Spectre (2015) is the twenty-fourth James
Bond film produced by Eon Productions. It features Daniel Craig in
his fourth performance as James Bond, and Christoph Waltz as Ernst
Stavro Blofeld, with the film marking the character's re-introduction
into the series. It was directed by Sam Mendes as his second James
Bond film following Skyfall, and was written by John Logan, Neal
Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth. It is distributed by
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures. With a budget between
$245300 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made.
story features James Bond's first encounter with the global criminal
organisation Spectre, marking the group's first appearance in an Eon
Productions film since 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, and tying Craig's
series of films together with an over-arching storyline. Several
recurring James Bond characters, including M, Q and Miss Moneypenny
return, with the new additions of Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine
Swann, Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx, and Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra.
Spectre was released on October 26th 2015
in the United Kingdom on the same night as the world premiere at the
Royal Albert Hall in London, followed by a worldwide release. It was
released in the United States on November 6th 2015. It became the
second James Bond film to be screened in IMAX venues after Skyfall,
although it was not filmed with IMAX cameras. Spectre generally
received mixed reviews from critics in comparison to its predecessor,
being criticised for its length, lack of action, romance and writing,
but received praise for Craig's acting, Hoyte van Hoytema's
cinematography, Mendes' directing and Thomas Newman's score.
The ownership of the Spectre organisation
- originally stylised "SPECTRE" as an acronym of Special
Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion
- and its characters had been at the centre of long-standing
litigation starting in 1961 between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory
over the film rights to the novel Thunderball. The dispute began
after Fleming incorporated elements of an undeveloped film script
written with McClory and screenwriter Jack Whittingham - including
characters and plot points - into Thunderball, which McClory
contested in court, claiming ownership over elements of the novel. In
1963 Fleming settled out of court with McClory, in an agreement which
awarded McClory the film rights. This enabled him to become a
producer for the 1965 film Thunderball, with Albert R. Broccoli and
Harry Saltzman as executive producers, and the non-EON film Never Say
Never Again, an updated remake of Thunderball, in 1983. A second
remake, entitled Warhead 2000 A.D., was planned for production and
release in the 1990s before being abandoned. Under the terms of the
1963 settlement, the literary rights stayed with Fleming, allowing
the Spectre organisation and associated characters to continue
appearing in print.
In November 2013 MGM and the McClory
estate formally settled the issue with Danjaq, LLC, sister company of
Eon Productions, with MGM acquiring the full copyright film rights to
the concept of Spectre and all of the characters associated with it.
With the acquisition of the film rights and the organisation's
re-introduction to the series' continuity, the SPECTRE acronym was
discarded and the organisation reimagined as "Spectre".
November 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment was targeted by hackers
who released details of confidential e-mails between Sony executives
regarding several high-profile film projects. Included within these
were several memos relating to the production of Spectre claiming
that the film was over budget, detailing early drafts of the script
written by John Logan and expressing Sony's frustration with the
project. Eon Productions later issued a statement confirming the leak
of what they called "an early version of the screenplay".
Despite being an original story, Spectre
draws on Ian Fleming's source material, most notably in the character
of Franz Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz. Oberhauser shares his
name with Hannes Oberhauser, a background character in the short
story "Octopussy" from the Octopussy and The Living
Daylights collection, and who is named in the film as having been a
temporary legal guardian of a young Bond in 1983. Similarly, Charmian
Bond is shown to have been his full-time guardian, observing the back
story established by Fleming. With the acquisition of the rights to
Spectre and its associated characters, screenwriters Neal Purvis and
Robert Wade revealed that the film will provide a minor retcon to the
continuity of the previous films, with the Quantum organisation
alluded to in Casino Royale and introduced in Quantum of Solace
reimagined as a division within Spectre rather than an independent organisation.
The main cast were revealed in December
2014 at the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios. Daniel Craig returns for
his fourth appearance as James Bond, while Ralph Fiennes, Naomie
Harris and Ben Whishaw reprise their roles as M, Eve Moneypenny and Q
respectively, having been established in Skyfall. Rory Kinnear also
reprised his role as Bill Tanner in his third appearance in the series.
Christoph Waltz (below) was cast in the
role of Franz Oberhauser, though he refused to comment on the nature
of the part. It was later revealed with the film's release that he is
Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Dave Bautista was cast as Mr. Hinx after
producers sought an actor with a background in contact sports. After
casting Bérénice Lim Marlohe, a relative newcomer, as
Sévérine in Skyfall, Mendes consciously sought out a
more experienced actor for the role of Madeleine Swann, ultimately
casting Léa Seydoux in the role. Monica Bellucci joined the
cast as Lucia Sciarra, becoming, at the age of fifty, the oldest
actress to be cast as a Bond girl. In a separate interview with
Danish website Euroman, Jesper Christensen revealed he will be
reprising his role as Mr. White from Casino Royale and Quantum of
Solace. Christensen's character was reportedly killed off in a scene
intended to be used as an epilogue to Quantum of Solace before it was
removed from the final cut of the film, enabling his return in Spectre.
