starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
[personal profile] starlady
I wanted to see James Bond be stylish and kill people, and this movie…well, okay. The best thing was the casting, the worst thing was the Sam Smith title sequence (sorry not sorry, Sam Smith), and in between was everything else.

Spectre is not bad like the Sony emails said. It is a perfectly cromulent action movie, but it's weird. It feels like watching a movie where all the important parts of the movie are wrapped in cotton gauze and we're getting the muffled version. Spectre is very clear that it wants to demolish everything that came before it, or at least the three previous Craig Bond outings--made explicit both with in-movie visual and verbal shoutouts but also by the fact that almost every major sequence in Spectre is a callback to or ironic revision, in a minor key, of sequences in the previous three films--but it does not know how to do that in the most effective manner. It needed at least one more rewrite, and I can prove the point with just two examples: first off, the bravura opening sequence in Mexico City, which is one of the best and sexiest Bond openings in a while, loses all of its punch in the faffing about with the helicopter over the plaza, and at the end cut into the credits, rather than see Bond either foil the stadium bombing or return to his paramour in the hotel room, we get…neither. Second example: the fucking smart blood (or "sang intelligent", as the French subtitles had it). It is not used effectively, scriptwriting-wise, at all. It's introduced as a big thing, Q makes a lot of noise about it (rightly), and then M just tells him to delete the files on it and…that's it. In a more tightly written screenplay it would have played a role at some point in the ending. I don't have a problem with the invented backstory for Bond or the weird familial drama of the Swann/Bond/Blofeld triangle at the ending. I just think that the script needed another round to actually bring all the emotions in the whole story to the surface. Also the movie probably needed a different, better editor. That said, I thought Andrew Scott did a good job as C, and I actually appreciated the meta-note of his casting from the Sherlock franchise. That's part of the point the movie is trying to make, however confused it is about surveillance.

Oh boy, the ending. I've read the Entertainment Weekly theory that Bond dies in the torture chair and the rest is his life-flashes-before-his-eyes fantasy. I think that interpretation makes sense but having seen the movie…I don't think there's enough visual cues in the ending sequences to fully support it. Rather, I think it's just what it is: a weird third act that simultaneously is awesome (M, Q, Moneypenny, Bond, and Tanner let loose in the streets of London! Yeah! Fucking finally!) and also as weird as everything that came before. One of my problems with the "Bond dies" ending theory is also that the movie is very insistent from the very first shots that Bond is already dead: we see him first, on the Day of the Dead, wearing a skeleton's suit and mask, and from then on everyone in the movie is telling us that Bond is dead, or that at best (in Moneypenny's phrase) he doesn't have a life. In fact, just as Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation ended with Alec Baldwin telling us all that Ethan Hunt is Fate, Spectre is telling us that Bond is Death. The fucking title of the movie means "ghost," and that's where it ends too, in a weird way, with Bond (smart blood still intact, one might add) driving off into the cold English sunrise in his restored Aston Martin (a Vanquish, not a Rolls Royce Wraith, but what can you do), the ghost in the machine. I have no doubt that he'll be back; Madeline Swann calls it right the first time when she tries to leave him in London, and if we've seen one thing in these fucking movies it's that Bond can't leave and M can't let him go. The significance of the bridge is on the one hand doubtless a Significant Metaphor, but on the other…haven't we been here before? "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning." Well, okay, except this is Bond, James Bond. You can't kill the spectre that is haunting London, the spectre of imperialism an assassin.

All that being said, I really thought for one wild minute that Bond was going to kiss Q in that clinic bar (also dropped thread: the goons tailing Q just…didn't follow him back to his hotel room? What), and I devoutly hope that Daniel Craig does make that fifth Bond film he's contracted for, because the Bond/Q/Moneypenny/M/Tanner team is just too good, they should all be put into the field somehow in the next movie, IT WOULD BE AWESOME, QED.

Also, on a cross cultural moviegoing experience note, there was a 10-minute intermission an hour and twenty minutes into the movie. Apparently this is normal in Belgium? Okay then. And yes, no matinee pricing.
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