Metal Gear Profiles-Dr. Naomi Hunter

Naomi Hunter is another one of the Metal Gear saga’s principal female characters-and arguably, one of it’s greatest (somewhat unsung) female heroes.

 

Naomi was orphaned at a young age during the Rhodesian civil war, and adopted as a sister by the soldier Frank Jaegar (Later the FOXHOUND agent Grey Fox), and later was helped by Big Boss to immigrate to the United States (Probably sometime after the Phantom Pain incident). However, her brother eventually got caught up in Big Boss’s vision of Outer Heaven (although he initially opposed it), and Solid Snake crippled both her guardians-Big Boss was put in a coma, and Grey Fox was maimed but still alive, rebuilt by Dr. Clark into the Cyborg Ninja. Naomi, curious about her birth parents (but unaware of Frank’s role in their deaths) became interested in genetics and nanotechnology.

She later put a plan for revenge into motion-first, against Dr. Clark, for using her brother as a Guinea pig, against Solid Snake, for crippling him in the first place. She freed Frank and killed Dr. Clark, and then joined the staff for the Shadow Moses mission, where she injected Solid Snake with nanomachines not only to track him, but carrying a strain of FOXDIE, a virus designed to target members of FOXHOUND and possibly Snake himself (although this was partially ordered to do this by Jim houseman). She also covered up certain details about her professions and pasts, but as the mission took some unexpected turns-including her brother’s appearance-the truth came out. However, she got to know Solid Snake personally-including his relationship with Big Boss and regretted what she’d done.

 

 

After the incident, she was jailed for a time, but was eventually released by Revolver Ocelot, whose persona had started to morph into that of Liquid Snake’s mental doppelganger. She then helped him develop a way to control the “Sons of the Patriots” system which controlled the world’s weapons and soldiers. Snake eventually rescued her in South America from Liquid, although she revealed that Snake’s system-due to a combination of FOXHOUND-including a new strain-and his own accelerated aging, was not only dying but could also mutate the FOXHOUND, potentially causing an epidemic with FOXHOUND targeting everyone!

 

After this rescue, she started a relationship on-board Snake’s plane the Nomad with Otacon (romantically) and a friendly relationship with his adopted daughter, Sunny Emmerich. Sunny-who was incredibly shy due to her isolation from the world to protect her-was able to break out of her shell a bit.

 

 

However, as always, Naomi had a hidden motive. She had developed a virus to essentially deactivate the Patriots-and gave the information to Sunny-a prodigy-to complete it. She later ‘rejoined’ Liquid, but this was a bit of a ruse as well. Eventually, she revealed to Otacon that she had in fact been dying from cancer, and had used nanomachines to suppress it in her system. At Shadow Moses she deactivated them and died-which greatly saddened Otacon.

However, Naomi’s legacy changed the world, when Snake used her computer virus on the Patriots-FOXALIVE-disabling them. She had recorded a farewell message to Snake and Otacon as well before her death.

Naomi : Snake… Hal. It’s you, isn’t it? I hope you’re listening. The virus you uploaded is using GW as a conduit to annihilate the entire AI network. It’s set to destroy all four AIs along with JD, the core that tied them all together. I’ve set this video to play back once they’re all gone. Sons of the Patriots was only the beginning. The Patriots were planning to use nanomachines to implement the System over the entire population. I had an obligation to stop it. With a little help from Sunny. She helped me… She believed her talents could help you all put GW to rest. What she created was an anti-AI FOXDIE. But this virus’s name is FOXALIVE. It’s… The conceptual opposite of the nanomachines that I created all those years ago. We wished to free the captured foxes… To let them run free in the wild. By the time you hear this, I’m afraid I’ll be gone. This is a strange feeling… Leaving a message to be delivered after you’ve died. Hal… If you’re listening…

Otacon : Naomi….

Naomi : I’m sorry… Sorry I deceived you. It hurt me more than anything else, lying to you like that. I wanted to apologize to you before… But I never got the chance.

Otacon : Naomi…. Naomi : And yet, in the end… You helped me feel the joy of living. Thank you, Hal. Thank you… Hal.

Otacon : Naomi….

Naomi : Snake… Hear me. Our country is an innocent child once more. A new dawn is rising. Now she can build a new destiny for herself. Snake… The time has come.

