Review of 'Spectre'

24th film in the 'James Bond' series

spectre.jpg This latest outing for James Bond 007 (Daniel Craig) sees James on a personal mission to trace down a mysterious killer due to a note left by a deceased friend. A stunning opening sequence at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico sees the demolition of a building and an absolutely incredible helicopter stunt sequence above the massive festival crowds. Bond follows the trail to Rome where he bluffs his way into a meeting of a shadowy organization that appears to have it's hand in every illegal activity on the planet but his cover his quickly blown and ends up in a car chase through Rome. In exchange for information he promises a dying man that he will protect his daughter who turns out to have ideas of her own as to whether she needs protecting. They stumble across a final clue that may very well lead them to the leader of this shadowy organization…a familiar face. Meanwhile, back in London, the very existence of the 00 programme is being cast into doubt with both the impending demolition of the former MI6 building on the Thames (bombed in the previous movie) and the rise of the “CNS” - An organization that seeks to unite many of the intelligence agencies of the planet under a single umbrella agency…could the two storylines be connected in any way?

It is good to see Bond's colleagues being more than just set dressing with Q (Ben Whishaw) playing a particularly key role (“Can I ask you a small favour?” comes up on many, many occasions here) whose assistance to Bond causes him a great deal of anxiety. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) also plays a key part as a “mole” in London feeding information to Bond as he works his way around the globe. M (Ralph Fiennes) has problems of his own dealing with the political implications of the CNS.

The typical nods to the franchise are made throughout this movie: Beautiful women, check; Beautiful car and demolished, check; Risqué dialogue, check; Techie gadgets, check; Nasty villain, check; Amazing stunt and action set-pieces, check; Fantastic locations, check;…But there is also a lot of existential angst in this version of Bond. We learn a lot more about his past here and he spends time questioning and being questioned about what exactly he is trying to achieve. The answers are not so easy.

Someone before I saw the show suggested it was the best Bond movie since Casino Royale. I am not so sure about that. I found Skyfall far more subtle and nuanced - Here we get big, bold and brash. Subtlety be damned. For example, for some reason, buildings seem to explode when Bond shots them with a few bullets. Where in previous movies we had hints of Bond's history making him more interesting and mysterious here we get far more details that, for me, makes his character lose some of his mystique. It doesn't help that Craig continues to play the role extremely flat which makes it even more odd considering his painful and tragic personal life is being laid before us on the screen…an expression or two would be good even when it comes to remembering the death of M (Judi Dench) from the previous movie. Without giving too much away I also found the resolution far too easy (and quick) after all of the build up of the rest of the movie.

Perhaps I am being too harsh? Perhaps. I have to admit, it is a lot of fun and quite a ride. There is certainly something here for lovers of action and Bond…

Our Viewing

spectre_premiere.jpg

We saw Spectre on the opening night at the Odeon in Leicester Square (London) approximately 10 minutes after the world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, about a mile away. It was an sold-out audience and we were treated to a 30 minute pre-screening recital on the cinema's organ. Many people came dressed up as Bond…but not us…no…

Rating:

Review Date: 2015-10-26


Directed by: Sam Mendes

Studio: B24

Year: 2015

Length: 148 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2379713


Other reviewed films in the 'James Bond' series:


Other reviewed films by Sam Mendes: