I allowed myself to get dragged to the movies with family over Thanksgiving weekend, since I'd heard that the new James Bond movie, Spectre, wasn't as bad as the last couple. I'd only seen the Pierce Brosnan ones before, and pieces of the Connery and Moore movies on TV over the years. Not going in with high expectations, I still didn't mind the experience.
The acting was OK, the storytelling implausible and forced in many places, and the cinematography too bleak (not unlike Interstellar, which the D.P. also shot). But the score is viscerally engaging, placed into the foreground of the experience, and lasts for over two-thirds of the movie (100 minutes of music during the 148-minute running time).
It's hard to nitpick the plot, characters, and cinematography in what amounts to a cinematic take on the overwrought music video form circa 1990. The dialog, acting, etc., is just that one-third of the really long video where the director tries to make it larger than life, with honest-to-God actors in addition to the music playing.
The movie is not treated as one single long video, either, but more of a cycle of videos that are only loosely related by narrative. Breaking the movie down into a series of shorter, more easily digestible videos made the running time fly by, whereas mediocre action movies feel bogged down after 90 minutes.
In a welcome change, the locations, set design, and costumes were not used to turn the movie into one long metrosexual ad campaign from GQ, but more to set the mood for one of those music videos that shoots in exotic locations just 'cuz.
The only down-note was the dispensable music video over the opening credits. It was flamboyantly homosexual, decadent, and full of falsetto, making a horrible contrast with the opening action scene where Bond stalks an assassin while tribal percussive music plays.
And as it happens, this one must be the gayest Bond production of all time. Open gays include the singer of the theme song, Sam Smith; the screenwriter John Logan; and actors Ben Whishaw (Q) and Andrew Scott (C). Blind Gossip ran an item about the actress playing the lead Bond girl, Lea Seydoux, being a lesbian (other than having a wasp waist, she had no sex appeal). Daniel Craig has gay rumors surrounding him, has zero chemistry with any woman in the movie, and is sporting the closest thing to a gay-whoosh hair-do that the producers will allow James Bond to wear. Director Sam Mendes seems like a huge closet case (also directed homoerotic American Beauty starring not-so-closeted Kevin Spacey). Actor Christoph Waltz (the main villain) shows a decent level of gayface on Google Images, as does Ralph Fiennes, who may have pioneered the gay-whoosh trend back in Schindler's List.
I mention all this to show that despite the Young Republican level of gay influences, Spectre wound up basically watchable and entertaining, albeit as a series of music videos rather than a proper movie.
Sometime I might torture myself by watching Skyfall, which was made by largely the same team with about the same level of gayness going into it, only with Javier Bardem being the closeted gay actor playing the villain (the character himself being a bit less closeted). I haven't heard great things about the score, so I'm assuming that it won't follow the music video cycle approach that Spectre did. That would leave only the toxic levels of homoeroticism typical of 21st-century blockbusters -- no thanks.
I've been wanting the music video medium to make a comeback, so we can enjoy a little visual storytelling while being engaged by music we haven't heard before, with the narrative elements being an after-thought. Now that Hollywood screenwriters can't seem to write good dialog, characters, and plot, they might as well take a back seat to the composers and cinematographers. Once the ability comes back, then shift the focus back toward storytelling.
And really, what other than a James Bond movie lends itself so naturally to being a series of music videos shot on exotic locations, featuring models, and mostly dispensing with narrative? If they took this way forward (and removed the gay elements), I'd be a regular viewer for sure.