4. May 2015 10:01
I really hope that this does not turn out to be true, because I have to agree with Mr. Royce on this one, but re-watching the trailer certainly implies that this is the direction the writers went... If you would rather not have any potential plot points spoiled, read no further.
It's only a movie
a column by Jordan Royce.
It's with nothing short of dismay that I cast an eye over the latest shenanigans of the Broccoli camp and the release of the first teaser trailer for upcoming Bond flick, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Now I need to warn you firmly that what I am about to discuss is actually proving to be accurate, so you may want to avoid reading any further for fear of SPOILERS! Are we clear on this? SPOILERS!, SPOILERS!. SPOILERS! Any chumps that are still reading at this point and then write in to complain will be subjected to a toffee hammer being inserted in a place that may restrict the free passage of bowel movements...
Most people are aware that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and its head honcho. Mr Ernst Stavro Blofeld. have always been the main villains of the Fleming novels (once he got S.M.E.R.S.H. out of his system). Providing Bond with an evil terrorist organisation headed up by his Moriany. The early movies followed suit, and other than Goldfinger. the main narrative in the first seven movies was the ongoing struggle with Blofeld and his goons. During this period. Eon Productions introduced many of the traits that are now synonymous with the archetypical Bond villain. White cat, colourful henchmen, holding the world to ransom, and after You Only Live Twice, an exotic and absurd lair was absolutely necessary. Even in the late sixties, the building of that volcano lair alone would have been classed as the Eighth Wonder of the World! This is a template that has run amok through fantasy spy culture.
Even those of us currently enjoying the battle against Hydra in the MCU are looking at a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. knock-off (albeit a superb one), created when Marvel Comics needed a challenge for their newly Bondardised Nick Fury. Sadly, despite a cameo in For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore and his successors never got to lock horns with Blofeld. The rights to the character held ironically to ransom by the slimy Kevin McClory. who exaggerated his input to a meeting with Fleming in which Blofeld and co. were created. Happily, the talentless, leeching bastard is dead now. so it was only going to be a matter of time before the ultimate bad guys were back...
This brings us to the elephant in the Bond room - the ironic Spectre of Austin Powers. Many years ago, I mentioned how impossible it would be to reintroduce the Blofeld of the sixties' Bond movies as the character of Dr Evil had made this a disastrous move to even contemplate. Parody has great power and just as real people try to tone down the mannerisms that comedians have chosen to imitate, the Bond movies could never have gone back to a bald megalomaniac stroking a white cat. Rumours were circulating however, and it did seem that after the success of Skyfall, Eon Productions wanted to introduce the element that had been missing from the mythos since 1971. The announcement of the title S.P.E.C.T.R.E. confirmed that these rumours had plenty of substance, and the casting of the excellent Christoph Waltz seemingly as the main bad guy seemed to confirm that a modern take on Blofeld was under construction. It took a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures to completely undermine this optimistic assumption, and leave critics the world over scratching their heads in disbelief at a major plot twist that Eon Productions seemed about to inflict..
The actual script for S.P.E.C.T.R.E.is a mind bending thing to behold, offering an illuminating insight into the role of the suits in the creative filmmaking process. The script is littered with comments from high-ups at Sony who seemed none too pleased with this slam-dunk follow-up to Skyfall that completely falls apart in the third act when the action dries up and the convoluted plot strands fail to marry convincingly up. Page after page there are scribbles of “change this", and “lose that!' But the worst was yet to come. A peruse of the final act reveals that Blofeld was indeed Bond's foster care half-brother! You read that right. After all of this rigid adherence to a more grounded Bond sans gadgets and overblown fantasy elements, they chose to copy the ending of Austin Powers: Goldmember.
An ending that was so farfetched and badly received that it actually brought about the early retirement of Austin Powers, and the cancellation of the planned fourth and final installment.
After watching the otherwise intriguing S.P.E.C.T.R.E. trailer, it actually does appear that they are going to make Bond and Blofeld literally bros. This has caused Bond fans the world over to have meltdowns, and I totally get where they are coming from. It's the worst idea since Harry Saltzman originally suggested that Connery's Bond have plastic surgery to throw off his enemies, and could emerge from beneath bandages looking like George Lazenby. This is a franchise damaging idea that will be very hard to dial back from. It's puerile and stupid, and I cannot believe they are running with this.
Apparently, all of the suits at Sony agree and a month after the start of filming there were major script and overall plot revisions underway. This yet another foray into the closed universe of modern film writers who cannot accept coincidence or simple side effects of human nature. People have to know each other from the past in order to gain more significance, which is bollocks. Blofeld made Bond his target in From Russia With Love purely because he killed his sidekick Dr. No and cost him a shitload of money. Which sounds a lot more natural than going after him due to some strange sibling rivalry, or whatever the motive will be in the final draft. As I have stated before, the rot set in with Burton's Batman and the Joker killing the Waynes. Now modern day screenwriters contort themselves into knots, trying to figure out some way for the main conflict to stretch back as far as the womb! If you were happy that Clark Kent met Lex Luthor as kids in the TV series Smallville. then you might just appreciate this latest debacle. Not that the Austin Powers reveal was the only cause for concern at Sony.
Apparently, Sony execs were also pleading for some action in the final third of the movie, where suddenly it gets bogged down in plot resolution and is desperately in need of a decent set-piece. A dire assessment of a movie with a $300M budget. There is obviously plenty of time to repair some of this damage, but the trailer does suggest that the main twist is going to remain. We can only hope it is still altered in some way because for the first time. I'm siding with both the suits at Sony and the geeks on the message boards.
[Source: Starburst, May 2015 P.129-130.]
Now re-watch the trailer...
Uh oh. Sure looks like Bond and the Bad guy know each other from a long time ago doesn't it? Let's just hope that they don't reveal Blofeld to be James Bond's evil twin brother, also played by Daniel Craig...