SPECTRE Q&A with Bond websites and bloggers

Now SPECTRE has been in cinemas for more than a month in most territories I asked a number of prominent Bond websites, blogs and Twitter users some questions about the latest Bond film. Read below to find out what they had to say.

Bond blogger survey

Last year, just prior to the official announcement the 24th addition to the long running series of Bond movies was to be named SPECTRE, I got in contact with a number of fellow Bond websites to find out their opinions on what they knew to date, which you can read here.

A year later, almost exactly to the day, I got in contact both with the 12 who had responded to the first Q&A as well as a dozen or so more.

This time I received 17 reponses and a total of more than 6,000 words.

So, having said that let me introduce you to everyone who took part. Not everyone responded, which is understandable. And I’m sure to have overlooked at least one or two. If that’s you, then please accept my apologies – I’ll try and include you next time.

So here they are:

Benjamin Lind of The Bond Bulletin.

Anders Frejdh: James Bond scholar since the mid 1980s who launched From Sweden with Love in 2004.

Marcos “Marketto” Kontze: The man behind James Bond Brasil’s website.

Matt Spaiser: Expert on the tailored clothing in the James Bond films and runs The Suits of James Bond.

Edward Biddulph: Author of the blog James Bond memes, the cookbook Licence to Cook, and various Bond-related articles for books, magazines and the web.

Bill Koenig: Editor of The Spy Command, Spy Command Feature Story Index and The Man From UNCLE episode guide.

Matt Sherman: Bondologist who has led fan events and contributed to a wide variety of James Bond projects.

Murray Gillespie: 007 Film Historian & Collector and Canada’s James Bond Expert.

Ben Williams: Freelance journalist and James Bond aficionado representing MI6 HQ.

Joseph Darlington: Better known as Head of Section of the Being James Bond podcast, and the author of Being James Bond: Volume One.

Andrew Ellard: Writer and TV script editor.

Mark O’Connell: Writer, cultural commentator and author of Catching Bullets – Memoirs of a Bond Fan.

Remmert van Braam: Founder of the Bond Lifestyle website.

Paul Kyriazi: Feature film director & James Bond Lifestyle originator.

Tom Sears: From the James Bond Radio podcast.

009: Éminence Grise behind the online literary Bond magazine Artistic Licence Renewed.

Joan Casanovas: President of Archivo 007 fan club.

Now you’ve been introduced, here are the questions.

The full Q&A is presented in the order in which responses were received. Until now, the only person to have seen any of the answers is me.

You can click on the questions below if you’d rather skip ahead than read ALL the replies.

Q1. Now you’ve had time to watch and absorb the movie, how would you rate SPECTRE?

Benjamin Lind: Out of 5 stars, I would give it 4

Anders Frejdh: Daniel Craig’s best performance as James Bond in the most beautifully produced Bond film to date.

Marcos Kontze: 9/10

Matt Spaiser: I’d rate the film 6/10, higher than I’d rate all of Daniel Craig’s other Bond films.

Edward Biddulph: I’ve always found it difficult to rank the Bond films – I’d happily place The Spy Who Loved Me alongside From Russia With Love, GoldenEye, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Casino Royale – but I think SPECTRE is in the upper half of the rankings, but not at the top of the table. I rate it higher than Skyfall, but I could change my mind next time I see Skyfall.

Bill Koenig: A B-Plus. It started out very strong. It slowed up in the last third. That doesn’t mean the last part was horrible. But it lost its momentum in the last third. It was, in my view, an attempt to blend “classic” Bond with Craig-style Bond. A lot of it worked but I’m indifferent to the last third.

Matt Sherman: I would rate SPECTRE near the tops of Bond films. Absolutely outstanding as a film, and would rate as an excellent action/drama/adventure apart from being a Bond film. The score, titles, editing, continuity, sets, etc. were all first-rate.

Murray Gillespie: I would rate SPECTRE an 8.5 out of 10

Ben Williams: I really enjoyed SPECTRE, but it is by no means perfect. I don’t really like to rate films against others, but this was a very fitting entry into the series and seemed to tie up the previous Craig films nicely (albeit a little too forcefully at times).

If I had to rate it I’d give it a solid 8/10

Joseph Darlington: With regard to my ranking of the 24 James Bond films, SPECTRE falls somewhere in the middle. That’s not to suggest that SPECTRE is lukewarm entry; but rather, there’s a lot to love, and a lot to hate.

