Putting the Blah in Bond: Spectre

One of the movies we missed last year (what with the Geek Baby) was Spectre, the 4th James Bond movie with Daniel Craig in the lead role. We liked Casino Royale and the new take on Bond, although Quantum of Solace being a sequel was pretty jarring. We really liked Skyfall, although the idea of Bond being an actual person born with that name was kind of odd – it throws off the whole continuity of the films.

Spectre poster

Even Bond looks Blah.

Anyway, we were intrigued, and had heard both that it was better than the rest – and that it was plain awful, as Julia has mentioned. Our main grocery store just added a Red Box alternative service, and I saw Spectre, so I scooped it up for movie night the other night.

And… eh? There were some Bond movie elements, to be sure. But we’re back to a full-on continuity, a conspiracy tying together all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies. By tapping into Bond’s old opposing spy service, at least in name: Spectre. On the one hand, it seems like an awesome plot. On the other hand, it seems like jumping the shark to the entire Bond franchise…

I could go into spoilers, but don’t even really feel the need. And I might not remember things well enough to do so anyway. Because the movie really was just off for us. Like, I’ve seen bad Bond movies. Something like License to Kill can be kind of fun to watch. And it has some similarities: Bond working outside the system, having his official authority removed, Q coming to give him help out in the field. But while the one film is kind of a joke in its badness, Spectre tries to be way, way serious. So each step in the action is super serious… but it didn’t transition well for us at all. We got lost. We didn’t care.

And the ultimate big bad, the leader of Spectre? Nowhere near as compelling as Silva was in Skyfall. While Silva got a lot of time to introduce and run us through his backstory and why he’s doing everything – and it’s not directed at Bond, but at M, which maybe helps as well. In Spectre, all the vengeance is directed at Bond, apparently, and in fact everything that’s happened in the four movies… or possibly everything that’s happened ever. Ever. I dunno, he just really failed to convince about his revenge plot or need, and the comparison in particular to Silva – or even to the desperate rage of Le Chiffre in Casino Royale – is just not in this movie’s favor.

All-in-all? Glad that we used a free coupon to check it out from the store?… What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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8 responses to “Putting the Blah in Bond: Spectre

  1. I think it was a mistake to ever introduce the concept of continuity in the Bond franchise. Hopefully next they will revert back to the old structure with the fluent time-line, in which next to nothing actually carries over. Than I can ignore this ill-advised look into James Bond past and pick up again where Pierce Brosnan left off without having to worry about in which point at the timeline the movie is supposed to be set.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I don’t think anyone in the audience was clamoring for an origin story. I think we were all pretty good with the idea that 007 was the job, and James Bond was the public name for it. Different spies, same job. Over time. Saving the world. Action. Cars. Gadgets. A girl. A crazy villain plan. It’s not an inherently bad formula, and maybe more importantly it’s the formula you go into the movie expecting to see!

      And as for “originality”… the last three movies have been revenge movies. So not breaking any new ground there… but at least it’s been different people seeking revenge?

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  2. Hm. Seeing this soon because I’ve got a post about queering action/spy movies that’s on hold until I do, but I haven’t been super enthused since this one dropped without many people seeming to care at all. My hypothesis was already that they didn’t offer anything new. Some Bond fans seem to like watching the same movie over and over, but for ongoing success there’s got to be SOME kind of a twist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For twist, I liked Casino Royale. And of the three fairly repetitive revenge plots that came after, Skyfall was probably the best – and was also a bit of a twist from a normal Bond, as the villain’s scheme was directed at them personally – not at world domination or something else big.

      Also, there are points in Spectre where you get to quote The Incredibles… Definitely some monologuing going on!

      I’m still a huge fan of Tomorrow Never Dies, which had a frighteningly realistic villain and scheme, and had a strong female spy.

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      • Tomorrow Never Dies is my favorite! Probably the only one of the pre-Craig movies I get a no-reason hankering to watch. 😀 But agreed in general. Skyfall worked because even though the basic idea was traditional, it was scaled down a bit and offered the somethin’-different with M, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

        • And Dame Judy Dench helps. In both cases! Which is maybe the weirdest thing with the Daniel Craig movie “continuity” – the same M from the Brosnan era!!!

          I love Goldeneye too, but that may have a lot to do with video game nostalgia and Sean Bean and Alan Cumming and Famke Janssen, and Brosnan was actually a great Bond… Okay that’s actually a lot of reasons to love the 90’s-goodness that is Goldeneye 😎

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          • Hehe yes. Judi Dench is my favorite of life. I don’t remember much about Goldeneye except an irrelevant anecdote from my childhood… Perhaps I should give it a rewatch. I do love Sean Bean and Alan Cumming and Famke Janssen and Brosnan as Bond… 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh if you haven’t watched it in a while, be prepared for some fun! And historically it’s interesting, because Bond post-Cold War was an interesting puzzle to solve.

            Oh! And Robbie Coltrane!

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