Sunday, November 08, 2015

Review of 'Spectre'

I went expecting to really hate this, and ended up quite liking it. The new James Bond is a lot more Guardian-reader friendly than the Ian Fleming version. If there was any doubt, the fact that the first image after the credits is of the front page of The Guardian should dispel these; I'm sure Fleming thought of all Guardian readers as either traitors or fellow-travelling useful idiots.

There's less camp humour, but also less sexism. Daniel Craig's Bond seems to form genuine emotional relationships with women rather than treat them as recreational toys. The pace is more controlled - it's not all crashes and bangs and stunts. As every, the sets, the locations and the clothes are nice to look at.

The plot doesn't make a great deal of sense (why is the secret surveillance centre located on top of a remote desert petrochemical plant?), but it's grounded in a different moral universe to the old style of Bond. Here the boundary between the security services and the baddies - Spectre - is thin and faint. In a nod to 9-11 conspiracy theories it's clear that the terrorist attacks which are being used to justify constant global surveillance are being orchestrated by the security services themselves. The nasty posh-boy new head of the merged MI5/MI6 looks a lot like George Osborne and is described as having 'gone to school with the Home Secretary'. Surveillance is something that the baddies do, as compared to traditional old-style secret agents. Spectre looks like a corporate entity and talks the language of business; it's also ethnically diverse, as is the security service.

Still loads of product placement, but I could imagine watching another one of these.

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