Bonding with Daniel Craig…
A message from M asks Bond to investigate an organisation run by an old acquaintance.
Spectre, film trailer, Sony Pictures and photographs © Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
I love James Bond films, as a wee girl, I watched them with my dad every Christmas and Scottish public holiday (when England usually had their own programme). I particularly enjoyed the double entendre at the end – even at the age where I didn’t really understand it – and loved the title songs especially the Duran Duran title track from the 80s Bond film, A View to a Kill (1985).
In the music video of their track which was named after the film, the 80s boy band starred in a mock Bond film with shots from the film added to footage of the band “acting.” The highlight was at the end of the video when lead singer Simon Le Bon said the immortal words “The name’s Bon, Simon Le Bon”. Cheesy but unforgettable, just like the Bond films at that time.
Sadly, I was surprised, as an expat, to read that Spectre’s theme tune, Sam Smith’s track The Writings on the Wall not only made it to number 1 in the British charts but it is the only Bond theme to do this. Darlin’ Husband and I have a totally diverse taste in music yet we both found the track totally forgettable and quite painful.
The initial credits started off promisingly showing the partly silhouetted topless girls loved by our dads and a shirtless Daniel Craig for our mums. Then the film starts with James Bond and a random Bond girl in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations. After Bond demonstrates some nifty footwork on the roof of a building he attempts to kill one Marco Sciarra.
He then runs after Sciarra like a windy up Mitchell brother from EastEnders (1985). This leads to Bond starting an international incident by fighting and then killing Sciarra by throwing him to his death by pushing him outside a flying helicopter. Bond takes off Sciarra’s ring which reveals Sciarra was a member of
Hydra Spectre by the octopus emblem on it.
As Bond was not meant to be in Mexico on his return home he gets into hot water with M (Ralph Fiennes). It is revealed that the previous M (when she was Judi Dench) made a video and sent it to Bond after her death. Luckily it wasn’t a sex tape. In this video, she asks him to kill Sciarra and go to his funeral. Why she didn’t talk to Bond about this before she died in the last Bond film, Skyfall (2012) is not revealed.
Her successor as M is played by head thespian Ralph Fiennes. M asks for Bond to be microchipped by Q, the gadget man so as they can keep an eye on him. Bond is jobless and grounded in the UK, but luckily he has the help and support from his terribly English colleagues, who all speak like Colin Firth opening a fete.
Bond shows his faithful secretary Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) the previous M’s video and the pair reminisce over some papers and photos which were burnt in the Skyfall fire. The photographs conveniently are burnt where it might give the plot away. Next, he smooth talks Q and talks about this predicament more with a colleague, Tanner (Rory Kinnear).
Bond then leaves for Rome using the sports car prototype (just how long did it take to get there?) with the cool gadgets and the watch he was given as a leaving gift. Poor Bond was fobbed off with just a watch that just explodes things. For the majority of us that would be the coolest leaving present ever. Q is played by Ben Wishaw, is sadly miscast, he’s not and sadly never could be the eccentric but avuncular character we know and love from the earlier films.
Once in Rome, Bond attends Marco’s funeral and later makes out with his grieving widow, Lucia played by a totally underused, Monica Bellucci. She tells him of a meeting for
Hydra SPECTRE, which Bond attends and he then sees a ghost from his past, a man he thought was dead from his childhood, Franz Oberhauser.
Oberhauser sends number 1 henchman (Dave Bautista) after Bond. At this moment, we cheer as (at last) Christoph Waltz who plays Franz Oberhauser makes his initial appearance, and taunts Bond by saying “Cuckoo”. At first, I didn’t notice his accent as I had remembered it from Django Unchained (2012) which Darlin’ Husband mimics so well so felt a wee bit put out.
Waltz’s accent goes up there with Sean Connery as one of the sexiest accents ever and should be used for full effect, however inappropriately. Maybe it’s because Bond is surrounded by thesps and wannabe thesps who had between them more English sayings as your average Outlander (2014) episode have Scottish ones that I didn’t notice it.
