

“Three days. In Rome.”

How do you know when the funeral is? Is it public? How does that get explained? Some rich guy dies by being thrown out of a helicopter during Day of the Dead.

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“If you think M’s signing off on that, you’re insane. He won’t let you out of his sight.”

“Yes, it’s a bit of a problem. Listen, can you do a little quiet digging for me?”

Why wouldn’t he just tell M to begin with? Why wouldn’t he be okay with that? He has a license to kill. And Judi told him to do it. Clearly there’s a reason. Especially since, you know, he can be authorized to follow the guy and then, “Oh hey, plan to blow up a soccer stadium.” This really could have been allayed by just going to M about it. Especially since he’s already proven to be trustworthy.


Agreed. I honestly thought they were going to make it look like he was going behind M’s back because M knew he was being watched and couldn’t be seen supporting Bond. But they didn’t do that either.

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“I heard a name in Mexico, the Pale King.”


The Pale King sounds like the Pale Man, only more regal.

“You want me to be your mole.”

I believe it’s called moll. Oh, you meant…

Also, does it count as a mole if you’re both on the same team?

“And what makes you think you can trust me?”

That fine ass and sweet titties, that’s what.

Oh, I’m sorry. I always forget James Bond isn’t being played by Tracy Morgan.


Basic Instinct?


They’re always about to kiss, and they never do. That’s how you run this relationship.

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Does she not have a car? Does she live round the corner?

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Nice robe. I always tell myself I should get a nice bathrobe. But then I worry that I’ll never wear anything else.

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Kind of a random thing to pick up.


Don’t love how they felt like bringing back the family thing. It’s not really typical of Bond and it feels out of place to give a villain such a personal connection.

I’m kind of okay with that. The yin and the yang. Plus they’re not really family. I do wish they gave Blofeld more of a reason to be fucking with him, though.

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That looks like 1983 or 1985. So he’s supposed to be what… 40? 42?

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  1. So he’s 42.

Also, convenient that Blofeld’s face is burned off this photo.

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What did he just realize?

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This is a weird moment.

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“Poor old girl. Rigged for demolition in a week.”

So where is M’s office, exactly? For those of us not familiar with London, this is confusing.

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“Cheaper to knock her down than to rebuild.”

How is that possible?


Meh, it’s like totaling a car. They’d probably have to rip most of it apart anyway to rebuild any of it. Definitely cheaper to start over. 

I like all this British arthitecture. How all the buildings have all these steps and layers to them, like Tetris. American architecture is too rigid. Everything looks the same and is built to go higher. Too boring.

“Still, time waits for no man and all that.”

That felt like a character introduction moment.

“Anyway, all the money’s been spent on this.”

I hope it’s a giant Rube Goldberg machine with perpetually moving dildos.

Spectre - 308

“The new Center for National Security.”

That security building looks like shit.


Now, THIS I dislike. This new facility is basically The Triskelion from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the building housing an intelligence agency infiltrated by bad guys who try to use defense innovations to rise to power. Seriously, is that where we’re at? James Bond taking cues from Marvel?

New rule: Don’t have a CGI building in your movie.

And that includes Ocean’s Thirteen.

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“That’s C’s new digs.”

“You’ve met him, have you?”

“Yesterday. What do we know about him?”

He’s a douchebag. Thinks double-os are obsolete. Thinks drones could do all the work.


OB-so-lete, he says.

And there’s some security conference in three days.

Again, why is this stuff here? Cut it out. Just leave the political stuff on the periphery.

“Shame, they’re gonna tear this old building down. Things are changing. The government is thinking about shutting down the double-o program (you know, like they were thinking of doing in the last movie).”

Done. That’s it. No need for anything more than that.

“If C gets his way, he’ll have access to the combined intelligence streams of nine countries.”

I wonder if he’s a bad guy.

Spectre - 310

Yeah, that’s not where they were going, but I appreciate the attempt to make it look like it is.


The old MI6 building and the river journey certainly call back to The World is Not Enough, not that we need many callbacks from that movie. If only Robbie Coltrane were around.

Spectre - 311

A boat under a underground passageway? From Russia with Love.

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There was also a train bombing in Hamburg and an industrial bombing in Tunisia. All while he was away. Apparently there are no other double-os to take care of that.


Little things like this take me out of the movie a bit: when he refers to “A” train bombing in Hamburg and “AN” industrial explosion in Tunisia. These are both things that would be on the news 24 hours a day for days at a time, and one would assume someone like Bond would know about them. Tanner could say “the train bombing” and “the industrial explosion” and make it sound like this dialogue isn’t just meant for us.

Spectre - 313

Lot of underground waterways in this little canal.

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“Be careful, it’s a trifle slippery.”

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That’s a very Craig Bond thing. Bond in general, but specifically his.

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“Q wasn’t exactly feeling at home in Whitehall with the new merger, so he set up shop here. Away from prying eyes.”

Is he allowed to?

