If you read this, you will finally love SPECTRE.

thegreatgallingthegreatgalling Posts: 176MI6 Agent
edited December 2020 in SPECTRE - Bond 24 (2015)
I will start this by saying I am writing this because I hope my thoughts on SPECTRE will add to fans' enjoyment of the film.

I think there are many fans who are like me that WANT to love SPECTRE and just can't wrap their head around a few issues. If you let me, i am going to try to help you love this film and understand why every part of it was so important to Craig's Bond. In fact, you might never see Craig's Bond films the same way every again.

So let's go to the beginning.

The only feeling that best describes how I left the theater after seeing SPECTRE for the first time is disappointment.

I wasn't disappointed because the entire movie was terrible. On the contrary, I loved SO MUCH of it.

The problem were that the parts I HATED impacted my entire enjoyment of the film.

I don't have to tell you there were parts to the film that were stellar. The PTS, the throwbacks, the love story, the tech villainy: there is a lot to enjoy.

But no matter how much I loved MOST of the film, I could not shake the nagging pit in my stomach thinking about what I felt was one of the worst plot points of any Bond film, Bond's personal connection to Blofeld.

My pit started in the theater long before Blofeld uttered the words. The picture, the burned face, the avalanche. There's no way they are going to Austin Powers this, are they? I thought. No way!

Yes way.

The entire thing seemed so implausible that it immediately ripped my attention from the movie. They lost me.

You mean to tell me that out of all the billions of people in the world, we are meant to believe that a super agent just happened to be foster brothers with the world's biggest arch enemy in modern history?

What's more, they are going to insult our intelligence and shoe-horn Blofeld in three barely related plots?

But that, as it turns out, is the very key to understanding why this plot is not so far fetched as it seems to be.

What if Blofeld was in fact a shadow that was there the whole time?

What if it wasn't a coincidence these two men were connected at all?

Let's run through the films and just what the implications of Blofeld's words really mean:

So James Bond, a blue-eyed orphan is graced with the generosity of Hannes Oberhauser (who as a character is far from imagined and has literary roots in Fleming authored Octopussy).

We learn of young Franz's early psychopathy which leads him to kill his father. To those who find that story farfetched, Oberhauser was likely a sick child whose paternal discomposure probably had far more complexity we are not privy to. But his father's seeming love for James and Oberhauser's intense jealousy was simply the impetus that finally made him snap.

This alone has tremendous implications for Bond's psyche. Here we have not one, but THREE devastating childhood losses he was forced to bear (his parents and Hannes). It makes his traits even more understandable, and I think believable given Craig's performances. Craig Bond is also not unhesitant to love. He strives for it. And with SPECTRE taken alongside Casino Royale, we can see an almost desperation in Bond to find and protect attachment when he can find it. Craig's Bond is willing to love deeply and not once, but twice is willing to end his career to attain it. We can begin to see why Bond would nourish a hard protective exterior, while still nursing an immense loss and loneliness he strives to ameliorate.

So now we assume the two boys go their separate paths. Oberhauser eventually finds himself on a long and treacherous road that leads to him becoming the head of SPECTRE. Bond's career on the other hand I believe is formed a little differently.

I think that Blofeld creates Bond. (And even if Oberhauser was an afterthought of the Craig films, let's pretend for a moment that every single moment was intended).

How far back Oberhauser's behind the scenes impact has on Craig Bond's career is open to imagination. For the sake of argument, let's say Oberhauser's trail begins shortly before the events of Casino Royale. As Bond rises through the ranks of Naval Intelligence, the head of SPECTRE would certainly have the means to follow his every move.

That would mean that Bond's entire career is one giant Bond Villain trap set by Oberhauser. Forget being left in Fort Knox. Forget being left under a rocket preparing to fire. No, here, Bond's entire career is the trap. A way for Oberhauser to control Bond's fate and destroy him over and over every single chance he gets. Who knows how many of Bond's unseen missions were Oberhauser influencing MI6 to do his bidding?

Here, Oberhauser becomes not only a sick voyeur, but a willing participant in Bond's pain.

It now becomes easy to imagine just how impactful Oberhauser has been in the Craig Bond films.

Take the following two scenarios:

SPECTRE has people everywhere, and Oberhauser would have no problem learning Bond was in the running for the 00 program... especially when he learns that MI6 has chosen James Bond to kill one of his moles, Dryden.

Yep that's right. Dryden was selling secrets to SPECTRE.

Of course Oberhauser knew when Drydan's SPECTRE contact was killed in an MI6 hit, that Dryden would be next. Was he surprised to learn it was none other than James Bond?

Or was it the second possibility. Did Oberhauser PLAN for Bond to join the 00 program just to watch him burn? It is not hard to imagine SPECTRE was there at every turn. In every MI6 system. Moles. Bent agents. Like a twisted voyeur playing chess as well as marionettes, Oberhauser could have devised a scheme to involve and frame Dryden and manipulate whatever cogs he had to so Bond was recommended for the task.

Oberhauser then never leaves Bond in peace - always keeping him close simply to enjoy inflicting pain and watching it happen from the shadows.

Everyone Bond is close to dies. All by design.

Didn't it seem a tad convenient that Bond happened to "be the best card player in the service?" - or was that information planted so Bond would be sent to play Le Chiffre. Just so Oberhauser could watch him lose, humiliated. But Bond never really allows Oberhauser the satisfaction of great failure - he beats Le Chiffre - but not before the screws are tightened on Vesper Lynd, his love. Oberhauser couldn't have known that Vesper would end her life - but if she didn't, he would have made sure she died someway or another. And he would be close by, in the shadows to watch it happen.

Oberhauser could stop Bond at any minute. But he doesn't. He enjoys watching Bond sweat, unravel the webs. SPECTRE is huge, every person who sits at its table is another Le Chiffre. So he has no problem keeping Bond close. To him its worth the thrill.

Something changes, it's more than just watching Bond suffer. He begins to take pleasure in the suspense of Bond's savviness. Will he stop the attack on the Skyfleet plane? Oberhauser relishes the thrill.

Wasn't it a little convenient for Mr. White to spare James' life at the end? Vesper makes a deal in exchange for Bond's life? Why would SPECTRE honor that deal?

No.

Oberhauser spares his life, because watching his destruction is too much fun and he is not through.

The events of QoS continues the narrative. The closer Bond gets, the more he is hurt, the more Oberhauser closes in - fully privy to Bond's every move, every report.

And person by person, he continues to inflict his pain from the shadows.

Bond's friend Mathis? it was Oberhauser who has him killed.

Fields? It was Oberhauser who ordered her lungs filled with oil - not only misdirection as Bond believes - but part of Oberhauser's sick game to test Bond's cunning, all the while he watches.

When Bond slips past Oberhauser's traps, he orders Green to tell the CIA to eliminate Bond. Constantly testing. Constantly hurting.

BUT THEN. Like a flash, Oberhauser's plans come to an end.

He learns that Bond is dead.

It's too quick. Unsatisfying. But Oberhauser of all people knows that just because a man is said to be dead, doesn't make it so. So he devises a schema to make sure Bond is really dead. He has Silva attack MI6 to see if he can draw Bond from the shadows or if he is really gone.

Sure enough, Bond reveals himself. The plot of Skyfall really plays as an elaborate trap for Bond and M. Oberhauser harnesses Silva's grudge and releases him to inflict his pain on someone he knows means the world to Bond.

And like all the people close to him, Oberhauser doesn't stop until they are dead.

Bond finally closes in. Hello JAMES. What took you so long?

For Oberhauser, with Bond so close, his Pièce de résistance is the reveal. Like every Bond villain before him, Oberhauser cannot resist the temptation to gloat how Bond was played. It's not enough for him to hurt him all those years. Now, he gets to tell Bond it was him. It was him, all along.

Oberhauser tells him he was the author of all his pain.

Because he was.

Comments

  • SeanIsTheOnlyOneSeanIsTheOnlyOne Posts: 147MI6 Agent
    I appreciate your effort to make this movie better than it is, but the problem is deeper. The screenwriting is terrible and nothing can change it.

