Framestore, the VFX house employed to realize the SPECTRE title sequence, recently posted the title sequence on their site, along with some behind-the-scenes details which will be of great interest to readers familiar with the VFX world and words like Maya, Nuke, and Houdini. For the rest of us, it's a chance to revisit the bonkers, hentai-influenced opening of 007's 24th film adventure.
Like much of SPECTRE, the film's title sequence is hellbent on giving you history and familiarity, but through a prism that renders it all...well, I suppose "new" and "fresh" if it works for you, and "weird" and "discomfiting" if you don't. When Skyfall's open first turned up online in 2012, I called it my favorite Bond title sequence. I still find that one to be kind of perfect - a mournful summation of the film's themes, painted with a moody palette of Ian Fleming imagery and franchise echoes, the most somber 50th anniversary celebration ever. How, then, does one characterize the SPECTRE open?
Credit must be given to title designer Daniel Kleinmann for not resting on his laurels or playing it safe. Sure the traditional elements are all here - 007, writhing naked women, guns - but much is new. SPECTRE's avatar, the black octopus, is realized in slimy, photorealistic CGI - as Evan noted in our podcast, "that octopus has a little too much personality." It's a startling moment to be sure. And in perhaps a late bid toward equality, Bond is for the first time naked in his own title sequence (curiously, the only time he's shirtless the whole film).
Like Skyfall, the SPECTRE sequence flashes back and forward, but here it's a little too literal in both directions, playing as a greatest hits mixtape and, at times, like a trailer for the film you're about to watch. The allusions in Skyfall's title sequence felt a bit more ethereal, its story points only really registering on a second viewing. (Ever catch the bit in the Skyfall title sequence where a captive Silva is poisoning himself with cyanide?)
And the footage of tentacles wrapping themselves around naked women - Kleinmann can't actually live in some bubble that isn't aware of hentai tentacle porn, right? That has to be pretty intentional, doesn't it? I don't imagine you get too far into development on a Bond title sequence involving octopus imagery before you get to octopi feeling up naked lady silhouettes, but it still managed to surprise me in the theater.
I'm torn, and maybe I'll warm to it as SPECTRE settles into its place in the franchise over the years. But after a few viewings, all I can say for sure is that it's definitely the kinkiest of 24 title sequences. What about you folks? Did this feel like "classic Bond" to you, or are they turning a sexy, slimy corner here? Do you have a dreaded list of top ten Bond title sequences? Fine; let me hear it.