Spectre sheds the trappings of a silly James Bond loaded with booze, women and gadgets, but instead of getting the more evolved version of a 21st-century spy, the franchise may have lost what made Bond so much fun in the first place. Some of the additions are wonderful, and some left us scratching our heads.
Skyfall, the last Bond film starring Daniel Craig as 007, totally blew our minds. The Adele song, the loss of M (Judi Dench) and the dark moodiness behind our favorite spy made us believe James Bond was more than just a horny dude with a lot of cool gadgets. Spectre reaches for a similar tone, showing a more emo Bond, but it seems to lack all the traditional bits of fun the franchise promises. Could this be the franchise trying to reinvent itself? If so, we hope they keep working and exploring new ways to find the fun of James Bond.
Here are seven things we haven’t seen in a Bond film before.
1. A very subtle James Bond
People love the 007 franchise because of the way the films try to raise the stakes in terms of locale, beautiful women and unbelievable action sequences. Spectre, however, stays more rooted in reality than any other previous Bond incarnations. We missed a bit of the over-the-top characters and situations.
2. Spectre is full of nostalgia
This movie takes a look back at the incredible hoops Daniel Craig as Bond has been forced to jump through over the past three films, suggesting they are all connected by one villain. In the climax, Bond treks through a labyrinth with each villain’s headshot taped to the wall. Is Bond supposed to reevaluate his career through his interactions with these villains? Or are we supposed to realize it has all been one hard-fought journey leading to this moment with puppet master villain, Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz)? We don’t quite know, only that we are certainly nostalgic for Skyfall.
3. A 50-year-old Bond girl
Italian actress Monica Bellucci plays Lucia, a widow who can’t help but fall into Bond’s bed. At 50 years young, Bellucci makes an excellent addition to the Bond ladies.
4. Long Steadicam shots
The opening of the film takes place in Mexico City on the colorful Day of the Dead. Director Sam Mendes borrows the long Steadicam shots from the classic film, Touch of Evil, to track Bond and his beautiful lover, Estrella (Stephanie Sigman), as they join a parade. This is a very different use of camera work from that in the other Bond films.
5. A mission from a ghost
Just as Hamlet acted on instructions from his father’s ghost, Bond acts similarly when he responds to a videotape that was sent to him after M (Judi Dench) was assassinated. She tells him who to kill and, of course, not to miss a hookup with the deceased man’s widow at the funeral. Usually, the person giving the mission to Bond is still alive.
6. Oberhauser not a very impressive villain
Christoph Waltz plays Oberhauser, a master manipulator seemingly behind all the trouble Bond has experienced in the past three films. Unfortunately, the amazing Austrian actor who dazzled us in Inglourious Basterds is given very little to do in the film and comes off as just forgettable.
7. Spectre not creepy enough
Spectre is an acronym for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, and is a fictional global terrorist group. Though we know the organization’s logo is an octopus, we really don’t know that much more about them or why we should fear them. We really wish the film had played up the group’s evil ways and actually scared us.
Spectre opens in theaters today.