I don’t know what the formula is that keeps me coming back to 007. The Sean Connery years are definitely period pieces by today’s standards. Roger Moore as James Bond was cool and campy. Almost like watching Adam West as Batman. Timothy Dalton was too hard-edged and unforgiving playing the role and for me personally Pierce Brosnan was perhaps channeling a bit too much Remington Steele for my liking.
The series could have continued down that make-believe path of vaudevillian villains with the mega-lair that Dr Evil would be drooling over. Then came along Daniel Craig, who essentially rebooted bond, and brought a healthy dose of reality and consequence to the character. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace changed the game for Bond and upped the stakes to unto before seen levels.
Then Sam Mendes turned the amps up to 11. I loved everything about Skyfall, the cinematography was beyond anything that had ever graced the world of 007. The story line actually meant something, the movies dovetailed together.
Spectre brings everything together, including the sins of the past. The gritty reality of Craig’s bond hits home in ways that have never been explored and only hinted at in Skyfall. James Bond was once a boy and that boy has a dark past.
Pictures and documents from James’s childhood are recovered from his boyhood home of Skyfall, things he would rather have left behind. One burned photo from the movie trailer shows two boys and a man standing together in the snow. Does James Bond have a brother? And if so how does he fit into the larger picture of the cabal of lies and the shadowy organization that is behind all of it?
Spectre brings the Daniel Craig story arc into sharp focus and ties the clues together. Who was ultimately behind the deaths of Dame Judy Dench’s “M”, and his love interest Vesper Lynd for whom he was willing to give up his service to crown and country?
Once again Sam Mendes ups the action to almost hyperactive levels in the opening scenes but with the artistic flair very few directors can match at this level. This is not a CGI slug fest but a film in which a reported 36 million dollars worth of high performance supercars were destroyed in filming.
The Daniel Craig story arc for James Bond has delivered a character examination of a lifestyle that has consequences. People die, new relationships form and villains have real world ambitions. The situations depicted in Spectre are going on in the world today. Intelligence agencies collect data on the population at large in increasing levels. Phone calls, video surveillance and data transfers are being monitored in real-time but who ultimately controls that information and to what end?
If you love the world of Ian Flemming’s most potent creation do yourself a favor and go see this movie.
My rating for Spectre is 4.5 out of 5.
Authors Note: If you want to learn the real life inspiration for James Bond 007 please use the links below.
William Stephenson the quiet man that would inspire 007
James Bond, Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler: The Canadian Connection
William Stephenson, Roald Dahl and Ian Flemming: The Birth of James Bond 007