    If you go this way, TWINE should be considered as one of the greatest movies of the series, if not the greatest. Elektra is quite a character if you think about it !
    Her duality makes her a very complex villainess, which was something brand new at that time.
    Her plot is not far from Goldfinger's and her ability to manipulate both Bond and Renard is the result of the trauma caused by her kidnapping. Her emotional sensitivity is genuine because of her own conflict which is the direct consequence of the complicated relationship with her father, like Tracy in some way...Elektra is not a monster, she BECAME one.
    Does it mean Purvis and Wade made a good job in terms of screenwriting ? I don't think so. The final product is very disappointing. Some scenes are boring and some dialogs are very poor. The plotline is very confused and some action sequences completely destroy the narrative relevance.

    It's the same for Sp. Judging a movie only considering the intentions is a mistake IMHO. And believe me or not, I enjoyed it much more than SF. Having said that, I have to admit there are too many problems concerning the script to make me LOVE the film...

    Sorry.
  • CheverianCheverian Posts: 1,207MI6 Agent
    I don’t think Eon was as smart and perceptive as you in creating the modern Blofeld, but here’s what I really like about your theory, beyond the sophisticated work you put into posting it, there is nothing in the films to prove you wrong, meaning one can accept this hypothesis if it makes SP (and the entire Craig run) more personally enjoyable. In this interpretation Bond becomes an even more tragic hero; Blofeld becomes the mastermind he was supposed to be. I say, “Well done.”
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,438MI6 Agent
    Certainly an exhaustive and detailed extrapolation from the dialog in the film. I think all of that is implied but not spelled out, and all things being equal that would make for a fascinating backstory for a tragic hero.

    (though Blofeld's powers to observe and influence seems a little far fetched, like a classical god manipulating a mortal's life from above).

    But that doesn't make me love SPECTRE any better, because I never wanted either Fleming's Bond or EON's Bond to be defined by such a backstory. It'd be more interesting if it were an all-new character. Or at least a bit of fanfic, not an official EON product.


    this reminds me: in a rival BondFan forum, I saw someone refer to SPECTRE's version of Blofeld as Brofeld!
    I may start borrowing that, as it distinguishes this new but similar looking character from classic Blofeld.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,438MI6 Agent
    If you go this way, TWINE should be considered as one of the greatest movies of the series, if not the greatest. Elektra is quite a character if you think about it !
    I do think the World is Not Enough is pretty swell, at least the best of the Brosnan films, for the reasons you describe.
    A proper story where character drives events in a way original for a Bondfilm, and uniquely in the Brosnan run a film where plot rises above action. The fact that the action sequences in this film are mostly weak just means there should have been less of them.

    It also suits Brosnan's Bond to be manipulated by such a character, to worry about what he has done, yet in the end repress his doubts and resolve the situation in a cold professional matter.
    Last time I watched his four films I realised Brosnan is the most philosophical Bond: in each film there is a moment where he stops and thinks about his job and tries to put into words why he does it. No other (cinematic) version of Bond worries about such things.


    All that said, Elektra manipulates Bond in one film only, and only after they have been introduced partway into the plot. That's very different from "Brofeld" somehow manipulating every event in Bond's life.
  • SeanIsTheOnlyOneSeanIsTheOnlyOne Posts: 147MI6 Agent

    All that said, Elektra manipulates Bond in one film only, and only after they have been introduced partway into the plot. That's very different from "Brofeld" somehow manipulating every event in Bond's life.

    The goal was not to compare Blofeld with Elektra but to prove despite some good intentions from the screenwriters, there are other elements to take into account to make a good script. That was the genius of Maibaum by the way.

    Concerning TWINE, I'd like to appreciate it as much as you do, but I can't, despite some orginal ideas. I even prefer the way Benson wrote the story with introducing new elements about Elektra's kidnapping to understand her motives and her relationship with Renard. If these things were showed instead of some action sequences that I find quite boring, perhaps I would have judged the film a different way.
  • thegreatgallingthegreatgalling Posts: 176MI6 Agent
    Cheverian wrote:
    I don’t think Eon was as smart and perceptive as you in creating the modern Blofeld, but here’s what I really like about your theory, beyond the sophisticated work you put into posting it, there is nothing in the films to prove you wrong, meaning one can accept this hypothesis if it makes SP (and the entire Craig run) more personally enjoyable. In this interpretation Bond becomes an even more tragic hero; Blofeld becomes the mastermind he was supposed to be. I say, “Well done.”

    Thank you!
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,366MI6 Agent
    This is a thoughtful and thorough appreciation of a film and films which simply doesn't and do not exist.

