Spectre might not be the best Bond film to date. It certainly doesn’t have the emotional impact of spectacular Skyfall or the tense nature of arguably the best Bond film Casino Royale, but it is, in my opinion, a very solid Bond movie with some great moments and performances. So to celebrate the release of Spectre on Blu-Ray, DVD and the Digital HD thing (physical media is still the best), I have picked out 10 of my favourite bits from the 24th Bond film, in no particular order.
And of course, spoilers will follow.
10. The Scale of it all
You could really tell that they put a hell of a lot of money into this film, just from the locations alone. I could be wrong but I don't believe they have been to so many locations in one film, and although I think the running time is for too long, this does allow the film to visit all of these locations without it feeling like it’s jumping around.
9. Writing’s on the Wall
It’s not quite Skyfall, Goldfinger or You Know My Name but I have to admit I do like this song. It has been met with a lot of criticism which is fair enough and I myself took a while to get into it, but I genuinely think it suits the film very well, and when accompanied by the title sequence I really like it.
8. The Gunbarrel Sequence
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM! Finally!
It has only taken them seven years to put it back where it belongs (I’m content with its placement in Casino Royale because that’s pretty much perfect). As soon as the music began playing over the studio logos I knew exactly what was coming and I even heard a few cheers in my screening as the white dots began to move across the screen. It wasn’t perfect, the dots should have come in with the opening ‘do do doo’ of the theme (once again I display my excellent knowledge of music) instead of having it play over a black screen, and I feel it ended too quickly but I can look over that because it is finally back in it’s correct place where it will hopefully remain.
7. The Title Sequence
Daniel Kleinman’s work in the Pierce Brosnan era never really impressed me but his title sequences for the Daniel Craig films have been outstanding. The simplified but stunning title sequence for Casino Royale and the dark and foreboding graphics for Skyfall are some of my favourites of the entire series. And then along come the titles for Spectre which are simply breathtaking. They were one of the main parts of the film I was anticipating and they did not disappoint. They complemented both the film and Sam Smith’s theme song beautifully and I cant wait to watch them again on my TV in all their HD glory!
6, 5 and 4. Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz and Daniel Craig
Madeline might not be one of the best Bond girls but I really do like her. Lea gave a fantastic performance throughout and helped to continue this era’s portrayal of Bond’s emotional, more human side. It really goes without saying that Christoph Waltz is a superb actor (my favourite in fact) and I really enjoyed him as Blofeld. Although he wasn’t given much to work with and I still feel he was sorely underused, he stole every scene he was in.
As ever, Daniel Craig gave a fine performance as Bond and continued to make the character his own whilst channeling Timothy Dalton’s rougher edge and, in this particular film, the lighter, Roger Moore-esque side.
Provided the rumours are not true (I hope they aren’t!) and Craig returns for the next Bond film, I would love for Seydoux and Waltz to return too - they certainly seemed to leave it open for that to happen. Perhaps they could begin the way Diamonds Are Forever would have, had George Lazenby stayed on, with Blofeld (maybe having escaped from prison) killing Madeleine and Bond going out for revenge. I think it’d be a great way to end Craig’s era.
3. Sam Mendes and Hoyte Van Hoytema
I loved Mendes' direction in Skyfall and was rather upset when he announced he wouldn’t be doing another, but fortunately, although it meant delayed filming, he changed his mind, and whilst many people sighed I cheered. I thought the direction was solid throughout and Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography was beautiful. I love the fact it was shot on film. It’s a dying format so it’s nice to see more and more filmmakers shoot on it.
2. Tempus Fugit
“Doesn’t time fly”Without a doubt the tensest scene in the film, the torturing of Bond with tiny drills was actually great. Not for him but for the audience at least. Whilst not quite as brutal as the torture sequence in Casino Royale which I still wince at, it was the perfect modern day re-imagining of the classic laser scene from Goldfinger. Thinking back to it, it reminds me of the dentist, and the fact I have an appointment the day after I get this on Blu-Ray is quite off putting now…
This scene also gave us the revelation that Waltz was indeed playing Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I’m sure everyone saw it coming (because they are fans, saw it in the news, or had David Walliams spoil it at the premiere) but I really like the way it was handled. I don't care for the whole ‘you stole my dad’ story line, but I love how quietly it was done… No overpowering music, no shouting. Just Waltz quietly explaining to Bond. Gives me chills every time.
Honourable Mention: Blofeld’s Cat and Scar
Now this I didn’t see coming… Thanks to Austin Powers, I thought the cat and the scar would be seen as too much of a parody but I suppose if they copied the ‘daddy issues’ idea they may as well go the whole way… And I’m glad they did.
1. ‘The dead are alive’
“I wont be long.”This is my favourite sequence of the entire film and possibly of the entire Craig era. I love a tracking shot so this scene is pretty much perfect. Every time I watch it I find myself holding my breath throughout. It’s wonderfully tense. It’s well shot; well directed, well acted, has a great score, and great... well, everything really.
Out of all the spy films that came out last year, I don't think Spectre was the strongest, but it’s by no means bad. It was a very solid entry into the Bond franchise and I can’t wait to finally be able to watch it at home.
What were your favourite moments from Spectre? Did you even like it? I know that this one has caused some debate amongst fans…
Nick is a 2000 year old alien who travels through time and space, saving the good and conquering the evil... or so he likes to think.
Spectre is out now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD in the US and will be available in the UK from February 22nd.