Release Date: November 6, 2015
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis
Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen, Alessandro Cremona, Stephanie Sigman, Tenoch Huerta, Adriana Paz, Domenico Fortunato, Marco Zingaro, Stefano Elfi DiClaudia, Ian Bonar, Tam Williams, Richard Banham, Pip Carter
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 148 minutes
Production Company: B24, Columbia Pictures, Danjaq, Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Language: English, Spanish, Italian, German, French
Country: UK, USA
I don’t know what it is about James Bond, but there’s something about his character that will never cease to amaze. It’s not like he’s the perfect human being. He’s an arrogant, rude, womanizing smart ass that’s always breaking the rules. That’s usually a formula for disaster, but you can still count on him until the end. Maybe it’s the way he gets it all done that makes you love the guy. Regardless of any negative assumptions one may have, he often completes his missions with much style can grace. With any obstacle he faces, he’ll fly through the heavens to see it through. His confidence is most high, he’s tailored from head to toe, and can talk himself out of any situation. If you were in danger you’d want this 007 agent on your team. With Spectre being the 26th installment of the British MI6 organization, Daniel Craig is back for the fourth time duking it out against global terrorism. Director Sam Mendes returns as well, giving the audience something fresh and new, but also lets us know it’s time to reboot the franchise again.
I’m an average James Bond fan that still gets excited when he hits the big screen. Not seeing the first few actors take on the role, Goldeneye was my first introduction to the character. In that world ran by Pierce Brosnan, it was entertaining, but eventually the stunts began to get ridiculous. What I loved about Same Mende’s Skyfall was he toned it down to a realistic perspective. The former started to feel like a five year old was in charge of the production, and just wanted to see cars blow up. That wasn’t the case when Mendes took over. He focused more on story, the psychology of the characters, and left the gadgets, and gizmos as the sixth man off the court. He should’ve kept that in mind with Spectre, but unfortunately go lost with the production budget. Don’t get me wrong, the shots in Spectre are beautiful with spectacular cinematography. He knows how to grab your attention, and not let go until he’s finished. The way the camera panned towards the beginning of the film introducing Bond was superb, and was a love letter to high quality entertainment. Though to have a complete film I need more than unique technical advancements, and grand events that make me ponder.
The cast contained is as strong as ever, but that’s a given by far. MoneyPenny (Naomie Harris), and M (Ralph Fiennes) didn’t surprise me, but it was still nice to see some consistency. There was nothing new about their involvement, but I say otherwise about Q (Ben Whishaw) and Hinx (Dave Batista). Batista didn’t have many lines, but that’s no knock on the film. He posed a worthy threat to Bond as a small Hulk figure, knocking heads off left and right. These two tied for my favorite characters in the film. Usually tickling my fancy with his sarcastic dry humor, we got more of the same with Q, plus a little more. I like what Mendes did here, not giving us leftovers from the last film he was behind. Usually Bond gets a mission, goes to Q for his weapons, then takes little effort to return them as they were. This time a twist was thrown in making Bond feel stupid, which brought Q more towards the center stage. It was fresh nod to new things that wouldn’t bore the audience, and a clever tool to keep your attention. Madeline Swan (Lèa Seydoux) made a nice Bond girl as well, who was familiar with the mechanics of a handgun. I hate the damsel in distress act at times, and the script made sure that was absent. I thought it was hilarious the way her and Bond engaged romantically for the first time, because it felt natural instead of forced. Even though one scene was ruined by her confessing her love too quickly, she still gained my respect as a strong character.
The story had an interesting premise, but another little film titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier beat it to the punch. The tone here was more mature, but didn’t have the same shock value as the feature just named. It’s scary to think about, containing real world themes that could actually happen, but some of the action diluted it to the point of exhaustion. I don’t know what happened with the rest of the script. Director Mendes, and the writers had a field day of ridiculousness tempting you to throw your drink at the screen. The action was enjoyable, but became a bit over the top, just like the Brosnan franchise did. I thoroughly enjoyed the hand the hand combat, but the flying roller coaster helicopter rides began to make my head hurt. Some of the action scenes were crafted very well, while the others held no stakes. It’s like a thief stole the realism, and disappeared like a ghost in the night. Bond gave no regard to his life, the person he’s attempting to save, or the thousands of people a few hundred feet below him. I started looking left and right in the theater, to see if anyone else was as frustrated as I was, with the madness that was taking place on screen. Why in the world would you punch out a helicopter pilot two hundred feet in the air with your own life at risk, along with everyone else’s on the ground? Why would you shoot the driver of a car headed down a cliff with hostages in the back which assures death if you succeed? Bond didn’t care about collateral damage, and if you can answer those questions logically, I’ll take you on a four week vacation.
Now I know it’s a recurring joke that in all Bond films the villain reveals the plot, giving the protagonist every chance to escape, but this time they took it too far, too many times to where you couldn’t take the film seriously. In short it was abysmal, and a clear indication that the studio ran out of ideas. It was so on the nose that dialogue was forced in just to say, “The fight isn’t over.” Really? After this I wanted to give the film the finger! You can’t fool the audience this way, and we’ll never buy into that stupidity.
If Skyfall was a Steak dinner with green beans and mash potatoes, Spectre was a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich, with stale potato chips. The only reason I’m not bashing this film harder is due to the nice cast, a few decent action scenes, and nice camera work by the director. Once the true villain arrived there was no magic left in the film, which just ran on and on for no reason. It was nothing more than a failed promise of a worldwide secret organization that was supposed to scare, but instead made me yawn repeatedly. Christoph Waltz is a phenomenal actor that deserves Oscar praise, but this time he did nothing but stand there and watch our hero escape countless times. It was a wasted casting choice that anyone could’ve played, which pisses me off in ways I didn’t know were possible. With this being the fourth film for Daniel Craig as Bond the quality is back in forth, and a reminder that it may be over. Casino Royal, and Skyfall were great, but Quantum of Solace, and Spectre are massive disappointments.