Lady Parts Episode 1.05: Spectre

Bond is back, taking on the Spectre organisation and Bond's nemesis, Blofeld. and frankly, I'm not
impressed.

I was raised on Bond. My dad loved the series and I don't think he ever realised the implication of the sexual politics of Bond, and as a kid I didn't care. Exotic settings, explosions, kick arse theme songs (Live and Let Die is the greatest movie theme song ever), and fantastic set pieces. The dialogue is snappy, the casting often beyond awesome (Alan Cumming in Goldeneye is genius), and the tech are hilarious. As an adult, I see the series differently.
Bond is a jerk - rash, irrational, condescending, sexist, and generally obnoxious. I also enjoy this series. It's fun. There's explosions and intrigue and weird as hell. It's not flawless storytelling, it's not even good storytelling, and the latter additions to the Broccoli series are straight up rubbish. I feel bad for Pierce Brosnan and Timoth Dalton who made excellent Bonds, but ended up with the shit scripts. I regret Lazenby's turn as an abomination, but the Tracey subplot is critical to the Bond mythos. Bond is pure escapist fantasy, but it has a strong action and storytelling heart. The plots can be a huge stretch (paragliding off an ice-cliff, anyone?), and it's sexist as all hell (sex through deception- I'm looking at you, Lazenby), but the storylines are generally logical. There is cause and effect, and we give a crap about the characters.

This reboot of Bond series, this 'gritty', based in reality series, falls for the worst narrative tool ever - Deus Ex Machina. The new series as a whole has failed to understand the allure of Bond. While Bond has had a longtime nemesis, each Bond villain spoke to the story and the societal concern of the period.

To introduce the Ultimate Villain, pulling the strings on all villains before lessens their influence, lessens the deaths of Bond's allies. Sam Mendes could afford a study of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and his use of the Big Bad model, because he fails almost entirely. He's first attempt in Quantum of Solace was an empty exercise in motivation, and his ultimate delivery in Spectre is a waste of four movies.

Add to that a supremely weak female ally and extremely weak motivation, this is by and far the weakest of Mendes' contributions to the series - and yes, I'm counting Quantum amongst that.

James Bond is stupid and lame, but it used to be fun. Spectre wasn't fun, it was dull.

Check out episode 1.05 of Lady Parts Podcast online.

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