Ranking Bond: Spectre (2015), Part V
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 V of Spectre:
We begin Part V back in London.
And they put a fucking title card on it! WHY?!!
They used this somewhere, right? Oh, no, wait, The Hildebrand Rarity is one of the books or something, right?
The safehouse is called “Hildebrand,” which is a callback to the Hildebrand Rarity from the novel of For Your Eyes Only.
Speaking of For Your Eyes Only…. has there been a Bond film yet they haven’t referenced in at least some small way?
Dr. No — definitely the “bad guy having heroes as guests.”
From Russia with Love — Underground boat (and the train fight)
Goldfinger — White tux, bad guy reflection as he’s coming at him (the torture scene alone…)
Thunderball — The Spectre meeting
You Only Live Twice — Blofeld, the lair (to an extent)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — the clinic / falling in love with the criminal’s daughter
Diamonds Are Forever — Desert lair (plus Blofeld)
Live and Let Die — Bond’s costume and mask in the opening
The Man with the Golden Gun — the “fun house” finale
The Spy Who Loved Me — Train fight with a silent henchman
Moonraker — The layout of Blofeld’s lair (the meteorite)
For Your Eyes Only — ski chase / snow chase (plus the opening scene in the helicopter)
Octopussy — This is tricky… but they do mention 009 here.
A View to a Kill — Ends on a bridge.
The Living Daylights — Bursting through the barn (also Tangiers)
License to Kill — Bond does things without approval from MI6 (also same exact elevator as Mexico city)
GoldenEye — 3 minutes before the place blows up.
Tomorrow Never Dies — What Blofeld is doing feels like Tomorrow Never Dies, altering world news/policy by blowing up other countries.
The World Is Not Enough — Boat chase outside MI6 headquarters
Die Another Day — Aston Martin being chased by a Jaguar (it’s shitty, so there’s not much)
And then all the Craig ones are all connected to this, so, clearly. There are also more for some of them. I just wanted to see if we got to them all yet.
I want a safe house. Can I go in with people on a couple of safe houses that we can all just have in case shit goes south?
“I’ve never even heard of Hildebrand.”
“That is the general idea with safe houses.”
To not hear of them?
They’re like fucking Indians.
“Exactly how safe is this, sir?”
“We’re about to find out.”
The correct answer is “What kind of fucking name is M?”
“Pleased to meet you.”
“So what do you have for me, 007?”
I like how he just rolls over her presence. “Oh, you’re one of his whores. Onto business…”
“The recently deceased head of Spectre. Ernst Stavro Blofeld. And his chief of intelligence, your new best friend C.”
Did you not see those cars drive away? Because it was pretty blatant.
Also, why are you calling him by that name? Does that mean anything to anyone other than the Bond fans watching in the audience?
Wait, so…Spectre is still going because there are guys everywhere. But you’d also think they’d be holding off on operations until they figure out who’s running the show. Which is nobody, presumably. But I guess C would also be getting things ready anyway, and there are grunts all over the place.
The real question is — did Blofeld start Spectre? How did he get all these people together? Or did he rise up the ranks? I feel like if the guy who started the entire thing got murdered, either the organization is sentient enough to keep moving on as usual or everything stops there.
“About to take control of his very own global surveillance system that he built right here under our noses.”
That you somehow didn’t find out until he told you flat out that was the truth.
“Then we better move. The system goes online at midnight.”
“If that happens, Spectre will have control of everything.”
I’d have preferred it if it had turned out here that M had been with him the whole way and was only acting like he wanted Bond grounded in London because C was watching. They’ve done the whole “Bond goes rogue” thing so many times at this point that it would have been cooler if M had been secretly with him on it and just stalling for time, making it look like he was trying to keep Bond out of trouble. That was the best part of Quantum, when he escapes MI6 custody in the hotel and Judi’s like, “The hell took you so long? Get out of here, we don’t trust people.”
That was awesome. And that would have been cooler. Though I’d have also preferred it if C was just so blind to his cause that Blofeld fucked him over and was an unwitting pawn. Much more interesting than the obvious “he’s a villain” thing. There were ways to play this that weren’t so easy.
And now she’s having second thoughts? This is so stupid.
“So you and I will have a quiet word with C while Q hacks into the system and stops it going online.”
There’s an E-MC (squared) joke to be made in all this.
“It won’t be easy.”
“He’ll find a way. He always does.”
“It’s good to have you back, 007.”
Nice exchange, but it’s meaningless.
“James, I can’t.”
Why? What? This is stupid.
“I’ll come back for you.”
Motherfuckers, you’re on the street! They can see you!
“No, I can’t.”
This makes ZERO fucking sense.
“This life. I can’t take it. I’m going to go get kidnapped instead.”
“No, you can’t stay here, or –”
This is kind of uncharacteristic of Bond, to ask her for clarification. Bond rarely asks for anything to be clarified because he knows what people are thinking. But I like this.