Naomi : You’ve earned your rest. The rose petal is about to fall…

Naomi also helped to revive the comatose Big Boss, for one last reunion with his son, in which he reassured Snake-via Naomi-that the new FOXDIE wouldn’t become an epidemic-although it was already too late for him.

 

 

 

 

 

Metal Gear Profiles-Donald Anderson/SIGINT

Donald Anderson, or SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) was Naked Snake’s-the later Big Boss’s technical support during Operation Snake Eater-more or less, the “Q” to his “James Bond”.

 

 

SIGINT often gave Snake advice-and history-on various weapons (mostly firearms), technologies, and camouflage techniques.

However, he also expressed incredulity at Snake’s use of the cardboard box as a stealth technique, and also Metal gear technology.

Snake: “Sigint, Granin said something about putting legs on a tank. Do you know what he was talking about?”

Sigint: “If you ask me, it’s got to be a joke. Not only is making a tank walk on two legs a technical nightmare, but there’s no point in making a walking tank to begin with. Putting legs on a tank would raise its clearance, increasing its frontal projection area. It’d also be less stable. Suppose the legs help the tank travel bad roads… I don’t see the logic in that. Isn’t that what treads are for? I mean, anyone who’d seriously consider making a thing like that has got to be a wacko. …Come to think of it, there was a guy in the States who wrote a paper on that subject. What was his name… Emerson? Heinrich? …Something like that; I don’t really remember. ‘Course, no one took that seriously.

After the Snake Eater inciddent, SIGINT joined DARPA, and also worked for the Patriots, a secret group designed to realize the vision of Snake’s mentor, the Boss. Like with Zero and Para-Medic, his morality became corrupted by the vast amount of money and power the organization used. After Zero lapsed into a coma, Donald began to develop an AI system that would take over from him-which would eventually try to gain control of the world the world during the Big Shell and Guns of The Patriots incident.

In the 2000s, he worked with ARMSTECH to develop a new Metal Gear-The Metal Gear Rex. While at Shadow Moses Island testing out REX, he was captured by the rogue FOXHOUND, which included his former colleague Revolver Ocelot. Ocelot (intentionally) killed Anderson during torture, an attempt to weaken the Patriots. Anderson was then impersonated by FOXHOUND member Decoy Octopus, and tried to get information from Solid Snake on the Rex’s codes. However, he then suffered a heart attack, from a virus Snake was carrying-FOXDIE.

Snake later encountered what was left of the real Darpa chief in a cell.

Donald Anderson’s death was one of the primary reasons Jim Houseman wanted to destroy Shadow Moses and the Snakes along with it; as he was a good friend of his.

 

 

 

 

 

Star Wars Comics history-SandJedi

 

Star Wars Episode I took us back to the desert world of Tatooine, and we learned that it was the home planet of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, as well as his son Luke (Although Luke was born on the Polis Massa asteroids in “Revenge of the Sith” he spent most of his early life on the planet). Shortly thereafter, Ki-Adi-Mundi would journey to the planet itself on his own business (Although he had a brief stopover on the previous arc), where it turns out that a wayward Jedi-Shared Hett- might have joined the Tusken Raiders, or “Sandpeople” of the planet.

 

Enlisting the aid of Jabba the Hutt to get safe passage to the desert, he’s soon betrayed by Jabba’s men, and eventually meets Shared Hett-who has gone native after crash landing on the planet years ago-and his son, A’shared Hett, born from a Tusken woman. He learns that Jabba is deliberately provoking a war on Tatooine to weaken his rival, Gardulla (Who was Anakin’s old owner before Watto, and seen briefly during the pod race in the film). In addition Aurra Sing-also glimpsed during the Pod Race, and a formidable, force-sensitive bounty hunter-is also on the prowl.

In the final battle, Aurra fatally weakens Shared, but Ki-Adi-Mundi promises to train his son as a Jedi. However, this act will have deep ramifications down the line in the “Legends” continuity.

