Was classic Bond bought back too quickly?
Remember when you could only find touchscreen tables, self-driving cars and talking phones in films and fiction?
It feels like we’ve almost caught up with James Bond’s flashy gizmos and the high-tech gadgets (if only Q could make Aston Martins a part of everyday life too!)
Technology isn’t the only thing that’s evolved over time though, the way we like our entertainment is evolving too. Let me explain.
In recent times there has been a shift in mainstream films, and TV too. A film can’t just rely on its star-studded cast and grand special effects to be a success – a strong story is essential.
I’m not saying that there were no films with a strong story until recently, I simply mean mass audiences have become less awestruck by a Hollywood name and yearn for more from their blockbusters.
In the same way The Dark Knight gave us The Joker who completely captivated us, Sam Mendes gave us the villainous Silva to terrorise Bond in Skyfall, Spectre’s predecessor.
Skyfall was a rare gem in MI6’s world because it was rich in emotional storytelling.
But after bringing a fresh, new story-driven take on England’s favourite secret agent in Skyfall, the abrupt reversal in style back to classic Bond in Spectre was a bit of a shock to the system.
Just to be clear, all the elements that make Bond ‘Bond’ were present and accounted for – the car chases, wicked fight scenes, evil plans to take over the world – but there was something fundamental missing: a strong story to tie all these things together.
It hurts me to say it, because Bond is one of my favourite franchises, but I felt completely disconnected throughout the entire film.
I couldn’t buy into what drove 007 this time around, the trauma of M’s death in Skyfall wasn’t used to its full potential here.
We weren’t emotionally introduced to any of the characters or their individual stories, making it hard to feel the passion in the bedroom or the malevolence of Christoph Waltz’s villain, Blofeld.
Scenes were clipped together without much thought for the string on which to guide us through a variety of situations.
Plot twists were quickly brushed over so most of the climaxes that would usually shock and awe fell flat.
Is it possible I’m comparing Skyfall and Spectre a little too much? Maybe.
But in my book, Sam Mendes renewed Bond’s licence to kill in Skyfall in a big way.
It opened up a doorway that would have allowed us to explore James’ life in more detail than we probably ever could. We had the opportunity to delve deeper into who Bond really is in this new chapter.
Unfortunately, Spectre bought us back to the surface of what Bond is, and left us staring at the tip of the iceberg unable to unlock any more of James’ hidden depths.