Also, does no one know this? I feel like people had to see the traffic coming in and out of this place.

“I hear he’s got something rather special planned for you.”

Is it a Rube Goldberg machine with perpetually moving dildos?

“I can hardly wait.”

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“Ah, 007.”


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I like Ben Whishaw. He’s not trying to be Desmond Llewelyn, but he has just enough of the character to make you enjoy it.

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“Shall we get started?”

This is a very Bond/Q moment. But they don’t let it play out.

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What is this other asshole doing here?

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“Now, you may feel a small—”

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See, I love that! This is way more fun than when he got the implant in Casino Royale.

Is that still in there? And working?

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Nano-technology. “Smart blood.”

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“Microchips in your bloodstream. Allows us to track your movements in the field.”

Didn’t they do this in Casino Royale?

They can track his vitals from anywhere on the planet.


I assume they can see his blood alcohol content as well. Does he have a contract?

Q feels like too much of a nerd. He doesn’t take glee in his tech like old Q did.


I doubt old Q would be excited about this at all. He was into his gadgets. Remember the Ghetto Blaster? Anyway, this sort of thing would be an opportunity for old Q to chastise him about getting into trouble all the time. 

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“By direct order of M.”

“I completely understand.”

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Aww yeah.

“Magnificent, isn’t she?”


That, by the way, is the Aston Martin DB10. I should explain, cause we do that in these articles, right? This is a special concept car produced by Aston Martin and unveiled in 2014 at a Bond event. It’s kind of a special occasion, because 2015 marks fifty years of Bond and Aston Martin. They made 10 of these as a means of showcasing the new design language for the next generation of Astons, but really just because Sam Mendes asked for it for the movie when he saw a sketch.

If you know Aston Martin at all, you know that they take their sweet time in changing things. There were the Connery era cars that went through the late 60s, then the DBS and V8 cars – the same body style for Lazenby through Dalton. Then there was a new generation that overlapped with Brosnan, and we saw the end of that design cycle in Die Another Day. And finally, the Craig years with the DB9 and DBS.

Basically four generations of vehicles in 50 years, and now there’s a fifth that’s starting. It’s based on the architecture of the V8 Vantage, which has been in production since 2005, but this bodywork is what you should expect from future Aston Martins.

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“It’s a shame, really. She was meant for you, but she’s been reassigned to 009.”


He’s such a dick! How can you dislike this guy?

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“But you can have this.”

The exchange makes no real sense. Q is just being a dick. But it did get laughs in the theater.

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Gotta show off the new Omega.

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“Does it do anything?”

“It tells the time. Might help with your punctuality issues.”

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“Oh, one word of warning – the alarm is rather loud.”

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“If you know what I mean.”

Everybody knows what you mean.


Get it? It explodes.

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What a shot. That shot is JUST for me, and anyone else who can recognize an Aston Martin DB5 grille from the inside of the engine compartment.

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“Oh yes. That old thing is taking quite a bit of time.”

So he has a budget to just fix this shit?


The interesting thing about this is – that model is ridiculously expensive because it’s so famous as a Bond car. But in the Bond universe, it’s not a Bond car because there aren’t Bond movies. So you wonder what it’d go for.

Still weird how he just told his quartermaster to fix his beat up car. Especially one that he won in a card game that’s been kept in storage for years.

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“Mind you, there wasn’t much left to work on. Only a steering wheel.”

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“I believe I said ‘bring it back in one piece,’ not ‘bring back one piece.’”

He laughs at his own joke. Ugh.


He’s such an asshole! They’ve really sold me on this guy. I don’t care that he laughed. Daniel Craig doesn’t make jokes like the rest of the Bonds did, so the trolling has to go the other way.

Did he give him that car at all? Because it was in storage. And he won it in a card game. Pretty sure Q never told him anything about that car.

Not to ruin the joke or anything.

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“Now that you know where I am all the time, will you do something for me?”

“What do you have in mind, exactly?”

Butt stuff.

“Make me disappear.”


I really can’t be sure about that second Aston Martin in the bay there, but I think it’s the four-door Rapide. That would be a great car for M.

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“May I remind you that I answer directly to M. I also have a mortgage. And two cats to feed.”


Not a wife and a family and a dog and a cat?

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“Well, then I suggest you trust me. For the sake of the cats.”

I like that he’s including the others in this. They are really the only friends he has.

Also, “make me disappear or I’ll make your cats disappear.”


“Stop tracking me or I’ll murder your cats.” “Cool.”

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“Well, it’s lovely to see you, 007. Now, I meant to tell you. The smart blood program is obviously still in its developmental phase. So we may experience the odd drop in coverage during the first 24 hours.”

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I love staring at people as they negotiate with themselves.

Spectre - 352

“48 hours.”

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“But after that it should work perfectly.”

“I’ll send you a postcard.”

“Please don’t.”

– – – – – – – – –

See the other parts here:

Spectre, Part II

Spectre, Part III

Spectre Part IV

Spectre Part V


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