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.
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.
This week, the first episode of the biopic/dramatisation of Ian Fleming’s life and the genesis of the least-secret secret agent in the whole wide world, James Bond, was broadcast on BBC America and Sky Atlantic HD. Based on true events, but necessarily embellishing and inventing a few things here and there (or practically the entire thing), the first part offers a lovely musical variation on the Bond theme as we’re introduced to Fleming and his wife Ann in Jamaica. Living in his villa Goldeneye, he finishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. But that’s not the only thing that rings similar to what we’ve come to know and love in over fifty years of literary and cinematic canon. Continue reading →
Seeing as I completely missed it because I was buried in my BA thesis, have another look at the trailer for the upcoming Sky HD drama, Fleming. Starring Dominic Cooper, the series will take a good long look at the man who created James Bond — especially a “wartime encounter” with a baroness, played by Lara Pulver.
In my defence, not only I missed this trailer when it came out in July, and the vid only has 128,000 views — which is lightweight compared to the prospective audience they’re undoubtedly trying to reach. I don’t know if it’s an affliction troubling all UK channels at the moment, but their social media promotion, which especially us customers outside of the UK rely on, isn’t really up to snuff at the moment. But then, we don’t know when exactly in 2014 this is going to premiere — in which case I’d say, releasing the press pack in July without follow-up promotion isn’t the smartest thing to do.
The RadioTimes also features a First Look at the series, offering a few stills and the official blurb on the new show.
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 →
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 →