Filming Locations Guide: Where was Spectre filmed?
Down to Morocco: The Spectre Crater
Atlas of Wonders is looking for wonderful Filming Locations all around the world. We are constantly updating and improving our posts with new details and images. Follow us here:
...so Bond was in England after all (Palazzo Cadenza scene) ;-)
Theese are amazing places f my fIrst bond film and i loved it so much!!
I loved seeing this movie it was amazing
Was the Spectre headquarters inside the crater a set or does it exist?
It was my backyard.
Other London locations included Spring Gardens near Trafalgar Square (MI6 Safe House) and Rules Restaurant
All comments are reviewed prior to publication
Log in or sign up for Rotten Tomatoes
Trouble logging in?
Email not verified
Let's keep in touch.
Sign up for the Rotten Tomatoes newsletter to get weekly updates on:
- Upcoming Movies and TV shows
- Trivia & Rotter Tomatoes Podcast
- Media News + More
OK, got it!
Movies / TV
No results found.
- What's the Tomatometer®?
Movies in theaters
- Opening this week
- Coming soon to theaters
- Certified fresh movies
Movies at home
- Netflix streaming
- Amazon prime
- Most popular streaming movies
- What to Watch New
Certified fresh picks
- Killers of the Flower Moon Link to Killers of the Flower Moon
- Silver Dollar Road Link to Silver Dollar Road
- Nyad Link to Nyad
New TV Tonight
- Fellow Travelers: Season 1
- American Horror Stories: Season 3
- Shoresy: Season 2
- 30 Coins: Season 2
- Life on Our Planet: Season 1
- Native America: Season 2
- The Enfield Poltergeist: Season 1
- Pluto: Season 1
Most Popular TV on RT
- Bodies: Season 1
- Sex Education: Season 4
- The Fall of the House of Usher: Season 1
- Lessons in Chemistry: Season 1
- Goosebumps: Season 1
- Rick and Morty: Season 7
- Loki: Season 2
- Scavengers Reign: Season 1
- Gen V: Season 1
- Top TV Shows
- Certified Fresh TV
- Most popular TV
Certified fresh pick
- Lessons in Chemistry: Season 1 Link to Lessons in Chemistry: Season 1
- All-Time Lists
- Binge Guide
- Comics on TV
- Five Favorite Films
- Video Interviews
- Weekend Box Office
- Weekly Ketchup
- What to Watch
200 Best Horror Movies of All Time
61 Best Concert Movies of All Time
What to Watch: In Theaters and On Streaming
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
Renewed and Cancelled TV Shows 2023
TV Premiere Dates 2023
- Trending on RT
- Shop Rotten Tomatoes
- Five Nights at Freddy's
- Killers of the Flower Moon
- Latest TM Scores
2015, Action/Adventure, 2h 28m
What to know
Spectre nudges Daniel Craig's rebooted Bond closer to the glorious, action-driven spectacle of earlier entries, although it's admittedly reliant on established 007 formula. Read critic reviews
You might also like
Where to watch spectre.
Rent Spectre on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, or buy it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu.
Rate And Review
Rate this movie
Oof, that was Rotten.
Meh, it passed the time.
It’s good – I’d recommend it.
So Fresh: Absolute Must See!
What did you think of the movie? (optional)
You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.
Step 2 of 2
How did you buy your ticket?
Let's get your review verified..
AMCTheatres.com or AMC App New
Cinemark Coming Soon
We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.
Regal Coming Soon
Theater box office or somewhere else
By opting to have your ticket verified for this movie, you are allowing us to check the email address associated with your Rotten Tomatoes account against an email address associated with a Fandango ticket purchase for the same movie.
You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.
Spectre videos, spectre photos.
A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.
