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Spectre: Blu-ray Review

[Blu-ray]  

By Ian Dunross
October 29, 2016
For clarity, all book titles are displayed in small caps (Casino Royale), and short stories are shown in quotes and capitalized accordingly (“For Your Eyes Only”). Film titles, on the other hand, are italicized and shown with the capitalization used by the filmmakers (For Your Eyes Only). Quoted passages contain the styles used in the original source.
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The ornate cinematography is the sun around which the cast orbits in Spectre, the most expensive James Bond film, and the one that drags the series down to its ultimate nadir in terms of idiocy. I walked out of the theatre last November with this feeling, and it came back to me when I chanced to view the film on Blu-ray (“That’s your own damn fault,” I hear you saying and I agree wholeheartedly). Under the auspices of director Sam Mendes, the misused cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema renders Spectre with aerial shots of cities, car chases that resemble The Fast and the Furious, wide shots of explosions, overhead shots of crowds in Mexico City, overhead shots of a snowy landscape, overhead shots of the Moroccan desert, and, of course, darkly-lit scenes that jog memories of Christopher Nolan’s brooding Batman films. Through it all, Spectre is an incoherent compilation of wooden acting, hokey dialogue, and kitschy style, all converging into a B-movie appeal, thanks to its carelessly absurd story. To say that Spectre is an intelligent action film with aspects of “art” is delusional. The artiness is nothing more than an aspiration, which the current stewards of the franchise don’t even comprehend how to achieve. And on some not-so-hard-to-grasp level, they never even understood how to approach this film. Spectre is ill-conceived and serves as an act of desperation.

Their tactic, once again, is to assert the film as a profound entry in the series, and one so true to Fleming. But somewhere in pre-production, Mendes and his cronies most likely rummaged the book shelves at the Eon office and tossed the Fleming books into the shredder to avoid any thoughtful adaptation and, well, to make the script as bare as the Moroccan desert scenes they had planned to film. There's hardly any plot to hold us in suspense. There's nothing very emotional at stake, unless you count a reunion with a long lost foster brother that involves inserting needles into the Craig-Bond’s skull. So just bring in the multi-bajillion dollar bailout from the studio marketing, the filmmakers seem to say, and announce to the world that Spectre, like all of Craig’s Bond films, differ from the lightness of the old 007 series. “It's quite difficult to describe why [the new film] is so exciting,” Mendes babbles at the press conference in November 2014. “But I think it is, in story terms” (“Spectre: Sam Mendes hints at 'more mischief' in new James Bond film”).

Any attempt to hark back to Fleming just points to half-baked mood and imagery (oh, how thoughtful of them to present a building with a name that alludes to a Fleming short story, “The Hildebrandt Rarity”). We get elements that rehash the atmosphere of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; not just because of the alpine landscapes, including a mysterious clinic on a snowy mountaintop, but because the Craig-Bond, Madeleine Swann, and her father, the shady Mr. White, form a trinity that faintly echoes the Bond-Tracy-Draco triangle in the novel. Yet for a film that flaunts its literary source (in fact, the marketing angle for all the Craig films), Spectre lacks Fleming’s preoccupation with evil and its obscurity and its relation to appearance and reality. It’s evil not in the supernatural vein but something palpable, stemming from the passions of individuals. It’s evil lurking beneath the everyday world, taking shape as dread, chaos, destruction, and darkness. The totalitarian impulses of a Bond villain is rooted in this very nihilism: hence, the megalomaniac who thrusts his superiority onto the world—all because there is nothing else, even nothing to believe in except himself. As Blofeld touts to his direct reports in Thunderball, “‘I am not concerned with morals and ethics [because, by implication, they don’t exist for him], but members will be aware that I desire, and most strongly recommend, that SPECTRE shall conduct itself in a superior fashion. There is no discipline in SPECTRE except self-discipline’” (50). Ah , yes, when nothing defines the world, when absolutes don’t exist, a good nihilist falls back upon himself to be structured in this so-called self-discipline. With this outlook, he’s free to pursue the joys of totalitarianism; for this individual has no loyalties and no purpose other than to embrace the impulse to destroy existing structures—political, social, religious—and reign over what’s left. For Fleming, the ruthlessness in Bond’s profession and the threat from such villains converge to form an aspect of life that isn’t readily noticeable—it exists as a dark reality, hidden beneath the everyday world. As early as the first novel, Casino Royale, Bond senses this dichotomy. As he walks to the casino in the morning sunlight, he is disturbed by his surroundings: “Against the background of this luminous and sparkling stage, Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark profession an affront to his fellow actors” (31). By the time we witness his ski escape from Blofeld’s mountain lair on Christmas Eve in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, we find him startled by the discrepancy between the joyous night and the terrifying intentions brewing within Blofeld’s alpine clinic. Resting on a mountain side, Bond notices that Blofeld’s henchmen are shooting flares from a higher point in the mountain, followed by grenades aimed at him. He skis along the winding slope and notices the luminous village below and remembers Christmas, a stark contrast to the danger:

Of course! Bright idea! This was for the sake of the watchers in the valley who might be inquisitive about the mysterious explosions high up the mountain. They were having a party up there, celebrating something. What fun these rich folk had, to be sure! And then Bond remembered. But of course! It was Christmas Eve! God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing ye dismay! Bond’s skis hissed an accompaniment as he zigzagged fast down the beautiful snow slope. White Christmas! Well, he’d certainly got himself that! (123)

Later in the novel, during the helicopter raid on Blofeld’s lair, he sees the mountain as an emblem of terror, of dread, that haunts the picturesque mountain range: “The gold-tipped needles of the glittering mountains seemed to be closing in on them from right and left. Ahead were the great peaks. . . . Bond turned back and gazed ahead, looking for the soaring peak that he loathed and feared” (172). Again, two layers of existence, so to speak: the beautiful alpine scene juxtaposed with a dark reality. Earlier, when Tracy had rescued him from Blofeld’s men, he cherishes the warm life she evokes while the terror in the mountain looms somewhere behind him: “Life was beginning to come back to Bond. It was so wonderful to be in this little car with this marvelous girl. The memory of the dreadful mountain, of all that he had been through, was receding. Now there was hope again, after so much dread and despair” (131).

Tracy, then, represents hope. Once again, the duality: hope (and all the joys that Tracy brings) in the midst of that other dark reality of dread and despair. And, for Bond, what luck to encounter her, among all the ski resorts in Switzerland, at this one near Blofeld’s clinic, a woman beguiling and beautiful as ever, with a knack to turn up when she’s needed most! Of course, Bond fans know the outcome of their romantic union. Hope and love seem illusory, especially when a nihilistic force such as Blofeld is lurking nearby to shape the novel’s downbeat conclusion. Still, one can’t help but wonder if Bond’s vision of Tracy-as-hope is nothing more than an ideal spun at the moment, considering the frightening escape he had just been through? Put another way, is his reaction nothing more than somebody giving love such high expectations and creating a shelter to retreat from Blofeld’s terror? It seems this is Fleming’s play on appearance versus reality. This world of pleasures and vacations and Christmas holidays and the presence of a beautiful woman form a facade from which to hide from terrors and the actualities of everyday living. We can only take doses of that other reality, the hidden one. Bond’s reaction in the car links to his thoughts at the start of the novel, when he remembers his childhood as he stares at the sea. He feels warm nostalgia for his boyhood, an innocent time that he finds comforting, unlike the reality of the profession he now finds himself. Suddenly, the contrast of the two disturbs him: “Impatiently Bond lit a cigarette, pulled his shoulders out of their slouch and slammed the mawkish memories back into their long-closed file. Today he was a grown-up, a man with years of dirty, dangerous memories—a spy” (10). In this opening, Fleming sets the condition of his hero—a solitary figure trapped in the violent world of espionage—against the happiness of his childhood and the pleasant scenery of the French coastal resort, “one of those beautiful, naive seaside panoramas for which the Brittany and Picardy beaches have provided the setting” (9). To say more of these books would be to anticipate what Fleming depicts in his fiction. But it’s clear that he reworked the age-old theme of appearance versus reality, cloaked in the framework that behind the world as we see it before us, there is a shadow expanse of evil. I’ve explicated these Bondian scenes, and thus risked boring the reader unfamiliar with them, partly because Fleming had specific themes weaved into his tales, but partly also to bring home that Spectre is all bollocks and quite remote from Fleming’s fiction.

