James Bond is back. Three years after the veritable anniversary smash hit that was Skyfall, director Sam Mendes gives us Spectre.
Here’s what I thought of Spectre in a nutshell:
It’s a fantastic James Bond movie, it shows the franchise adapting to a modern way of storytelling. It introduces repercussions and consequences into a narrative previously devoid of actual development. But it also fails to deliver on the big villain reveal, leaving the most hyped and most anticipated aspect of its story lacking and kinda… underwhelming.
If you want more than the gist, there be spoilers beyond the cut.
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The twentieth-century James Bond is, to use M’s words, ‘a misogynist dinosaur, a relic of [a] cold war’ that never turned hot, and he’s the result of an unholy trinity of (toxic) hyper-masculinity, international terrorism, and whatever the hell ‘quintessential Englishness’ actually means.
Just after the UK premiere of SPECTRE, a colleague of mine and I got talking about my mild Bond obsession. Since he’d been put off by Quantum of Solace’s comparatively weak performance, he asked me how I would explain that 007 became such a cultural phenomenon that he’s still around today, and that the franchise is actually still growing. Since pulling meta out of my butt at a moment’s notice is kinda my whole thing, I may have gone off on a fifty-year tangent. I’ve been since asked to put my thoughts into writing, so here you have it.
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You will probably have noticed that I didn’t say anything about Severine in my initial review. That was partly because I did love the film and didn’t want to interrupt it with a rant and kill the mood, and partly because I wanted to take another day to think about it in more detail. My criticism runs two ways: towards narrative, and rape culture. Continue reading →
We have come full circle.
This is it, this is the reboot. Staging the scene in Casino Royale, the Bond franchise has renewed itself. It’s the old crew as we know it—but it’s new digs, indeed; even as hints as big as anvils are dropped that James is getting too old for this shit.
Explosions! Diggers! Fights on trains! More trains! As Eve says: it’s a little difficult to explain. The crazy stuff that James gets up to the minute he leaves the house is… you have to have been there. Continue reading →