Rating: PG-13 (Language|Intense Sequences of Action|Sensuality|Some Disturbing Images|Violence)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery & thriller
Original Language: English
Director: Sam Mendes
Producer: Michael G. Wilson , Barbara Broccoli
Writer: John Logan , Neal Purvis , Robert Wade , Jez Butterworth
Release Date (Theaters): Nov 6, 2015 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Jul 24, 2016
Box Office (Gross USA): $200.1M
Runtime: 2h 28m
Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Production Co: Danjaq Productions, Eon Productions Ltd., Columbia Pictures, MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
View the collection: James Bond 007
Cast & Crew
Michael G. Wilson
Hoyte Van Hoytema
Supervising Art Direction
News & Interviews for Spectre
Your Epic Movie Franchise Binge Guide: The Best Way to Watch the Biggest Series
Daniel Craig Is Returning as James Bond – What Critics Are Saying
Black Mirror , Shine a Light , and More Available to Stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime
Critic Reviews for Spectre
Audience reviews for spectre.
Visually stylish and a nice homage to the 60s Bond movies, neatly tying together plot points from the previous Daniel Craig bond movies, but felt quite pedestrian, I never really felt anything for any of the characters: things just happened without any excitement or emotion. At least it wasn't too silly, but again lacked humour.
One of the most obvious characteristics of the Bond series is that each instalment of the franchise can sit on its own. Modern audiences are asked to believe that the character has been the same age for more than 50 years, and the series has bent or tinkered with its conventions ever so slightly as the decades have rolled past in order to stay relevant. While this has kept the Bond series as a whole firmly in the realms of fantasy, it has allowed individual entries in the series to push for something more gritty or realistic; if it works, it's embraced and carried forward, and if not the series reverts to type with very few tears. Since the franchise was effectively rebooted with Casino Royale, an approach more becoming of comic books has been employed: different writers and directors come in and somehow try to stitch all the character's actions together into an overarching narrative. Doctor Who, Sherlock and Star Wars have all shown that this is not an easy thing to pull off, and it's harder still to convince an audience that such an undertaking was always intentional. Spectre attempts to tie together the events of its predecessors with a story about chickens coming home to roost - and while there is much to applaud about Sam Mendes' film, it is also riddled with problems. The first such problem is the amount of emphasis given to each of the previous films. You would imagine that any story which seeks to claim that the events of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall were all an elaborate means to bring us to this point would place an equal weight on each instalment and the events therein. Instead, Quantum of Solace has been practically airbrushed out of history; besides the odd mention of Quantum, we get no reference to its plot and Dominic Greene is never seen on camera. The refusal to even hint at it is too constant a factor for it to be an accident; it is as though the whole production threw up their hands, admitted that it was terrible, and then asked us to forget that it ever existed. A related problem is that the script for Spectre is deeply conflicted, especially when it comes to the film's female characters. Madeleine Swann is written like two completely different people who have been composited; one moment she's being icy cold, compelling and giving Bond a run for his money with a gun, the next she's being captured for the umpteenth time and needing to be rescued. For all the steps forward that the Daniel Craig era has taken, it still can't resist a damsel in distress. None of the women in Spectre are given a fair crack of the whip. Even if we put Léa Seydoux to one side, that still leaves us with Monicca Bellucci. The film has a great opportunity here, casting an older woman with the promise of a deeper relationship. Instead, she gets five minutes of screen time to look scared, sleep with Bond and then leave. Dressing her in stockings is at best a nod back to Teri Hatcher in Tomorrow Never Dies and at worst just lazy fanservice. Not every woman in Bond's life has to be helpless without him, and the series has been at its best when the women are equal to him - either in a fetishistic way, like Xenia Onatopp or Bambi and Thumper, or something more mature and three-dimensional. Then there are the villains to consider. Sherlock's Andrew Scott waltzes through the whole film like he has "bad guy" tattooed on his forehead, but at least he's fully committed to what he is doing. Christoph Waltz, meanwhile, is completely underwhelming as Blofeld. Having Bond and Blofield as adopted brothers is workable, but Waltz can't decide whether to play it as the Jew