“I can’t go back to this life. And I’m not going to ask you to change. This is who you are.”
And this is not the time for this conversation.
STAY IN THE FUCKING SAFE HOUSE.
“I can’t do this.” “Okay, cool. Stay in there, maybe mention it two minutes ago, and then when this is over, you can safely go your separate way. Because otherwise you’re gonna get murdered.”
“You’re saying goodbye.”
“Take care. You’re a good man, James.”
Well shucks. Caviar for one again.
So you just walk up an alleyway? That’s it? Do you know London? Any idea where you’re going? How about an Uber?
THAT’S A DEAD END!
And he just leaves her. Not like they can see everything or anything.
Another Jaguar, though that’s the model that Quantum has been seen to drive. In fact, Mr. White had one of those.
This is pointless, too. We know she’s as good as caught the minute she conveniently decided to leave. Why have this at all?
Scenes of people driving. Great.
Shouldn’t you know shit’s gonna go south if we’re even seeing this? They’re literally driving to the security center.
And they’re tailing him… in case they get attacked? Or…?
I like how easily he can just hack into the dude’s user name.
His login thing is a circle of code, which they’ve done before. I’m also noticing that the typeface that they used for this screen is Gill Sans, which is pretty great and REALLY British. It was used for signage and posters on the British Railways and is still pretty common with the BBC. If this was a CIA movie, it might be Futura instead.
Weird how it has a countdown, though.
Wouldn’t something like that already be online if there’s a countdown? I feel like it’s just online and you can’t use it, if there’s a countdown. If it was really going online at that time, it would only start booting up at the exact moment and take a couple of hours to get all the kinks worked out.
If it was America, yes. But it’s the British, who probably had the stuff written down in some contract explaining when it would go online. You know that the CIA would have had this online weeks before there was even approval. But the British are going to get permission, then state when it’ll go online, and then start it up at that precise second. Which is dumb. Cause just use it.
I’d like to think that Spectre had been using it and this was just their way of having it legally sanctioned that they could. Kinda like the way Morgan Freeman liked to think that Tim Robbins didn’t get ass raped in prison.
“Are you in yet, Q?”
“A few layers of impenetrable security to go, but I think I’m getting somewhere.”
This whole teamwork thing doesn’t really do it for me. Suddenly MI6 is like four people in total. It’s less of an intelligence agency and more like the A-Team.
Where are the other double-os, exactly?
TRUCK OUTTA NOWHERE!
Do you know how hard it is to time that correctly? Also, they should be going way faster than they are. That’s an MI6 vehicle, meaning they should be good to speed. And why is SPECTRE using a Toyota Hilux to ram them? It’s such a random vehicle choice that it feels almost possible.
To be fair, it does give them the aura of omniscience that they can pull it off perfectly like that. They watch everyone down to the nanosecond so they know exactly when to slam into them.
What’s with people ignoring a body just because it looks like they’re dead or unconscious? SLIT THAT MOTHERFUCKER’S THROAT.
Abductions are fun.
Judi wouldn’t have this kind of scene. Remember what happened that one time she tried to involve herself in field operations?
Yeah, that was sexy.
Oh, you meant Skyfall.
Sorry, I was thinking of… some other movie.
How come no one in Spectre wears cauliflower blue?
I’m always curious how much each level of Spectre members earns. Like, do the surveillance people earn more or less than these people? Since they do the grunt work, but are slightly less expendable than these guys, who you could just shoot in the head and get another. There has to be some kind of pay scale there.
I’m much more interested in that than I am what’s going on here.
M just ghosted them motherfuckers.
At least Moneypenny is a trained field agent. So there is that.
And yet, somehow were so far behind this car that they had no idea this happened and saw none of it until the abduction was complete.
And then they kept driving toward them.
Damn, Q almost took one in the head.
That made it look like Q had been shot in the head for a second. Getting shot in the head is probably an okay way to go, all things considered.
I don’t necessarily want to be a spy, but I would like the ability to appear and disappear stealthily.
I’m half good at the disappearing. With my Irish heritage, I’m very good at disappearing at the end of the night without saying goodbye. But I want it for all situations.
With my Irish heritage, I’m very good at disappearing at the end of the night when it’s time to pick up the check. AYYYYYY. But actually, heritage means nothing.
You can be tracked on that.
That all worked out smoothly. He just hops in.
That’s the face of a many who is fucked.
That was badass as hell. Nobody can just split a zip tie like that.
I like how he did that, hands tied, while blindfolded. And then just split it like it was nothing.
They’re starting to run out of shit for him to do, so they’re just making it that he can do just about anything. He’s starting to become superhuman. After a film in which he was very human.
In a way, kind of a letdown, but also, really the only way a film like this could end.
This feels like The Dark Knight.
