Appreciated just how odd and fitfully beautiful this messy thing is this time; in a way I almost like the messiness (if it weren't for some truly godawful things still clinking around), as this is one of the most fascinatingly overstuffed and ever-morphing films in the franchise. The wealth of curiosities and bizarre notes is exhaustive:

-The Monica Bellucci passage, initially something I hated, now nearly my favorite thing in the film; it's its own mini-Bond film nested within the whole, a bizzare perfume-advertisement-meets-Bond pastiche with movement and dialogue both stilted and beautiful, oscillating so rapidly and fluidly between those two qualities it's dizzying. The funeral sequence is ostentatious in a perfect manner, Craig's aggressive disinterest vibrating weirdly with the humor and the (unexplainable) emotional power of Bellucci's face and oddly paused words from beneath the laticed veil. The formal play with emerging figures, architecture, and overtly-stylized movements again register as near-pastiche, almost an art-film joke. It's all so brief and one wishes for more Bellucci but I love it as a Bond vignette suspended in time.

-The first Spectre meeting, inarguably among the franchise's best and most inventive sequences. Not only the wonderful ambience, those eerie silences, and the clever use of shadow, but also the multiple languages at play, an anti-UN; this is wonderfully capped off by Bautista's appearance and act of violence, a perfect expression, from political rhetoric to gouged eyeballs, of Spectre (and, uh, world) as organization.

-The asteroid. Gorgeous and strangely moving (and disturbing). I still feel the drone plot is garbage and shallow as fuck (and everyone of course knows the only mainstream film this year to have an actual perspective on drones is Reiné's The Condemned 2); I posit instead that the more effective contemporary note is making Blofeld into a Jobs or Zuckerberg, complete with tablet: look at the aesthetic perfection of his base, the slick tending of his style and tech. But anyways, the asteroid. Iunno, I just think it's a pantheon Bond villain moment.

-Lea Seydoux is fantastic. Warm, real, angry, feeling. A believable match for Bond which is key to the next point and the film's oddest effect:

Bond is a bored fashion-model-playboy-cad here, barely registering as a person in some moments. Fascinatingly, it is characters outside of him that function as emotional loci; antagonists and allies, lovers and friends, they color Bond's journey until late in the game (the drill and the bridge), Craig actually engages. I still think the move back to London is disastrous and damages the film significantly, but I'll give it the climax on the bridge. Damn beautiful.

+ the lowkey hilarity of Bautista's silent acting (and the best fight scene in Craig Bond).

+ what the fuck was that Italian voice coming out of Craig?! "IO SONO TOPOLINO"

+ Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw are all very likable

+ yes, the opening is killer.

+ watch out for some of that awful "gritty blockbuster" dialogue tho. "You're a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond." fuck you

+ Bond talks to a cgi mouse. Cool? Maybe? I have no idea

+ if you made it this far for some reason: I rewatched this while coming down off acid.

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