 

 

 

 

Metal Gear profiles-Amanda Valenciano Libre

 

 

Amanda was a member of the FSLN (Sandanista National Liberation Front). However, she and her family were kicked out of Nicouraga, and they had to flee to Costa Rica. The KGB group led by Zadarnov then her faction of the FSLN by having her work as a drug trafficker. She didn’t like getting her hands dirty with the work, but needed to protect her father and her younger brother, Chico.

 

Unfortunately, Amanda’s factory was captured by the Rogue CIA group Peace Sentinel, and her father was killed. In addition, her brother Chico ran away. Amanda-suspecting that there was something odd about Peace Sentinel-then encountered Big Boss, who was in the area investigating a recording he believed to be that of his former mentor, the Boss; who had been dead for over a decade.

Shortly thereafter, Amanda was nearly captured by Peace Sentinel’s Chrystalis prototype, a flying mech that used drone “kidnappers”. Amanda was able to escape from it’s clutches, but broke her leg in the process.

 

She asked Big Boss to rescue Chicho-or if he sold out the Sandinista-to kill him. Thankfully, Big Boss was able to rescue Chico, and the two were reunited when she was recovering from her injury at MSF’s Mother Base. She also provided Big Boss with a great deal of intel. When Big Boss was captured by peace Sentinel and KGB agent Zadarnov, Amanda, FSLN, and MSF stormed the facility and bailed him out. They then proudly called him “Vic Boss”. This also was her return, of sorts, to Nicouraga.

After the Peace Walker incident, Amanda and her troops were temporarily evacuated from Mother Base due to an upcoming inspection. Her brother, unfortunately, decided to rescue Paz-the CIPHER double agent-who Amanda had discovered was at a ‘black site’ prison in Cuba. Unfortunately, the mission did not go as planned, with Chico dying in the helicopter explosion, while MSF itself burned. Amanda was however off-base and survived, although she lost her brother. Later, when the revolution in Nicouraga was successful, she became hailed as a hero and was able to be influential in the government.

 

She helped Dr. Strangelove recover Peace Walker’s AI pod…which eventually would be used as further research into Metal Gear technology-leading up to the creation of Metal Gear Sanlanthropus. and unfortunately, Strangelove’s coffin.

 

 

 

 

Bond in Review: SPECTRE part III

Back in London, voting to enact “Nine Eyes” has passed, and M isn’t too pleased, while Max is beyond smug. I like that this film pretty much gave Ralph Fiennes’s M pretty much his own nemesis right out of the gate for him, allowing him to flex his acting muscles like his predecessor. As much as I like Bernard Lee and Robert Brown as M, they weren’t given that much to do except give Bond orders, worry about his mission was going, or berate him for either his behavior, quips, or not following the mission orders precisely or objectively.

Bond and Swann head to L’American-which is in fact a hotel where Mr. White used to vacation in North Africa, and may have some clue to where Oberhauser’s base of operations is. However, they find nothing. There’s a bit of development here, as Swann shows she’s not quite interested in Bond…yet, and they both get kind of drunk over some old drink of White’s.

However, Bond notices a mouse hole in the wall, which leads to White’s secret room-which includes some old mementos of Swann with her father (an old photo also shown in the title sequence), and for Bond, a video tape of Vesper being interrogated (Bond looks at it for a moment, but doesn’t watch it). Most importantly though, it’s got coordinates to Oberhauser’s base.

The next scene clearly indicates that Swann is a lady who can take of herself-part of the life of being raised by Mr. White with his shadowy connections and all that. There’s a fun little nod to Skyfall here as well .

Swann: What if I shoot you by mistake?

Bond: Wouldn’t be the first time…. (referring to Moneypenny shooting in the opening of that).

In London, M, Q and Moneypenny are coming to similar conclusions-that Bond is on to something. However, there’s little M can do about it now, since Max is pretty much taking control.

On the train, Bond changes into a white tux, an obvious nod to “Goldfinger” complete with red flower.

While Madeline also wears something a bit different. It’s obvious she’s starting to warm a bit to Bond  too. The scene here has some similarities to Bond’s dinner with Vesper after the game in Casino Royale, with her asking Bond why she chose the lifestyle of a 00.

Of course they’re so caught up in this conversation they failed to notice the car emptied (Probably the guests are all SPECTRE ‘actors’), and nearly miss Hinx charging on them.

