Mar 27, 2015

The SPECTRE Teaser Trailer is Here!

Well, here's the one we've all been waiting for! Here's the one that Paramount was clearly trying to beat to the punch when they released the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation trailer last weekend. And you know what? It turns out the two trailers could not be more different.

Check it out:



Sure, both are introducing audiences to a shadowy criminal organization for their respective heroes to go up against, but they do it in such different ways. (And I love both.) Rogue Nation is all phenomenal, over-the-top action and stunts, and says the name "the Syndicate" again and again and again. (To my unending delight each time.) The SPECTRE teaser, on the other hand, is all subtlety, nuance and menace, and no character ever mentions "SPECTRE" by name. Instead we glimpse a ring with the familiar octopus logo first seen in From Russia With Love. We're treated to certain iconography associated with the Special Executive fr Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion in its classic Sixties incarnation: a "board meeting" of mysterious figures gathered around a wooden table in a luxurious, Old World setting, a shadow, silhouetted person presiding. Everything but a white cat. (Had I cut a trailer reintroducing SPECTRE, it would have just been a close-up of a white cat being stroked by the hands of an unseen villain. But then again, we're still not sure if Blofeld is even in this movie, and if he's not... then I guess there wouldn't be a cat, either.) I love the slow build. I love the beautiful cinematography, courtesy of Hoyte van Hoytema (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). I love that shot of Bond on the boat, tiny and alone in the vastness of that Austrian lake. And I love the use of the Bond Theme played on... is it a cimbalom? A xylophone? Whatever it is, it's stark and effective, like this teaser. And of course I love the final reveal of the logo, and all the franchise history packed into that logo: the octopus logo, Tracy... and a friend pointed out to me that that even looks like the pointed ears of a cat the way the glass is broken around the bullet hole. It's brilliant.

I'm also surprised at how much this teaser seems to reveal in its relatively brief minute and forty-two seconds. Although they've played coy with his actual character since the initial press conference, here they certainly seem to be hinting that Christoph Waltz is playing Blofeld. Or maybe it's all a clever misdirect. But that seems to be his silhouette we see in shadow, and his collar even seems carefully arranged to recall the silhouette of a Nehru jacket! Then there's all that about Bond's childhood. It feels like a very direct continuation of Skyfall (right down to Moneypenny's name-check in the opening moments of the teaser), and it looks like SPECTRE will continue to explore 007's formative years. Freeze on that document, and you'll find that it's a transfer of guardianship from James' Aunt Charmian (a character first mentioned in Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice, and fleshed out by Charlie Higson in his Young Bond novels) to Hannes Oberhauser, James' childhood ski instructor and a surrogate father figure introduced in Fleming's "Octopussy" and fleshed out in Higson's By Royal Command. Finally, there's the return of Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), the villain from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace whose escape has bothered many Bond fans. Judging from his ragged, unkempt appearance, Mr. White has come down in the world since we last saw him, but he remains as enigmatic as ever. (His advice to Craig's Bond in the teaser hardly seems helpful.) Christensen's involvement in SPECTRE had been rumored, but wasn't officially announced at the press conference last December that revealed other key cast members. Presumably his appearance indicates a connection between the villainous organizations Quantum and SPECTRE, as many fans have hoped for.

What surprises me most, though, is the complete lack of action! Has there ever been a James Bond teaser before that showed actual footage from the film, but no stunts? I can't recall one off the top of my head. But it works! In fact, it works so damn well! I don't think they could have done a trailer like this in the Brosnan era. I think it's specific to Daniel Craig's tenure as 007 that they can get away with a James Bond trailer based entirely on character and drama and suspense rather than bombastic action. Of course we know the action will be in the movie, but I like the confidence that it's not needed to sell the film. Because it's really not in this day and age. As I said up front, the SPECTRE trailer and the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation trailer could not be more different in how they introduce audiences to their respective revived villainous organizations. But both work in their own right, and both seem very true to the current conception of their respective series. I can't wait for both of these movies! Between them and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., it looks like spy fans are in for one fantastic year.

SPECTRE opens November 6 worldwide.

NOTE: Please speculate all you like in the comments; after all, this teaser trailer leaves us with plenty to speculate about! But, since the script for this movie was leaked in last year's Sony hack, it's necessary for me to implore readers to refrain from making comments with actual spoilers in them, as many fans (myself included) are still trying to go into this movie knowing only what EON and the studios want us to know. Thank you!

6 comments:

James Cormack said...

I like how that last line could also be a subtle reference to the protracted negotiations involved in bringing Spectre back into the Bond film canon. Here we are indeed....

Tanner said...

Oh wow, that hadn't even occurred to me. Great point! It totally works on both levels.

Silent Hunter said...

Did I hear that line correctly? "M wasn't MI-6?"

James Cormack said...

As juicy as that might be, I think he says "IT wasn't MI-6"

Tanner said...

Yes, I heard it as James did. "It" being the meeting in London where Mr. White was talked about, the meeting we're strongly led to believe is a SPECTRE meeting. I have to say, they hit some of that stuff SO strongly for a teaser I can't help but wonder if it's all as clear-cut as it seems, or if there's some serious misdirection going on. I could see Mendes using classic iconography like the meeting around the wooden table and the backlit leader at the table to subvert our expectations as much as affirm them. I'm certainly very curious to find out - meaning this teaser has done its job!

Thomas Watson said...

Spectre > Rogue Nation