By Dan Moren
December 4, 2014 8:00 AM PT
James Bond will return in ‘Spectre’
I can’t get me enough spy movies. In recent years, I’ve gravitated to more serious fare—I will make an argument that The Sandbaggers is the greatest spy TV series ever—but I’ve always held a special place in my heart for the ol’ super spy himself, James Bond. I first cracked a copy of Casino Royale as a fourteen year old and then plowed my way through all of Ian Fleming’s novels, so I have to admit I’m pretty excited for the next Bond film, which we now know is titled Spectre.
There’s only a brief synopsis of the plot on Wikipedia so far, but the new cast includes Christoph Waltz (the best part of both Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy’s Drax—not to be confused with the Bondverse’s Hugo Drax), Léa Seydoux (who already has some spy experience in the campy, fun Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), Monica Bellucci (The Matrix sequels), and Andrew Scott (Sherlock’s Moriarty). That’s along with returning actors Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Ralph Fiennes, and, of course, blond Bond himself, Daniel Craig.
The more recent Bond movies have gone back to the story’s roots, which you kind of have to when a franchise has hit the half-century mark. (Last year’s Dr. Who 50th anniversary special paid homage to the origin of that series too, though it didn’t go so far as to reboot the entire franchise.) Both Casino Royale and Skyfall were fantastic additions to the Bond oeuvre, and even the mostly forgettable Quantum of Solace had a few positives going for it. (A Bond movie where he doesn’t sleep with the female lead? Now that’s a departure.)
Spectre’s title signals the reemergence of the eponymous terrorist organization (whose logo is amusingly close to the Marvel universe’s Hydra), which hasn’t been canonically seen since 1971’s Diamonds are Forever, a film that also marked Sean Connery’s final official outing as Bond. (However, both Connery and SPECTRE did take center stage in 1983’s offbrand Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again.)
2012’s Skyfall gradually reintroduced some parts of the classic Bond canon, including Miss Moneypenny, a male M, and, of course, the Aston Martin DB5. With Spectre, we may see the return of some other iconic elements—there’s a rumor that Waltz’s character, who is currently credited as “Franz Oberhauser,” might actually be Bond arch-nemesis and SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld. (Perhaps most famous for his Nehru suit, Turkish Angora cat, and, of course, serving as an inspiration for both Dr. Evil and Dr. Claw.)
Director Sam Mendes earned serious cred with Skyfall, and it’s no surprise that he’s emphasizing bringing back the same writers and crew for Spectre. Like so many of the comic-book movies and TV shows I enjoy, his previous Bond outing walked the fine line between tipping its hat to the established canon while not needing to slavishly adhere to the picayune details that have accumulated over 50-plus years. It’s not an easy trick, and it certainly doesn’t make everybody happy, but as the man said, you can’t please all the people all the time.
So, next year’s shaping up to be a pretty great year for movies. We’ve got Spectre, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission Impossible 5, Pixar’s Inside Out, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, and, of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Instead of paying rent, I should probably just see if I can set up shop inside a movie theater.
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