Que up the Monty Norman music and break out your tuxedo because James Bond is coming back to theaters. The new trailer for his twenty-fourth adventure ‘SPECTRE’ was released to the internet and the intrigue is high. After three movies that I would call successes, the fourth installment looks to continue Daniel Craig’s hit streak as Her Majesty’s best secret agent. I am very encouraged that the quality will continue as most of the on and off screen talent is returning. However, given the title and what the trailer teases, I have some questions about what this mission with entail. So here are my 5 Questions from the New SPECTRE trailer:
1.) Dave Bautista – Colorful Henchmen or Generic Heavy?
Since last year’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ I have been excited about the prospects of Dave Bautista as a Hollywood actor. Drax the Destroyer was a breakout for the former wrestler, and I came out of the film thinking that he had something to offer other roles. Prior to Guardians, Bautista’s career was filled with direct to video and “Big Strong Guy #1” type roles. Guardians allowed him to use his comedic timing and a little charisma in addition to his physicality. I am really hoping that Sam Mendes has chosen to utilize him in a fun way. James Bond is known for its colorful henchmen like Oddjob, Jaws, and Mr. Wynnt and Mr. Kidd. I feel like I would be really disappointed if Bautista spends the whole film standing in the background stoically and beating people up. That’s kind of what the trailer shows him doing, but I believe the movie would benefit from his presence being utilized more audaciously. He looks sharp as Mr. Hinx.
2.) Will M and Bond break new ground with their interaction?
After 17 years and 7 movies, Dame Judi Dench was sunset as MI6 leader ‘M’ in Skyfall. Taking over the role is former Harry Potter villain Ralph Fiennes. Judi Dench’s M spent her first four movies being a “breaking the glass ceiling” ball buster to Pierce Brosnan, constantly challenging him with his Cold War, womanizing past. The three Daniel Craig movies pushed her as a strict, but loving mother figure that could manipulate agents to die in service of Queen and Country. In the first part of this trailer, we see M chewing Bond out for some unsanctioned activity in Mexico City. While it may just be unavoidable, I would really like to see a different dynamic between director and employee than M just questioning every decision 007 makes for most of the film. Before assuming the role of M, Fiennes’ character was complicit with Bond’s trap he set for Silva in ‘Skyfall’ that was off the books. I always felt like the relationship between Bernard Lee’s ‘M’ and Bond was less antagonistic. They were often more on the same page with how to approach a mission. I think it might feel a little “played out” if Ralph Fiennes is just another boss that keeps chastising Bond and forcing him to go rogue to finish a mission.
3.) How are Quantum and SPECTRE related?
So for the first two James Bond movies with Daniel Craig, we were treated to him fighting against a kabal of secret leaders called Quantum. A figure named Mr. White kept popping up, being a representative of this group that was a world terror organization. In the SPECTRE trailer we see the actor who played Mr. White all disheveled sitting in an isolation cabin in the middle of nowhere looking like he’s been hiding. This brings up the question of what Quantum has to do with SPECTRE. Now behind the scenes, we know that Quantum was invented as substitute for SPECTRE because the studio responsible for all of the “real” James Bond movies did not have the rights to use SPECTRE due to a lawsuit. Recently those rights were reaquired, and the film studio wasted no time getting the classic Bond foe back into the movies. What puzzles me is why Mr. White is involved and how he is tied to both organizations. Is SPECTRE the parent company of Quantum? Was there some kind of take-over? Would the script writers be cheeky and have Christoph Waltz say something like, “Well, we’ve been around since the 60’s, but we got we put under bad new management that made us change the name, but now that I’m in charge I decided to take us back to our roots” I’m also curious to know if SPECTRE still stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion.
4.) Will Christoph Waltz bring something different to this role?
I want to say that I love Christoph Waltz. I think he has a great talent for menace, which is why his breakout as Hans Landa was so amazing. However, I feel like most of his prominent roles feature him kind of making the same acting choices. Even his other Oscar winning part, Dr. King Schultz really has many of the same line deliveries as Hans Landa. The Dr. King Schultz part has me even more upset because I really thought Leonardo DiCaprio was better in that film and did not even get a nomination. All that said, I am excited for Waltz to take on being a Bond villain. So much of whether or not a Bond movie works is dependent on how good the villain is. While I think that Waltz could sleep walk through his part and still be good, I really want to see him deliver a different performance.
5.) “I am the author of all your pain.”
I get something that I refer to as the “Scream 3 hives” when I see a plot point in a sequel that tries to sell me that the villain in part three was actually the villain behind the scenes, pulling the strings in the first two movies even though we never saw that character or knew that he existed. It’s really frustrating because it invalidates the drama in parts one and two. When the hero triumphs in part one, only to find out that his victory was against a “sub-bad” it is frustrating to the viewer. So, when Christoph Waltz walks on screen and says “I am the author of all your pain” – I get a little itchy. Does he mean that he was actually who orchestrated Vesper’s death? Did he somehow manipulate events to unleash Silva against M in the last movie? The script rumors point to the fact that Christoph Waltz’s character is a figure from James’ childhood, so maybe he is referring to having something to do with Bond’s parents’ untimely death. I kind of hope that the later is the case, and he keeps his string pulling self out of the events of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall. However, if this is the case, and he is revealed to have been the big bad all along, I think I will be better with it in this scenario. As queried in Question 3, if would appear that Quantum and SPECTRE are related. So, it’s possible that SPECTRE was involved in Quantum’s activities in the first two Craig adventures. This would allow for Waltz’s character to be tangentially related to those events and therefore make his claim to be the mastermind not sound like total nonsense.
What do you guys think of the trailer? Anything about it raise a question for you that I missed? Let us know in the comments below.