Hunter from Inglorious Basterds or as a straight-up pantomime. He seems uncomfortable in the costume, looking like Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II but without the threat. Either it's just a bad performance, or Mendes didn't know what he wanted from the character. Further evidence of a confused director can be found in the torture scene. The rope torture and poisoning scenes in Casino Royale were justified; they were both an effective means of moving to a grittier style and a meaningful way of showing Bond's vulnerability. Torture has been used as a novelty in Bond films before - there's a lot of it in the Brosnan era, whether Xenia's thighs in Goldeneye or the neck-breaking chair in The World Is Not Enough. But here it feels all too routine, as if Mendes said: "We need a torture scene here" and then got the specifics from a trip to the dentist. Like Skyfall before it, Spectre makes a number of conscious nods to its back catalogue. There's a lot more references to the Connery era this time around, with the DB5 and the gadgets on the DB10 nodding to Goldfinger, and Blofeld's cat and base borrowing heavily from You Only Live Twice. The sequence on the train is essentially a more stereoidal take on the train fight in From Russia with Love, and Swann's appearance particularly in the dining car is strongly influenced by Tatiana Romanova. But unlike its predecessor, these references are here for their own sake rather to make any attempt at justifying the franchise's longevity. There are a lot of plot details in Spectre which don't make sense or which are disappointing - another probable consequence of having four writers. The DNA scan on the Spectre ring is both a very arbitary gadget and a contrived plot device, asking us to accept both the technology and the fact that all the people involved would have worn the same ring. Then there's the ease with which Bond is able to blow up Blofeld's base, or the comparable ease with which Blofeld is able to wire up the whole of the MI6 building without anyone noticing. The final act is deeply anticlimatic, falling emotionally short where The Bourne Ultimatum hit a home run. In the midst of all these niggles, flaws and frustrations, there is an awful lot about Spectre which can be enjoyed, at least in the moment. For all its concessions to cliché, the film does make some interesting points about our increasingly surveillance-driven world and how easily it can be manipulated. The set-pieces are beautifully filmed, with Mendes lending excellent coverage to both the car chases and the long opening shot in Mexico. If you only watch Bond films for the car chases and fight scenes, rest assured they are still exhilirating enough to allow you to gloss over the plot holes. There are also improved performances within the supporting cast. Ben Whishaw's Q in Skyfall was essentially Brains from Thunderbirds, but here he becomes more rounded and appealingly tetchy. It's a different Q from Desmond Llewellyn's, but it still feels like a kindred spirit. Ralph Fiennes was always going to have a hard job following Judi Dench as M, but here he rises to the occasion, taking the tension he exhibited in In Bruges and bringing along some devil-may-care attitude for the ride. The best aspect of Spectre, however, is the scene involving Mr White - if nothing else because it is the most effective at tying up a part of the overarching story. There's a wonderfully bleak, pathos-ridden quality to the scene, with one man utterly defeated and the other delaying the inevitable. The writing is unpredictable but coherent, with Craig and Jesper Christiansen dualling brilliantly and the latter giving a sad, dead-eyed performance. Hoyte von Hoytema, who shot Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, does a fantastic job, contrasting the dark, oppresive colours in the cabin with the stark, deathly white of the snow. Spectre is a watchable slice of the Bond saga which pales in regard to two of the three films which preceded it. It's still heaps better than Quantum of Solace, if only because it always has a rough idea of where it is going even during its moments of writing conflict. But while its visual spectacle can give Casino Royale and Skyfall a run for their money, it doesn't have either the brains or the heart to rise above them. Bond fans will embrace it, but the rest of us will be expecting more effort next time around.
This is the movie that fans wanted to be even better than the critically acclaimed "Skyfall" that was released back in 2012. This movie clearly isn't that sequel! However, it really is a movie that can be enjoyable if you watch it with the right audience. If you watch it with the most die-hard Bond fans, this movie probably isn't for you, but if you just love Bond and love spy films, this movie is definitely something that you should check out. Daniel Craig once again proves why he was chosen back in 2006 and Christoph Waltz (who probably wasn't the Bond villain everyone was hoping for) shows why he is one of the best actors out there right now.
Every couple of years we get to go to the movies and hear the immortal words "Bond is back!". It's been 53 years since Sean Connery stepped into the role that he made iconic or made him an icon. That is a debate for a later time. Six Bonds later and the franchise still delivers enjoyable adventures that span the globe (with the occasional dud). Spectre is officially the 24th film and it really harkens back to the Bond of 30 years ago. The previous three films have built to this point in which Bond (Daniel Craig) has found that there is a huge criminal syndicate called Spectre that has been behind the events going all the way back to Casino Royale. Spectre represents a series of events in which Bond attempts to pull back the curtain and expose the puppet master in the form of Ernst Stravo Blofeld (Christophe Waltz). What's interesting about Spectre is that after 45 years of legal wranglings James Bond finally gets to face his arch nemesis. Blofeld is a characters that has never been played by the same actor twice and Christophe Waltz is a wonderful return for the character. Cold, calculated evil delivered. Craig once again fits into Bond and exudes that dark, brooding Bond. Some have mentioned the Roger Moore era of Bond being represented in this film, but Craig keeps the film grounded. Each Bond is his own man, yet the same man. Bringing us to the story, it once again leads to world control. Not from nukes or space stations, but information. We live in an information age. Our bogeymen sit at computer screens now. Who is on the other end of that camera watching you.Bond stories tend to recycle themselves, but amazingly most of them hold up. Spectre is a very good follow up to the almost perfect Skyfall. What's enjoyable about James Bond films, particularly when comparing films with the Bournes and Mission: Impossibles out there. Each individual Bond film makes its own mark, be it in villains, locales, or general bad assery. Other spy franchise seem to blend together, creating a murky identity when trying to remember what film had this or that happen. Bond has never had that problem and it's one of the many reasons that these films endure and continue to endure.
Movie & TV guides
Rotten Tomatoes Gifts Cards
RT Podcasts: Rotten Tomatoes is Wrong
Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game
What to Watch - In theaters & streaming
Posted March 7, 2021 by AI
On a rogue mission in Mexico City Bond kills an assassin. Back in London, Bond is grounded by M but confides in Moneypenny that he was acting on orders from the previous M before she died. Bond travels to Rome and infiltrates a secret meeting, but their leader Franz Oberhauser, reveals Bond’s presence. The terrifying Hinx pursues Bond in a car chase. In Austria, Bond meets his old nemesis Mr White and makes a promise to keep Mr White’s daughter safe in exchange for leading him to Oberhauser. The daughter, Dr Madeleine Swann, is reluctant to help, but after Bond rescues her from Hinx she agrees. She reveals the secret organisation is SPECTRE. Swann leads Bond to Tangier and from there they journey by train to a desert location, Swann makes Bond question the life he has chosen for himself. Hinx appears and a vicious fight ensues. At a high-tech facility in the desert Bond and Swann meet Oberhauser, He amasses information to manipulate events and is about to gain control of a global surveillance network. After Oberhauser tortures Bond and reveals himself to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond and Swann escape and destroy the base. In London Bond debriefs M, is captured by Blofeld, then rescues Swann. Bond has the opportunity to kill Blofeld but decides to let him live. Bond joins Swann, leaving his old life behind.
Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen
Michael G. Wilson Barbara Broccoli
26 October 2015 (UK) 6 November 2015 (USA)
26 October 2015, The Royal Albert Hall, London
Pinewood Studios, London locations, UK; Lake Altaussee, Obertilliach and Sölden, Austria; Rome, Italy; Mexico City, Mexico; Tangier, Erfoud and Sahara desert, Morocco
“Writing’s On The Wall” – performed by Sam Smith, written by Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes
Aston Martin DB5 , Aston Martin DB10 , Jaguar C-X75 , Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, Land Rover Discovery Sport SVR, Land Rover Defender Big Foot, Fiat 500, Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft, McDonnell Douglas MD500E, AgustaWestland AW109. Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo 105
- Smart Blood tracking device
- Omega Seamaster 300 with two-tone NATO strap. Built in explosive charge with a one-minute timer
- Blofeld’s torture chair
- Nine Eyes Surveillance System
- Laser microphone attached to Bond’s gun
- Hinx’s thumbnails
The pre-title Day of the Dead sequence employed 1,520 extras, dressed and made up by 107 different make-up artists, 98 of whom were local. On each working day it took three and a half hours to get the crowd prepared
The Red Bull helicopter that featured in the pre-title sequence is built especially for barrel-rolling and free-diving and piloted by aerobatic pilot Chuck Aaron
Spectre marked the first time Bond has filmed in Rome, Italy
It was also the first time Aston Martin and the Bond production team collaborated on creating a new car designed specifically for the film with the DB10
Stefan Zurcher began looking for appropriate locations in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France, 12 months before shooting commenced. His first Bond film was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where he played a Piz Gloria guard. He continued to work on eight more Bond films in different capacities. He is also known as “The Snowman”
The exterior of the Ice Q in Solden was selected for the start of the chase. The main outdoor set was constructed in Obertilliach, a small village with 500 inhabitants in the Austrian Tirol
Two 20 tonne cranes were used in order to simulate the flight in the forest. The plane was 18m wide and the path through the trees was only 20m wide. Special carbon fibre cables were used between the cranes. Laser equipment was used to ensure the one kilometre path through the trees was in a straight line
A snow team of 30 people worked round the clock to guarantee perfect snow conditions on the road and in the forest
Spectre includes a Guinness World Record for the largest on screen explosion (of Blofeld’s lair)
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
Spectre ending: A serious attempt to explain it
Entertainment Geekly: Do the what now?
Darren is a TV Critic. Follow him on Twitter @DarrenFranich for opinions and recommendations.
I have a deep, abiding love for Crazy Bond. When people make favorite 007 movie lists, they always push the usual suspects towards the top. On Her Majesty's Secret Service , From Russia With Love , Goldeneye , Casino Royale . You used to see Goldfinger more; you see Skyfall all the time now. Those are worthy, fine movies. It is not controversial to like them. We tend to prefer a seriousness of intent in our goofy entertainment. We want fake things to feel "real."
But the lineage of Bond is mad. Mad, I tell you. Gadgets and rockets, henchmen übermenschen and oversexed geopolitics. Part of the fun of loving Bond is loving the tension between narrative poles: The urge toward something like reality and the simultaneous urge far, far away. For a long time, my favorite Bond movie was You Only Live Twice , a monument to Pop Art set design and space-age paranoia and transformer helicopters and ninjas. Like every film in the franchise, You Only Live Twice is indefensible as a social document: Sean Connery goes undercover as "Asian Male," and freely swaps one partner-lover for another one. And if you're looking for everything "gritty realism" isn't, "Volcano Rocket Base" is it.
And yet: There is an authentic raw power when Bond goes lysergic. Diamonds are Forever is a frequent travesty, but I'll never get over Charles Gray as multiple Blofelds, dying once or twice or thrice. The Roger Moore films veer slow, but the sets are delights of gauche grandeur: Every submarine interior looks like the Playboy mansion. (As a rule: I love any James Bond movie set designed by Ken Adam.) My favorite of the Moore Bonds, For Your Eyes Only , is a movie about yachts and crossbows and figure skating and sharks; it ends with Bond flirting with Margaret Thatcher, except Bond's busy skinny-dipping, and Thatcher's actually flirting with a parrot. Licence to Kill is a movie about drugs and televangelism and Carey Lowell's haircut and sharks. (As a rule: I love any James Bond movie with sharks.) My feelings about Die Another Day and invisible cars and ice castles and sun lasers are a matter of record . (As a rule: Lasers, etc.)