Andrew Ellard: Fourth among Craig-Bonds – I value Quantum a lot higher than most, though, so it’s not a condemnation – and upper-middle among the full canon.

I thought it struggled an identity crisis, sometimes as good as this best-of-breed Bond era has ever been..and sometimes tone deaf to what it was doing.

Mark O’Connell: SPECTRE is the first Daniel Craig movie not bound to that project of renovation that has seen EON’s 007 ethos really rebuild the Bond film DNA to excellent effect. It is a pacey, old school adventure with new dressing and influences.

Remmert van Braam: In the Craig-era Bond films, SPECTRE ranks third, after the masterpiece Casino Royale and the great SkyFall, but just before Quantum of Solace.

Paul Kyriazi: An excellent Bond adventure, that even though doesn’t have the ‘wow’ moments of Casino Royale or Skyfall, is entertaining and engaging throughout with nice ‘echoes’ of past 007 movies.

Tom Sears: It’s still too early to rate it among the other Bond films. As with anything some time needs to pass first before I can see where it fits among the entire series.

With that said as far as Daniel’s films go for me it sits in second place…

Casino Royale
SPECTRE
Quantum of Solace
Skyfall

009: I rate it highly in terms of appealing to the masses. It has something for everyone, whether it’s the aficionados or the casual Bond fan.

It felt a bit like a greatest hits Bond film, which certainly satisfied the immediacy one looks for in a Bond film but lacked some of the depth of Casino Royale and Skyfall, perhaps with the exception of Lea Seydoux’s character arc.

Joan Casanovas: 8/10

What did you most like?

Benjamin Lind: It is wonderful entertainment and the length of the film was hardly noticeable. I loved the pre-title sequence with its continuous shot and the action scenes in Austria.

Anders Frejdh: Great story. A classic Bond which was exactly what I personally wished for after Skyfall. Loved the pre-title sequence in Mexico and the spectacular helicopter stunt. Also the excellent casting choices and the more discrete use of product placements in comparison to the previous Daniel Craig Bonds.

Marcos Kontze: This is a pure classic Bond movie. Bond is back in all it’s glory. We have the humour, we have the action and the stunts, we have the Aston, we have the car chase/plane chase, we have the gadgets, we have the team (M, Moneypenny and Q), we have the one-liners, and above all, we have Bond being Bond, and we also have the one and only Number 1 villain of the franchise, Blofeld. I loved all of this combined in one movie. To me, it felt like the proper Bond movie did for the fans, full of references that only the hardcore Bond fans will recognize.

Matt Spaiser: I thought the locations and the cinematography was the best thing about SPECTRE. There was sun and snow, city and desert, and all of the locations were used to the full advantage, but in the story and in how they were filmed.

Edward Biddulph: That’s easy – the gunbarrel restored to the start of the film. It certainly got my pulse racing! Other than that, the pre-credits sequence in Mexico was glorious. Yes, I know the opening shot isn’t one long continuous take, but even Hitchcock cheated a little when he filmed Rope. I love the pace of SPECTRE and the humour. Daniel Craig looks so comfortable in the role of Bond, and the supporting cast is wonderful, too, especially Ben Wishaw and Ralph Fiennes. They look so at home; it’s as if they’ve been in the series longer than two films. I enjoyed spotting the nods to the Bond books (Colonel Sun) and past films (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice in particular). I could go on! There is a lot to like. Overall, SPECTRE’s a lot of fun.

Bill Koenig: Strong pre-titles sequence.
Bond at the peak of his game. He doesn’t lose his mojo, doesn’t struggle to find “who he is.”
More humor than previous Craig films without going overboard. A breath of fresh air.

Matt Sherman: I loved how SPECTRE ties the loose ends of all past three Craig Bond films. Waltz and the supporting cast were stellar.

Murray Gillespie: The Gun Barrel Logo finally returning to the start of the Film. The Teaser Sequence and Amazing Song Title Visuals. I loved the Logical progression of the plot and the ebb and flow from action sequences to character development. It was also visually stunning.

Ben Williams: SPECTRE is perhaps the most beautiful Bond film ever made. The cinematography is stunning, the production design and costuming are simply gorgeous. It’s also a very assured and confident film, both in terms of its direction and the performances from the leads.