Director Mendes has now made two Bond films—in 2012, Brokeback Skyfall, which was enough to have us longing to watch Special Agent Oso, a kiddie show about a secret agent teddy bear; and, of course, Spectre: The Most Expensive Bond Film Ever, which was enough to make us admire the artiness of K.C. Undercover, a Disney Channel series about a teenaged math whiz-turned-spy. Both films showcase Mendes’ signature: a city blown up with its citizenry in panic but shot from an aerial view. Just as explosions shatter London in Brokeback Skyfall, we have explosions and collapsing buildings in Spectre’s opening sequence. I gather the aerial shot is some “arty” point of view of an omniscient narrator rattling how brilliant everything is in a Sam Mendes Bond film. Now if you argue that we mustn’t dwell on Mexico City, or London, falling down because they’re just backdrop fodder and inanimate anyway, I’d say it’s all comparative: in both films, the cities in destruction are more animated than Daniel Craig. And at least they have that aerial point of view. Mendes, on the other hand, lacks any point of view. Specifically, with Spectre, we have a slab of action film that operates on pure sensation—sweeping panoramic camera work, sudden cross-cuts in locales, lyrical Alpine vistas: it’s The Sound of Music for the millennial generation. Mendes whacks choice cuts from Bond films of yore, leading to disjointed homages, while emulating the style and mood of Nolan’s Batman series, with some Bourne-style rapid fire editing thrown in. Oh, and toss in the strategic product placements and the contractually stipulated car chases and explosions.1 Impressively, the result is quite a work of manic filmmaking.

It took four writers to assemble some kind of screenplay: John Logan (fired early in pre-production), the usual duo of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and playwright Jez Butterworth, who proved just as ineffective as his three predecessors. True, the film had a troubled production; but the screenplay provides the core of the film’s unmerciful degradation: not a coherent plot in sync, although a faint motif about a government surveillance network, called Nine Eyes, surfaces here and there, forcing us to remember the latest Mission: Impossible film, Rogue Nation, including its use of Austrian and Moroccan locales. This is what supposedly four top notch writers in the business bring to the table. Well, all right—four writers and a $350 million-plus budget and the luxury of a three-year gap in development time. Then again, weak script aside, perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Craig tenure is its tendency for self-degradation. Hence, Mendes willingly jumps into rehashing scenes from other 007 films (for example, the Day of the Dead celebration recalls the Junkanoo Parade in Thunderball) and conjures the déjà vu with Mission: Impossible, distracting as this approach is, because this is Mendes offering—and acknowledging—the sense that Spectre is assembled from bits of other films.

