SPECTRE reviews: the weekend edition

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE promotional art

A few more SPECTRE reviews were published this weekend, ahead of Monday’s premiere for the 24th James Bond film.

At the moment, the movie has an 83 percent “fresh” rating on the ROTTEN TOMATOES WEBSITE.

What follows are excerpts from some of the weekend SPECTRE reviews. We’re avoiding mentioning plot points, but the spoiler squemish should probably avoid.

MARK KERMODE, THE OBSERVER (VIA GUARDIAN.COM):  “After the high-water mark of Skyfall (my joint-favourite Bond movie with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), there was a very real fear that director Sam Mendes’s second 007 adventure may go the misbegotten way of Quantum of Solace. Terrific to report, then, that while Spectre may not be the equal of its immediate predecessor, it’s still bang on target in delivering what an audience wants from this seemingly indestructible franchise.”

“But it’s not until the introduction of Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann that the plot really starts to tick, Bond meeting his match in a woman who can strip a handgun and order ‘a vodka martini, dirty’ while he’s brushed off with a protein shake. Seydoux is the film’s secret weapon.”

HENRY FITZHERBERT, SUNDAY EXPRESS: “It’s everything you could possibly want from a James Bond film, a perfect blend of modern relevance with classic Bond humour, gadgets, girls and preposterousness levelled with terrific characterisation and in Daniel Craig’s 007 the most strongly realised Bond yet…. In other words, Craig goes the full Bond.”

“Spectre is a gloriously realised celebration of Bond’s cinematic heritage which explores his personality and past to the max. Go any deeper into his character and he’ll lose his mystique. It’s the best Bond ever.”

DAVID SEXTON, EVENING STANDARD: “What Spectre does, it turns out, is allude so comprehensively to past Bond adventures and iconography that it’s almost more of a resumé than a fresh adventure, gratifying to Bond freaks and film critics who get off on spotting sly references but underplotted in its own right.”

“The name is Bond, James Bond, and the certificate, when it is released on Monday, is going to be 12A — 12 being about the right age for it, that means.”

Caveat Emptor (Cont.): Future 007 films to be set in ’60s?

Jack Lord, Ursula Andress and Sean Connery relaxing on the Dr. No set

Jack Lord, Ursula Andress and Sean Connery during production of Dr. No in 1962

A British tabloid, the Sunday Express, HAS A STORY saying that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer plans future James Bond films to be set in the 1960s.

The change would occur after current 007 Daniel Craig departs the role, according to the story.

The tabloid quotes an MGM executive it didn’t identify as saying, “We’ll go forwards by taking 007 back to the era in which we believe he fits most.” The film series started with 1962’s Dr. No.

If true (a major qualification), such a move would be an even bigger change than 2006’s Casino Royale, which hit the reset button and started the series all over. Even with the reboot, Bond films such as the upcoming SPECTRE continued to be set in the present day, rather than as period pieces.

However, the story hints at the possibility of an even bigger change.

According to the Sunday Express, MGM has asked Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer of Mad Men, “to head a new team to oversee Bond’s return to his heyday 1960s.”

The story doesn’t mention current 007 producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who’ve headed up the Bond production team since 1995’s GoldenEye. Wilson, 73, and Broccoli, 55, have been involved with the franchise for decades.

What’s more ownership of the 007 franchise is split between the Wilson-Broccoli family and MGM. That’s a pretty major detail that’s not even mentioned in the story. Do Wilson and Broccoli agree with this? It’s a point that’s not addressed at all.

At this point, caveat emptor — let the buyer beware — applies even more than usual with Bond-related items.