Let me take you back a few years, to the release of Skyfall. There was a lot of hype, and early reviews had people calling it one of the best Bond films of all time. As a big fan of the franchise, this got me incredibly excited, especially since I’d been disappointed by most of the other recent entries. Then it came time to see it… and I hated almost everything about it apart from the opening scene, you know, when he jumps onto that train and touches up his cuffs – classic Bond!
So, fast forward three years to a few days ago, when I had the chance to see SPECTRE. I was a little sceptical, as it had Sam Mendes returning as director, was 150 minutes long (the longest in the franchise), had a number of production issues that had been widely reported, supposedly had a budget of more than $300 million, and Daniel Craig openly saying he would rather commit suicide than play the role again. Still, with a fairly decent trailer, the promise of the franchise getting back to its roots, and my love of Bond still just about in tact, I managed to muster up some hope that it would at least be decent.
So how did they possibly manage to make a film I hated even more than the series low, Skyfall? Even though it’s a real challenge for me to limit this list to only seven, here are just a few of the major issues I had with Spectre. Oh, and I’m going to be talking about the film in great detail, so I’m issue a…
MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING
1 – When did Bond titles become tentacle porn?
Ok, so Bond title sequences have always been a little… risqué. In fact, a lot of them are a bit naff, but never has there been one on this level. I understand wanting to do something with the octopus theme, and other films have done more with less (I’m looking at you, oil theme from The World is Not Enough). Now combined that with, not just one of the worst Bond theme songs ever, but one of the most boring and forgettable songs ever written, and you’ve got your film off to a bad start. Only 130 minutes to go…
2 – The Gadgets
Remember that time when there was an invisible car and everybody hated it? Yeah me too. Remember that time there was nanotechnology put into Bond’s blood to track him all over the world and nobody mentioned it? ME TOO. These both seem to me to be equally out there in the realm of ‘future science’, but it seems like nobody cares about the latter, even though a simple tracking implant would have done the same trick. Combine this with the highly expensive but ultra low-tech car, which had giant metal switches with exposed wiring, that would make any person that saw it question what it was, and you have a very strange mix of technology that just doesn’t work. At least Die Another Day committed to the over-the-top technology.
3 – The Team
Why do recent Bond films insist on having him be part of a team? Alright, he’s had some great sidekicks in the past, but specifically, M and Q are not meant to be a part of the final action sequence. The same way that having Judi Dench and the housekeeper being a big part of the Home Alone finale for Skyfall made the whole ending feel, strange. Having M, Ralph Fiennes, running around and killing one of the main bad guys just felt ridiculous and out-of-place.
4 – The Twist
So imagine you’re watching the next Batman film, and as the third act begins the information is dropped that… Batman, and The Joker, were brothers! People would not be happy. Now imagine you go to see Die Hard 6: The Hard Way to Die, and it turned out that John McClane and Hans Gruber were brothers! It would not only make that film seem terrible, but it would retroactively affect the way you see the previous films. Blofeld is the archetype of villainy, and has been parodied more times than I can count, and it’s quite frankly mind-boggling that this reveal made it past any stage of development.
One more thing: you know which other franchise did this exact twist? Austin Powers. They were making fun of how stupid it would be if James Bond and Blofeld were brothers…
5 – The worst off-screen scene ever
A lot of people have spoken about The Joker’s plan in The Dark Knight, saying that he went to a lot of effort to kidnap people, perform major surgery, train goons in complex tasks etc, which would all make for a series of strange off-screen scenes – but here’s an even stranger one. Christoph Waltz running around a blown up MI6, putting up pictures of Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green and Judi Dench, spray painting arrows and probably laughing to himself about just how funny it will be when Bond arrives. He also did it all with one working eye, so his depth perception would be all over the place. That or he handed a number of black and white print outs to his hired thugs, and explained to them exactly how he wanted them displayed. “No, they have to be on the heads of the targets, and then when Bond walks past them they’re going to turn, and it will be like he’s pointing a gun at himself!”
6 – The happy ending
I’m not saying that all Bond films should have a sad ending, and Bond should definitely get the girl… into bed. He shouldn’t be walking off into the distance with her, literally hand in hand. That just isn’t Bond. I understand that we live in a different world to when the older Bond films were made, and honestly watching some of the ‘seductions’ in the earlier films now is a little painful, but he’s not meant to get the girl – into a committed relationship. Remember when that happened in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? That was the perfect way to show just how alone James Bond is, and how he can never find somebody to love. Twice Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux – who look more like father and daughter by the way – happily head off into the distance, and twice it made me angry at the out-of-character way he was acting.
Bonus Round – The post-funeral rape
As I’ve already said, some of the early Bond sex scenes seem ridiculous now, with women swooning, and simply unable to resist the charms of an aging Roger Moore, but never has a scene felt more like rape than the scene when Daniel Craig follows Monica Bellucci home from her husbands funeral, ignores her when she tries to stop him, interrogates her about her dead husband, a clear turn on, and then has his way with her while she’s apparently still wearing the corset she wore to the funeral. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? To make it even worse, it just so happens to be the creepiest sex scene since Jeremy Irons made me want to spoon my eyes out in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
What did you think about SPECTRE? Did you like it? Do you agree with anything I’ve said? Share any thoughts in the comments.
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