Why is that netting there? Well, for convenience sake later.
Which of those is M? Or does she not get her name on the wall?
Also feels like The Dark Knight. Is this all not vaguely Jokerish? Is he going to be screaming, “MADELEINE! MADELEINE!” You Only Have Two Faces.
Do you get your name on the wall if you accidentally hang yourself while jerking off?
Asking for a friend.
This is a video game level waiting to happen.
You have to admit, SPECTRE moved shockingly fast to get this done in time. They only just got back, so it’s probably been like 24 hours since he blew up the base. In that time, they regrouped, broke into a condemned building, set up a fun house, wired it to implode (which usually takes engineers a long time to plan) and then set up this kidnapping along a route they didn’t know in advance. Is ‘nefarious engineer’ a job?
Do they have people to call when they need to do something scientific as part of a ridiculous, evil plan, but require people with domain knowledge to pull it off? If so, I feel bad for not paying closer attention in high school chemistry. “Sorry honey, I know that it’s short notice, but SPECTRE called. They need the old MI6 building blown up and they have no idea how to identify load-bearing columns. Yes, I know that it’s date night, but I thought we agreed that this kind of freelance work helps us to be more flexible with vacation time overall.”
Tanner did say it was rigged for explosion in a week. So I’m sure this is close to when they were planning on originally doing it. And I guess they bribed the guards or whomever and emptied the place out in order to pull this off.
Ah yeah. But you know that sort of thing still comes up. You need people with expertise to pull this stuff off and you wouldn’t have them all within the organization.
“Go back, find M now. We need them both.”
Not too many things you could be doing all alone in a big office tower in the middle of the night.
Also, “go back and find him”? You think he’s just chilling at the scene of an accident?
Why is your passcode waiting for you like that?
“Not a good feeling, being watched is it?”
Only if you find out you are. I feel okay now, and I only suspect that I’m being watched.
“Don’t tell me you’re responsible for this.”
“No, but my quartermaster is.”
Q’ed pro quo.
“And he’s extremely talented.”
“Well bravo. But in case you hadn’t realized it, you two are out of a job. So you’re trespassing.”
And where is security, exactly? Seeing as how they managed to get up here without any alarms or people stopping them.
“I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong end of the stick Max. We’re going to stop this system going online. And then I’m going to bring you in.”
“On what grounds, exactly?”
You really don’t want to be arguing with Ralph Fiennes on stuff like this. You just say ‘yes,’ and go along.
This is better if he’s actually innocent. This way, he dies, and you’re like, “Okay.” But the other way, he can die, and also have his entire worldview shattered, and see everything he worked for crumble around him. That seems more of a comeuppance.
“Poor taste in friends.”
At what point during this do you stop pointing your gun around every corner? What, are they gonna have you walk for ten minutes into the bowels of the building and have a guy like 83% of the way there, just chilling, ready to shoot you? Pretty sure if you got this far and it’s empty, there’s probably no one around.
I LOVE that they have this.
Also reminds me of Phantom of the Opera, which is one of my favorite movie hideouts ever.
Aw, is this where Desmond used to keep his fishing boat for his retirement? Remember that?
This is a funhouse without the fun.
“Take a look at the world.”
“Chaos. Because people like you, paper pushers and politicians are too spineless to do what needs to be done. So I made an alliance to put the power where it should be.”
Why would you admit to anything? Can they even prove that you work with him? Aren’t all the links to him now allegedly gone?
“And now you want to throw it away for the sake of democracy. Whatever the hell that is.”
It’s funny because he doesn’t know the definition of democracy.
He’s doing that Eddie Redmayne whisper voice.
That’s a voice that only Eddie Redmayne can really do. Well, him and the Ying Yang Twins.
“How predictably moronic. But isn’t that what M stands for?”
Why would you need to say the word? I guess to make the next line land. I’ll allow it.
That would have been a funny way to kill someone. Also a nice callback to the Casino Royale opening. I know where you keep your gun, homey.
“And now we know what C stands for.”
GREAT line. Got the biggest laugh of the entire film.
…and then they ruin it.
Oh, I was going for something other than ‘careless.’ But that’s good too.
Should have left it alone and let us infer ‘cunt’. I don’t even need them to say cunt, just let us infer what he means. Would have made it so much better.
Some poor SPECTRE shmuck had to set this up. I bet it was the same guy who had to wear the tuxedo and collect Bond’s gun earlier. He made it out of the explosion and they were like, “Okay, you need to go to Kinkos and print out a bunch of these photos to put on firing range targets. And then you’re going to go to this condemned building and tape them up there. We’ll get you some cream for your burns later.”
His company photo looks so fucking hungover.
In the spider’s web of explosives.
Really tough to show computer hacking on screen in an interesting way.
This is weird as hell and they shouldn’t have done it.
What are they in? Showers? Interrogation rooms?
Also, how little money did they spend on these? That’s like putting up like three party decorations and four balloons. Might as well just have not tried.
Would be better if they brought out all their corpses.
James Bond — This Is Your Life.
Also dumb. So Waltz has been standing here waiting for Bond to find his way here in this labyrinth.
The weird part is that he’s been standing in this exact position for probably like seven minutes.
Indie rock group.
“You’re a hard man to kill, Blofeld.”
You know him as Franz for all this time and all of a sudden now he’s Blofeld?
“I do hope that doesn’t hurt too much.”
No you don’t.
Though I guess the implication is he hopes it hurts, just not too much.
“My wounds will heal. What about yours?”
Nice glassy eye. And chicks dig scars.
“Look around you, James. Look. This is what’s left of your world. Everything you’ve ever stood for, everything you believed in, a ruin.”
Has he stood for it? He just worked for them. Never really got the sense it was done for queen and country.
This is where it’s gotten silly and where they went over the edge. This went from an evil organization after world domination to a guy using his resources to mess with one guy.
“Why are we here? Did you miss me?”
“But I know someone who does.”
That could be a lot of women.
Is it really that surprising?
“Where is she?”
“That’s for you to find out.”
It’s her own fucking fault.
“In three minutes, this building will be demolished.”
Three minutes, nice little GoldenEye reference there.
“I can get out easily, but you have a choice. Die trying to save her, or save yourself and live with the pain.”
Who put up that glass, by the way?
No, he’s Blofeld.
Yes, you’re — oh.
“I’ve really put you through it, haven’t I?”
What a great reaction. He almost makes this bad writing work.
“Well, that’s brothers for you. They always know which buttons to press.”
I hate the brothers plotline, but I like that line.
This is a scene made for Tom Cruise.
He should have to hold his breath in like a water turbine or…I guess they did that.
This is a huge building and there’s no way you’d find anyone in it in time.
Clearly she’s at the top, in M’s office. The key seems to be wherever the most significant room in the building is for Bond, that’s where it’s gotta happen.
Though that room should be the upstairs janitor’s closet, where he fucked M’s previous secretary.
Well that seemed easy.
I really wish that sign just said “CUNTS”
“Let’s go. After you.”
No, please, I insist.
Get in a manners-off with him. Stall for time.
Third helicopter in this movie, though they weren’t all the same company.
“Why can’t you just face it, M? You don’t matter anymore.”
That may be, but you’re still under arrest.
“Maybe I don’t. But something has to.”
Little Skyfall Shanghai fight? Not as though it’s comparable. That was godly cinematography.
Why would he even allow this to happen? If he gets close, graze one off his thigh.
Why is Q not helping?
He never saw Venice.
He went from the bowels of the building to the top floor in one minute, seven seconds.
Failed his physical like a few months before this, too.
Notice the linger. For later.
Were you not quite sure?
“Any word on Bond?”
“No, but I can hazard a guess.”
Is this where Gozer summons The Destroyer?
Would have been a hell of a bluff.
Why did you wait to scream until now?
Cut the red wire.
Yeah, I mean, just run down the clock, I guess.
“Do you trust me?”
“Do I have a choice?”
YOU JUST GOT FUCKING KIDNAPPED.
Pretty impressive tally ho in a condemned building.
Weird track down the hallway. I’m guessing to cover for a CGI mask on wherever they’re running out to.
Nope. Just, randomly.
“Goodbye, James Bond.”
Did he have a timer in front of him or was he just counting in his head?
That would be a good final shot to a film.
Movies block like this a lot these days.
We need Vinnie Jones here to explain the significance of that stance.
Shouldn’t someone be getting in trouble for this happening now?
So you guys get to keep this new building though, right?
So what happened to 009? Dead? I’m gonna assume dead.
It’s like they spent all the money and had to compromise on this as a finale.
One, that helicopter can go so much faster, and should be going so much faster. Two, you’re not hitting a helicopter with small arms fire from a boat in choppy water hundreds of yards away. Three, he failed his marksmanship evaluation in the last movie.
I still can’t believe this is the finale. Dude firing a handgun at a helicopter from a boat.
I love that his immediate thought is to put the seatbelt on.
Of course this is AT Big Ben. In New York, it would be happening as they passed the Statue of Liberty, and in San Francisco it’d be passing over the Golden Gate Bridge.
In a nefarious blimp.
Stuck the landing, I say. There was a lot of water and not a lot of bridge. Good job.
Helicopter crash on a bridge. Okay.
Seatbelts save lives.
“Outta my way, dead guy.”
Move, dead guy.
Is that his weirdo European assistant? That’s funny.
They blocked that off SUPER fast. London cops are pretty on the spot, huh? Too bad they took so long getting to M’s hearing after Silva shot up the place.
So… are other countries calling them all pissed that the system they voted for to keep them safe mysteriously didn’t go online?