Which leads us to another Bond train fight. Although in this case it’s a little less claustrophobic as they move from car to car, with blows and kitchen pans having no effect on Hinx at all.

Although wrapping a rope around him and weighing it down does, taking him out of the train. Although I doubt we’ve seen the last of Hinx, given how indestructible he’s been shown to be, and there’s precedent for returning henchmen with fellow mostly indestructible henchvillain, Jaws.

In the desert we get to Bond and Swann along the tracks, waiting. Is it just me, or does Daniel Craig wear sunglasses far more often than any other Bond?

Until they’re greeted by a sort of out of place Rolls Royce, and are taken to SPECTRE’s hidden crater HQ. Obviously intended to be an homage to SPECTRE’s similar base in You Only Live Twice, although IMO not quite as cool.

Here we’re properly introduced to our villain, Hans, and probably one of the biggest ‘small universe” moments in all of cinema. If you thought the Star Wars prequels went a bit overboard with connecting *everything* and *everyone* this is almost as bad, and sort of diminishes the previous three films. All though the scenes are sort of chilling with decent acting from Christoph Waltz, things are just a bit too

Basically Oberhauser is Bond’s stepbrother after his parents died and he was brought in by Oberhauser’s father. However, Oberhauser grew resentful of his father’s affection for James, and had him killed (The backstory is a slight adaptation of Octopussy’s backstory, with Hans taking the role that Smythe had in the original story) and he also faked his own death, then creating SPECTRE. By remarkable coincidence Bond then joined MI6, so Oberhauser somehow worked in a few ways to pain his stepbrother, including the whole mess with Vesper and M’s death (How exactly isn’t exactly made 100% clear, of course). He also goes by another name: Ernst Stravro Blofeld, based on his mother’s maiden name. He even wears a similar suit, and of course, the cat is back. Blofeld also reveals Max is his henchman, and that he’s behind “Nine eyes”.

The ‘needle torture’ scene, although far less gritty than the one in Casino Royale, is pretty nasty, and is actually based on part in a scene from the non-Fleming James Bond novel, Colonel Sun (Which also inspired “Die Another Day”) Specifically this passage (although in the context of the film, it refers to Hinx’s gouging of another man’s eyes in the earlier scene):

As you know all too well, dear Madeleine,
a man lives inside his head.That’s where
the seat of his soul is.Now, James and I were
both present recently
when a man was
deprived of his eyes.
And the most
astonishing thing happened.
Didn’t you notice?
He wasn’t there anymore.
He’d gone even though
he was still alive.
So in this brief moment
between life and death,
there was nobody
inside his skull.

However, Bond is able to escape due to his watch, which explodes and then sets off a chain reaction which destroys the crater base-and which Bond believes also kills Blofeld (The fate of the cat is, at the moment, unknown). However, Bond still has to stop “Nine eyes”.

This was, at the time at least, one of the largest explosions ever filmed.

Bond meets with M and co. at a safe house called Hildebrand-another nod to the short story the Hildebrand Rarity-where they start to work out a way to stop Nine Eyes, mainly by Q hacking into it. M and Q take on Max, with Q shutting down Nine Eyes and M having taken away Max (“C for careless”)’s ammo magazine. I’m not sure, but I think this is kind of a reference to Casino Royale opener, where Bond did something very similar to crooked station chief Dryden.

A brief struggle ensues, and that’s the end of “C” as he falls.

Meanwhile, Bond has problems of his own-Swann has left because she doesn’t want to get any more involved in Bond’s world, but both she and him are kidnapped by Blofeld, who is very much alive and now scarred similarly to Donald Pleasence’s version of the character. I’m surprised he’s not bald as well.

He’s given Bond three minutes ( a possible Goldeneye reference?) to find Swann before the old MI6 building explodes. Bond’s able to do so although Blofeld taunts him with shooting range stuff  with pictures of M, Vesper, Silva, Le Chiffre and Mr. White, as well as himself. Once again, poor Dominic Greene, as is Camille, is left out. I guess they want you to mostly forget Quantum of Solace ever happened.

Bond is able to find Madeline, escape in a boat, and also take out Blofeld’s helicopter, causing the villain to crash. However, Bond doesn’t kill Blofeld, instead having something else to live for.  M then arrests him.

