Saturday, November 7, 2015
The Esteemed Critic Reviews Spectre
It has been a while since the Critic has written for Pointless Venture. His life is full of black tie events and wine tastings, so let my audience be assured that he has been very busy. Movies, of course, are his true passion, though art comes in many forms. Let us discuss the newest entry in MGM's eternal franchise, James Bond.
Spectre is presumably the last Daniel Craig Bond flick, and it's interesting that they chose to reintroduce all the checklist elements of a Bond film for Craig's last romp in the tuxedo. Casino Royale was notable for modernizing Bond; there was no Q or Moneypenny or special gadgets, just a hard-edged secret service man with a license to kill. Quantum of Solace was simply a strange film, with its battle over water rights, while Skyfall deconstructed the Bond legacy and gave us an entertaining movie that was removed from what we expected. Spectre, however, gives us exactly what we expect from Ian Fleming's suave agent of destruction. There is location jumping from exotic locale to exotic locale; there are gorgeous women for Bond to bed; there is a mad super-villain with a recognizable name and scar. Almost every scene in this movie is a reference to what came before, the best sequence being Bond and Dave Batista's brutal battle on a train, which brings to mind Connery and Robert Shaw's epic brawl in From Russia with Love.
Though Spectre is entertaining, my question is "What more can they do with this franchise?" Self-referencing is essentially a death sentence; you stop making films for new fans and start recycling the past. The entire concept of James Bond is a relic left over from the sixties; this is basically the plot of Spectre. There were complaints when Craig was initially cast that he wasn't sexy enough for the role, but he updated the character, giving him a hard-lined brutality that double-o-seven hadn't had since the Connery days. What can a new James Bond do that hasn't been done before? I suppose we will always need our secret agent films, since they represent a certain male fantasy that will always be in vogue. I am just uncertain if Bond is still the man for the job.