Released a few days short of October 31st, and coincidentally the dates of Mexico’s ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, it was only fitting that the jam packed 150 minute action adventure pre-opened with a scene set in the midst of exactly that.
Daniel Craig as James Bond for the final time, jumped into action for his last instalment and gripped the audience instantly to the sound of the festival’s euphoric drum beat.
True to tradition, the scene jumped to the credits and Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s on the wall’, the original theme song created solely for this purpose, before continuing. The record did not fit the film and if it were to be played out of context, the listeners would not have made the connection. Although a chart topper, it is definitely one of the lesser tunes in the Bond sequence, especially in comparison to Adele’s ‘Skyfall’.
Sam Mendes’ second outing at directing had a benchmark to withhold after the success of the latest film. However, his repute continues as box office records were unsurprisingly broken in the films first week of release, with takings of more than £41m.
Mendes went back to basics with the film, ensuring an action packed plot throughout the running time rather than drifting off and confusing viewers like under Marc Forster directing. However, modern twists, including the new Aston Martin DB10 and Monica Bellucci (the oldest Bond girl to date), were incorporated to keep the film up to date despite its traditional elements.
Despite the marketing hype of the [then] 50 year old revolutionising 007, she only existed within the film for a short 5-10 minute scene and Bond later replaced her with younger, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann. Therefore, Bond romanced an older woman rather than a ‘girl’, purely to appeal to more contemporary viewers, for a short period anyway.
Pleasing the younger generation was Ben Whishaw as cutting edge developer and introvert Q, who took up a larger role than usual in Spectre, by reluctantly joining Bond in the field in an attempt to save the day from villain Christoph Waltz.
Waltz played the most perfect, yet dreaded, Oberhauser, ensuing that Bond’s past came back to haunt him. Joining together the dots from Bonds previous missions, he revealed his role and ensuring gasps from the shockingly enlightened audience.
This is an important lesson to us all, although the audience may not go about creating a solution in the same way.
Strong action hero Craig has grown into the character of 007 in his humour, flirtatious charm and mannerisms, and will therefore be a tough act to follow. His role came full circle at the end of the film, with him returning to the front seat of DB5.
Like Bond’s iconic vodka martini, the audience were shaken and stirred in all the right ways, making Spectre spectacular, but with a name so close to the description, it was set up to be a success from the beginning.
* I do not take credit for any of the images.