It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
That could apply to my blogging as much as the new Bond film, Spectre (2015).
As for my blogging: Call it getting a little lazy; call it seeing films without having much of any value to say about them; call it…
As for the film: Well good things come to those who wait! (Although, I concede there are those – even in my own little movie group – who would strongly disagree.) I’ll get more into this film, but first a little background.
Being a baby boomer, I grew up with Bond. The first installment I saw – on television – was perhaps the most iconic of the series, Goldfinger (1964). Just listen to the amazing theme song – and you know what kind of Bond film you’re in for. This was the film that also introduced us to uber evil henchman, Oddjob, and the ultimate driving machine (sorry, BMW, you ain’t it) the Aston Martin and all the cool stuff it could do.
After seeing this film I purchased a toy James Bond attache case complete with and exploding lock (it used caps just like a cap gun) and a very cool Bond gun along with other assorted stuff that a budding young Bond fan couldn’t possibly live without.
The first Bond film I saw at the theater was The Spy who Loved Me (1977). Another fairly iconic Bond film with it’s own fantastic theme song. It also introduced us to its own uber evil henchman, Jaws. We made a special trip downtown (that’s downtown Chicago) to a now defunct movie palace on Randolph street, The Woods, to see it. The whole experience was pure magic.
Another very special Bond film was Goldeneye (1995). It was a new Bond, but what truly made it special was that it was the first time our buddy’s son joined us on our Bond journey. (He’s seen all subsequent Bond films with us, including Spectre.) I didn’t think it lived up to the best of the past, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly.
By the time Daniel Craig took over the role in Casino Royale (2006) I thought the franchise benefitted from the face-lift it got. (I also thought it was one of the very best films in the series.) It was more stripped down, intense, hard-edged, and dramatic – and it worked perfectly. And what a great heme song! I seem to be falling into a pattern here on these songs…
Spectre, however, breaks the mold of the Craig-style Bond film. For me, it was a cool throwback to the older style of Bond film. Far more tongue-in-cheek than any of the other Craig films (without getting too silly as some of the later Roger Moore films did), Spectre seemed to me very much vintage Bond. I saw an interview on Charlie Rose with both Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes. They both seemed to want to lighten things up after doing Skyfall (2012). And I thought they succeeded admirably.
Now sometimes going retro has its disadvantages. When we see certain things in the classic Bond films of the past, we’re seeing things that were of their time. Things which don’t always translate seamlessly into our present perspective. That said, for those who were yearning for a more traditional Bond film I think Spectre delivers the goods. It even gives an evil henchman, Hinx. And it delivers the goods – doubly – on the Aston Martin!!! (You’ll have to see the film to see what I mean…) Alas, though, it had what may be the worst theme song of the series.
Oh well, Spectre was still a ton o’ fun! Go see it for a healthy dose of pure Bond escapism and a nicely done throwback to the Bonds of the past.