    The effort you've taken is laudable and you almost convinced me for a moment.

    The problem though is that I can't enjoy SP without sensing something akin to what you initially hypothesised.

    The very fact of making Bond and his nemesis 'half-brothers' disturbs the whole 'Flemingian' undercurrent of Craig's tenure. All the time and attention taken to resurrect the Master's flawed hero for the 21st century us thrown out by imposing on the audience a character who never existed in Fleming's original.

    Let's consider the backstory Fleming gave his version of Blofeld: Polish, electronics graduate, engineering post-grad, a communications cryptographer, a networker, a spy for more than one side, a decorated war veteran, a self-made millionaire, founder of a private enterprise for private profit, a grand criminal. This is a man who seeks only wealth and power and recognition of his genius. Familial ties do not enter into it. His family are deceased. And he's barely concerned with James Bond at all. For the most part Blofeld remains hidden behind his operatives and elaborate cover schemes. The two protagonists only confront each other verbally twice. This was taken on board by the early screenwriters and Bloefeld's presence looms without needing to become physically and personally involved. Even as late as DAF, Blofeld mocks 007's heroics: "Your pitiful little island hasn't even been threatened."
    Fleming (and also Maibaum) created distance and difference between hero and villain. SP brings the two much too close together.

    I don't believe it is successful at all. Too much information is thrown at the audience. Because it is historical info, it has to be related through dialogue, not action: telling not showing - a fatal flaw in writing and one which SP cannot hide.

    I will credit the screenwriters for attending to Fleming's Blofeld's intelligence gathering history which would work really well if Silva hadn't already perfected it in SF.

    Ultimately, what still makes me dislike SP is that unlike every other Bond film, the story arc expects knowledge and understanding of the previous 3 movies. SP is a direct sequel. Craig's era has form for this, witness the association of CR /QOS. Modern movie series also have a dubious habit of the same - the Marvel Universe makes me shudder.

    When Bond us preposterously trying to rescue his beloved in a burned out MI6 building, the legend which should have been Quantum is brutally but laughably shoved aside in favour of a sort of Thor vs Loki showdown for our hero spy. By now, even Spectre the organisation has become defunct.

    Boys will be boys and brothers are trouble, and you wont convince me the writers considered anything more than that when they wrote the script.
  • thegreatgallingthegreatgalling Posts: 176MI6 Agent
    chrisno1 wrote:

    The very fact of making Bond and his nemesis 'half-brothers' disturbs the whole 'Flemingian' undercurrent of Craig's tenure. All the time and attention taken to resurrect the Master's flawed hero for the 21st century us thrown out by imposing on the audience a character who never existed in Fleming's original.

    Thank you for your thoughts, this is certainly a departure from Fleming.
  • ShatterfangShatterfang Posts: 538MI6 Agent
    edited February 21
    If you have to write all that to convince us its good, maybe it isn't. If Blofeld's parents died and the Bond's adopted him, and he killed them, then he would have created Bond. How does he create Bond by killing his own dad? Even if you excuse them for ripping off their own spoof, they got it all backwards. I think they were so in love with that cuckoo metaphor that they made Blofeld jealous of Bond... for being an orphan, up to the point he orphans himself by duplicating the accident. He's a petty man child who claims he orchestrated all his pain, without giving Bond or the audience one single example. Taking only what is shown on screen, there is no evidence that anyone other than White were Spectre agents. Le Chiffre and Silva's DNA was on the ring, meaning they shook hands with Sciara at one point. So at best he caused Vesper's suicide, M's death by proxy in giving them the resources to accomplish their own missions. And I don't see Oberhauser being the final straw. With his own parents, Bond wasn't convinced but now he devotes his life, not to promoting higher standards in mountain climbing safety, but fighting terrorism?
  • Gassy ManGassy Man USAPosts: 2,749MI6 Agent
    Another problem is all of what is proposed her has to happen offscreen, which is common for modern movies. In order to spend so much time on a few elaborate (but not nearly as much as the 60s films) set pieces and some ponderous visuals, the script will only hint at elements that the audience is then supposed to take and run with.