By the time we reach the part where Craig’s Bond is captured in the villain’s lair, we’ve reached the centerpiece of Spectre where the “dramatic” revelation is meant to leave us in riveting awe. No, the Craig-Bond doesn’t announce he’s truly gay, just as we sensed he wants to do in Brokeback Skyfall. No, no, director Mendes and company offer us something worthy of the kitsch in, say, All My Children. For here, at last, is a Bond film that serves as a window to the lives of people caught in highly exaggerated drama, reaching the sensationalism of a soap opera: after all (and cue the somber organ music), what could be more “dramatic” than to learn that your long lost foster brother is none other than your arch enemy? “You’re sort of telling the story backwards of how Bond became Bond,” proclaims Mendes (Trumbore). Yes, Spectre uses the threadbare formula of a jealous brother in revenge; that Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the mastermind behind all the villainy in other 007 capers, is Bond’s foster brother in the Oberhauser family, a man now hell-bent on destruction and world domination because Father Oberhauser favored the Craig-Bond.2 Let the world be warned: little Franz Oberhauser/Blofeld has come to kick ass and make crisp apple strudels in the Austrian alps—and he’s all out of ground nutmeg and icing sugar!

Alas, this is apparently the fantastic idea that the studio executives babbled about in the Sony email leaks. Jonathan Glickman, the president of MGM's film division, praises one of the final versions of the script for its creativity, which calls into question his taste in storytelling. Evidence suggests his primary concern centers on the budget, not the quality of the story:

Just as we are thrilled with the creative changes made in the last outline, it feels like there will be some streamlining in the new structure that should help reduce the number. (Sargent)

If the Spectre script constitutes great storytelling, as these studio hacks express, then we truly are facing the decline of the west, as Spengler forewarned. Unfortunately, what they fail to grasp is that no one gives a collective rat’s ass that Blofeld is the Craig-Bond’s foster brother in the Oberhauser clan—hence, no one cares about his evil scheme and, thus, no one cares about the plot. Moreover, with the character appearing sporadically throughout the series, with different actors playing the part, any personal connection between the villain and Bond in Spectre fails to engage us. Apart from Bond fans, everyone (especially the new generation of film-goers) has long forgotten this character. Even if we accept the film’s timeline as it is, without any connection to the pre-Craigian Bond films, the twist doesn’t deliver any dramatic impact: the big problem of the Blofeld character is his lack of screen time; and by the time we get to the revelation scene, Waltz and Mendes are forced to cram biographical information in the space of a few minutes. Blofeld resorts to corny mumblings about being “the author of all your pain” in the Craig-Bond’s life. His obligatory doomsday speech is riddled with metaphors about cuckoos and meteorites. Not once do you believe he’s the ominous shadow haunting the Craig-Bond’s life. Oddly, for such a turning point in one’s life, the Craig-Bond isn’t even aghast and surprised by the revelation, which also contribute to the weakness of the revelation. Instead, he screams at Blofeld to turn off a secret video recording of his meeting with Mr. White and overacts with girlie screams in the torture scene. But not once does he plead to brother Franz, “Daddy would not want us to fight.” I see no effort to reconcile the sibling issues in this joyful family reunion; not even any playful sparring like the brothers in The Wonder Years, who, in the end, care about each other but are unwilling to show their feelings. The Craig-Bond needs to find a better brother in a TV family sitcom.

Balls are truly dropped by Mendes and his quartet of screenwriters. The film has the feeling that they scrambled to find some kind of angle to give Spectre its raison d'être but, in the process, they deferred to the alleged coolness of today’s action films: the tendency to make the hero—a tormented individual wallowing in his psychological baggage—discover some kind of personal link to his enemy. In another era of Bond filmmaking, the series had the courage to take on “something dark and something more serious,” as the late Richard Maibaum (who wrote many 007 films) explained about Licence To Kill:

“The drug lord from Central America is the villain of the day. There’s no doubt about about that, so why duck it? In The Living Daylights, for God sakes, we anticipated the Contra business of selling guns. . . . So who was there to be the definitive villain today but the drug lord? We wondered whether we should do it, because there have been other Bond movies that have dealt with drugs. . . . This time, we go into depth regarding the laundering of the money, the making of the drugs and the national organizations involved. It’s very interesting and very real.” (Gross)

