Renewed appreciation for Spectre

I could at least get somewhat behind what Tarantino is saying if he didn’t follow it up with praise for Spectre. He completely lost me when he said of Spectre: “Now this is a James Bond movie”

Skyfall has its issues, for sure. One thing that it does have going for it is that it at least kind of tries to capture that more small-scale feel of some of the earlier films, albeit still in the “body”, so to speak, of a big budget action blockbuster.

Those large gaps between films really did in the Craig era. They were on to something with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

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They are all Bond movies, no matter how much they fail us, or we fail them.

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Never said they weren’t. Merely disagreeing with Tarantino’s take that Spectre is how a Bond film should be made.

Any film that features the character James Bond is a “James Bond” movie. Q, M, Moneypenny, Felix, the title sequence, the gunbarrel sequence, the theme, and the rest of it are in no way necessary.

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I was joking with you dalton. I had hoped that the images of the LOST IN SPACE robot and the Buddha would convey that.

I know your horror response to SPECTRE, and your sharp analysis has made me work hard to maintain a coherent critique. For that I am grateful to you.

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Tarantino is just one of those blabbermouths who utter warped opinions to get attention. The fact that he did not like FRWL tells me everything about his Bond expertise.

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Like Quentin Tarentino, I also prefer SPECTRE over Skyfall. Though that’s due in large part to Bond having more fun in it (and consequently me in watching it). As a result, Skyfall just doesn’t grab me like it does a lot of other people or like many of the other 007 films do. However, Skyfall is clearly the better made film and arguably has the best cinematography of the series. But I disagree with Tarantino on Skyfall not being a James Bond film (or his not liking From Russia With Love). The size of the finale isn’t what makes a Bond film, it’s 007 himself who makes it a Bond film–and both films have that, though one can debate the merits, or lack thereof, of either.

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Skyfall is an all timer in my opinion. The thing Quentin doesn’t like, Silva attacking the lodge, makes the movie for me. It brings the title of the fillm to life and inverts Bond usually attacking the villain’s lair. It has atmosphere and tension with the noisy helicopter and its searchlight stabbing the night sky, which worked very effectively at the cinema.

It’s a good example of what happens when Bond’s back is against the wall. The explosion which destroys the building and helicopter is one of the more satisfying in the series, and is better than SPECTRE’s which was meant to be even bigger. The death of M made it feel like a modern OHMSS event film and gave the film more depth. I also like the glimpse of Andrew and Monique’s gravestones.

We can dissect the probability of things playing out like that in reality afterwards, but the sequence felt significant and different to me, especially at the time. Quentin is entitled to his opinion but to me Skyfall is neck and neck with Casino Royale. A great villain, a soaring title song and a good story for Bond. I don’t loathe SPECTRE but it doesn’t reach the same heights.

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While Skyfall has risen a bit for me since seeing it in the theater 12 years ago now (has it really been that long :astonished: ), it still feels like it falls short of the expectations it sets for itself in the first couple of sections of the movie.

They really build Silva up as this absolutely terrifying villain that can really bring M and, by extension, MI6 to its knees. The problem is, we don’t really see a lot of that. We spend most of the first bit of the film tracking the silent assassin Patrice and getting Bond back up on his feet following his “death”. These things aren’t nearly as interesting as what is happening in the background of the film, where I actually think we should have spent more time with Silva torturing M from afar while doing more to display the “fear” that we are supposed to feel for this terrifying character, that the people in his orbit apparently feel. More time should have been spent with the character as described by Severine. Silva’s opening moment is a great Bond moment, but after that, while it’s an absolutely terrific performance by Bardem, it feels like it ventures back a bit too closely to your typical Bond villain rather than this truly terrifying and ruthless monster that the first half of the film builds him up as. They should have also played up the bit about Silva being a former agent of M’s a bit more. We learn about it at roughly the same time M does, but it never feels like this shocking or devastating reveal that it should be.

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I’d argue M knew it all along - but this is really the weak link of the script. Silva is the 0.1.-version of a 00-agent, M’s tool before she had her hands on Bond and colleagues. She claims he went rogue, so she tipped the Chinese off about him - but wouldn’t she do so anyway?

There is a moment in SKYFALL where it’s possible to identify M as the monster and Silva as victim. It’s not the reading Bond - and with him we as audience - settle on. But we indeed see little of Silva’s monstrosity until he murders Severine - and that is such an act of whim it doesn’t seem to have any motivation beyond bringing us as viewers together against Silva. Why he does it only the writers would know.

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She was selling him to a foreign government, it might very well have touched a nerve.