Overall, it’s a return to form, highly entertaining, and whilst it may polarise fans and critics, it is an absolutely rollicking adventure.

Joseph Darlington: Highlights: A solid pre-title sequence, the attempt on Lucia Sciarra, the boardroom meeting with the silhouetted villain, Mr. Hinx’s introduction and subsequent fight on the train. The art direction (while nowhere near as spectacular as Skyfall’s) was competent. Great costumes.

Andrew Ellard: The best scene in the movie is Swann, tipsy, lamenting her life to Bond then turning in… leaving him to sit guard and interrogate a mouse.

The theme of Bond growing past being a simple bringer of death was incredibly strong. Hard to grasp, left mostly as subtext, but paid of huge if you connected with it (more on this here).

Mark O’Connell: The Mexican overture was stupendously good. It not only was a big production of a statement – it contains real jeopardy, real gravity, real pace and real style. The Day of the Dead motif was inspired and totally works as a bridging mechanism between the end beats of Skyfall and the new ones of SPECTRE.

It is the combination of elements that is SPECTRE’s joy. Seeing the MI6 Avengers assemble again to quietly fight James’ corner, that vintage movie motif (as seen on the train, in the Rome locations, the double tufted leather door), Dench’s brief but necessary vlog from the grave, seeing Whishaw’s Q drop the tech geekery to become a resourceful hipster in the field and the design ethos permeating each and every scene.

And I really like the Sam Smith song. After twenty or so Bond-bastic anthems there is nothing wrong in going with Smith – both musically and creatively. Some of the backlash has been plain homophobic…until of course folk see the film with its song in place and it soars in its wraithlike, under the ‘C’ dance.

Remmert van Braam: One of the best looking Bond films. The opening shot of SPECTRE is amazing. Craig is Bond at his best when he steps out of the hotel room window and walks so smoothly along the roof. Very cool.

Paul Kyriazi: I liked the parallel editing of Bond’s support group as part of the story and especially the ending on the bridge, under Big Ben, when Bond must decide to pull the trigger or not while M is looking on.

Tom Sears: I loved so many things about this movie! The pre title sequence is one of the all time best in the series. I can’t quite choose where it fits in terms of rating yet but it’s up there with Goldfinger, The Living Daylights and Goldeneye in terms of pre-title greatness!

Other than that I absolutely loved how we finally have Bond back in his absolute prime. We don’t have the rookie Bond from Casino and Quantum, we don’t have the old, past it Bond we had in Skyfall, we have a Bond at the absolute top of his game. We haven’t had that in a very long time.

Other than that, one of my favourite moments is when you see the two hitmen fall to the ground behind Lucia and the camera just moves slightly to the right to reveal Bond. LOVE that moment!

009: As a more literary Bond fan, I appreciate the more subtle moments and nods to the books. I liked some of the blink-and-you-miss-them references such as the name of the safe house: Hildebrand Prints and Rarities. The torture scene was inspired by Kingsley Amis’ Colonel Sun with some dialogue used verbatim.

I thought it was good to bring back Mr. White and bring long-awaited closure to his story line and his daughter Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux) was great. She is a modern day Bond Girl – had everything.

The other highlight was M’s role. Ralph Fiennes is one of the best actors of his generation and he was allowed to show off his acting chops aided by a good script. He got the best lines in fact: “The fate of glass is to break”; “C is for careless” and many more.

Christoph Waltz also played up Blofeld well; slightly hammy but only he could pull that off, since he can be genuinely insidious.

The look of the film was gorgeous from the interiors to the exteriors – Bond’s flat, SPECTRE boardroom, Tangier, London, Rome, it all looked good.

Joan Casanovas: Gunbarrel, Pre-title secuence, Belluccis’ going to die, SPECTRE meeting, train secuence,

And what did you most dislike?

Benjamin Lind: Christoph Waltz’ performance as Oberhauser/Blofeld. It did not feel menacing enough. The soundtrack also did not work for me for most parts of the film.

Anders Frejdh: The short appearance by Monica Bellucci since I thought the chemistry between her and Bond was extremely good. Plus, she’s a great actress so a little waste of talent.