I feel like that would be a bigger thing than just “oh, we’re doing it at midnight.” I’m assuming the U.S. isn’t involved, because you know they’d be the ones like, “Nah, nah, we gotta run point on this.” There’s no way none of these other countries are cool with a small unveiling rather than a big, 12pm announcement celebration kind of deal.
And even if they wanted to keep it a secret — no one’s checking their watches like, “Wasn’t that supposed to go up like twelve minutes ago?”
This was the point where I realized there was nowhere for him to go and hoped that they weren’t gonna pussy out and kill him. Because what a fucking waste that would be. That would be the superhero ending. Which sucks every time.
But what if Craig came back for a fifth movie to fight Mecha-Blofeld?
This is like the ending to Order of the Phoenix, where they all converge on one spot and realize Voldemort exists.
Except here’s Voldemort, on the good side. With a nose.
“Sir this is a terrorist alert.”
“Mallory, double-o section. Stand down.”
The weird thing is he either doesn’t know who he is (which is weird, since they mobilized fast. So you’d think they’d be familiar with the people working here), or doesn’t care enough to ask for ID. Because who would claim to be that who was not?
“Echo team, hold fire. Stand down.”
I guess they didn’t get the memo.
He just said his name without flashing a badge or anything. That’s enough to get you fired if you let him through.
Where’d you park the boat?
Does he have the Walther for this? Because he should have the Walther for this.
Remember that “license to kill is a license not to kill” monologue from earlier? Yeah, this is one time where I breathed a sigh of relief for obvious writing.
Love the eyebrow raise.
It’s not necessarily that M represents the opposite that she does. I guess in the job sense, but it’s not like M is the one telling him to be an assassin.
This is the proper way to go out.
That’s what I’m going to tell to the bottle that finally gets me. What was the Doc Holliday line from My Darling Clementine? “Somewhere out there, there’s a bullet or a bottle that’ll do me in.” The bullet seems unlikely in my case.
“Out of bullets.”
But you’re not, though. They’re still right there.
A giant dragon should come out of nowhere and eat her right now.
“And besides, I’ve got something better to do.”
Your former employee’s daughter.
A lesser movie would have him empty the gun and then have Waltz lash out for a final fight.
If this wasn’t Blofeld, this movie would have done that.
You think he’s gonna tell her about that time he had her father in the trunk of his car?
What a disregard for a nice gun.
Hooray for metaphors! Also, this is a bridge of spies.
Why did they let her onto the bridge?
That helicopter hasn’t exploded, mercifully. Silva’s did, gloriously.
She’s going to go debrief him.
Aww, he looks so sad.
Baby brother found love, and now you’re gonna have to El Chapo your way out of prison.
“Under the Special Measures Act of 2001, I am detaining you on behalf of Her Majesty’s government.”
Yeah, I BET it was 2001. They had to up their game after Nickelback dropped that first album.
And that’s the end of the movie!
Nope. Still got some more bullshit to wrap up.
This is what it would have looked like if Nine Eyes went live. Just saying.
What a great and terrible workspace you got there, Q.
It’s morning and Q’s thwarting bad guys over his first cup of Earl Grey.
Fun fact — every bit of steam you see from a coffee cup in a film or TV show — digitally added.
They were talking about that on the recording where Scorsese interviewed Spielberg about Bridge of Spies. Lots of steam coming from drinks and mouths in that movie.
The one that really seemed fake this year is when Matt Damon bites into the potato in The Martian. It’s like, come on, dude, if there was that much steam coming out of that thing, you’d have reacted to how hot it was. Vicodin or no Vicodin.
I actually hope they don’t move into that new building in all the future movies. That new building sucks.
The first rule of James Bond is: never stand off-center when an automatic door is going to open.
Second rule: no condoms.
I also want to work in a place like this. Brick garage, cool, dark, and with bays for all of my cars.
“What are you doing here?”
“Good morning, Q.”
“I thought you’d gone.”
They leave it open ended. Gone meaning quit or “left for vacation.”
“I have. There’s just one thing I need.”
Well that makes it more definitive.
Everyone knows this sound and that dashboard. Good dashboard.
Still don’t understand this relationship at all. Makes no sense outside of this is what you want us to buy.
BMT216A. Same as the one from Skyfall, of course – but do note that this is a continuity problem for Craig’s Bond. When he won this car in Casino Royale, it was a left drive model. The other two movies, it’s been right drive.
This makes it easy for Craig to never come back to the franchise. Not sure if he does or doesn’t, but they definitely do tie it together nicely. What the fuck would they do in a fifth one?
Solid way to end, too. You actually believe that they’re going to be together and that he’s going to give it all up, which is a pretty excellent way to leave it. Not that he’ll do any of that, but I like the Bond endings where he finishes up and leaves with the girl, giving you the feeling that this is it. That’s how Fleming did it.
So now, we’re gonna end with our final thoughts. We used to do it like Fun with Franchises, where we just do them separately. But we discovered this new way where we do it through conversation, which works better for movies like this, since it’s more of a discussion where we put it rather than simply talking about what we think of the film as a whole. Here’s what we’ve got:
I’m pretty clear on this: it’s the third-best Craig Bond film after Casino Royale and Skyfall. I’ll say that it’s better than Quantum on several counts, even though it falls into a lot of the same traps and felt like an underperformer in some similar ways.
I feel the same way. Definitely underperforms in some ways, and now that I see it again, I think a lot of the issue is that they went into shooting without a finished script Maybe they do that every time, but this time, it felt like it really hindered the success of what they were going for.
It felt like they came up with the third act on the fly, and I think they were also bracing for Craig’s eventual end (some of which might have been with his own input, since he is a co-producer on the film).
First of all, the whole C thing and the surveillance was a horrible plotline that should have been ignored completely. In fact, we don’t even need too much going on with Blofeld. If you were to follow the OHMSS formula, that was literally just him going after Blofeld because he was Blofeld and then thwarting some whatever plot later. I guess this sort works that way, but I hate that they needed to integrate the M-C dynamic into the Bond-Blofeld duel.
Act three falls apart. Just falls apart. Really badly once the place blows up, in fact. Once they’re back to London, it’s just…eesh. Her random decision to leave him at that random moment because she “can’t go back to this life.” The fun house thing, the MI6 building explosion, the ridiculous helicopter crash…what the hell were they thinking?
I definitely think the C thing didn’t need to be there, especially give we just had them wanting to shut the program down last film. The Judi hearing was a wonderful way to handle that. I’m taking this all a bit at a time so I don’t type a shit ton. So my response to all your stuff will be in little bunches.
Yes, act III is bad. I can’t defend a lot of it. I kind of like them forcing him through the bowels of the building through the fun house of his past, but Blofeld should be at the top, and he should be behind the glass and it should be Bond stuck in this building about to explode. You can still do that, just do it better. I think they tried too hard to do certain things that didn’t serve the story that was there in the material.
It’s a bummer because up to their arrival at the lair, I’m totally with like 90 percent of what they did. The plane was horrible, yes, but most of the rest of it was pretty good. Oh, and the Fiat guy was a fail. But those are little things. And unlike Casino Royale and Skyfall, we have major structural concerns in this one that limit how good it can be even with everything else goes perfectly.
The Blofeld thing you said got me to thinking. Because it’s true. He’s better on a smaller scale. You should see him at the funeral, then in silhouette at the meeting, and even turn to look and it’s scary as shit. You can even MAYBE have a moment where Bond escapes and thwarts him and scars his face. I’m okay with that. But we should only meet him as Blofeld right toward the end. And he can say “I’m the author of all your pain,” and keep it exactly as is except for the “brothers” bit. He could just say, “You fuck with my business, I fuck with yours.” And it works perfectly. I can even be okay with the ending that way, of him getting arrested.
That would work. Brothers is no good. We’ve had lovers, the mother figure, the parents, the older caretaker figure…now an adopted brother who happens to also be the archnemesis? It felt downright anime.
I hate the idea that all of this seems designed to torment Bond. It’s like the franchise has gotten to the point where it’s so Bond-obsessed that the criminals have to have personal vendettas against him or his people. What happened to toppling rockets and simply amassing wealth?
So now the entire universe is insular, like Marvel. Everyone is somehow related to one another. And it’s tied together in the same haphazard way.
That’s why I like that idea of Blofeld doing it to fuck BACK with Bond after he’s fucking up his missile plans and shit.
You have to wonder, given the context of this film, what Blofeld would really have to do if it weren’t for the 00 program and Bond, in particular. And why, then, doesn’t he just work on that? You could say it’s the Nine Eyes program, but that’s a horrible Marvel trope.
And it seemed like C was doing that himself. Like, how was Blofeld even involved, other than financing the building? And with Silva in the last one, it looked like he already had surveillance and manipulation on lock. It just felt like Blofeld had nothing to do in this but mess with Bond and be vaguely associated with an overly-simplistic project that didn’t really mean anything to him.
I’m liking the plot less and less as we discuss this.
But the Bond MECHANICS of it are great. I love her, I love Monica, I love M and Q and Moneypenny (though not everything they do). He’s got the good chase scenes, the good fights, and more callbacks to previous movies than we can count.
It’s funny because the part that I didn’t love at first was how it felt like a greatest hits version of Bond, with them fitting as many classic Bond scenarios into the plot as they could. But now, I realize, that’s what I love about the franchise going back to Connery. It’s just the plot they put around it that’s the problem.
I was pretty into that, if only because so many of them seem small enough to go unnoticed. Only serious Bond fans are going to see the elevator and remember Dalton riding in it.