Anyway, the 00 programme is shut down by C meaning Bond is on his own. Henchman 1 and Bond have the obligatory car chase scene, which sadly reminded me of the car race scene in Grease (1978). This due to erratic driving and a car on fire. Bond then heads for Austria, where he meets an old enemy, Mr White who says he has been monitoring Oberhauser.
Bond promises him he will look after his daughter, Madeline. She says she will lead him to L’Americane. White then kills himself. Bond is tracked in the daughter’s office by a henchman and Q. Q proves he’s not the only creative one in the family by wearing a jumper his mum probably knitted him for Christmas and he wears just to please her.
This leads to frostiness from her, flirting from Bond, and obligatory fight with no 1 henchman. Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) and Bond leave for L’Americane, which is a hotel in Tangier. Madeline is clearly a more wee girl next door at this time rather than a sultry Bond girl.
In their hotel room – one reported being used by Mr White – by coincidence Bond spots a mouse. After wrecking the mouse-hole Bond finds it leads to Mr Whites secret surveillance room. (As you do, but only in a Bond movie). Bond and Madeline find a map and by chance some handy coordinates for Oberhauser’s hideaway. (What are the odds?)
Before Bond is charged for wrecking a hotel room, drunk popstar style, they leave for the site where the coordinates meet. They get there by train, leading to henchman no 1’s fight to his death. Then the obligatory “I’m a girl and can use a gun (thanks very much)” cliché and torrid Bond and Bond girl lovemaking scene.
At the station, they get a lift from a Rolls Royce which takes them to Oberhauser’s hideaway (this station is in the middle of nowhere so how did Oberhauser know they were coming?). After meeting up with Oberhauser again… it is revealed through photos that Bond knew him as a lad and that Oberhauser has also been keeping an eye on Madeline. Oberhauser tells of his world domination plan in the slow, deliberate, Christoph Waltz style we know and love.
He then hits Bond. Bond comes round to see Blofeld now in crazy dentist mode as Bond is strapped to a seat with various needles edging toward him. Don’t ask how far they went in as was a wee bit squeamish and hid behind my Darlin’ Husband at this point in the proceedings. Madeleine proclaims her love Princess Leia style.
Oberhauser tells how James Bond was brought up with him as a child after Bond was orphaned. Hence the cuckoo reference. Oberhauser killed his own father later reinvented himself – as die-hard fans will have guessed from the not so subtle clues – as Bond’s nemesis, Blofeld. However after an embrace, Madeleine and Bond use the exploding watch to escape by blowing up Blofeld and his hideaway escaping in a handy helicopter.
Bond and Madeleine get back to London (by helicopter?) where they must stop Blofeld’s right hand man C from taking over MI6. Bond then gets dumped by his Bond girl who only now says couldn’t be with him as he is an assassin. Poor Bond now in a WTF moment.
Bond is then helped by the thespians aka Moneypenny, Q and Tanner. M attempts to stop C’s takeover and kills him. M is picked up by the rest of the Brits who are now a bit like the Avengers, but terribly, terribly, British and have no groovy costumes.
Bond has a face-off with Blofeld in the MI6 building. Blofeld who still alive but his eye is scarred. Bond then saves Madeline before the building blows up (in the nick of time of course). After his comedy running and shooting down his helicopter (as you do) Bond decides not to kill Blofeld (leaving Christoph Waltz to return..yay) and Bond walks into the sunset with Madeleine (unplanned weeper and handsqueeze moment).
There is currently a “is Craig going to return or not as Bond” debate on the Internet. I can’t help feeling if Craig decides to return, Bond will be asked to come back for one last job from his retirement. Madeline will sob and then leave him for being an assassin again. Then she will be blown up by the chief bad guy (yay) this leading to revenge from Bond.
If Craig leaves, they will regenerate Bond to a younger actor like they do with Doctor Who. Hopefully, Monica Bellucci getting the Bond girl role she deserves, Waltz reprising his Blofeld role…and a memorable opening theme.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10
This review was submitted for Maddy loves her Classic Films 007 Blogathon. Other reviews with this cast include Lea Seydoux in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Dave Bautista stars in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Christoph Waltz stars in Django Unchained and Inglourious Bestards. Dave Bautista starred in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.