James Bond in 'SPECTRE': Will the new take on an old plot succeed?

Judging by the title, the newest Bond film will involve the villainous SPECTRE organization, one of the most famous parts of Bond lore.

Kerstin Joensson/AP
'SPECTRE' stars Daniel Craig (l.) and Léa Seydoux (r.).

The newest James Bond movie, “SPECTRE,” opens on Nov. 6 and features the return of actor Daniel Craig as the superspy. 

“SPECTRE” also features the return of actors Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, and Naomie Harris as those who help Bond behind the scenes as well as new actors like Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Monica Belluci, and Andrew Scott. 

The new film follows the smash hit success of the previous Bond movie, 2012’s “Skyfall.” That film, the third starring Mr. Craig as Bond, became the highest-grossing Bond movie of all time. The song of the same name also became a hit – and the first Bond song to win the Oscar for best original song. 

In Hollywood, we are in the age of the reboot, in which studios recast a story and put a different spin on it (most of the time). Look no further than the superhero movies topping the box office, where there have been three different Spider-Mans in the last 13 years and a sequel to this summer’s flop “Fantastic Four” is not off the table, despite the fact that not one but two iterations of the story have failed to score with critics – and while the first series did fine at the box office, this summer’s did not. 

Like many other movie series, the James Bond movies found success with the reboot-and-recast model as well, around the same time as the “Dark Knight” movie series.

2006’s “Casino Royale” showed James Bond at the beginning of his career and had a romance which suggested an explanation for the way Bond treats women. The most recent movie, “Skyfall,” filled in some of the blanks in its hero's backstory, bringing James Bond back to his family home.

Both the “Dark Knight” series and the James Bond series found success with bringing their heroes back to their beginnings and then integrating some of their series’ most famous characters.

The “Dark Knight” series had huge success with integrating the famous “Batman” villain the Joker into the story. Actor Heath Ledger was universally praised for his performance and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work, and many were shocked that the film was not nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

Now those behind the James Bond movie series are trying to bring back a famous piece of previous movies. The “SPECTRE” of the title presumably refers to a crime group that has appeared before in the movies. It’s normally headed up by Ernst Blofeld, who is one of, if not the, most famous Bond villains. Blofeld has been portrayed by actors including Donald Pleasence and Max Von Sydow. 

Mr. Waltz, one of the stars of "SPECTRE," is playing Oberhauser, a name that in the Bond novels belongs to a ski instructor whom James Bond befriends. Waltz has said in interviews he is not Blofeld, so perhaps the villain is the same man who is now evil or is somehow related to the ski instructor. 

Regardless, bringing in the SPECTRE organization raises high hopes for Bond fans. Will the “SPECTRE” movie live up to their expectations?

“Skyfall” was well-received by critics, and the screenwriters from that film are returning for “SPECTRE,” so chances seem good that the upcoming film will weave a satisfying and fresh story from the old plotline.

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