Monday, August 08, 2016


If I remember correctly, Skyfall (dir. Sam Mendes, 2012) gave us a James Bond who had to consider the fact that he was growing older, and that perhaps his days as the world’s most famous secret agent were numbered.  The most recent entry in this long-running series, Spectre (dir. Sam Mendes, 2015), suggests that James Bond may be growing tired of his career and his license to kill.  The film is entertaining.  The settings, cinematography, music, and principal actors are spectacular.  But there is nothing new here, and that shouldn’t necessarily be taken as criticism of the film. Viewers who choose to watch this film do so because they are familiar with the James Bond formula and want to submit themselves to it.  They want the exotic locales, the beautiful women, the improbable and death-defying stunts, the mayhem, the evil villains with their absurd schemes to achieve some form of world domination.  In this film, the villain is a man named Spectre, who claims to have been the engineer of all the various evil plots James Bond has encountered.  He has conspired with the leaders of seven major world nations, including Britain, to create an Internet-based network that will give these nations (and Spectre) access to information about everything going on everywhere.  There are, I think, clear references to the US Homeland Security Act, Patriot Act, Freedom of Information Act, etc. post 9-11.

It’s fun in a way to watch this film knowing that although everything is at stake nothing is at stake. James Bond will prevail.  The fact that this film hints at Bond’s own moral fatigue, which this viewer shares, having watched over his lifetime most if not all of the James Bond films, is no surprise.

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