The first full trailer for the next James Bond movie, “Spectre,” was released on Wednesday. I am a monumental James Bond fan — own all the movies, read all the books (even the non-Fleming ones), played the video games. I could not be more excited for “Spectre” to come out on Nov. 6.
And I’m not going to watch the trailer.
Believe me, it is killing me, especially as some dribs and drabs of reaction start posting on my Facebook and Twitter feeds — “mind-blowing” was how a fellow 007 fanatic put it. It’s so tempting, and so easy, to just go to YouTube right now and click.
But I’m not going to do it. Really, I’m not.
As a movie lover, even a film writer who often sees films before they open, it’s so rare these days is to be able to see a movie without knowing anything about it. We are deluged with trailers, teaser trailers, teaser posters, behind-the-scenes footage, tie-in commercials, newspaper articles — and, in the case of “Spectre” and other Sony films, script leaks. And then there’s the endless chorus of excitement and speculation that comes with it on social media, as fans try and figure out who that guy is playing and how that two-second blip fits into the film and whether it’s going to better or worse than the last film.
Sometimes that anticipation can be fun. I watched the trailer for Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s Western “The Revenant” earlier this week and got very excited. And the trailers for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” have definitely gotten me on board, giving me just enough out-of-context coolness and fan service (“Chewie, we’re home”) to get me worked up. Heck, Comic-Con is founded on the very idea that, if you love something in pop culture, you want as much of it as you can get as soon as you can get it.
But the Bond movies are special, and I really want to fight against the tide of pre-release hype and spoilers as much as possible, and go in as fresh as I possibly can. I speak from experience.
When the second Daniel Craig Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” came out, I watched the trailers over and over, a sensory overload of out-of-context action sequences (Car chase in a tunnel! Jumping a motorcyle into a boat! Falling off a ledge onto and through a glass cathedral ceiling!)
It all looked very cool. And then I watched the movie, and realized that all those trailer moments were the high points of every action scene in the movie. I had seen a little bit of every part of the movie. Instead of experiencing the movie, I was automatically fitting the puzzle pieces I had seen into the trailer into the final film (“Oh, that’s where he drives across the desert.”) It was a very anticlimactic viewing experience. And it didn’t help that “Quantum” is easily the weakest of the Craig 007 movies.
So, for 2012’s “Skyfall,” I gave myself a moratorium on information about the film. No trailers, no magazine articles, no nothing. It was not easy. At one point, out to see “Argo” with the woman who’d later become my wife, I had to stop and wait outside the theater until the trailers finished. Super dorky, I know, but she understood.
Still, information is so pervasive today that a few tidbits of information got past the filter. I knew Javier Bardem played the bad guy, I knew something happened to Judi Dench’s M, and I knew there was some kind of action scene set on top of a train.
But that was pretty much it. And when I went to “Skyfall” on the Thursday screening before it officially opened, I had a fantastic time. I was thrilled, I was moved, I was surprised. It was like going to see “The Spy Who Loved Me” when I was eight, not even really knowing what James Bond was. Everything was new.
Movie fans, and especially movie writers, are so stuck on the hype treadmill of movies getting teased, promo’ed, released and then forgotten. It was such a gift to myself to hop off that treadmill for one movie that was special to me. So I’m going to give myself the same gift with “Spectre.”
It’s going to be a long four months, but it will be worth it.