When you’re watching Spectre and you are a long time Bond fan, you may at first think one little scene or detail is an homage to something from the past—the ‘60s and ‘70s Bond films to be precise. But then the Easter eggs in this film just keep coming at you—be it an object, a fashion statement, a fight, a name, a ritual. Serious Bond aficionados can watch it twice; take out your notepads and compare who found the most.
Spectre is a dish served using a mix of the current era along with all the classic ingredients: the nigh indestructible thug; the villain who likes to give mini-speeches and explain himself; the massive high tech lair in the middle of nowhere; the insistence on impeccable suits; stunts and fights in all terrain and in all manner of transportation; outlandish end game scenarios; gorgeous women with secrets; and exotic and elegant locations and gadgets to save the day.
Speaking of nigh-indestructible thugs and homages, Dave Bautista as Hinx calls to mind famous Bond thug Jaws (the 7’2” Richard Kiel)—the looming man with the metal chompers from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. But instead of metal teeth, he has metal thumbs. Even his fight scene with Bond calls to mind Roger Moore’s encounters with Jaws.
There is so much to spot and cross reference, it was hard to know where to begin and jump to next while writing this. I was tempted to use a long, laborious title—Spectre a.k.a. Voldermort, Tia Dalma (Pirates of the Caribbean), Jean Baptiste Grenouille (Perfume), Caliban (Penny Dreadful), James Bond vs. Col. Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds), Moriarty (Sherlock) and Drax (Guardians of the Galaxy).
While we’re used to seeing James Bond work alone, defy orders and go rogue, Spectre actually revives the idea that he is part of team with M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomi Harris), Tanner (Rory Kinnear) and Q (Ben Whishaw)—most of who were introduced in Skyfall.
While the strengths of this film are indeed with the team and with Daniel Craig who I am very partial to as James Bond, I am not too sure I’m buying the entire onslaught of Easter eggs and heavy reliance on the past. Partly because the past did have its element of camp (especially when viewed now), and this one has tried to be dark and serious, especially with Casino Royale and Skyfall. What kind of villain in this current era still reveals his thoughts and plays cat and mouse instead of outright just ending an unarmed Bond?
I was also wondering why the Bond girls had very serious names: Lucia and Madeleine Swann. I was waiting for that homage to the clever names of the past especially if they wanted to throw in a hint of camp: Kissy Suzuki, Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole, Bambi & Thumper, Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Bibi Dahl, Octopussy, May Day and Xenia Onatopp.
Spectre does open strong with a great sequence in Mexico during Dia de los Muertos and at the end of the day still delivers in terms of clever quips, locales and action scenes.
For all of you wondering about the future of Craig as James Bond—he has at least one more. Imdb has him down for Bond 25—and it only makes sense considering how Spectre ended.