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What he said was “From the opening action sequence in ‘Spectre’ on, it was like, 'Now this is a James Bond movie.”

If you take out the “on,” the sentence almost works. The opening is sort of Bondian (it ought to be since it borrows from FYEO), but it’s all downhill from there.

I do agree SF’s “Home Alone” ending was underwhelming, but I wouldn’t call Spectre’s climax a barn-burner, either.

Sometimes I almost wish Tarantino would’ve gotten his shot at Bond just so we could see how bad he’d eff it up. As long as “Tarantino’s Bond” is merely a “what if” exercise, he can coast on the notion that somehow he could’ve done something better than what we got.

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Yes* - but arguably Silva wanted her to because it all fit into his bigger plan.

*But was she really? She went on a cruise and a shower with Bond, and she may have hoped to see him solving her relationship issues. Yet there’s nothing committing her more to Bond’s cause than to Silva’s. She apologises to him when they are taken prisoner as if she knew all along this would happen. It’s possible Silva is a bit touchy about the shower part of the recent voyage. But nothing suggests Silva would indeed nurse soft feelings for Severine and feel betrayed by her. If anything, she did a top job.

Looks like Silva took a page out of M’s book on corporate culture.

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I always thought Silva killing Severine was showing off to Bond how ruthless he was. Others meant nothing to him anymore. Therefore Bond did the same and pretended to be only sorry for the waste of Scotch.

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I don’t disagree with this sentiment, but at the same time, with the way that they built Silva up over the course of the first half of the film, that is the more interesting thing that the film should be focusing on rather than watching Bond rehab himself and chase down Patrice. Silva talks to Bond about how much damage he can do from his island, so why not see some of that? He steals the NOC List from MI6, but after that, all we see is a brief YouTube video of the agents identities being blown. This is actually the first evidence of a major problem that would really hamper the back end of the Craig era, where everything is so focused on the character level with Bond and M and the like that the stakes of what is happening are never truly developed. Much like my major issue with Spectre and No Time to Die, the threat of what is actually at stake in Skyfall is left to the viewer to really create for themselves in their own mind. Yes, the story is about the Bond/M/Silva dynamic and relationship, but at the same time, the only reason that they are chasing him in the first place is what is happening to these agents in the field. If Silva is so intent on his vendetta with M, why not put some of that expertise for chaos on display and have him create more (on screen) havoc for MI6 than a simple YouTube video and the opening explosion, which more provocation on his part towards M and MI6 would have done. If Silva’s plan was to get caught, he doesn’t do a great job of leading Bond to him, as catching Patrice in that exact moment at the assassination is what ultimately gave him that chance, a chance he wouldn’t have gotten had Patrice had taken Bond out in the PTS or had Bond stayed “dead”.

And showing what the stakes are is fairly simple to do, yet the later Craig films don’t really seem to grasp this. We get that one scene of Bond and Camille walking back from the sinkhole and see the devastation that Greene’s drought is having on Bolivia. It’s the old adage of “show, don’t tell”. Quantum of Solace show us the threat. Spectre, No Time to Die and, to a lesser extent, Skyfall, do more telling than anything. We’re told that Silva is this evil mastermind, we’re old that Nine Eye needs to come online to combat these terror plots that are unfolding on TV screens across the globe, we’re told that Heracles can do, well, something, but simple scenes that could be introduced to these films to take the responsibility for creating the higher stakes for these films off of the shoulders of the audience would go, at least for Skyfall (there’s too much wrong with the other two films for this fix to solve all of their problems), a long way towards crafting a more dynamic experience.

And as far as the Severine moment in the film with Silva, it does show him to be ruthless, but at the same time, it in and of itself is nothing that truly separates Silva from any of the other Bond villains. I mean, Drax sent his dogs after one of his employees and took her out in a much more vicious fashion than what Silva does here. But after the build up of him being this horrifying (“How much do you know about fear?” “Not like this. Not like him”) entity, once he appears on screen, he really reverts back to something much more in line with what we expect from a Bond villain, despite an excellent performance from Bardem, who I think absolutely elevates the character from what is presented on the page.

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The killing strikes me as the writers showing off to the audience how ruthless Silva is. That and the colloquy with Bond scream: “Crazed villain!! Will stop at nothing!! Issues in past will explain all!! Thank you Robert McKee!!”

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I also never thought that Silva is executing a complicated plan. Just like Bond he is using opportunities which present themselves in the moment.

Silva would not have tried to get caught by Bond if Bond had stayed away. He might have wreaked more havoc from the island. But Bond interrupted everything and Silva reacted.

If Q had not been so careless Silva would have found another weakness to exploit and to escape.

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