In addition to the principal cast,
Alessandro Cremona was cast as Marco Sciarra, Stephanie Sigman was
cast as Estrella, and Detlef Bothe was cast as a villain for scenes
shot in Austria. In February 2015 over fifteen hundred extras were
hired for the pre-title sequence set in Mexico, though they were
duplicated in the film, giving the effect of around ten thousand extras.
In March 2013 Mendes said he would not
return to direct the next film in the series, then known as Bond 24;
he later recanted and announced that he would return, as he found the
script and the plans for the long-term future of the franchise
appealing. In directing Skyfall and Spectre, Mendes became the first
director to oversee two consecutive Bond films since John Glen
directed The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill in 1987 and 1989.
Skyfall writer John Logan resumed his role of scriptwriter,
collaborating with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who returned for
their sixth Bond film. The writer Jez Butterworth also worked on the
script, alongside Mendes and Craig. Dennis Gassner will also return
as the film's production designer, while cinematographer Hoyte van
Hoytema will take over from Roger Deakins. In July 2015 Mendes noted
that the combined crew of Spectre numbered over one thousand, making
it a larger production than Skyfall. Craig is listed as co-producer.
Mendes revealed that production would
begin on December 8th 2014 at Pinewood Studios, with filming taking
seven months. Mendes also confirmed several filming locations,
including London, Mexico City and Rome. Van Hoytema shot the film on
Kodak 35 mm film stock. Early filming took place at Pinewood Studios,
and around London, with scenes variously featuring Craig and Harris
at Bond's flat, and Craig and Kinnear travelling down the River Thames.
started in Austria in December 2014, with production taking in the
area around Sölden, including the Ötztal Glacier Road,
Rettenbach glacier and the adjacent ski resort and cable car station,
as well as Obertilliach and Lake Altaussee before concluding in
February 2015. Scenes filmed in Austria centred on the Ice Q
Restaurant, standing in for the fictional Hoffler Klinik, a private
medical clinic in the Austrian Alps and included an action scene
featuring a Land Rover Defender Bigfoot and a Range Rover Sport.
Production was temporarily halted first by an injury to Craig, who
sprained his knee whilst shooting a fight scene, and later by an
accident involving a filming vehicle that saw three crew members
injured, at least one of them seriously.
Filming temporarily returned to England to
shoot scenes at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, which stood in for a
location in Rome, before moving on to the city itself for a five-week
shoot across the city, with locations including the Ponte Sisto
bridge and the Roman Forum. The production faced opposition from a
variety of special interest groups and city authorities who were
concerned about the potential for damage to historical sites around
the city and problems with graffiti and rubbish appearing in the
film. A car chase scene set along the banks of the Tiber River and
through the streets of Rome featured an Aston Martin DB10 and a
Jaguar C-X75. The C-X75 was originally developed as a hybrid electric
vehicle with four independent electric engines powered by two jet
turbines before the project was cancelled, but the version used for
filming was converted to use a conventional internal combustion
engine. The C-X75s used for filming were developed by the engineering
division of Formula One racing team Williams, who built the original
C-X75 prototype for Jaguar.
With filming completed in Rome, production
moved to Mexico City in late March to shoot the film's opening
sequence, with scenes to include the Day of the Dead festival filmed
in and around the Zócalo and the Centro Histórico
district. The planned scenes required the city square to be closed
for filming a sequence involving a fight aboard a
Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 helicopter flown by stunt
pilot Chuck Aaron, which called for modifications to be made to
several buildings to prevent damage. This particular scene in Mexico
required 1,500 extras, 10 giant skeletons and 250,000 paper flowers.
Reports in the Mexican media added that the film's second unit would
move to Palenque in the state of Chiapas to film aerial manoeuvres
considered too dangerous to shoot in an urban area.
Whilst filming in Mexico City, speculation
in the media claimed that the script had been altered to accommodate
the demands of Mexican authorities, reportedly influencing details of
the scene and characters, casting choices, and modifying the script
in order to portray the country in a "positive light", in
order to secure tax concessions and financial support worth up to $20
million for the film. This was denied by producer Michael G. Wilson,
who stated that the scene had always been intended to be shot in
Mexico as production had been attracted to the imagery of the Day of
the Dead, and that the script had been developed from there.
Production of Skyfall had previously faced similar problems while
attempting to secure permits to shoot the film's pre-title sequence
in India before moving to Istanbul.
filming in Mexico, and during a scheduled break, Craig was flown to
New York to undergo minor surgery to fix his knee injury. It was
reported that filming was not affected and he had returned to filming
at Pinewood Studios as planned on 22nd April.