Bond stops by Q’s office to pick up his old Aston Martin DB5, now fully restored after getting badly damaged in Skyfall, and then leaves-perhaps to retire with a life with Madeline. Although this is kind of a bit vague, but I guess it’s written as part of an ‘out’ for Daniel Craig, should he not choose to do another one (Still up in the air).

However, as those who know Bond history realize, the last time Bond tried to settle down, retire from Her Majesty’s Secret Service and left Blofeld alive, it didn’t exactly end well for him.

But we’ll see where that goes.

Overall, SPECTRE is sort of an average Bond film. The film’s humor and action is well done, as was the case with SPECTRE, although some of the grittiness of earlier Daniel Craig films is mostly lost as they try to be moving him even closer to the typical characterization of James Bond. Also, the story, which tries to tie all the Craig films together and reintroduce SPECTRE and Blofeld as the villains, comes across as a bit clumsily put together.

Right now, Bond is at a bit of a crossroads. While it appears the studio is eager to get underway on a new Bond film, Daniel Craig has still not made a final decision whether he’ll want to stay or not. During SPECTRE’s press tours he often made statements that he found the production very trying for him and his family (including wife Rachel Weisz), and he is getting older as well. It remains to be seen whether the next movie will continue with Craig-and possibly featuring another storyline involving SPECTRE (and possibly Madeline’s death?) or if it will feature a new James Bond, possibly suggesting another ‘reboot’ to the continuity, or perhaps, like the old days they’ll just ignore that the actor looks completely different.

Bond In Review: SPECTRE Part II

 

Bond quickly escapes from the SPECTRE meeting, but Hinx is in hot pursuit. The car chase is pretty good, although it’s a bit heavy on the comedy-Most of the car’s gadgets haven’t been loaded yet, Bond has to deal with getting stuck behind a slow driver, and he’s trying to get in touch with Moneypenny to figure out the identity of the “Pale king”, as well as why Hans Oberhauser-the man he recognized at the meeting-is still alive.

 

 

 

Turns out the “Pale King” is Bond’s old nemesis Mr. White, who vanished after “Quantum of Solace”.

Bond’s finally able to get one gadget working-the “Backfire” flamethrower, which is able to temporarily blind Hinx enough for Bond to make a quick getaway with an ejection device, complete with a parachute. Bond casually swaggers away, and Hinx is momentarily satisfied that he’s killed Bond. On the other hand, there’s now a DB10 in the Tiber.

 

Something that hasn’t escaped the notice of M and Tanner, who are busy dealing with Max’s plan to push the “Nine eyes” program. Bond, in the meantime, tracks down Mr. White, in a chilling atmospheric scene that was pretty much used for SPECTRE’s first teaser trailer.

 

It also kind of reminds me of Bond’s look in the Heineken commercial from around “Skyfall’s” release a bit (although he’s got a much better jacket in that).

Mr. White isn’t exactly looking that great these days-he’s dying from cancer, from radiation implanted in his cellphone because he disagreed with Oberhauser over SPECTRE’s evil nature, saying his new plan could affect “Women and children”. Funny, this is the same guy who in CASINO ROYALE seemed to condone such acts; and it’s a bit of a circle in a square peg kind of thing, which unfortunately also goes for a lot of the film’s attempts to ‘connect the dots’ of the Craig Bonds, especially later in regards to Oberhauser. There’s even a bit of almost friendship between the two, which is a bit awkward considering it was White who pretty much got Vesper killed in Casino Royale.

 

White wants Bond to protect his daughter, and then he takes his own life with Bond’s gun after telling him where to find her, as well as making a cryptic reference to something else: L’American.

Meanwhile, Mallory talks to Max, and like his predecessor, defends the right of personal intelligence against surveillance.

 

Yes, you have information. You can find out all about a man, track him down, keep an eye on him. But you have to look him in the eye. All the tech you have can’t help you with that. A license to kill also means a license NOT to kill.

Max counters though that he recorded Moneypenny and 007’s conversation, and therefore M can’t take keep an eye on his own agents. There’s no love lost between these two.

 

Bond’s next port of call is the clinic where White’s daughter-Madeline Swann-works. The mountaintop clinic is somewhat similar from an outside visual standpoint to Piz Gloria, Blofeld’s HQ in On Her majesty’s Secret Service.

