Ignore the prats in the professional review media — this is a solid Bond movie. It’s not quite up to Casino Royale for quality, but it is better  than Skyfall. Here’s why this is a superior outing to its predecessor, and probably deserves to be in the top five Bond movies.

While there is a long of bitching about the pacing and length of the movie — and the latter is certainly a valid complaint of nearly ever blockbuster movie of the last 15 years, the pacing of SPECTRE is quick, with the necessary breathers to let character and plot unfold, and the view to gain relief from the action. (This is something action movies have seemed to forget — release and rebuild…just like older men. Looking at you Mad Max: Fury Road…) The action sequences, from the superlative fight/’splosions/chase through the Dia de los Muertos parade in Mexico City, to the car chase in Rome (which the Jaguar should have handily given Bond’s DB10 it’s ass), to the snow chase (the entire piece is an open homage to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), to the other excellent action set pieces are well-aced, last just long enough to wind the viewer up…then they END.

The other complaint is that this is less emotional a story than Casino Royale or Skyfall…wrong. The piece weaves together all of the Craig movies into a single story: the introduction of Blofeld as someone that has been in and out of Bond’s life since childhood was well-done and provides Bond with a nemesis that is, in every way, his antithesis, as well as giving the villain a reason to have a personal beef with our anti-hero. It draws on the pains of Vesper and M’s losses, and how Bond has integrated those losses and moved on. The character has become blase and had found his humor, but it is still armor to protect him from the world. The female lead isn’t worthless. She’s smart, actively aids Bond, still judges him and tried to force him to be better than he is, as Vesper did. But most importantly, there is humor in this movie; this has been missing since Casino Royale. The movies are generally good (save Quantum of Solice), well-made, but they are serious. Not The Dark Knight serious, but they’re not campy Moore period Bond. This film is fun.

The acting is good, and my main complaint is that Monica Bellucci — who at 50 is still sexier than all of the Bond girls for the last 25 years combined — does not get near enough screen time. In fact, she could have easily taken the place of the still-good Lea Seydoux. All the background characters — M, Q, and Moneypenny get to do things and it works.

The main plot is pretty obvious, as all of the older Bond pics were, as well: there’s a big conspiracy behind all the events of the last three movies, and that group, SPECTRE, is planning to gain control of the world’s intelligence agencies. Realistic? Maybe not. But it’s good Bond fodder. It sure as shit beats the “I get captured to make my master plan work” plot device that Hollywood’s been using for about a decade…and guess what? It was a shit plan and gimmick the first time it was rolled out, but Skyfall did it at the same time as Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Avengers. There were plot holes the size of a helicarrier in Skyfall and the villain was, while amusing (I liked Silva, really!), he was never sinister. Christopher Waltz’s Blofeld is sinister (and doesn’t get enough screen time.)

So, SPECTRE on my scale is a firm “worth full price”. It’s a slick, well-made Bond film.


From The Telegraph — 

I know people have been pushing for Idris Elba to be the next Bond, mostly out of a reflexive need to be “inclusive.” He’s a great actor in his own right, and I think he’d be good in the part. (I kinda liked the idea of Colin Salmon that was floated around after Brosnan’s departure…) Now The Telegraph is telling us the bookies in Britain are cutting the odds sharply for Damian Lewis — the superb actor from Band of Brothers, the highly underappreciated Life, and the way overrated Homeland. Apparently, Barbara Broccoli is a big fan, and since she’s the Grand Panjandrum of the Bond film franchise…

I have to say — I really want to see him get the part, although I think James McAvoy could pull it off famously, and Michael Fassbender’s got the look.


There’s nothing worse than watching a movie or discussing a book with an “expert.” That astronomy major who had to explain to you why the mining rovers in Moon are not where they should be or have to bitch about how the International Space Station and telecommunications satellites in Gravity couldn’t get hit by the same bit of debris. The weapons guys that tell you that grenade doesn’t create a fireball worthy of 10kgs of explosives, or there’s no f@#$ing safety on a Glock, which also doesn’t go “click” multiple times when empty (Okay…I’m that guy.)

Well, these humorless know-it-alls at the National Health Service in the UK have turned their attention to James Bond. They were shocked…shocked to find that Bond had a drinking problem, something that was painfully obvious in the Ian Fleming books, and was hinted at in multiple movies from the Moore period on. The NHS killjoys tracked his consumption by unit (at modern standards of drinking…not those of the 1950s for the books) and found that Bond was dropping back liver-damaging levels of alcohol. Four times the recommended level — how could he function? He would be impotent (a problem the NHS wallah would certainly know something about), and could shoot or drive straight.

1) All racial stereotypes included — Bond was a Scot. In the ’50s. A survivor of World War II and an MI6 agent when it was dangerous. He drank to excess because he had lost people he loved, was in a soul-destroying job, and most importantly — was a pulp fiction hero, hence an idealized version of what a “man” should be. My family in Scotland functions just fine on amounts of alcohol that Americans would instantly define as “clinical abuse.”

2) They were shocked to find he drove drunk. Again…1950s. Of course he did. We didn’t have schoolmarms at every turn telling us to wear seat belts, drive sober, and wear motorcycle helmets. (That doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea in all of these cases — just that life was a lot quieter when you didn’t have some meddlesome prat up your ass moralizing.)

3) How could he shoot straight? I don’t shoot drunk, as I recognize it’s whacking stupid, but I have had to qualify and shoot in the field on three days of sleep deprivation — just as debilitating, once you factor in adrenaline and discomfort — and I still shot expert. It’s doable. Just not likely.

4) But then again, a guy that tools around in a Bentley and can get a Beretta .25 to kill folks — that’s not a likely man. One that can get a Walther PPK to fire three times without jamming is superhuman. (Really, James — you gave up the exemplary P99 for a weapon your own service pulled for its lack of reliability? Crap…I’m doing it, too!)

5) The quip about him not being able to stir his drink…Bond doesn’t make his own drinks, deeb! And shaken is better. Even for a drink as awful as the Martini.

Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Bond that was a bit off after a night of drinking, but who powers through it while not being quite as physically capable. That would make him even more badass. Or imagine the scene — “We’ll launch the raid at dawn.” “Why dawn, 007? So they’ll be at their low point in their circadian rhythm?” “No, because I’ll have dried out enough to not get shot to death.”

One of the other points they might have hit on (and that Never Say Never Again addressed) was that Bond was also a foodie — a serious gourmand snob whose diet was an artery-clogging festival of delight. He smoked to excess — something they toned down in the Brosnan films, but brought back with Craig — why not tell us Bond would be an emphysemaic or in Stage 1 lung cancer? Here’s something you skinny-assed scientists didn’t take into account — Bond didn’t expect (like so many hard living people) to live past his 20s…30s…last week. When you’re in a job that involved getting brutally murdered at any moment, why wouldn’t you smoke, drink, and eat to excess? Plenty of athletes do it and did quite well in that time period (until you fall apart.)

Oh, that brings up 6): It’s fantasy! Just let me enjoy it.

Here’s a two-hour fanfilm that uses about 5-10 minutes from each film, in order, from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace.

I’m in.