The Daniel Craig Bonds never weren't a little crazy. We talk a lot about how Craig made Bond "real," how these movies gave Bond a "past." But Casino Royale has a funky side: Bond kills a man in the middle of the corpse-chic Bodies exhibit. That funk's all gone in Quantum of Solace , a movie so completely unloved that it's probably overdue for reconsideration. I find it mostly unwatchable, a grimdark exercise in anti-joy. The last big scene in Quantum goes to a chic hotel with, WOW, a lot of squares on the outside! Squares! How chic! How minimal! How… square.
The genius of Skyfall was how it filtered the seriousness of Casino Royale 's intent through the goofiness of the franchise's de facto form. Credit Roger Deakins, the Skyfall cinematographer. Even the worst Bond movies pre-Brosnan have great credits sequences — mostly created by Maurice Binder, who never stopped finding weird new ways for beautiful silhouettes to dance with bullets. Skyfall is as close as we'll ever come to a movie-length credits sequence. In Deakins' vision, Shanghai looks like an infinite mirror installation, and Macau looks like King's Landing via Salvador Dali, and a prison cell looks like the dream sequence from an Ingmar Bergman movie. (I don't remember why, but at some point in Skyfall , they basically go to Atlantis.)
People don't love Spectre . Chris Nashawaty gave it a B-minus, which is on the generous side . Last year, the film writer Film Crit Hulk wrote a towering essay-book-blog about the 007 series. One of his central big ideas is that the Bond franchise suffers from a self-afflicted case of Terminal Overreaction. Every Bond film is, in part, a portrait of the producers freaking out about the reaction to the last Bond film. You certainly get that sense from Spectre , which takes everything that was apparently good about Skyfall —and all the bad things that were too small to notice—and magnifies them.
But the Bond franchise is also a case study in zeitgeist overreaction. Part of the pleasures of loving Bond is how the franchise provides a pocket history of half a century of the blockbuster movie as an art form and as an ongoing concern. You watch the '70s become the '80s around the outskirts of the Moore Bonds. You watch film styles come, go, return.
You need to excavate a little. A View to a Kill is an incredible Grace Jones delivery system, if you can wade through an hour of equestrian noir. You need to always remember that the geopolitics of the James Bond franchise is a load of hot nonsense. The Brosnan Bonds tell you nothing about the realities of the '90s: The period when the Cold War quietly, gradually, suddenly shifted into the War on Terror. But the Brosnan Bonds tell you everything about our weird paranoid fantasies in the '90s: media moguls and renegade Russians and the corporate-terrorist complex.
So Spectre is an overreaction to our current blockbuster moment. Like Quantum , it wants to be a serialized sequel. Like every superhero film, it wants to prove itself as a Saga. This is very silly, for the most part. SPOILERS FROM HERE . It is silly that James Bond was a childhood friend-brother to Franz Oberhauser a.k.a. Blofeld, and it's silly that Oberhauser killed his father and faked his own death and changed his name to Blofeld and became the most evil man alive. Nothing that happens in Spectre holds up to even minor logical scrutiny. (Bond sets off on his mission because M leaves him a video with, basically, this instruction: "Kill this random guy and go to his funeral.") The logic stuff wouldn't matter in a lighthearted movie, but Spectre keeps filtering in psychodrama and Snowden-era paranoia. It's like watching an episode of DuckTales about the financial crisis.
But I come not to bury Spectre , but to weirdly praise it. Because the final act of the movie is so strange, so willfully obtuse, that it deserves extra attention. Put simply: I have no clear idea what happens in the last half hour of Spectre . I'm not sure anyone really does. It's a final act that feels overly rewritten in four or five different directions. I guess you could just say it's "bad." It is radically unpleasant in the context of Bond movie history—and it dovetails on some bits of fan service so shameless that it's shocking they didn't just throw in Benedict Cumberbatch with robotic hands and a doctor's outfit.
