Spectre (2015)

 

The newest James Bond movie, “Spectre” is a somewhat disappointing outing for Bond that does not advance the series in any meaningful way.  While Daniel Craig is probably the second best James Bond behind Sean Connery, he has always followed up a good Bond movie with a mediocre one.  For example, the amazing “Casino Royale” was followed by the Jason Bourne knockoff “Quantum of Solace”; and this time “Spectre” is following the far superior “Skyfall”.

In this adventure, Bond uncovers a plot for world domination that is related to the schemes in the previous Craig Bond films.  It turns out that this organization named “Spectre” is an organization that is bent on world chaos and is headed by a shadowy figure related to Bond’s past.  Bond then has to stop the organization and save the girl in the only way 007 knows how: kicking ass and drinking martinis.

While this certainly follows the James Bond formula, the movie ended up being predictable.  While “Skyfall” and “Casino Royale” gave the series a new grittier direction, “Spectre” brings the series down a notch.  This reviewer has always thought that a Bond film is only as strong as its villains and Bond girls, and to tell the truth the performances of the villain and Bond Girl were disappointing.  Lea Seydoux is pretty to look at, but her character comes across as a damsel in distress type instead of holding her own with Bond.  This also extends to Christoph Waltz as our villain: He just does not seem like a formidable match to Bond like Silva (the villain played by Javier Bardem in “Skyfall”) did.  Ultimately this problem extends to the writing.

Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann

One of the problems with the writing is that the film relies too heavily on previous Bond installments and rehashes ideas from previous Bond movies.  If the audience had not seen the previous three Craig films, a viewer would be very confused with how everything ties together in the story.  Another problem are homages, or ripoffs if you prefer, to previous Bond films like “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” or “From Russia With Love”.  While understand wanting to do an homage to previous films, this reviewer feels that a Bond film stands out when it has good original action sequences.  Think of the scene in “Casino Royale” when Bond is doing parkour chasing a villain or the tank/library scene in “GoldenEye”.  Those sequences are great because they are original, and not simply a rehash.

While these criticisms are true, “Spectre” is still a Bond movie, so it still has its entertaining moments.  The opening Dia De Los Muertos sequence continuous take sequence is pretty spectacular, and Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw are great as “M” and “Q” respectively.  Look at “Spectre” as an entertaining Saturday diversion, not as Bond film that pushes the series.

Rating 2 1/2 out of 4 STARS

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