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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Spectre

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly bloggin' about a movie I own.  Just when I think I'm done with Bond, a new film hits theatres that has be talking about him again.  This time, the film in question is Spectre, and this is in my notes at February 15, 2016.

As much as I love the Daniel Craig Bond films, they seem to be stuck in "reboot" mode.  I'm starting to get tired of them rebooting the James Bond mythology, and wish they'd just get on with it.  Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were the origins of the man himself.  Skyfall finally gave us rebooted versions of popular supporting characters Q, Moneypenny, and even introduced a new M.  And when it looked like things were finally in place to get back to some good ol' James Bond adventures, the producers finally reacquired the rights to Bond's archenemy Blofeld and his terrorist network SPECTRE.  Now we're back into reboot mode to reintroduce Blofeld!

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that Blofeld is back.  It really does feel like more of the Bond elements are coming back, with the gadgets and Craig-Bond finally gets to ride off into the sunset with the girl.  But I'm not sure we needed Blofeld's new backstory. 

In the new, rebooted backstory, Blofeld is Bond's step-brother.  See, as has been established, Bond's parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident when he was 8.  That's been part of the canon forever.  But Spectre tells us that Bond was taken in by a close friend of the family, Mr. Oberhauser.  Oberhauser's son Franz was jealous of the close relationship his father was developing with James, and this led him to become a criminal mastermind to destroy James Bond.  Why did we need that?  World domination was always a much simpler, easier to understand motivation. 

So, yeah.  When the title was revealed as Spectre, we all knew who the villain was.  No need to throw up this Oberhauser smokescreen. 

That's a minor complaint, though, to what I feel is a pretty good James Bond film.  As I said, I'm thrilled that so many of the classic Bond elements are starting to return.  However, I am starting to agree with some criticisms that such elements seem a little out of place next to the gritty, realistic Bond that Daniel Craig has been playing.  So maybe it is time for Daniel Craig to hang it up.  Unless, of course, the next one is a remake of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  That would be the best direction to go in. 

And,  yeah.  I remember watching it in the theatre, as the climax mounted, that I realized that the plot was pretty much the same as Captain America: The Winter Solider.  Terrorist organization has been growing like a parasite within a well-respected intelligence organization.  Turns out the revolutionary new surveillance program is part of the terrorists' master plan, so our hero has to go rogue to stop it.  It's Winter Soldier with more talk and less superheroes. 

I'm also not sure the James Bond films need such an overreaching story arc.  I mean, Bond films have generally been standalone adventures.  But ever since they decided to specifically make Quantum of Solace tie up Casino Royale's loose ends, they've tried to develop an arc, the culmination of which has been the SPECTRE and Blofeld are the masterminds behind the events of the past three films.  Hey, remember that supporting villain with barely five lines in the first two films of the Craig run?  Well, he's back, and he's important now, so I hope you were paying attention!  

It sounds like I'm ragging on it, but I'm not.  I really did enjoy it.  It's just that, after watching some of the Roger Moore Bonds on Blu-Ray, I think we're ready for a return to the more lighthearted Bond.  These things go in cycles, and I think the era of the dour, serious Bond is in its twilight. 

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