And so the re-watch comes to an end.
After, what has been 26 movies, the James Bond movies have been re-watched. I have to admit that, at one point, this felt like an undertaking that was going to be more than what I could finish. Then came the epidemic and quarantine and time changed. So I decided to push forward with Dr. No. After viewing Skyfall (and that horrid 1967 Casino Royale travesty), I came to the last Bond film before the arrival of No Time to Die in November (hopefully). That film was Spectre.
I saw this film once in 2015 and I did not love it. In fact, it was quite the letdown for me after the wonderful Skyfall. Again, I was intrigued to see how my second viewing of this movie might be the same or different.
You know what? I quite enjoyed Spectre this time.
I found this to be considerably more entertaining than I did when I first saw it in the theater. There could be many reasons why that is the case. Perhaps expectations outweighed what I saw, considering how much I loved Skyfall. Maybe I did not understand the references, since I had not seen (or it had been a long time) some of the earlier Bond films in which Spectre makes allusions. Maybe it was just too long (which it is). Who knows. This time, Spectre was a much more engaging film.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) received an ominous video message from M (Judi Dench) from seemingly beyond the grave, setting him on a path to uncover a international shadowy organization called SPECTRE and the mysterious enigma who ran it. As this was going on, our new M (Ralph Fiennes) was trying to keep the Double O program afloat as a new, big brother type data organization was rising on the worldwide stage, pushed on by Max “C” Denbigh (Andrew Scott).
Of course, as we all know when in the James Bond mythos, when you mention SPECTRE, the man behind it is the one and only Ernst Stavro Blofeld, now being portrayed by Christoph Waltz. Spectre was wise about the return of Bond’s nemesis to this new series of films with Daniel Craig at the helm. While the rest of the Bond lore…sort of… had a continuity and a through-line in the movie franchise, everything had since been rebooted with Craig. So they took Blofeld and gave him a more compelling and connecting back story that tied him closely with Bond, more than ever before. I liked the tie, although one wonders how closely this had been planned out. This movie basically tied everything from the Daniel Craig Bond films together beneath the Spectre umbrella. I am not sure that if you really analyze the plot it would necessarily hold up, but it does, for the most part, work for me.
Dave Bautista joined the film as Hinx, the silent assassin for this film. The silent hired gun is a trope of the Bond franchise and big Dave fits right in.
It was fun because a couple of the old Bond motifs showed up here…almost. They were on a snowy mountain with ski lifts and I though, “Oh look, they will be skiing!” However, they avoided slapping on the skis for a chase scene. However, they did return to the “death trap” concept when they could have just shot Bond in the head and be done with him easily. One wonders that part of the job description for Bond villains is “you must place yourself in a situation where you are going to be caught/killed.”
There had been some belief that Spectre was going to be the final Bond film for Daniel Craig. Craig had even made some references about never playing the character again specifically the he would rather “slash [his] wrists” than play Bond again. Because of that, the end of Spectre could have easily been a beautiful send-off for James had it gone that way. However, we know that they backed up the Brinks truck full of money for him to resume the role once more.
I am pleased to have finished the Bond re-watch and I am ready for No Time to Die.