 

Bond and Madeline have a bit of an interview, sort of a ‘sizing up’ as well. We get a callback to Bond’s parents again (Which Skyfall elaborated on) and a “Shaken not stirred” from Craig (I think it might in fact be his first one, he says “Shake it over rice” & we see someone ask him about it in Casino Royale, and a woman shook a drink but I think this is the actual first line). Of course, they don’t have any, instead some kind of green drink that Bond would rather put in the toilet.

Q stops by as well, saying that Bond is following a false lead with Oberhauser, as he’s quite dead and is also imperiling all their jobs by going, more or less, rogue (although less so than in “License to Kill” and “Quantum of Solace”) however, his tone changes when he runs a check on Sciarra’s ring, which somehow has DNA from all of the villains from the past films, as well as Oberhauser and White. It’s kind of unclear how Silva, who had a personal vendetta with M, was somehow part of this (Apparently the connection is revealed more in deleted scenes). Also, it’s a bit unclear how Quantum fits into everything; subsidiary? Alternate name? In real life Quantum was intended to be the name of a Spectre-like organization if they never got the rights back. But when they got Spectre back, it kind of gets swept under the rug. Also I find it funny that although Patrice-Silva’s henchman-gets a ‘tentacle’ but Greene’s Elvis is once again left out. LOL! Also, although Greene is eventually name-checked by Oberhauser, for some reason Q skips mentioning him, instead saying “Quantum” instead.

 

As Q figures that out (and tries to evade SPECTRE agents sent to apprehend him in a cable car), Swann is quickly captured by Hinx, and Bond gets a plane from the clinic to pursue him, in one of the film’s most entertaining action sequences.

Hinx’s got a bit of an interesting weapon here, the double-barreled Prismatic dueler, which is in fact a real weapon, although to my knowledge this is the first time it’s been used in a film. Like Jaws, although Hinx is mainly a physical presence, he’s not above using firearms for the more long-range tasks (and he doesn’t have a steel-rimmed hat either).

File:Spectre 205.jpg

Although I can’t get the exact frame, Bond does a salute from the plane to Hinx, which seems to be a bit of a reverse nod to Caterina Munro/Naomi’s similar gesture in “The Spy Who Loved Me”.

 

It’s quite a harrowing chase, with quite a cool visual at the end, with Bond’s plane smashing through a lumber barn.

Hinx is down, but not out (He seems nearly as indestructible as Jaws!), but Bond is able to persuade Swann to come under his protection. The two rendezvous with Q at a local hotel, just as an inciddent is underway in South Africa (Justifying Max’s “Nine eyes”). Q tells Bond he now believes him, and that Oberhauser is connected to all his old enemies, but it’s Madeline Swann who tells them the name of the organization:

 

“SPECTRE. It’s name is SPECTRE.”

 

 

Bond In Review: SPECTRE Part I

This will close out “Bond in Review” for a while. I still intend to, at some point, start with the first few films (Dr.No To Live And Let Die), but I decided to do this thing in a ‘mid-maraton’ so I’ve recently seen those films, and so I’ll wait a bit longer for a ‘refresh’ viewing and review.

“Skyfall” of course was a huge success, and so director Sam Mendes was asked to return for another film with Daniel Craig. This time, the film would bring  back SPECTRE, the criminal organization which faced Bond in the 60’s and 70’s (and also in the unofficial Bond film “Never Say Never Again”), and also tie it to the Quantum storyline from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (and even a bit with Skyfall as well). The organization and it’s leader-Ernst Stravro Blofeld (The bald guy with the white persian cat) had pretty much been unused due to complicated rights issues, although Blofeld “sort of” showed up in the opening scene of “For Your Eyes Only”.

“Spectre” is the first Bond film to really open with a proper Bond gunbarrel, with a white background. “Casino’s” happened after the opening scene, and was hardly traditional, with Bond in a bathroom and casual wear; and both Quantum and Skyfalls were at the end of the film.

Although none of the Craig gunbarrels have used the ‘swaying’ effect (presumably the death of the guy pointing the gun at Bond). We then cut to these words:

Which, in a way, is very much one of the themes of the movie.

