Visual Power Structures in the “Spectre” Trailer Promise Greatness

The first full trailer for the next entry in Daniel Craig’s James Bond begins with Ralph Fiennes’ M chiding Bond for carrying out an unauthorized operation in Mexico City. Fiennes stands behind his desk and towers over a seated, subservient Bond asking, “Mexico City: What were you doing there?” We cut to the event in question and see Bond targeting someone in a building – and then effecting an enveloping explosion in the man’s room. Bonds wry answer to M nearly suppresses a laugh: “I was taking some overdue holiday.” The MGM and Columbia logos blazon across the screen, and that is our introduction to Spectre:

Welcome, James.


The next minute of the trailer is vintage Bond. We get a few vague introductions to the challenge in this episode, the mysterious Spectre organization which lends its name to the film. There looks to be some interesting gadgets judging from the car that Q is shown describing, and Bond gets to mingle sexually with plenty of vixens. Largely, though, this is your standard action thriller trailer montage. Where the trailer ascends to a higher level is around the 1:28 mark. As Bond learns that the factor unifying all the members of Spectre is him, we see a quiet, foreboding helicopter shot of a car driving towards Washington D.C. The voice of Christoph Waltz declares, “Hello, James. You came across me so many times, yet you never saw me. What took you so long?” After this last word, a seated Waltz turns his head to stare directly at James Bond on the balcony. For the second time in the trailer, we get a visual metaphor of power – one character literally standing above another – but in this case the metaphor is inverted. Despite Waltz’s position, he is clearly the one in power. This is beautiful visual storytelling in a trailer, and I can only hope that the feature contains similar attention to its details.

The remainder of the trailer is set running from this instance, and sadly again relies on your standard action trailer montage, plus some quintessential Bond Villain monologuing. But, if we’re honest, this trailer has already nabbed us. Audiences have to be dissuaded from seeing the new Bond flick, not persuaded, and this trailer has managed not only to heighten the excitement, but do so with some brilliant visual storytelling. We still know very little about what Spectre is and why Bond is so integral to its formation, but at this point it hardly seems to matter. Spectre has possessed us, and we shall remain haunted until its November 6th release date.

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