Today is my birthday – which means I aim no longer younger than current James Bond star, Daniel Craig. But, for as long as he plays 007 there is a little extra beat in my heart, a benign murmur telling me ‘I could be Bond, I could be Bond’. But once Craig is gone that window of opportunity shuts forever (at least the current Doctor Who star is older than me – phew!). This means I plan to make the most of him! Despite some claims to the contrary, he is apparently doing one more after this. But in the mean time … The new poster, theme song and final trailer are all out (and have been greeted with a mixture emotions, as ever). But really, what do we know about SPECTRE so far? Well …
“So what’s going on James? They say you’re finished …” – Miss Moneypenny
What do we think we know, about SPECTRE? Here are 10 exciting things (to me, anyway) about the film that have occurred to me from absorbing the trailers, theme song and looking at the rubbish new poster art (did I mention how naff it is?):
- This may be the longest Bond movie so far, with some sources claiming the final running time is 155 minutes long …
- Why is SPECTRE always spelled in capitals? Because it is an acronym for: Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. It was introduced, along with recurring Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in Thunderball. But Blofeld and SPECTRE have been MIA in the series since 1971 – why? Because they tied up in the decades of litigation brought by Kevin McClory (who worked with Fleming on a projected film project that included some of the material used in Thunderball that the author then used in his novel foolishly without agreeing to terms beforehand). Now that has been finally resolved – so this is a pretty exciting opportunity.
- Daniel Craig is now a credited producer on the film – absolutely a first for this series
- The playwright Jez Butterworth (author of the extraordinary Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance), who did uncredited rewrites on Skyfall, finally gets his name on screen.
- I think somebody on the production team must be a fan of The Man from UNCLE (the 1960s TV show, not this Summer’s forgettable cinema reboot), which Ian Fleming briefly worked on in fact. In the new trailer there is a sequence of a shooting through the glass that, while clearly also inspired by Fleming’s opening to Man with the Golden Gun, is shot for shot taken from the original UNCLE TV pilot (see it here).
- The film is partly set in Rome, which is my home town – makes me love this even more.
- Monica Bellucci
- The new song by Sam Smith is … pretty interesting, goes against the grain in many ways, is very reminiscent in its orchestration of John Barry’s work and has even gone to number 1 in the UK charts. Bodes well.
- Why has the final poster artwork for all the Craig Bonds been so consistently poor? Sad to say, SPECTRE doesn’t just fail to break away from this pattern. The original teaser art with the octopus logo re-imagined was pretty good – but the new Photoshop cookie-counter blandness featuring Craig is easily the worst so far … sigh.
- Expect lots of loose ends to be tied up as this is a direct sequel to Skyfall, with MI6 still being rebuilt and the plot linked to the recover of family assets from the ruins of the eponymous Bond family home. There will also be links to the generally unloved Quantum of Solace via the return of Jesper Christensen as ‘Mr White’ who gets to spout one widely and musingly misheard line of dialogue from the first trailer: “You are a kite … dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond”
And finally, a potential spoiler … is Christoph Waltz playing Blofeld? The producers adamantly say no. But in the trailer he sports a Nehru jacket like the one worn by Donald Pleasence in You Only Live Twice but he is actually playing ‘Franz Oberhauser’ (a genuine Fleming character, referenced on Fleming’s ‘Octopussy’). So, what do we think? Well, and this actually is a potentially spoiler, so the faint of heart should look away now,but I think the trailers released so far tell us that Blofeld does appear in the film, but that Waltz may not play the part. But I think I know maybe who does … and if you have watched and listened to the trailers closely, then you should be able to spot the misdirection that would make this possible …
I’m not a big one for spoilers but I love it when a trailer campaign teases without giving away too much. Here is the final trailer, released just the other day:
James Bond will return on 26 October in the UK and aim to dominate global cinemas shortly thereafter. I will be going to a screening on the 30th at the Odeon Leicester Square, where most of the Bond world premieres have taken place since the 70s. Hope to see you there. I’ll be the one carrying the Lektor decoder and wearing my fedora …