“Writing’s on the Wall,” is the newest James Bond theme song, sung by Sam Smith. It’s an absolutely stunning song. I have a “thing” for James Bond theme songs, you’d be able to tell from my iTunes library of music. I’m not a huge fan of Sam Smith yet, but his voice was so smooth and had that beautiful fluid sound that few singers are able to achieve. Whether Sam was singing “Writing’s on the Wall” using low notes or high notes, he always hit the note and his voice easily moved as the notes formed gracefully from his voice. Sam has that Classic James Bond voice, but I think the song, whoever wrote it, did an exceptional job too.
See the official music video The Writing’s on the Wall here sung by Sam Smith.
Something that struck me before I started to watch Spectre the new James Bond movie, and after, was the use of the words ‘The Writing’s on the Wall.’The last time I remember hearing those words was during Mrs. Keogh’s Social Studies 20 and 30. We studied European history and economics in grades eleven and twelve. Mrs. Keogh often used the phrase ‘the writing’s on the wall’ to say that for someone something was obvious ( or wasn’t obvious depending on the person) as “imminent”danger. The idiom the ‘writing’s on the wall’ can also mean “the handwriting on the wall” or as the Arabic “mene mene” or “mene mene tekel upharsin.” The phrase has origins in The Bible in Daniel 5, where Belshazzar was indulging in a drunken revelry and “debased” sacred “temple vessels” by using them as wine goblets. A “disembodied hand” wrote “mene mene tekel upharsin”on the palace wall where Belshazzar was holding this feast.
This phrase had no meaning to Belshazzar. It literally meant: “‘two minas, a shekel and two parts,'” or “‘number, weighed, divided.'” Belshazzar could not interpret what this phrase actually meant so he sent for Daniel a prophet who was exiled at the time. Daniel interpreted the phrase, which, was an elaborate word play. Each word was a coin and the third word meant “‘Persia.'” Daniel’s interpretation in the book of Daniel in The Bible was the following:
And this the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This the interpretation of the thing:
MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
This Bible story in the book of Daniel is a moral tale that demonstrates that Belshazzar could not see a warning that was “apparent to others because he was engrossed in his own” sinful ways.
Later, the idiom took on a less literal take where writing’s or walls were not actually present. In 1720 for instance, Jonathan Swift used the phrase in his Miscellaneous Poetry:
A baited Banker thus desponds,
From his own Hand foresees his Fall;
They have his Soul who have his Bonds;
‘Tis like the Writing on the Wall.
In modern times, the Collins English Dictionary defines the phrase ‘the writing’s on the wall’ as a sign or signs of approaching disaster.” Synonyms for the idiom include ill omen, warning, signal, sign, portent, or forewarning. But what does this have to do with James Bond and the latest Bond film with Daniel Craig, Spectre?
Spectre begins with a classic James Bond chase scene in Mexico City. It is the day of the dead or some similar celebration occurring as everyone is dressed as skeletons or wearing a skull mask. The first fight scene is particularly well done when Bond and the guy he is chasing, end up sparing in a helicopter flying over the city. The man being chased and Bond hold onto straps in the helicopter and depending on how the helicopter flies, Bond hangs in midair… But, I won’t ruin the rest of the movie for you.
An entertainment broadcaster on Global News Edmonton, thought that Spectre was not as good a movie as Skyfall. But I would have to disagree. This Daniel Craig Bond movie is my favourite since Casino Royale and it’s really the conclusion of what begins in Casino Royale when Vespa locks herself in the elevator cage so she will drown, and Bond finds out that she was working with enemy since she was captured and tortured. There is a reference to Vespa when Bond finds her interrogation video tape in Spectre.
But does James Bond see’ the writing’s on the wall’ when Vespa dies and throughout each successive Daniel Craig Bond movie? I think he sees this impending disaster that becomes worse with each bad guy he takes on, with each person he loses to death such as Vespa and M. But the bad guy of bad guys is the leader of the organization Spectre who would like to control and share with all countries the secret intelligence of each powerful country around the world, including Britain and MI6. To do this Spectre cause disasters in many countries.
When Bond discovers the organization of Spectre, it’s surprising to him who their leader is, who is greatest enemy is. He knows him well and the movie makes it seem as if this fact should have been obvious to Bond and the audience. Bond didn’t see ‘the writing’s on the wall’ when it came to the leader of Spectre. But Spectre is a James Bond movie and the bad guy never wins. So perhaps, it is the bad guy who doesn’t the see the obvious, ‘the writing’s on the wall,’ for he is only a character with limited prospective, and the audience knows how the movie will turn out: 007 always gets his man.
See a trailer for the new James Bond movie, Spectre here.