The film then cuts to a long, scrolling shot of the Mexican Day of the Dead festival/parade in Mexico city. Bond-in a skull mask and top hat reminiscent of “Live and Let Die’s” immortal henchman, Baron Samedi. He’s tracking someone-Marco Sciarra. The long shot continues for a while, but with two ‘cheats’-when Bond enters the hotel I think, and when he exits to take a shot at Sciarra.

Bond appears to be with a woman who wants to take him back to her hotel room, but Bond really just needs the hotel balcony to get a proper angle on Sciarra.

He overhears something about a ‘pale king’ before taking out Sciarra, which unexpectedly has an explosive effect-and Sciarra escapes. Here we see a bit that the film seems to be more humorous, as Bond offers a bit of a quip and lands softly on a couch after the explosion.Bond follows him again as he runs to a helicopter, leading to a tense action scene with Bond wresting with him on-board a helicopter with civilians below, the most civilian-endangering Bond helicopter scene since Tomorrow Never Dies. 

Eventually Bond is able to kill Sciarra, but then wrests a ring from his hand, with a strange Octopus logo.

Which then changes to the opening credits, with Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall”. Like SKYFALL, it’s sort of a melancholy song, but not quite as catchy. The “Octopus” imagery seen in the opening has gotten some criticism, but the Octopus is pretty much the signal of SPECTRE, and in fact would also inspire various other criminal organizations in fiction, most notably “HYDRA” in Marvel comics. The opening also shows footage from previous Bond films of Vesper, Le Chiffre, Silva and M (No Quantum stuff though!), stating in a way that it’s tying them all together.

We then return to London. The new M Mallory is not too pleased with Bond’s behavior, as this was not sanctioned. He orders Bond to stay in London. Mallory is already under pressure from Max Denibh, who wants to create a new intelligence agency called “Nine eyes” which will not require the 00’s. Bond dubs him “C”.

Moneypenny of course grills Bond about why he went to Mexico city, and we get a posthumous cameo from Judi Dench’s M, ordering the hit on Sciarra and telling Bond not to miss the funeral in Rome. She also shows him an old photo and records recovered from Skyfall, showing a photo of young Bond with a man and a third figure wih his face burned out.

Bond also stops by Q’s office with Tanner, and it’s remarked that the old MI6 building is being demolished.

Here, we get the reveal of Bond’s new car, the DB10, as well as a new watch. Bond also asks for Q to make him ‘dissapear’, although Bond has tracers in his blood to make sure he doesn’t stray from London (Somewhat similar to Casino Royale’s device)

Following M’s orders he attends Sciarra’s funeral in Rome, talking to his widow (Monica Belluci). He also appears to almost catch the eye of a man in attendance.

After the funeral she follows her back to her villa, where in a nice scene with classical music in the background, he takes out two men sent to kill her and starts to put the moves on her, starting to learn that Sciarra was involved in some ‘organization’. It should be noted that Monica at age 50 when the film was made is one of the older Bond girls, but honestly it’s not noticeable at all.

Although after this scene, she doesn’t really show up in the rest of the film. Bond sees that she’ll make it out of Rome safe, with the film name-dropping Felix Leiter. So she’s one of the few Craig girls to survive.

Bond-using Sciarra’s ring-is able to sneak into the meeting, where the group are discussing human trafficking, the drug trade, and also getting rid of somebody called “The Pale King” much like Sciarra. While the scene is nice and atmospheric, the nostalgic Bond fan in me wishes the SPECTRE guys had a bit of a number naming system like in the novels and earlier films (Blofeld was No.1 in the films at least, with others like Largo being no.2, etc.)

One of SPECTRE’s agents make his claim for taking out the Pale King by killing another one by headbutting him, gouging his eyes out and breaking his neck. His name is Mr. Hinx (Played by John Bautista) and he’s pretty much in the mold of Oddjob and Jaws-the strong, silent type.

However, Bond is compromised-by the chairman no less-who knows who James is-and Bond recognizes him, with disbelief.

Oberhauser: All that excitement rang a distant bell. And now, suddenly this evening, it makes perfect sense. Welcome James….it’s been a long time….and finally here we are….Cuckoo!

As the title card said, “The Dead are alive….”