This Organization Does Not Tolerate Failure.

James Bond is back! And so, it would seem, is the SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. Check out this awesome poster for the movie, featuring a new, stylized throwback to the classic SPECTRE logo designed as the shatter from a bullet hole.

SPECTRESPECTRE.  Just… SPECTRE.  LOVE it. ‘Nuff said.

Last year, EON Productions managed to finally settle the long-running Thunderball rights dispute over SPECTRE with Kevin McClory – or I guess I should say with the estate of Kevin McClory, since the man himself died in 2006 at the age of 80, never having truly realized his dream of establishing a competing Bond film franchise. The closest he ever came was with black-sheep Bond flick Never Say Never Again, which is to say not very close at all, despite featuring brilliant bad-guy casting such as Max Von Sydow as SPECTRE chief Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Klaus Maria Brandauer as psychotic second-in-command Largo, and Barbara Carrerra as the murderous Fatima Blush—and despite managing, in something of a coup, to entice Sean Connery back to the lead character (the film’s title, in fact, was suggested by Connery’s wife Micheline, is in reference to his famous answer to the question of whether he’d ever again portray Bond on the screen: “Never again.”).

So we haven’t seen SPECTRE or Blofeld on the screen since 1983, even though that’s who everybody wanted to see, because Blofeld apparently escaped at the climax of Diamonds Are Forever. Which meant that Bond’s search for revenge for the death of Tracy Bond was never resolved, even though Diamonds Are Forever actually began with Bond on a ruthless world-wide manhunt for Blofeld, specifically intending to kill him. Still, even though EON was barred from the use of SPECTRE and the associated characters, they certainly had Roger Moore face off with enough stand-ins meant to evoke them:

stromberg

Not Blofeld.

drax

Not Blofeld.

wheelchair

Not Blofeld. *wink, wink*

 

 

To be fair, EON did attempt to give us justice for Tracy with the ignominious death of the unnamed ‘wheelchair villain’ from For Your Eyes Only.  But Tracy deserved better than such a short and almost comical sequence, and frankly so did we.

So then.  Daniel Craig is back as Bond, and SPECTRE is back, and we can assume that Blofeld is also back, and even though not much information was given at today’s press conference, the cast was introduced. And among that cast: Christoph Waltz.  Gee, I wonder who that guy could be playing in the movie, hmmmmm?  You’re Image54not fooling anybody with that ‘Oberhauser’ business, guys. I know a fake placeholder name when I see one. Also in the film: Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann; she was in Inglourious Basterds with Waltz, and also got her spy movie groove on with Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I saw her most recently in this year’s lush French Beauty and the Beast.  The eternally-beautiful Monica Bellucci also stars as Lucia Sciarra, and I pray that she’s been cast as a psycho SPECTRE agent. Her name certainly does being to mind classic Bond bad girls like Thunderball’s Fiona Volpe.  And big man Dave Bautista has also signed on as Mr. Hinx, hopefully as a hulking SPECTRE killer in the tradition of Red Grant. Groovy. Classic Bond all the way. Returning to the franchise are the cast established in Skyfall: Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner.

But who is Andrew Scott playing?  His character is listed as Denbigh, but that doesn’t sound any more legit than Oberhauser, and they definitely had him grouped on the villainous side of the stage.  Could he possibly be… Emilio Largo, SPECTRE’s Number 2?  And if so, could this indicate that SPECTRE is a remake of Thunderball?  The mind boggles.

James-Bond3

They also unveiled Bond’s new Aston Martin, the  DB10, which frankly looks like every other Aston Martin from the last 10 years, which is to say, not nearly enough like the classic DB5.

Casino Royale was amazing.  And although I thought Quantum of Solace was something of a misstep, Skyfall was superb, so I’m very happy to see Sam Mendes returning to direct.  It definitely set the proper mood for a return to the glory days of the Connery films, updated for modern sensibilities.  What will this mean for the future?  Will we begin to see a slate of remakes of the classic Bond films?  I’m not opposed to the idea.

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About Maurice

I suffer from acute cinemisery: A lingering depression that can only be alleviated by watching too many damn movies. Sometimes I share them. With someone like you.

Posted on December 4, 2014, in Fun Stuff, Movie People and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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