Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Film & Water Podcast Episode 16: Spectre


Episode 16: SPECTRE

Host Rob Kelly and 007 mega-fan John Trumbull discuss the newest film in the James Bond franchise, SPECTRE!

Spoiler Section Starts at 25:10!

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  1. Comments as I listen...

    I really disliked the theme song. Worst since Madonna.

    Comedic touches: Yes totally the kind of humor that was a staple of the Roger Moore era especially. I like the darker edge of the Craig movies - I rate Casino Royale as the best of the entire franchise (not saying it's necessarily my favorite, different thing, but I prefer the ones with more grounded spycraft) - but they didn't go too far here. The bit where he freezes a goon is great because it's rooted in character humor. Seeing goofy extras/character actors mug at the camera as they react to the superspy world crashing into their everyday just gives me flashbacks of the heinous Sheriff Coalpepper.

    Bond-Moneypenny? I didn't get that from the scenes here. Maybe in Skyfall, but that pays a kind of lip service to the back story Lois Maxwell had developed for the character back in the 60s (a short affair followed by his 00 status and then a lifetime of flirting and "what might have been".

    One of the best things about Spectre is the anti-Spectre, i.e. Bond working with a team. M and Q have particularly active roles, I'd have been happier if she'd done more in the field (as opposed to mostly working the computers in the first half of the film).

    Gapped teeth will always be sexy to me. Blame Chaucer and the Wife of Bath.

    Quantum of Solace isn't bad, at least as an epilogue to Casino Royale, and Bond's Vesper hangover. But it's definitely badly balanced, with too much action up front, then too much talking, and an amazing exploding hotel at the end. I like the artiness of the direction, but everything needs just a little tweak to make it better. As for Skyfall, its plot is completely loopy, which is its greatest weakness, but it's certainly the best LOOKING Bond film of all time; Mendes is perfect on that front.

    Spoilery discussion in the next comment.

  2. Blofeld: You know, I was more excited to see the cat (RIP I guess) than have Waltz reveal he was indeed Blofeld. I'm not a big fan of interweaving villains' origins with the hero's, so I'm cold with Blofeld being Bond's stepbrother. It's one coincidence too far.

    Baptista had the iron nails, which I thought would be played up later, but no, it was kind of forgotten and didn't really pay off.

    As with Skyfall, the strengths and weaknesses are the same. Mendes' visuals are near perfect. Did you notice how the tendril/tentacle motif kept recurring? Hail Hydra! The weakness is the plotting: Other Bond movies have done the whole A includes a clue to sequence B where there's a clue that leads to C, then to D. Here it's VERY straightforward and simple and feels like a heavily railroaded role-playing session where the characters have very little true agency. Just a string of set pieces, no choices to be made (and Bond even has a speech about not having a choice). Meh.

    Lots of visual riffs on past films. The Austrian resort brought Majesty's Secret Service to mind, for example. The Mexican Day of the Dead made me think of the skull imagery in Live and Let Die, and so on. But this could all be accidental. It's just that by now, there have been so many Bond films, they DO tend to blend together.

    On Bond's kids... 1) I have a role-playing campaign prepared and which I will one day launch called Bond's Bastards where each character is the child of a Bond girl if you know what I mean. 2) I always thought James Bond Jr. was Bond's kid, but researching it now, he's just his nephew. Weird use of "Junior" there, Mr. Fleming.

    The next movie: I thought Spectre was going to be a two-parter, but there's a real ending here. And now Craig in Bond 25 is only "rumored" on IMDB, so I was obviously going on very old information (Skyfall-era info). I certainly would like more Craig as Bond, but we're apparently already doing the Doctor Who thing of running on casting rumors for the next guy. But y'know, I don't want him to finish his era the way I feel Moore did, looking far less vigorous than Bond should be.