Disclaimer: This has absolutely nothing to do directly with G.I. Joe.
Today in London, Eon Productions made the official announcement for the 24th installment in the James Bond franchise. At a star-studded media event, audiences were introduced not only to the cast and the new car but also to the title for this landmark film.
Just one word and it sends chills up and down the spine of long-time Bond fans everywhere. Not seen in any real capacity since 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, this shadowy organization bent on global domination is poised to make its debut in the 21st century!
For those of you who are unaware of SPECTRE, it’s the Special Executive for Crime, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion. It’s the mother of all secret terror organizations– and quite possibly the basis for other fictional organizations like HYDRA or even Cobra. Led by the shadowy #1 (who was later revealed to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld), SPECTRE was revealed to be the organization behind most of the the Connery Bond’s cinematic foes. From Dr. No, to Rosa Klebb, to Emilio Largo, SPECTRE provided the resources and the manpower for all manner of plots destined to throw the world into chaos. It’s the stuff of classic spy thrillers and nobody did global secret organizations better than Bond.
Seriously, as a long time Bond fan, this news is incredible! It shows that the series is maintain ties to its past while putting a fresh new spin on a cinematic franchise that has endured for over a half century. November 6, 2015 cannot come soon enough!
You can watch an official video of the cast announcement below.
This isn’t entirely related to G.I. Joe but I just had to point out that the 50th anniversary installment in the James Bond franchise drops on DVD and Blu-Ray today. Why is this important to fans of America’s first action figure? Simple– the Bond franchise is the longest-running film series in history and has set the bar for so many elements of modern action cinema! From the use of practical effects and world record-breaking stunts to exotic locations and dynamic villains, the Bond films have entertained millions for the past 5 decades! Plus, the 007 series has had more than a “passing influence” on many aspects of G.I. Joe.
Years ago, a young Joe fan who happens to be writing this article was introduced to the world of 007 by his father, thanks to ABC’s frequent airing of the films on Sunday nights. As a kid, I was floored by the similarities between the early appearances of Cobra in both the Marvel Comics and the first Sunbow mini-series and the use of SPECTRE in the Sean Connery films. From the incredible lairs that evoked memories of the design of Ken Adams to the elaborate plots to disrupt the western world, Cobra was the kid-friendly version of a Bond villain. Heck, look at the Sears exclusive Missile Command Headquarters and you’ll see an homage to the volcano base in You Only Live Twice.
Regardless, the Bond films left a strong impression upon me and really have shaped my view of what makes for a good spy/action movie. It’ll be this bar that will be measured against when I watch G.I. Joe Retaliation in just a few weeks. Yes, the Bond movies have evolved over time– from the secret organizations of the 60’s, the near-parody of the 70’s, and all the way to the grim realism of the new Daniel Craig era. Like G.I. Joe, Bond is a product of his time reflecting the realities of the world in which he finds himself. He just happens to do it with style and flair. This past Christmas, my father surprised me with what has become my favorite gift in years – the Bond 50 Blu-Ray set. For days afterwards, I poured over the special features and the films like a relapsed dieter at the last Twinkie warehouse. The marketing department behind the set was clever, however. They left one empty tray in the box for the latest film in the franchise– a spot that will finally be filled tonight!
So, if you’re so inclined, run out today and snag a copy of Skyfall. Sit back in your favorite chair, pop in the disc and be prepared to watch 007 prove that “nobody does it better.” It’s a great way to relax and prepare for the arrival of G.I. Joe: Retaliation in just a few short weeks.
I’ll step off my soap box now and let you resume your regularly schedule G.I. Joe website. However, if you’re so inclined, here’s the trailer for Skyfall followed by the “mother of all Bond compilations” to watch. Enjoy!