Maibaum, if he were alive today, would have confronted the villainy of the times. He would have tackled middle-eastern terrorists in a Bond film. Whether the current stewards of the franchise would have agreed is another matter. One thing is certain: Spectre is designed to appeal to the PC tribunal in its emphasis on the rift between brothers, in which one feels outdone by the other, thereby thrusting onto the film the social justice claptrap of inequality.3 Therein lies the difference between the Bond films of yore and today’s state of the series: the former has conviction in itself, even courageous in what it sets out to do, while the latter struggles to avoid the hackles of progressive viewers. Yet, at the end of the day, what do we have in Spectre? At its base level, the film offers the brotherhood of Blofeld and Bond as the single most moronic idea ever concocted from the Hollywood factories, and the series almost never recovers from it. The brotherhood doesn’t even exist in the Fleming tales. Nor does Fleming’s Bond have any familial connection whatsoever with the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Nor are there any relations between the Blofelds and the Oberhausers. The literary Blofeld was born in Gdynia of a Polish father and a Greek mother. As for the Oberhauser name, Fleming’s Bond recalls one Hannes Oberhauser briefly, in “Octopussy,” as a mentor of sorts, even a guardian: “He taught me to ski before the war,” Bond explains, “when I was in my teens. He was a wonderful man. He was something of a father to me at a time when I happened to need one” (47). This Oberhauser, a mountain guide appearing in a flashback narrative, is such a minor character that Fleming never bothered to sketch details of his life. Hence, with Spectre, we have filmmakers bankrupt of ideas as they grasp at straws to fabricate and pad out a backstory for Craig’s Bond. As for Waltz’s Oberhauser, he’s quite lucky he came across a creepy villainous name, because if he settled for a last name such as Bettencourt or Williamson or Trudeau, his villainy would have lacked the special essence needed for a Bondian megalomaniac. In the film’s demented reality, the Blofeld surname just happens to be his mother’s maiden name. During the torture scene, he explains he changed his name to Ernst Stavro Blofeld twenty years ago, after killing Father Hannes and staging his own death. Not to be punctilious, but I think he’s quite lucky to encounter the name Ernst Stavro to complete the Blofeld-villain name. Had he used Williams Sonoma or Jean-Claude or Hector Baldwin, the full Blofeld name would have lost its menacing charm. Anyway, the gist of his backstory is that he lives to fight another day, under the guise of a new persona. Begone forever that old self, little Franz. Begone forever, the forgotten child of the Oberhauser household. A nifty makeover into the leader of Spectre is all it takes to compensate for all those years of painful jealousy when Father Hannes favored brother Craig-Bond. Of course, this isn’t Fleming’s work in Spectre. It’s Mendes and the Bond producers resetting the Fleming canon for their own purpose.

At least Mendes achieves the distinction of being the premiere director when it comes to getting bad performances from bland actors. Andrew Scott is your typical annoying bureaucrat, known as “C”, who spends most of the time arguing with other annoying government bureaucrats in the confines of MI6. One need only go to the local DMV office to see annoying bureaucrats. Ralph Fiennes, as M, displays his usual charisma—that is, none that I could see. He exudes the authoritative presence of a Matt LeBlanc. Monica Belucci’s high-caliber acting chops were exploited to the fullest in that she wore a black dress and appeared in a very lengthy 42-second cameo. As for the Bond girl, Lea Seydoux is quite the stunning Miss compact refrigerator, chilling the scenes in a movie that is already devoid of human warmth. The young chappie who plays Q (Ben Whishaw) seems like he was on his way to audition as a singer for a Wham! tribute band but sauntered into a dreadful movie gig: he’s apparently a newcomer to mainstream action films but, despite his lack of experience, he easily contributes to the stiffness of the entire cast. Only Christophe Waltz adheres to the one thing needful: embrace the hokum, have a blast tackling the kooky-pompous foreigner shtick, and cash the check.

