You’re having a lovely time at the Day of the Dead festival, totally met a hottie in a skeleton suit and are looking forward to a game of hide the sausage in your hotel room – starts well, when he turns to take off his costume you settle comfortably on the bed to enjoy the show – but on turning he’s wearing another suit underneath, (how are you not really sweaty dude – it’s Mexico City) and then he climbs out the window with a ‘be right back’. Pretty weird. And more annoyingly he NEVER comes back. I wonder how long Estrella (thanks IMDB) waited? I mean do you have a nap or…?
These are questions you shouldn’t ask yourself, because it’s BOND baby and you are better off just sitting back and enjoying the ride. And what a ride Spectre was. Having totally nailed reboot Bond with Skyfall it must have been hard to come up with a follow up. I read an interview with Mendes that said he needed to out-bond Bond. Having seen it I think they just sat round a table shouting out all their favourite bits of Bond:
“A massive proper LAIR for the villain!” “A really personal vendetta!” “A army of faceless henchman in matching outfits!” “A bit on a train!” “Bond halfway inside someone before introducing himself!” “A VODKA MARTINI GAG!” “A really good car! Ooh ooh and a car chase!” “An assassin with a weird gimmicky way of murdering who is inhumanely strong and doesn’t say anything except one line for laughs!” “A woman who refuses Bond but then shags him anyway”.
‘Yes, yes loving this – but we’ve worked very hard to get rid of the memory of comedy gadget Bond so how can we get ALL that in, but still make it classy?’
“Let’s get Christopher Nolan” ‘Wait no Sam Mendes will do it again – yay!’.
Mendes has the skill to make you forget all the awkward questions that pop into your head as soon as they pop in – e.g. how big is Bond’s suitcase that he has an outfit for every occasion, from North Face catalogue-pose woolly hat for snow romps to white tux for train fine dining… and what train is that fresh out of Agatha Christie… and is the man who is asked to press the aforementioned white tux running the whole train… cos there was no one in the kitchen when they went fighting through it. Wait isn’t fingernails man going to use his awesome manicure to kill anyone else? Really just that one guy? And was that car chase a bit Grease when they went sideways up the riverbed? And where are all the other cars, weren’t they in Rome… etc etc. But then Mendes goes look, look at this beautiful tracking shot of Monica Belluci walking through her house, look at the light, look at the focus, enjoy the tension I have created out of nothing, look at me letting my actors actually act. Mendes just has this wonderful ability to let a Bond film breathe before boshing you in the face again with another ridiculous action sequence.
Don’t get me wrong, I love an action sequence – especially a ridiculous one – but this film just felt very Austin Powers. Christoph Waltz was having a wonderful time and just effortless at playing the bad guy, but his deeply unnerving introduction at the round table meeting when he looks up to exactly where JB is and says ‘Cuckoo’ was the best bit. The more we learnt about him the more Austin it got… check out my desert LAIR and my wheely chair and my quirky classic car (which would never run in all that sand) – look at my excitingly inventive ways of setting traps to kill you but oh gosh darnit you got away again.
But you know, despite the Austin Powers-ness of it, I did enjoy the REVEAL of who Waltz really was (SPOILER: anyone else go yay at the fluffy pussycat?) and Mendes’ style did, once again, keep me entirely gripped. I was shocked to find almost 3 hours had passed since I sat down in the cinema. Waltz was excellent, Craig has really settled in to Bond now (but equally I hope he stops now – mixed reports on that), the supporting cast were a dream (except WHO put Moriarty in charge of CNS and then were surprised they were baddies) and it was pure unadulterated Bond. Accept no substitutes.
But what of the henchman – no-one thinks of the family of a henchman…