    The older films were better at getting to the point and showing us stuff. And they wisely avoided nonsense like having Bond and Blofeld be foster brothers.
  • LooeyLooey AustraliaPosts: 6MI6 Agent
    What a great post! I went absolutely ballistic when they pulled the Austin Powers trick. No matter how much I like your rationale, the Bond Producers chose to go down this path, despite it being the most blatant work of self parody the series has ever committed to celluloid.
    I like your reasoning, but I still can't accept the film after the (to my thoughts) excellent SKYFALL.
    I'm wondering if like the Star Trek movies, every other film in the Bond series is a clunker...
    If so, I'm hoping when we FINALLY get to see No Time To Die, it'll be another "good" one.
    I will start this by saying I am writing this because I hope my thoughts on SPECTRE will add to fans' enjoyment of the film.

    I think there are many fans who are like me that WANT to love SPECTRE and just can't wrap their head around a few issues. If you let me, i am going to try to help you love this film and understand why every part of it was so important to Craig's Bond. In fact, you might never see Craig's Bond films the same way every again.

    So let's go to the beginning.

    The only feeling that best describes how I left the theater after seeing SPECTRE for the first time is disappointment.

    I wasn't disappointed because the entire movie was terrible. On the contrary, I loved SO MUCH of it.

    The problem were that the parts I HATED impacted my entire enjoyment of the film.

    I don't have to tell you there were parts to the film that were stellar. The PTS, the throwbacks, the love story, the tech villainy: there is a lot to enjoy.

    But no matter how much I loved MOST of the film, I could not shake the nagging pit in my stomach thinking about what I felt was one of the worst plot points of any Bond film, Bond's personal connection to Blofeld.

    My pit started in the theater long before Blofeld uttered the words. The picture, the burned face, the avalanche. There's no way they are going to Austin Powers this, are they? I thought. No way!

    Yes way.

    The entire thing seemed so implausible that it immediately ripped my attention from the movie. They lost me.

    You mean to tell me that out of all the billions of people in the world, we are meant to believe that a super agent just happened to be foster brothers with the world's biggest arch enemy in modern history?

    What's more, they are going to insult our intelligence and shoe-horn Blofeld in three barely related plots?

    But that, as it turns out, is the very key to understanding why this plot is not so far fetched as it seems to be.

    What if Blofeld was in fact a shadow that was there the whole time?

    What if it wasn't a coincidence these two men were connected at all?

    Let's run through the films and just what the implications of Blofeld's words really mean:

    So James Bond, a blue-eyed orphan is graced with the generosity of Hannes Oberhauser (who as a character is far from imagined and has literary roots in Fleming authored Octopussy).

    We learn of young Franz's early psychopathy which leads him to kill his father. To those who find that story farfetched, Oberhauser was likely a sick child whose paternal discomposure probably had far more complexity we are not privy to. But his father's seeming love for James and Oberhauser's intense jealousy was simply the impetus that finally made him snap.

    This alone has tremendous implications for Bond's psyche. Here we have not one, but THREE devastating childhood losses he was forced to bear (his parents and Hannes). It makes his traits even more understandable, and I think believable given Craig's performances. Craig Bond is also not unhesitant to love. He strives for it. And with SPECTRE taken alongside Casino Royale, we can see an almost desperation in Bond to find and protect attachment when he can find it. Craig's Bond is willing to love deeply and not once, but twice is willing to end his career to attain it. We can begin to see why Bond would nourish a hard protective exterior, while still nursing an immense loss and loneliness he strives to ameliorate.

    So now we assume the two boys go their separate paths. Oberhauser eventually finds himself on a long and treacherous road that leads to him becoming the head of SPECTRE. Bond's career on the other hand I believe is formed a little differently.

    I think that Blofeld creates Bond. (And even if Oberhauser was an afterthought of the Craig films, let's pretend for a moment that every single moment was intended).

    How far back Oberhauser's behind the scenes impact has on Craig Bond's career is open to imagination. For the sake of argument, let's say Oberhauser's trail begins shortly before the events of Casino Royale. As Bond rises through the ranks of Naval Intelligence, the head of SPECTRE would certainly have the means to follow his every move.

    That would mean that Bond's entire career is one giant Bond Villain trap set by Oberhauser. Forget being left in Fort Knox. Forget being left under a rocket preparing to fire. No, here, Bond's entire career is the trap. A way for Oberhauser to control Bond's fate and destroy him over and over every single chance he gets. Who knows how many of Bond's unseen missions were Oberhauser influencing MI6 to do his bidding?

