13 November 2015

Reviews of some shite I've enjoyed/hated over the last few months #2 - Spectre 7th November (semi-structured faux rant)

I went to see this because I'm a Bond nut and I've seen every film and damn it I wanted to see this on the big screen. My friend who has seen all the Daniel Craig movies with me went along too. He really loves movies, he's certainly seen way more than I have.

The long take at the start? I loved it. Mexico City, Day of the Dead, great costumes. That whole scene with the botched assassination of an assassin or whatever Bond was trying to do followed by the freakin' helicopter killed it for me. It wasn't a joke nor was it too serious but it was just ridiculous and spoiled it for me ten minutes in.

So the theme music comes on and it's fine while the actual video while crisply edited and beautifully imagined and all that had girls with tentacles draped all over them and I was just thinking that might be a good metaphor in political cartoons like if they showed the Spectre octopus spreading across a globe it would be cool but all over a naked Bond and some woman in the intro? No thanks.

They go back to London and Ralph 'M for Mallory' Fiennes has to be angry at Bond because Judi Dench is gone so someone has to do it and Bond has to be suspended again because the fans now love Bond going rogue or it's what every other spy film does now I don't know.

Bond trips over to Italy despite having nanomachines injected into his blood (!) which track his every move and heartbeat etc should Bond try anything M will know about it. Q played as some sort of cat-owning nerd with a laptop lies about Bond being in Italy anyway to M so it never matters! No Casino Royale style "he's dying, his pulse is failing, something is wrong" tension here just nanomachines for the sake of 2015 or something followed by it never mattering again. Oh and when he goes to the Assassin's Convention in Rome we get introduced to Batista. Fucking Dave. Fucking Dave Bautista is in this, I don't watch trailers any more so I missed that. I was wondering why this guy was on Sports TV a few weeks ago. He never speaks and his thumbnails are deadly or some baloney I don't know. Blofeld played by Hans Landa calls James out at the meeting forcing Bond to hoof it not before hearing some of the diabolical plans.

Bond stole a car from MI6 to go to this assassin/Spectre meeting and it has no ammo or whatever so no Bond style fun that way, though it did shoot fire out of the exhaust which only mildly inconveniences a pursuing Dave. Bond trashes it of course soon after by ejecting himself out of the sun roof in a parachute while the car crashes into a canal. There's no point to all this!

Austria next to get some snow into the movie. 007 treks to an abandoned lodge and finds some hobo with a vague connection to him; he raised him for two years after his parents died! I was wondering why they were bringing up that in this particular movie. Bond leaves there and meets up with the hobo's daughter who is now a psychologist or some such in a mountain clinic because yeah. He offers to protect her but she rejects it and ends up getting kidnapped anyway but of course Bond rescues her in one of the better chase scenes. I always enjoyed when Bond was doing the chasing, like the tank in GoldenEye.

They go to North Africa to l'American, a hotel the hobo frequented when he was younger. Gorgeous Franco-Austrian girl falls asleep while Bond guards her in a nearby chair no hanky panky but mysteriously she has changed into her lingerie dress when they wake up in the middle of the night? They find what theyre looking for and make their way into the Sahara. I had to go to the bathroom at the point when the Alpine lady came along to dinner on their pristine trans-Saharan train wearing a stunning dress because I had had a large coke and just about enough of this movie really so feck it.

I came back and apparently they had banged (of course) but Batista had attacked and Bond dispatched him and now they reached the facility. I asked if his teeth were broken when he died in an origin story of Jaws style maybe but no. I know these Craig movies enjoy symmetry like that but in hindsight having Batista as Jaws is just a no-no. Anyway they were being driven in a fancy old car to the facility and they meet Blofeld and OF COURSE he's just the rubbery faced Hans Landa, excellent but sorely underused or misused in this. Also there's the whole adopted family angle/Bond's connection to Blofeld/hobo/Bond girl that I couldn't get over or around.

Bond is tortured by needles (oh no) and we meet the white fecking cat (Blofeld signature) I think he even revealed his name as Ernst Stavro Blofeld at this point which new fans and most people don't care about while older/crazier fans like me don't care about as they've already given that away so no huge pop or anything just meh. Bond escapes moment later thanks to [Chekhov's] Alarm and blows up facility within seconds, escaping to London (!) via helicopter (!).

The subplot of the film was absurd too, MI6 and 5 being merged and then being subsumed by some international intelligence agency which are clearly evil or at least heartless while MI6 have heart because they send psychopaths like Bond to kill people. Moriarty/Cowboy/'C' is in charge of all this and M is opposed but weirdly South Africa are the holdouts so when Cape Town burns soon afterward they change their vote and the new program is imminent. Phone hacking and all is OK with this new organisation and of course they work for Spectre so... I don't know I think they can control the news/current events or something? I'm just going with what I got from the movie.

I'm not sure when exactly I became fully disengaged but the helicopter scene killed my enthusiasm at the start. The whole MI6 Building scene at the end, the climax, how it ends is inconsequential. Blofeld was reduced to comic villain status by the end of the Connery films while I can't see past the Christopher Walken-style ham that Christoph Landa Waltz brings to every role he plays now. I enjoyed the movie's sheer money spent and production values but the family angle, the helicopter, the nods and aversion to the old movies and books spoiled it for me. I wasn't so cynical to say 'well there'll be a sequel'; I know there's another one coming out,  but that's exactly what the guy behind me said when it finished.

I like Craig, he brings some much needed physicality to the role. Him getting kicked around in Casino Royale was epic. I'm not too hot on the all-English support staff but in God-Save-the-Queen-Post-London-Olympics Skyfall they were perfect while beyond that they just get too much screen time. Even Q appearing more than once in this was too much, same with Miss Moneypenny. If they keep raising the ante like this they might take even more screen time away from Bond (I'm imagining some shitey hostage scene involving these). I know he's a bit of a joyless meathead in this iteration but Craig feeds well off other people when it matters and it means something when he gets exasperated or upset etc. I laughed out loud when Ralph Fiennes said Bond 'pottered around'; I thought he was going to be more like the boss not just cold accountant like Judi Dench (I know that's not how she really is but you know).

So in sum, I guess, a fine movie, maybe too long and increasingly wrapped up in its own rebooted Universe. I don't know who they sneak into Bond 25 but I'm imagining Blofeld hiring a midget, a Korean with a razor sharp hat and some girl with a knife shoe. They look absurd to new fans while being just cheesy or too obvious to old fans. Some people were saying oh it's just silly fun like the old Roger Moore movies and I disagreed; it was personal and without approval like Dalton and in some cases Brosnan. It's Craig, it's its own thing. I just hope they don't make the next movie some sort of mock of everything that came before it while attempting to honour the series at the same time.

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