Rounding out the cast is, of course, the Anointed One, Mr. Slit-My-Wrists Craig. The skeletal mask he wears in the opening sequence is an apt symbol for the dead-like performance he’s been dragging since Casino Royale in 2006. Yet unlike his alleged leaden, charmless predecessors, Craig is suppose to ooze with the magic touch. It hasn't been evident on screen, nor in any of his interviews, since he assumed the 007 role. In Spectre, he's meandering and unfocused and entirely self-aware of his contempt for the role—as in his claim that he’d rather slash his wrists than make another Bond film. The Craig-with-the-magic-touch has been colossally exaggerated out of all proportion since he was cast.

The lack of a solid script is evident throughout the film, right down to Mendes’s inability to find a proper ending. As the Sony email hacks revealed, Hannah Minghella, who at the time was president of production at Columbia Pictures, questioned harshly the ending:

If this is the movie that resolves the last three films then the emotional significance of that idea for Bond seems only lightly served at best. He [the Craig-Bond] finds the Vesper tape but never watches it. He appears to fall in love again for the first time since Vesper but there's no real emotional vulnerability there - why this girl? Why now? When he leaves with her at the end of the movie and throws his gun in the river has he gone for good or is this just a well earned vacation as is so often the ending of a Bond film. Does he feel some sense of completion that he finished the last mission M/Judy left for him? It's hard to know what significance any of these final gestures carry. (Sargent)

Mendes never bothered to address her comments: the ending unfolds just as she had described without any revisions. One senses a rushed feel to it all, that time simply ran out for the filmmakers to tighten the script. Re-shoots did occur as late as September 2015, one month before the U.K. premiere, which suggests the production chaos continued right down to the wire. Hence, the muddled ending. It even lacks urgency and suspense, and the final confrontation with Blofeld and the Craig-Bond is equally unconvincing. After all the hell that his foster brother has done to him, the Craig-Bond decides not to kill him? Apparently, for this Bond, it’s better to throw away his gun and walk from the scene, holding hands with Madeleine Swann. The series has never plunged so low into kitsch. Equally futile is the final, final ending: Mendes is compelled to end it all on a happy note, so the Craig-Bond returns to MI6 headquarters to ask Q for the Aston Martin DB-5. It’s a sad excuse to have the Craig-Bond and Madeleine Swann, in the final scene, drive away into the London horizon. It’s also anti-climactic after all the explosions in London where the Craig-Bond has a literal ticking clock to race against.

Spectre was released on Blu-ray on February 9, 2016 in the US. The disc production is top notch. Picture quality is terrific on my reference grade Sony XBR monitor. The AVC-encoding even rendered the darkest scenes with exceptional clarity. The shadows that typically conceal Christoph Waltz are deep and black but lighten with precision during his close-ups. Overall, fine detail is quite good, even in the aerial shots of crowds in the Day of the Dead sequence where individual figures on the streets have distinction. Unfortunately, the fine detail also underscores Craig’s lack of suitability for the role—three years after Brokeback Skyfall, he’s aged even more so, appearing, just as ever, too old for the part; and the clarity of the picture quality emphasizes how his make-up is so overdone that it accentuates the lines on his face. The soundtrack, on the other hand, boasts a 7.1 audio mix. We get the usual deep bass for explosions and the whirlwind of effects emanating with precision from the surround speakers. The interface itself has a slick look, and there are extras included on the disc. There must be some sort of inverse law applied to disc production, because the same attention to detail was given to the latest Zac Efron film. On the other hand, my copy of Key Largo is devoid of extras; but I suspect Ben Affleck’s Gigli abounds with the film’s various trailers and artfully shot behind-the-scenes documentaries.