To recap: Bond and Madeleine Swann are on a train to the middle of nowhere, because they found a map pointing them there. On the train, Bond and Swann bond over drinks, and then really bond after they rescue each other from Hinx—a henchman who deserves his own return trip, like when Jaws got a girlfriend in Moonraker . They arrive in a desert. A car picks them up, and brings them to Villain's Lair. The design feels like a You Only Live Twice callback: a top-secret HQ in the hole at the center of a mountain.
In this case, the range is actually a meteor crater. We learn this because Christoph Waltz's big baddie welcomes Bond and Swann into a dark planetarium room with a gigantic meteorite at the center. Oberhauser and Bond talk about the meteorite hitting Earth, but they're really talking about each other.
At no point in any of this does Bond have a plan. At no point in any of this do Bond or Oberhauser talk about their shared history—and at no point does Spectre acknowledge the fundamental weirdness of two childhood frenemies becoming world-destroying espionage superhumans.
Instead, Oberhauser puts Bond into a brain drill. He tells Bond that his new name is Blofeld—something that doesn't matter at all to anyone—and then he starts drilling.
This is where things get a bit weird. And by "weird," I do at least partially mean "nonsensical." Based on a straw poll of my EW colleagues, the consensus is that all Blofeld is doing in this scene is torturing Bond: The "brain drill" is just designed to drill his nerve endings, make him feel tremendous pain.
But at one point, Blofeld starts saying some very strange things. He talks about how, if his weird little brain drill hits just the right part of Bond's brain, it will erase his ability to remember faces. He's talking, specifically, about the faces of the women close to Bond, now and then.
After the drill goes into Bond's head, Madeleine Swann walks over to him. She asks him if he recognizes her. And then—apropos of very, very little—she says: "I love you."
Suddenly, everything changes. Bond frees himself from the torture contraption—using, um, his strength. He gives Madeleine his exploding watch and tells her to throw it. A long time passes. Blofeld looks confused. Madeleine throws the watch right at him, and it explodes, engulfing him in flames. Bond grabs Madeleine, and runs outside, and kills everyone. But the way he kills everyone is strange. The Craig films tend to shoot action sequences with an eye toward cover tactics—think Jason Bourne, or Gears of War . But as Bond exits the Spectre headquarters, he just keeps on walking right into the middle of enemy fire, and shooting people with a machine gun. Bond and Madeleine get up to the helipad, and the entire base explodes behind them . It's a shot that recalls Schwarzenegger kissing Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies , with a nuke going off in the background.
Or is that the Schwarzenegger movie we should be thinking of? Suddenly, Bond is back in London, where he rejoins his squad of friend-partners M, Moneypenny, and Q. Off the top of my head, it's hard to think of any scenes in the entire James Bond franchise where all three of those characters were together; certainly, they were never united together as Bond's back-up A-Team.
But that's what happens here. The supporting cast goes off to stop the Intelligence Complex from becoming what the CIA already became a decade ago. Meanwhile, Bond says goodbye to Madeleine: She sees that he will never change, and she cannot go back to the life of espionage (her father was a member of Spectre before his suicide). But she tells him this, crucially, while they are in the middle of a mission . I guess you could argue that at this point in the movie, Spectre seems to be destroyed—but it's a weird moment, right before the world gets saved, to announce that the relationship just won't work.
Madeline gets captured. Bond gets captured, too, but that doesn't last: Twice in the last half-hour of Spectre , Bond just frees himself using the power of human strength. He walks into the ruined MI6 building, sees posters of all his dead enemies, his dead lover, his dead mother figure. He finds Blofeld, his left eye scarred. (This is meant to be a reference to Blofeld in You Only Live Twice , but for this Bond, it feels more like a callback to Le Chiffre, whose scarred right eye cried blood.) Blofeld tells Bond that a bomb will destroy the building, and Madeleine is somewhere inside. He has three minutes.
And then Bond runs through the building. Webster's defines a building as: "a structure (such as a house, hospital, school, etc.) with a roof and walls that is used as a place for people to live, work, do activities, store things, etc." The MI6 building is a very large building, with multiple floors. Bond runs upstairs several flights, takes a second to look at Bloeld's helicopter, and then just finds Madeleine. They escape on a boat as the building explodes.