I’m all for the callbacks, provided they’re tasteful. They just executed this one poorly with the plot.
And I think the biggest problem is that to bring Blofeld around, they had to make it about Bond personally. It’s been about everyone around him up to this point, whether it’s Judi or Vesper or whomever. But now that they’ve got Blofeld in the mix, they have to drag out Bond’s dirty laundry and make him look like the vulnerable one with the past. And we like Bond because he HAS no past. Or whatever past he has is basically immaterial except that it made him who he is now.
I think he does have no past, and it showed by them making Blofeld literally the ONLY thing from his past they had to work with.
It’s weird how it’s too long, and yet only like six minutes longer than Spectre, which didn’t feel overly long. It’s also funny, thinking back to Skyfall, where all of our comments were mostly minor in nature. And here, we’re only dealing with the larger things.
And that’s why we accepted and loved Casino Royale — it’s the sort-of origin story that sets up the character the way OHMSS does in many ways. And Quantum is the transitional movie, so it got a sort of pass. Skyfall brings him to the house and discusses the accident, but it’s not really important. But when you have to build from there…
ADOPTED BROTHER TURNED SUPERVILLAIN
At least Bond wasn’t given powers.
You haven’t seen what he can do with his little finger.
Does the Magic Dick count as powers?
Anyway. Plot was really, really weak. I like that they started with him finding a rando who then leads him to the organization and then to Mr. White, because he’s been a good sort of arc character. And then the daughter, because daughters. And she’s sorta Tracy. Everything up til them getting off the train is pretty cool. It’s more the stuff about what’s going on back in London with Nine Eyes and C that I dislike so much.
Just cause we’re not talking about any of this, I loved the score and really thought the cinematography held up better than I was bracing myself to expect after Deakins bowed out.
You can see how there’s some continuity in the shots, particularly in their wide and aerial shots.
That is true. Both were solid.
You know what this film feels like? Age of Ultron.
The second one to the one everyone loved that wasn’t quite as good, had a lot of problems, and probably killed the director’s soul and forced him out of doing shit like this for a while.
Oh, yes. Yeah, that feels right.
Everyone had that moment of, “Oh, well I guess this isn’t the first one. But I kinda liked it. But there are problems here. But I want to like it.”
I can’t say I wanted to like Age of Ultron, but most people did.
I wanted to like this a lot. And I think it’s sort of a Titanic of Bond movies in that most the necessary elements for a proper film are there, but they don’t mesh at all. It’s like they assembled everything using every part in the box, but the instructions were upside down.
Okay, so I think we get that we really enjoy the movie despite have major problems with it from a film standpoint. Where are we seeing this overall in the franchise? I think we generally agree on the different tiers, of which ones are the weakest and which are stronger. I don’t think we’ve ever wildly disagreed on anything. Do we put this top ten?
I still do, because despite the plot issues, it’s mostly great to watch. And if we’re counting plot issues, a lot of otherwise great movies shoot down the list.
In fact, I had Quantum at 10 last I checked. So this would be between 6 and 10 for me.
I’m still pretty excited about a lot of the stuff that was done, and it looks awesome and it was fun, so it’s probably like an 8. Could fall to a 10 after a few years once I watch it again.
I think we can agree the top ten currently includes:
From Russia with Love
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
And then there’s Quantum of Solace, Spectre and Spy Who Loved Me rounding out that 10-11-12 range.
And then everything else, basically. I feel like our top six or seven are exactly the same. The first three Connery films, GoldenEye, Casino, OHMSS. And Skyfall. So we’re pretty much in the 8-12 range with the last bunch.
Oh. Yeah, probably. I might put Skyfall over OHMSS some days because the more I watch it the less I appreciate how sugary it feels at times. And how I like Lazenby less and less each time.
First three Connery films and Casino are my top four. Then GoldenEye, Skyfall, OHMSS.
Don’t think there’s any real argument there. After that, where do we go? Right now, I’m thinking You Only Live Twice and Thunderball above Spectre.
I go back and forth on You Only Live Twice. Thunderball is solid there. But it might be Thunderball, Spectre, You Only Live Twice, Spy Who Loved Me.
I can agree with that. I MAY even say Quantum over Spy Who Loved Me. But it depends on the day.
Yes. YOLT, Quantum, SWLM.
It’s funny how so much of this franchise is solid, but not exceptional relative to the top tier of the films. So for all of Craig’s movies to be above that average Bond tier is really impressive And I don’t think people consider that after seeing the films.
I still think that we enjoy watching the less than perfect ones because the mechanics are so similar and we can watch in the same language we know from the best ones.
It’s like watching Across the Pacific because you loved Maltese Falcon.
Oh for sure. I can even be okay with Octopussy for that reason. But like, you know, as opposed to watching the Expendables or something.