Despite the heavy marketing blitz during its release, Spectre ultimately struggled at the box office. By its second week, the film began to make an uncontrollable descent and eventually landed in the realm of forgetting when Star Wars: The Force Awakens flourished in theaters and dominated public consciousness. Not even the cool gadgets from Q’s laboratory could save Spectre from the scrapheap. Today, public sentiment for the film seems to have gotten worse. As Isaac Feldberg states:

To say last year’s Spectre was a let-down would be a colossal understatement. With its bloated runtime, boring villain, and bizarrely tangled mythology, it was James Bond repurposed for the Marvel age, a film that wanted to honor its heritage while scribbling haphazardly over it. Viewers cried foul, and rightly so – the film inexplicably missed everything appealing about the Bond character.

For Spectre is simply a dull, wretched film. Its reliance on the brotherhood of Blofeld and the Craig-Bond is nothing more than a bargain-basement plot device, and the film meanders in uselessness—a testament to the uselessness of Mendes and company and how they never really had anything solid to convey and were forced to jam the narrative with retreads of previous Bond films, as well as elements from Mission: Impossible and Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. The underlying essence of Spectre emphasizes the current state of the series and its tendency to be an imitation not only of recent action films but of the 007 series itself. To be sure, the film is stocked with action set pieces, the usual recurring characters, interesting locations, and brief Bondian humor (which Craig fails miserably to deliver), but it misfires in every way. Ultimately, the story is the central problem, the most absurd and ridiculous concept concocted for a Bond film. Yet there are no other redeeming aspects of the film that could possibly offset its failure. Now it seems some time will elapse before work begins on the next film, mainly due to the overall uncertainty that plagues the franchise. I recall the Eon production staff proudly announcing, shortly after the film’s release, that pre-production for the next entry would begin in the spring of 2016, but we’re now reaching the end of the year with no substantial news on the Bondian front. Instead, throughout the year, a flurry of rumors focused on Craig’s replacement—yes, the tenure of His Eminence is starting to look like an Aston Martin speeding towards an auto-wrecking yard. Today’s Hollywood doesn’t hold dear to any set formula: everything is easily repackaged and recast by the studios without remorse, even for the most successful franchises. We may witness yet another reset of the series, especially if a new actor is cast as 007.


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Notes

1 The most laughable product placement concerns The Guardian, an unabashedly left-wing British newspaper. Spectre’s five-star review from this rag was bought and paid for through a close-up shot of M’s desk: as the MI6 leader scolds the Craig-Bond for trotting to Mexico City without approval and complains about how the ensuing chaos has hit the news wires, M’s desk is clearly in the camera frame, brazenly showcasing a copy of The Guardian.
2 Many Bond fans have also complained that the revelation of Blofeld as the Craig-Bond’s foster brother is reminiscent of Dr. Evil as Austin Powers’s twin brother in the spy comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember.
3 For an in-depth analysis of social justice, refer to Social Justice: Code for Communism.

List of Illustrations

“Bond On Blu-ray.”  Personal graphic by author.  8 Sept. 2010.

Works Cited

Gross, Edward. “Licensed To Thrill.” Starlog Yearbook. 1989: 87-90.
Feldberg, Issac. “Bond 25 Looking For Real-World Inspiration”. We Got This Covered.
February 2016   12 Oct. 2016.
Fleming, Ian. Casino Royale. 1953. New York: Berkley, 1986.
---.  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  1963.  New York: Signet, 22nd printing: n.d
---.  “Octopussy”.  1965.   Rpt. in Octopussy: The Last Great Adventures of James Bond 007.
New York: Signet, 22nd printing: n.d
---. Thunderball. 1961. New York: Berkley, 1982.
Sargent, Jordan. “New Bond Script Leaks: Execs Scrambling to Fix Awful Ending”. Gawker.
12 Dec. 2014.   15 Oct. 2016.
Trumbore, Dave. “Spectre: Sam Mendes Confirms It’s James Bond’s Origin Story.” Collider.
14 Aug. 2015   21 Oct. 2016.
“Spectre: Sam Mendes hints at 'more mischief' in new James Bond film.” BBC.
4 Dec. 2014   15 Oct. 2016.
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