Then he shoots Blofeld's helicopter down with a pistol.
Then he finds Blofeld on a bridge. M watches from one side of the bridge; Madeleine watches from the other side. Bond doesn't kill Blofeld. He goes away with Madeleine. And then — the next day, two days later, a week later, a month—he goes back to Q branch and asks his old pal if he can borrow the car. And then he goes away with Madeleine, again.
Here's the question: Why is any of this happening?
Here's an answer: It's all in Bond's head. Because he is dying on Blofeld's operating table.
Roll with me on this for a second. When Blofeld is torturing Bond, he mentions an earlier part of the movie, when Hinx killed a man like the Mountain killed the Red Viper. He talks about the moment before the man died, when he was still breathing—but he was also not there anymore.
So then Blofeld starts digging his little contraption into Bond's head. I guess maybe he's just touching nerve endings, maybe? That's not what it looks like, and it's also not what Blofeld's stated purpose is. And is it just a coincidence that—right as the torture is at its most extreme—Madeleine suddenly tells Bond that she loves him? Just a coincidence that, right after that happens, Bond executes an escape that requires logical leaps totally absent from the past few movies: a talking killer who doesn't notice his prisoner escaping from poorly tied wrist-straps, a top-secret facility rigged to explode in one big chain reaction?
And is it just a coincidence that, after that incredible escape, Bond gets to live through a dream of constant catharsis that no other movie ever gave him: a damsel in distress, some pals who can help a friend in need, a damn helicopter-destroying pistol? This is the first time in any of Daniel Craig's movies that he gets the girl. And not just any girl. Madeleine Swann feels constructed as a perfect echo of Casino Royale 's Vesper Lynd—this time, with a happier ending. Bond learned Vesper was a traitor in Venice when she met with Mister White. In Spectre , Mister White offers Bond his daughter as a deeply twisted penance. (Bond makes love to Madeleine for the first time on a train; in Casino Royale , he meets Vesper on a train.)
I know, I know: The obvious answer is that Spectre has a poorly conceived third act, rewritten into obscurity, struggling to balance the divergent necessities of retconning the past four movies into a saga and ending a saga and making some weird point about Bond's job not letting him ever get close to anyone and letting Bond pull a Dark Knight Rises to run away with his climactic love interest.
But I don't just conjure up my Brazil theory of Spectre as a lark. Every actor who has ever played James Bond has left the character unexpectedly. Connery knew he was leaving Bond, but then he came back twice. Moore played Bond forever, and then one day all involved decided he was finished. Dalton and Brosnan were ready for more. Lazenby seemed good either way.
And yet, their final moments as the character have odd, accidental resonance. At the end of A View to a Kill , Moore's 007 receives the Order of Lenin from the Russians: a symbolic end to the Cold War, years early. Licence to Kill wraps up with Dalton's Bond playfully ensconced with Carey Lowell: an oddly perfect pairing. (It's the happier-ending alternate universe to Lazenby's farewell scene, mourning his dead wife—and, implicitly, a long life ahead of endless unsatisfying womanizing.) Brosnan's Die Another Day ending is the hyperbolized version of Dalton's: He's paired up with another badass partner-lover, except this time they're covered in diamonds. At the end of Never Say Never Again , Bond goes to live in the Bahamas. Connery's still there .
Craig: Who knows? Maybe he'll do another. Maybe that will be a more obvious ending. But is it weird that I prefer to think of Craig's Bond, lying on that operating table, finally granted some grace in his vision of a more perfect world? Spectre is raging against the dying of a light that's already dead: When it makes speeches about the overreach of the Intelligence State, it may as well be telling people not to start using social media. Whatever world Craig's Bond is fighting for is already long gone.
So maybe it's best to leave him there, in a final yearning death dream, on a final mission from which he knew there was no return. Bond walked into Blofeld's lair, eyes wide open. Bond left his own body there, eyes wide shut.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.