    Here, Oberhauser becomes not only a sick voyeur, but a willing participant in Bond's pain.

    It now becomes easy to imagine just how impactful Oberhauser has been in the Craig Bond films.

    Take the following two scenarios:

    SPECTRE has people everywhere, and Oberhauser would have no problem learning Bond was in the running for the 00 program... especially when he learns that MI6 has chosen James Bond to kill one of his moles, Dryden.

    Yep that's right. Dryden was selling secrets to SPECTRE.

    Of course Oberhauser knew when Drydan's SPECTRE contact was killed in an MI6 hit, that Dryden would be next. Was he surprised to learn it was none other than James Bond?

    Or was it the second possibility. Did Oberhauser PLAN for Bond to join the 00 program just to watch him burn? It is not hard to imagine SPECTRE was there at every turn. In every MI6 system. Moles. Bent agents. Like a twisted voyeur playing chess as well as marionettes, Oberhauser could have devised a scheme to involve and frame Dryden and manipulate whatever cogs he had to so Bond was recommended for the task.

    Oberhauser then never leaves Bond in peace - always keeping him close simply to enjoy inflicting pain and watching it happen from the shadows.

    Everyone Bond is close to dies. All by design.

    Didn't it seem a tad convenient that Bond happened to "be the best card player in the service?" - or was that information planted so Bond would be sent to play Le Chiffre. Just so Oberhauser could watch him lose, humiliated. But Bond never really allows Oberhauser the satisfaction of great failure - he beats Le Chiffre - but not before the screws are tightened on Vesper Lynd, his love. Oberhauser couldn't have known that Vesper would end her life - but if she didn't, he would have made sure she died someway or another. And he would be close by, in the shadows to watch it happen.

    Oberhauser could stop Bond at any minute. But he doesn't. He enjoys watching Bond sweat, unravel the webs. SPECTRE is huge, every person who sits at its table is another Le Chiffre. So he has no problem keeping Bond close. To him its worth the thrill.

    Something changes, it's more than just watching Bond suffer. He begins to take pleasure in the suspense of Bond's savviness. Will he stop the attack on the Skyfleet plane? Oberhauser relishes the thrill.

    Wasn't it a little convenient for Mr. White to spare James' life at the end? Vesper makes a deal in exchange for Bond's life? Why would SPECTRE honor that deal?

    No.

    Oberhauser spares his life, because watching his destruction is too much fun and he is not through.

    The events of QoS continues the narrative. The closer Bond gets, the more he is hurt, the more Oberhauser closes in - fully privy to Bond's every move, every report.

    And person by person, he continues to inflict his pain from the shadows.

    Bond's friend Mathis? it was Oberhauser who has him killed.

    Fields? It was Oberhauser who ordered her lungs filled with oil - not only misdirection as Bond believes - but part of Oberhauser's sick game to test Bond's cunning, all the while he watches.

    When Bond slips past Oberhauser's traps, he orders Green to tell the CIA to eliminate Bond. Constantly testing. Constantly hurting.

    BUT THEN. Like a flash, Oberhauser's plans come to an end.

    He learns that Bond is dead.

    It's too quick. Unsatisfying. But Oberhauser of all people knows that just because a man is said to be dead, doesn't make it so. So he devises a schema to make sure Bond is really dead. He has Silva attack MI6 to see if he can draw Bond from the shadows or if he is really gone.

    Sure enough, Bond reveals himself. The plot of Skyfall really plays as an elaborate trap for Bond and M. Oberhauser harnesses Silva's grudge and releases him to inflict his pain on someone he knows means the world to Bond.

    And like all the people close to him, Oberhauser doesn't stop until they are dead.

    Bond finally closes in. Hello JAMES. What took you so long?

    For Oberhauser, with Bond so close, his Pièce de résistance is the reveal. Like every Bond villain before him, Oberhauser cannot resist the temptation to gloat how Bond was played. It's not enough for him to hurt him all those years. Now, he gets to tell Bond it was him. It was him, all along.

    Oberhauser tells him he was the author of all his pain.

    Because he was.
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