A brief shoot at London's City Hall was
filmed on April 18th 2015, while Mendes was on location. On May 17th
2015 filming took place on the Thames in London. Stunt scenes
involving Craig and Seydoux on a speedboat as well as a low flying
helicopter near Westminster Bridge were shot at night, with filming
temporarily closing both Westminster and Lambeth Bridges. Scenes were
also shot on the river near MI6's headquarters at Vauxhall Cross. The
crew returned to the river less than a week later to film scenes
solely set on Westminster Bridge. The London Fire Brigade was on set
to simulate rain as well as monitor smoke used for filming. Craig,
Seydoux, and Waltz as well as Harris and Fiennes were seen being
filmed. Prior to this, scenes involving Fiennes were shot at a
restaurant in Covent Garden. Filming then took place in Trafalgar
Square. In early June, the crew, as well as Craig, Seydoux, and Waltz
returned to the Thames for a final time to continue filming scenes
previously shot on the river.
After wrapping up in England, Production
travelled to Morocco in June, with filming taking place in Oujda,
Tangier and Erfoud after preliminary work was completed by the
production's second unit. Principal photography concluded on July 5th
2015. Filming took 128 days.
Thomas Newman returned as Spectre's
composer. Rather than composing the score once the film had moved
into post-production, Newman worked during filming. The theatrical
trailer released in July 2015 contained a rendition of John Barry's
On Her Majesty's Secret Service theme. Mendes revealed that the final
film would have more than one hundred minutes of music. The
soundtrack album was released on October 23rd 2015 in UK and November
6th 2015 in USA under the label of Decca Records.
In September 2015 it was announced that
Sam Smith and regular collaborator Jimmy Napes had written the film's
title theme, "Writing's on the Wall", with Smith performing
it for the film. Smith said the song came together in one session and
that he and collaborator Napes wrote it in under half an hour before
recording a demo. Satisfied with the quality, that demo was used in
the final release.
The song was released as a digital
download on September 25th 2015. Upon its release it received mixed
reviews from critics and fans, particularly in comparison to Adele's
"Skyfall". Despite that, in the United Kingdom,
"Writing's on the Wall" became the first James Bond theme
to reach number one. The previous highest-charting Bond themes were
Adele's "Skyfall" and Duran Duran's "A View to a
Kill", which both reached number two. It also became Smith's
fifth UK number-one single within two years.
During the December 2014 press conference
announcing the start of filming, Aston Martin and Eon unveiled the
new DB10 as the official car for the film. The DB10 was designed in
collaboration between Aston Martin and the filmmakers, with only ten
being produced especially for Spectre as a celebration of the
fiftieth anniversary of the company's association with the franchise.
After modifying the Jaguar C-X75 for the film, Williams F1 carried
the 007 logo on their cars at the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix, with the
team playing host to the cast and crew ahead of the Mexican premiere
of the film.
To promote the film, production continued
the trend established during Skyfall's production of releasing still
images of clapperboards and video blogs on Eon's official social
On March 13th 2015 several members of the
cast and crew, including Craig, Whishaw, Wilson and Mendes, as well
as the previous James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore appeared in a sketch
written by David Walliams and the Dawson Brothers for Comic Relief's
Red Nose Day on BBC One in which they film a behind-the-scenes
mockumentary on the filming of Spectre. The first teaser trailer for
Spectre was released worldwide in March 2015, followed by the
theatrical trailer in July and the final trailer in October.
CLUB FEATURETTE DEPARTMENT
A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
Spectre had its world premiere in London
on October 26th 2015, the same day as its general release in the
United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Following the announcement of
the start of filming, Paramount Pictures brought forward the release
of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation to avoid competing with
Spectre. In March 2015 IMAX corporation announced that Spectre would
be screened in its cinemas, following Skyfall's success with the company.
As of November 2015 Spectre has grossed
$296.1 million. $63.8 million of the takings have been generated from
the UK market and $73 million from North America.
Spectre has received mixed reviews from
critics. Many reviewers either gave the film highly positive or
highly negative feedback. Rotten Tomatoes sampled 216 reviews and
judged 63% of the critiques to be positive. On Metacritic the film
has a rating of 60 out of 100, based on 47 critics. In some early
reviews the film received favourable comparisons with its
predecessor, Skyfall and on CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an
average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
Prior to its UK release, Spectre mostly
received critical acclaim. Mark Kermode, writing in The Guardian,
gave the film four out of five stars, observing that, "while
Spectre may not be the equal of its immediate predecessor, its
still bang on target in delivering what an audience wants from this
seemingly indestructible franchise". Writing in the same
publication, Peter Bradshaw gave the film a full five stars. Critical
appraisal of the film was noticeably less enthusiastic in the US. In
a lukewarm review for Roger Ebert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz gave the
film only 2.5 stars out of 4.
CLUB SLIDESHOW DEPARTMENT