Marcos Kontze: I disliked some bit and pieces regarding the reason of Blofeld’s revenge. In my opinion, the writers could have done better, and not putting a “brother’s revenge” in the table. I loved the movie, I really do, but I’m also not entirely satisfied with other things like Blofeld crawling in the bridge begging for Bond to shoot him, I thought that unnecessary. To me, Blofeld should’ve just flown away with the chopper and disappeared. Some other things to mention was C’s death, which I think it was really poor, and why the hell Madeleine simply walked away in the night after all that happened. That was quite odd.

Matt Spaiser: Thomas Newman’s score is the worst thing about the film for me. The film has a lot of broad and beautiful visuals that need proper music to give them meaning. Newman’s repetitive rhythmic vamps merely attempt to provide a mood, but his simplistic music doesn’t have the complexity to suit the varying moods and emotions throughout the film, let alone accompany broad visuals. Because the music isn’t thoroughly developed, that makes what I see on screen seem less developed. The finale especially needed some help from the music, but the repetitive music makes the action less interesting.

Edward Biddulph: I have to say I was disappointed with how little of the short story Octopussy made it to the screen. Yes, it’s alluded to in Oberhauser’s backstory and, I think, in Bond’s scene with Mr White, but where is the trek over the mountains, the struggle on the mountain edge, the covering up of a crime? These are highly cinematic moments, but alas the story remains shockingly under-used.

I didn’t think about it much in the cinema, but making Bond Blofeld’s foster brother is pretty weird, isn’t it? And I’ve nothing against the idea that the Quantum organisation, Le Chiffre and Silva were somehow supported by SPECTRE, but for all the events affecting Bond to have been engineered by Blofeld, having harboured a fraternal grudge of megalomanical proportions, does now seem rather implausible. I’m afraid this aspect now belongs in the category of ‘things that I wish hadn’t happened in the Bond films’, along with the side whistle that accompanies the corkscrew in The Man With The Golden Gun, and Tiffany Case saying, ‘You’ve killed James Bond’.

Bill Koenig: The “reveal” – Blofeld being Bond’s “foster brother.” The Hawaii Five-0 television series (2010 to present) pulled the same trick with its reboot of arch villain Wo Fat.
Related to the reveal, the idea got dangerously close to Austin Powers territory.
Waltz denying he was playing Blofeld, similar to how Harris denied she was playing Moneypenny. You’re calling the movie SPECTRE. Is it supposed to be a secret that Blofeld is the villain? Just silly.
More British politics. In Skyfall, the sequence I disliked was the parliamentary committee hearing. There’a a bit of that here.

Matt Sherman: I was expecting a bit more glamor from the sets, however, I realized the director and production team chose to make for a bit more surreal look and a more intimate film overall.

Murray Gillespie: The connection between Oberhauser and 007 should’ve been more distant, being his foster brother muddies the waters. The ending was a little Disney-esque with 007 driving off with the girl…tho most Bond movies end that way anyway.

Ben Williams: As a writer, the narrative is always going to be at the front of my mind. Bond films have always had vast leaps of logic in them, but they didn’t seem to matter as much as they do in Craig’s films. SPECTRE, I felt, suffered from this (almost as much as Skyfall had) and detracted from an otherwise very accomplished film. The last act particularly let the film down, but I still very much enjoyed it.

Joseph Darlington: Lack of any great dialogue scenes (Casino Royale, Skyfall). Bond’s messy apartment (missing only empty pizza boxes). And of course, the handling of Blofeld almost single-handedly derailed an otherwise competent entry – we never got to know this character at all, so the ‘reveal’ was incredibly disappointing, and the decision to make Blofeld Bond’s brother, has to be the worst cinematic decision since Greedo shooting first! The film just loses all steam by the third act.

Andrew Ellard: The personal history between Bond and Blofeld, which turned out to have no real importance at all – it means Bond recognises the head of SPECTRE. That’s it. Talk of Blofeld’s personal motives for vengeance don’t fit the prior three films at all – indeed, all three plots would have gone the same way without it.

Mark O’Connell: That maybe Monica Bellucci had so little screen time… for now (!). That the Mexico City scenes could have been a bit bigger (I am joking). And that maybe the return for a third time to Vauxhall’s MI6 building was thematically wise, but felt like a re-tread of past explosions. Though I was glad to see it finally destroyed. As a real building it is a foul piece of architecture.

I did miss that deliciously camp and barbed dialogue John Logan brought to SKYFALL (Silva’s famed entrance was his work). But Oberhauser was never meant to be that baroque tour de force that was Javier Bardem’s Silva. Obviously Skyfall’s personal motifs and impulses feed into SPECTRE too – that is only natural to not stray too far from what worked so well in 2012. I just ultimately feel SPECTRE didn’t need that personal angst again. Craig’s Bond clearly doesn’t care for it that much and despite this new angle of familial upset, Daniel wholly succeeds in keeping the tone that of a big old Bond movie.

Beforehand I would have said that Christoph Waltz would get an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for SPECTRE. I am less sure of that now. I think he was clearly trying to not be Christoph Waltz (TM) and maybe he held back too much. But who knows what the future will bring? None of us may have yet seen Waltz’s best performance as Blofeld.

Remmert van Braam: Quite a few things were disappointing. The story wasn’t as good as it could have been. Blofeld a foster brother of James Bond… Really? The snow in the Austria scenes wasn’t really used (no skiing or Ski-Doos); two of the Bond girls have almost no screen-time.

Paul Kyriazi: The title song did not excite me like most other Bond title songs do.

Tom Sears: I guess like most people I feel like the last 3rd of the film is the weakest. Though with that said it doesn’t really bother me. There’s so much quality in SPECTRE I can forgive a rushed final act.

009: It felt a little in-cohesive at times in that they tried to cram too much in. The final act was akin to many other thrillers and not allowed to breathe as Skyfall and Casino Royale did. The ending felt too rushed in terms of trying to close the loop on the story and post-torture scene felt hackneyed, as so often befalls action films.

I also felt the eye gouging scene was unnecessary to a degree. That just could be my squeamishness.

It was a shame Monica Bellucci had such a small part, if only because she is such a good actress. A lesser actress and we would not have cared.

Joan Casanovas: Main theme, Blofeld’s motivation for creating SPECTRE, “easy” escape of Bond from Blofeld’s lair,

What was the biggest surprise for you?

Benjamin Lind: The amount of humour in the film

Anders Frejdh: Presumably the “SPECTRE” connection with the three previous films.

Marcos Kontze: Although we always knew Blofeld would be there, he actually BEING there was the most fun thing for me in the movie. I love the character, and the biggest surprise was to see the white cat. I had no idea that they would put him in the movie.

Matt Spaiser: The biggest surprise for me was Daniel Craig’s performance. He wasn’t as flat as he had previously been and showed some personality and more range in emotion in this film.

Edward Biddulph: Not the return of Blofeld! I think that was a given, and I always thought it would be Oberhauser. As for the biggest surprise, the scale of the Bond films never ceases to amaze and surprise me, and SPECTRE was no different.

Bill Koenig: The torture scene, particularly how “The Estate of Kingsley Amis” got a “special thanks” credit in the end titles.

Matt Sherman: I’d dreaded yet another film with loose ends, particularly seeing only Blofeld’s henchmen and not the man himself. The film got even better when Blofeld took center stage-and to see Bond at the SPECTRE meeting so early in the film-what could happen next? Great!

Murray Gillespie: The surprise was the subtle way they introduced Blofeld with the cat…and a bigger surprise was the post explosion scar à la Donald Pleasance.

Ben Williams: Probably the biggest surprise for me was the tone. The humour and lightness of previous Bonds were back and were most welcome.

I was also surprised by the assured filmmaking by Mendes. He’s always been a great actor’s director, but the opening sequence really underscored what a fantastic technical director he is.

Joseph Darlington: Only at how little surprises there really were. The Sony hack notwithstanding, the plot resolutions were all extremely lackluster.

Andrew Ellard: That a high-powered, done-for-real car chase can be boring.

Mark O’Connell: That Moneypenny is a Tinder girl and swiping her way through the men of London. Well, why not! She cannot stay in every night with only Angel Delight for company.

Seriously, some things were never going to be that much of a surprise. But seeing that cat was a high-five moment!

Remmert van Braam: Very happy to see Bond’s watch finally being a gadget again, and the DB10 having so many cool features. Also it was interesting to see that the funny interactions and chemistry between Q (Ben Whishaw) and Bond (Craig) was one of the best things of the film.

Paul Kyriazi: The train fight that echoed From Russia with Love that had Bond actually running from the large villain at one point until Bond could grab something to fight him with. That was a nice, realistic touch.

Tom Sears: My biggest surprise was how well they handled the humour. I thought a lot of the dialogue felt really forced and unnatural in Skyfall. I was firmly of the opinion that Daniel couldn’t ‘do’ humour and that they should just drop that angle and have him as the super serious brooding Bond.

After seeing SPECTRE I was blown away with how natural he was with all the humour and how much of it there was too. If you’d have told me there were going to be a bunch of ‘Roger’ moments before I saw it, I’d have been really worried. As it was I thought Daniel was brilliant. In fact, it’s my favourite performance of his so far.

009: I was pleasantly surprised to see so much of M. I was also surprised that they referenced Colonel Sun, which re-enforces literary Bond’s influence even if it’s hacked up and used in pieces.

Joan Casanovas: Judi Dench cameo, Blofeld being James Bond’s acquaintance, and being captured at the end.

Did you avoid spoilers even with the Sony leaks?

Benjamin Lind: No.

Anders Frejdh: Yes. I never read anything apart from official news.

Marcos Kontze: I haven’t read the Sony leaks, but being an editor of a Bond news website and having visited the set in Mexico City, I ended up facing some SPOILERS during the filming. But nothing major that could have ruined the movie for me.

Matt Spaiser: I avoided spoilers from the Sony leaks, though not completely after the film was released. Since I live in the United States, I had to wait over a week from the time it was released in the UK.

Edward Biddulph: I tried to keep exposure to SPECTRE before the release to a minimum. I watched the trailers, but read very few articles about the film in the press, and certainly didn’t read anything during the time of the Sony leaks. Nor did I read any reviews until I’d seen the film. That said, I probably learned more about the film before I’d seen it that I would have liked. It’s just too tempting!

Bill Koenig: I did not. I read some of the emails, Sony executive reactions to script drafts. When the Sony hacking first materialized, I read some Sony reactions to two different script drafts (one a very early draft, the other a reaction to a much later draft). Eventually, I saw a script but it was definitely NOT an “early script.” Still, it was different than the final film. In the script I saw the final line was Bond saying, “We have all the time in the world.” That didn’t make the final film.

Matt Sherman: Yes, I avoided not only the Sony script and production e-mails leaks but also all trailers, teasers and film images as much as possible.

Murray Gillespie: YES…as much as possible. There were spoilers everywhere.

Ben Williams: Mostly, I did, but it’s extremely difficult to avoid spoilers when you write about James Bond for a living!

As to the Sony leaks, I utterly avoided these. The leaks were a part of a coordinated cyber attack and those who chose to read the documents were complicit in that act of terrorism. I’m not judging those who did, but morally I couldn’t do it myself.

Joseph Darlington: Like Kryptonite, but it was virtually impossible to avoid the words “Blofeld” and “brothers”.

Andrew Ellard: I mostly stayed clear of anything not officially released. Going in, I felt like I didn’t know much. It transpired there wasn’t that much to know – things played out in pretty linear ways, which is not unexpected for Bond, but sometimes was misjudged with the publicity (such as hiding Oberhauser’s real name, which achieved nothing, and left the reveal in the film hugely anticlimactic.)

Mark O’Connell: The Sony leaks were a grubby affair. As fans and movie goers were clamouring to get the SPECTRE gossip and story juice (or rather the details of one wave of drafts – when there are many on a Bond), it was evident that a lot of people underestimate the personal sweat and tears that go into a 007 movie. The producers are not making Bond films to make money. They make them to go on that ride of production, to set up the circus once again and see what culminates from it. The whole leaks angle was not that the box office would be ultimately marred or that everything had to be changed to ensure non-leak originality. It was a betrayal of the production processes, decisions and creative choices that go into a Bond movie – and more so when you remember there was no context to the uninformed about what was being passed around. None of us were in the story development meetings, none of us were there when things were dropped or settled upon for story reasons. People were just coming to their own conclusions. Even now people are comparing the final film to stolen drafts. The leaks were ultimately theft and any scripts or emails were stolen property first and foremost. As I say…. it was grubby and I stayed well out of it.

Remmert van Braam: I never read or saw the Sony leaks, but did see all the official trailers, promotional images and spy photos of the sets around the world.

Paul Kyriazi: I very purposefully did not read anything about SPECTRE, nor did I look at the trailer. I even looked down at the floor when the trailer played in a theater where I was watching another movie.

Tom Sears: I did avoid as many spoilers as I could. I watched the teasers and watched the first full trailer once or twice, then didn’t watch anything after. Aside from a couple of numpties messaging us to tell us some spoilers they’d read in the leaked script, I managed okay on that front.

009: I did. I saw no point in reading them; it’s after watching the film am I more curious to read the leaks to see what might have been, what might have been a good or horrible idea in retrospect.

Joan Casanovas: Yes, as much as I could.

What direction do you think the next film will take or would you like it to take?

Benjamin Lind: Bond needs to be a straight-forward killer again. It was okay for a while to dig in his past but the overall outcome was not to my liking. I would love to see Bond and Blofeld clash after a clever game of cat and mouse.

Anders Frejdh: Fingers crossed for a continuation of the Blofeld saga with a twist. And an older woman as his sidekick.

Marcos Kontze: My bet: Irma Bunt will be back as Blofeld’s allie, they will kill Madeleine in the PTS at some beach location, and then Blofeld you’ll be hidden in the Amazon Jungle in Brazil, and we’ll be seeing the Garden of Death from YOLT’s novel. Yes, BOND 25 is Shatterhand 😀

Matt Spaiser: I think the next film will take a less grandiose approach. I hope they place more focus on story and less on action.

Edward Biddulph: For a start, I think we’ve seen enough of Bond going rogue. I do not want to see it in the next film. And how about a villain who doesn’t know Bond? I hope EON make the story less personal for Bond. The ending of the film was curious and open ended. Will Daniel Craig be back? I expect so, but what of Lea Seydoux? In films past, Madeleine Swann would be conveniently be forgotten in the next film, but if Craig is back, then she may be alluded to, or even make an appearance, however fleetingly.

In my review on my blog, I wrote that before I saw SPECTRE, I wondered whether the film would be Craig’s Moonraker or his For Your Eyes Only? I suggested that SPECTRE had escaped ‘the curse of the fourth film’ (Die Another Day springs to mind), but now I’m not so sure. I think in time SPECTRE might well be regarded as Daniel Craig’s Moonraker. In which case, the next Bond film will be back to basics on the lines of Casino Royale or For Your Eyes Only. And now that EON has adapted parts of a continuation novel, will others follow? Trigger Mortis is the obvious candidate, especially the parts based heavily on Fleming’s writing. I wouldn’t mind betting that we’ll see Bond on the motor racing track before too long, with SPECTRE on the scene too. Now, a race between Bond and Blofeld – that’s definitely worth seeing!

Bill Koenig: I think Eon should come up with a strong story first, worry about continuity later. If the story is strong and Daniel Craig wants to come back, fine. If the story is strong and Daniel Craig wants to take a pass, that’s fine also.

Matt Sherman: It will very difficult to have Blofeld escape MI6 without making his escape derivative of Silva’s in Skyfall or Mr. White’s in Quantum of Solace, but it would be great to see Waltz and possibly Hinx also return.

Murray Gillespie: I would like to see Blofeld escape and implement the only facet of SPECTRE not used in Bond 24….Extortion. Blofeld kills Lea…à la OHMSS…before 007 has a chance to marry her…and then holds the world ransom by kidnapping world leaders, or some enriched plutonium explosive device which bond must stop…all a ruse and trap of course to bring Bond and Blofeld face to face again. Or the last third of SPECTRE was a dream sequence à la DALLAS…and Bond is still in the chair being tortured.

Ben Williams: This is an extremely difficult question to answer.

I genuinely believe that the franchise hangs in the balance right now. Obviously, I would like it to continue as it has been. There has been a lot that has gone into developing Craig’s Bond and the supporting characters, but I also think SPECTRE could just as easily mark the end of an era.

Joseph Darlington: Avoiding the Bond formula, has itself become the new formula. So I predict the return of Dr. Madeleine Swann, who won’t be long for this world. And of course, the escape of Blofeld. After a Tracy-like demise, Bond will go rogue (yawn), and seek revenge against Blofeld, which will also most-likely be Craig’s swan song. What I would love to see is the removal of Sam Mendes and John Logan, and the return of Martin Campbell and Paul Haggis.

Andrew Ellard: I suspect the general indifference to Waltz as Blofeld will mean a certain amount of reversal. Maybe a cameo from him, and a more interesting main SPECTRE villain for the movie. I also expect the next film to be Craig’s last, so they’ll be playing into that a fair bit.

I’d *like* to see Waltz given a better version of the part, stronger writing, a chance to do it right. Which seems commercially risky but creatively interesting. And for the movie to leave the series ready for a newcomer to get a running start, rather than leaving dangling plot or theme threads.

Mark O’Connell: A Bond film needs to take its own direction and path. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson have proved for two decades that their instincts, story agendas and talent casting (Mendes, Deakins, Newman, Hoytema, Adele, Sam Smith, Dench, Bardem, Waltz, Fiennes, Logan, Seydoux, Bellucci and of course Craig) are not to be messed with.

Barbara, Michael, their writers and director will knock about ideas, notions, avenues to investigate and how can that Fleming essence not be something that HAS to be in there, but moreover something that can throw light and judgement when needed.

It will certainly be a less expensive Bond movie. Although that depends on which studio joins up as EON’s partner I imagine no new studio (even a returning Sony Pictures) will want to change lead actor. The devil in me would love to see Blofeld back but totally recast (because that was always the way in the Sixties), with no cushioning or even reason for the audience as to why. And I would have the widow Lucia on reluctant vamp duties as Blofeld’s Irma Bunt figure. I would love to see Bellucci’s face when the costume team say “and this is your butch jumpsuit and beanie hat” (!).

I personally would love to see Craig out of Europe. Maybe Washington DC, New York, Boston or Africa (an early location notion for SPECTRE). I want to see Craig’s Bond on the streets of a bustling and uber modern metropolis. Europe is a vital part of Bond’s spiritual DNA but when he is a fish out of water (Live And Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever), the results can soar. I imagine the next Bond film will step aside from London and “Britain” – especially as it has been a key motif of the Mendes films which a new director will want to move on from.

Remmert van Braam: The next film should try to be a Bond film on its own again and not refer to or lean too much on the past (films). We’ve seen enough of ‘Bond’s past coming to haunt him’ for a while. Keep the classic Bond elements, but a fresh, proper plot, with a new villain that actually has a world threatening plan (“one MILLION dollars!”).

Paul Kyriazi: The next film should be a giant production that surpasses the scope of all the Craig movies and have a story which involves two or there other double-O agents. And for sure, include a sequence where Bond is in doubt and once again must re-invent himself.

Tom Sears: I think things are going to go darker next time. I think we’re going to get an updated version of what George’s Diamonds Are Forever would have been. Madeleine’s death at the hands of Blofeld early on, then Bond’s revenge follows on. I’d like to see Blofeld escape at the end of Bond 25, to have a final showdown in Bond 26 following the story of the original You Only Live Twice story with the garden of death. Whether we get two more out of Daniel or one, remains to be seen.

009: I would like it to flesh out Blofeld’s character much more to fully utilise Waltz’s skills without it becoming a parody. I would like Lea Seydoux to return and maybe they will re-imagine Blofeld’s ‘Garden of Death’.

Joan Casanovas: It should go for a “typical” James Bond mission.

Thanks to everyone for taking part. If you want to join the conversation please leave a comment below.

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3 Responses to “SPECTRE Q&A with Bond websites and bloggers”

  • Brian

    I’m calling it. Blofield gave up to easily. He’ll escape just like silva and others. Hinx never died in fact he’s the new modern jaws. One last edition with Daniel craig. Maybe a bump in with 009. Maybe a new valentine?? Plot: bond realizes after blofield escapes that he can’t settle down till every bad guy is dead. Alive won’t work for his love life with madelin. More plot, big action, and focus on bond being more of a secret agent than a mass murder assasin. Mi6 takes over “c’s” new digs.

  • David Leigh

    I have to say I was a little surprised Hinx didn’t appear later. When the car with Bond, M etc was hit in the tunnel I was sure Hinx would be there. Instead it was some unknown henchman of Blofeld’s.

  • Deepinder

    SPECTRE is an example of very good calibration. SPECTRE is the most calibrated Bond ever. But Blofeld didn’t really have to do a Green Goblin (Raimi’s first Spider-Man) “choose one” (which the Joker repeated in Dark Knight Returns) towards the climax. And while the location was beautifully captured on screen, why in the world were Bond and Madeleine meeting Blofeld head-on in the desert? And the welcome drink from Blofeld after Hinx attacjked them in the train 😉 ??

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