Has enough time gone by yet that I can write this without being burned at the cross for heresy?
I didn’t like it. Worse still: I was completely bored by it.
I probably wasn’t ever going to be blown away by it, I was mostly along for the ride, because I sort of naturally abhor “franchises” – I just can’t watch the same thing happen to the same person over and over and be entertained by it. At work I might call such a person pathological, or emotionally stunted, or incapable. At the movies, we call him Bond. James Bond.
007 and I parted ways long ago, but I’ve at least felt the past few movies were diverting, or at least they passed the time. This one actually slowed the clock down. And as soon as the creepy guy in the paisley shirt and twirly mustache sitting next to Matt stopped taking pictures of himself with the VIP waitress, and himself with his chicken wings, and himself watching a movie, I got bored.
The day of the dead parade was actually promising. Really promising. Wasn’t it beautiful? The colours and the energy and the tension in the long take? But then that opening helicopter scene. Shit. They obviously ran out of money. That thing looked horrendous: completely fake. I’m pretty sure I could rig up something more convincing with my Samsung Galaxy and a bucket of plastic army guys. It was laughable – and the script is so lazy they use the helicopter stunt twice. You know, because it worked so well the first time.
And then the train. Seriously? I know they don’t make trains like they used to, but if you want people to take your set seriously, and to believe that it’s not just spit and cardboard, then don’t make it crumple every time Bond sneezes. Every time he threw an elbow the whole thing wobbled. I know Daniel Craig is soooo tough and everything, but I’m pretty sure some walls can withstand him some of the time.
And speaking of travel. James Bond is a spy, no? I always had this notion that a spy would travel light. But this spy has a goddamned different suede jacket for every occasion! And he changes sunglasses more often than he changes underpants (presumably).
And I still had less of a problem with Craig’s wardrobe than Christoph Waltz’s. Here is a free piece of advice to any and all of you Hollywood types, feel free to write it down: nobody looks threatening in sockless loafers. Nobody looks good in them either, but that’s besides the point. The loafers aren’t even the biggest problem with bad guy accessories. Let’s talk that octopus ring. Bond gets it from Sciarra but when Q scans it for DNA, all 3 previous bad guys have also spilled their DNA on the thing. So what, there’s a big mutual bad guy jewelry box, and when all the baddies are getting ready to go out to the club, Le Chiffre is like, “No you wear it tonight, Raoul. It looks so darling with your evil polka-dot pocket square.”
Not that I’m ready to let Blofeld off the hook yet. Because first, why the artifice when he‘s first introduced? His face is literally in the shadows when in fact, Waltz’s name was in the opening credits. There’s no surprise here. Waltz was announced as the villain months ago and the internet has already talked it to death. But now we’re all going to pretend we don’t know? Surprise! It’s Christoph Stupid Waltz! Playing my least favourite Bond villain maybe ever. I mean, how weird is it that he somehow raced back to the empty ruins of MI6 in order to set up a “James Bond, this is your life” funhouse display (is there some sort of Evil Pinterest I don’t know about)? And then he reveals himself behind bullet proof glass, a move we all know he stole from Ethan Hunt. I’m beginning to think that Quentin
Tarantino fooled me into momentarily liking Christoph Waltz. Have I liked him in anything since? I definitely abhorred him in Big Eyes. He was less cartoonish here, but that doesn’t mean he was good. Aren’t villains supposed to seem…evil? Ruthless? Blood thirsty? This guy just came off like someone’s jaunty if letchy, grabby uncle (and p.s., “Cuckoo” is the lamest villain catch phrase EVER).
And speaking of letchy! Confidential to James Bond: it’s fucking 2015, dude. You don’t get to act this way anymore. I was so excited to learn that Monica Bellucci was in this – I love her. Loved her. I’m sorry, but after watching that super weird “makeout session” (?) in front of the mirror, I can’t even look at her the same way. I don’t know if they do it different in Italy, but usually kissing involves…the touching of lips. Not just open-mouthed hovering. It felt…well, almost non-consensual. Like, when on earth did she decide this was going down? That it was okay? Because I totally missed that part. And was totally grossed out by the, um, foreplay. And boy did he drop her like she was hot. Literally the script forgot she ever existed as soon as he left her boudoir – her only raison d’être was to look fleetingly luscious in European lingerie (which she apparently put on after sex, as people do – since her back was BARE when Bond unzipped her dress), and she’s goddamned Monica Bellucci! If you’re lucky enough to have her, you use her! But no, by all means bring in a younger version to offer romance, a doctor so we know she’s not just going to stand around looking cute in her nightie (although, come to think of it, we did get a look at her in her nightie…which she was not wearing when James put her to bed, and yet…WAIT A MINUTE! Is James Bond’s kink to dress women in their lingerie? And is he possibly also wearing women’s lingerie under his relentless supply of suede desert jackets?).
And is it just me, or did things take a turn for the Michael Bay toward the end? When Blofeld declares that the thing about brothers is they always know “which buttons to press” – he then actually presses a button. It’s the kind of cheese I expect from Michael Bay but that line made me cringe for real. Is this really what it’s come to? And now this film has left us with a bad taste in our mouths. James Bond is outed as the exact opposite of the badass superspy we’ve built him up to be – apparently he’s just been a pawn manipulated by Blofeld this whole time. When we thought he was digging up villains in the previous films, it was actually Blofeld cleverly orchestrating the whole thing. In fact: James Bond is terrible at his job. Not only did these villains want to be found, THEY were coming for HIM. A monkey could have done his job, and would have probably worn less suede jackets.