With the end of Skyfall having left Daniel Craig’s rebooted James Bond at effectively the same point in his timeline where his predecessors started, the latest trailer for SPECTRE, set for release in the UK on October 26th and the rest of the world on November 7th, sets up much of the series’ most famous iconography for a spectacular return.
Most notable for fans will be the remix of John Barry’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service theme, a piece of music somehow even Bondier than the main Bond theme and an important signal for the direction we can expect the SPECTRE plot to take. On Her Majesty, of course, was the movie which saw Bond get married before his bride was cruelly murdered by supervillain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. That this trailer showcases not only the OHMSS theme but also plenty of snowy mountain action and heavy hints at Blofeld’s return – check out Christoph Waltz rocking that Nehru jacket – suggests now would be a very good time to revisit George Lazenby’s only outing in the series… not least to reappraise the Australian actor’s hugely underrated performance.
The trailer contains plenty of other nods to the series’ heritage. The SPECTRE meeting recalls Thunderball. Bond on a train brings back memories of From Russia With Love, while his white dinner jacket – let’s hope he’s in slightly warmer climes than the mountainous region glimpsed earlier to avoid a satorial faux-pas – marks the return of a classic Bond look. The sitting back in a white-shirt-with-holster combo is pure Dr. No and also referenced in Tomorrow Never Dies. Monica Bellucci gets a similar unzipping – if lacking a certain magnetism – to Miss Caruso in Live & Let Die, while the return of Mr. White directly connects the movie to two of Daniel Craig’s previous Bond adventures, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace.
Of course, as Star Trek Into Darkness so ineptly proved, a reboot cannot thrive simply by rearranging its history. The trailer shows off some cool new stuff as well, not least a jaw-dropping barrel roll from a helicopter (just in time for Starfox Zero!), some gorgeous cinematography, Ralph Fiennes’ M getting his first opportunity to be grumpy in an office, and an endearingly hammy villain line from Waltz (“I am the author of all your pain”). Less encouraging is Bond going rogue yet again, his unforgivable collar pin (Tom Ford, sigh), snippets of clichéd dialogue (“Right now, I’m your best chance of staying alive.”) and a few scenes which feel a little too close to similar moments from Craig’s three previous movies. Making such a direct connection to OHMSS also threatens to hugely raise the stakes for Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann if she’s to go head to head with Diana Rigg’s Teresa Di Vicenzo, aka Bond’s missus and the series’ most fully rounded female lead.
Regardless, it’s a new Bond film and therefore excitement was mandatory even before that exquisite OHMSS theme kicked in. Having read a fairly recent draft of the script, there’s one major narrative problem which needs to be sorted out, but if it can overcome that, the result could be a fitting successor to the hugely enjoyable Skyfall. I wasn’t mad about the Casino Royale script when that leaked either, so there’s a positive precedent here at least. Anyone looking to bone up on their Bond lore ahead of time might want to check out all the movies listed above – hell, just watch all of them – plus the OHMSS novel and Octopussy short story.