18. September 2015 06:09
I realize I'm not the first James Bond fan to notice this, and obviously it was intentional on the part of the film makers, but have they gone too far this time? Since 1995's Goldeneye, there have been an ever increasing number of self referential cues for fans of the series to pick up on. That is not to say that it all began with Goldeneye. For Your Eyes Only and Licence To Kill both touched briefly on Bond's wedding to Tracy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the train fight in The Spy Who Loved Me evokes the one in From Russia With Love, anytime James Bond goes skiing we can't help but think of other films, so this is really nothing new, but the number of nods to previous films, and how obvious they are, has been increasing since 1995.
Clearly the chase between the Aston Martin DB5 and the Ferrari on the mountain road above Monte Carlo was created to evoke memories of similar scenes in Goldfinger, thirty years before. Then Die Another Day, released around the 40th anniversary was full of small on screen reminders of previous Bond films, most notably that trip down memory lane in Q's workshop and of course, Jinx's bikini. Casino Royale again used a DB5 to tie the new Bond with the old, and Skyfall, released during James Bond's Golden Jubilee year was also full of nods to the past - and yes, they pulled the old DB5 out of storage again. So far, none of the self reflexive touches I have described have felt detrimental to the series, they don't bother me at all, and I'll be the first to admit that when Bond lifts the garage door in Skyfall to reveal the old Aston I was as happy as everyone else. But these touches were quite subtle, and didn't dominate the films, and they weren't in every film. Often they were subtle enough that only die hard fans of the series would spot them, and understand how they loosely tie the films together.
But looking at the latest TV Spot for Spectre, it seems to be almost entirely made up of things we have seen before, and often more than once. It's almost as if the writers sat down and watched all the films, noting down all their favorite parts (clearly one or more of them is a huge fan of Live And Let Die) and set about recreating as many of them as they could, but putting a fresh, new, modern spin on each of them. Now, I realize that as fans, there are certain things we expect from a Bond film, and that the trick to any successful sequel is always to give the audience more of the things they liked about the previous film(s), but my questions for you are:
- Have they overdone the references this time?
- Are they working too hard trying to convince us that this is still James Bond and not just another Jason Bourne style thriller?
- Wouldn't it be easier to simply restore the gunbarrel opening to the beginning of the films?
Let's take a look at some of the shots in the Spectre TV Spot that were clearly ripped straight from other Bond films.
A Drifting Aston Martin in Spectre
A drifting Aston Martin in Die Another Day:
Bond and a beautiful woman, leaning in towards each other over drinks in Spectre:
And again in Casino Royale:
A plane vs automobile chase in which the plane loses its wings...
Live And Let Die:
A violent fight on a train...
From Russia With Love:
The Spy Who Loved Me:
Bond in shirtsleeves...
Tomorrow Never Dies:
A dress being unzipped...
There are obviously a lot of these, but the camera angle/setup reminded me very much of this one in Live And Let Die:
A vehicle rotating on it's axis, moving from screen left to screen right:
In Spectre it is a helicopter:
In The Man With The Golden Gun it was an AMC Hornet:
And then of course there is this:
Live And Let Die:
It is probably possible to cut together bits and pieces from all the other James Bond films and recreate the whole TV Spot almost shot for shot, but alas I don't have time to do that at the moment. And it's not just the trailers and TV Spots. Even the posters, showing the bullet hole in the glass and Daniel Craig in a black turtleneck sweater with a holster are further references to Live And Let Die:
While it looks to me like they may have overdone the iconography, I trust Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli - they know what we want to see and I don't think we'll be disappointed by Spectre.