So I would say:
1. From Russia With Love
3. Casino Royale
4. Dr. No
7. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
10. You Only Live Twice
11. Quantum of Solace
12. The Spy Who Loved Me
Honestly, after three years now since we originally did that list, I think I agree with every single one of those. I’ve cooled on OHMSS, but I’ve also rewatched that one least. I may swap that with Skyfall, but I don’t know. Right now, my gut is saying that’s the right order.
And that’s the tier you watch watch. So basically, the difference between pre-Craig and post-Craig is four movies you now watch. A full 50 percent bump in the catalogue of movies you’d throw on randomly.
I’ll rewatch Skyfall over OHMSS nine times out of ten. Even though I really like it. I’m just not compelled to put it on the way I NEED to watch the Connery movies now and again.
I will too, but I also don’t like to specifically rate things based on how often I’d watch them. I used to watch Two Towers more than the other two, but I don’t think I’d actually say it’s the best movie.
Yeah, that’s fair. But the more I watch it, the more I feel like Lazenby is just pre-Moore. Mostly about the love and the jokes and the enjoying food.
That never happened to the other guy.
The way she writes the room number on his inner thigh in lipstick. I’m like, THAT would never have happened to the other guy, and the other guy is ACTUALLY SCOTTISH.
Or the way he stops for a second to enjoy the caviar and remarks to himself that it’s Royal Beluga from wherever in the Caspian. Such a Roger Moore thing to do, so much joie de vivre. Connery only complained when stuff was bad, like Siamese vodka.
I remember when Roger Moore was randomly an expert on birds of South America, or wherever.
He knew that the plants had the properties of sterilization or something. And Lazenby knew about lepidoptery!
But this is me complaining about little things in a different movie. I’m pleased with Spectre at 9 and Quantum at 11.
9 feels right for this. Solid, but not overly ranked. Since it’s not like all the classic Bond movies DON’T have plotholes.
Still think it’s funny that Moore is three years older than Connery and played the role for 12 years after Connery LEFT the franchise.
This is still solid. Like, even if this is only a 9, that’s not bad at all. That’s where I had Quantum when it came out. And since then, Craig has put out two more movies, and Quantum got bumped to 11. I’m reasonably consistent.
And this works. Because I remember when Quantum was being written up — You said it didn’t feel like a top ten movie. And I said that’s just where it fell, even though I also didn’t feel like putting it there.
And now we have enough movies there where it’s ranked appropriately, still in the top half of movies, but it got knocked out of the top ten. It hasn’t gotten any worse, but it’s just been bumped out. It’s perfect.
– – – – – – – – – –
Official Bond Number: #24
Release Date: October 26, 2015 (U.K.)
November 6, 2012 (U.S.)
Run Time: 148 minutes
Budget: $245 million
Box Office: $199.9 million domestically ($879.5 million worldwide)
Title Song: ”Writing’s on the Wall,” by Sam Smith
Music By: Thomas Newman
Based On: Just Bond.
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade & John Logan & Jez Butterworth
First Lines: “Where are you going?”
Last Lines: “There’s just one thing I need.”
– – – – –
– – – – –
- Ernst Stavro Blofeld
- Madeleine Swann
Secondary Bond Girl:
- Lucia Sciarra
Bond Villain Chick:
Other Important Characters:
- Mr. White
– – – – –
- Mexico City
– – – – –
- Aston Martin DB10
- Jaguar C-X75
- Land Rover Defender Bigfoot
- Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith
- Jaguar XJ8
- Aston Martin DB5
– – – – –
- “Smart blood” tracking
- Exploding watch
– – – – –
- The film won the Oscar for Best Original Song. (The franchise now has five total Oscar wins, after a Sound Editing win for Goldfinger, Visual Effects win for Thunderball and Sound Editing and Song wins for Skyfall.)
- This film was shot on 35mm, not digital, as Skyfall had been.
- In the short stories Hannes Oberhauser was a ski/climbing instructor who taught Bond in college.
- Gary Oldman was asked to play Blofeld but didn’t want to commit to a six-month shooting schedule. So they got Christophe Waltz instead. (Which — talk about great casting all around.)
- Jesper Christensen is the first actor in the history of the franchise to play the same villain/henchman more than twice.
- This is the first Bond song sung by a British male solo artist in 50 years (the last being Tom Jones’ “Thunderball.”)
- This is the third Bond movie to show Bond’s apartment, after Dr. No and Live and Let Die.
- Monica Bellucci screen tested for the role of Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. The producers went with Teri Hatcher instead. And I’m sure we all remember that.
- The official reported budget was $245 million, but reports are this ended up between $300-350 million in total.
- The first Bond film not to feature the trumpet playing of Derek Watkins, who passed away after Skyfall was released.
- Coincidentally, the order all of the Craig Bond films (at the moment) are also in alphabetical order.
– – – – – – – – –
See the other parts here: