Movie Review: A Spectre Hangs Over Bond
Daniel Craig is tired of James Bond.
I don’t need to read the interviews leading up to his fourth appearance as the British Assassin to let me in on that fact. It shows in every step he takes, every tired line he recites – it’s obvious in every craggy line on his seamed and weary face. I see it every time he shows that grimace that is supposed to pass for a smile.
Gone is the steely-eyed blond that ripped through an embassy to take down a terrorist in that great entry Casino Royale. Gone is the emphatic alpha male who sat with Vesper in the shower through her shock in the same movie. Hell, gone is the lonely orphan who mourned M (Dame Judi Dench) in Skyfall.
The only thing left is the burnt-out husk of what was once.
Spectre is overall the twenty-fourth (doesn’t that just make you think of a TV series?) entry into Eon Productions’ Bond catalogue. It was directed by Sam Mendes; who also helmed the impressive Skyfall, and frame for frame; Spectre is a delight to watch.
If only the same thing could be said of the plot and story.
M (Dame Judi Dench) sends Bond a message from the grave, starting opening with the overplayed lines “If you’re watching this then something has happened to me…” so he goes rogue into Mexico and causes an international incident – as usual. Then he runs into an organization whose has been interfering in his life since Casino Royale. It’s his goal to stop this organization – but when he gets close to their leader he realizes the leader is even closer than he; Bond could ever anticipate.
I relish the re-introduction of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Christoph Waltz), a popular Bond villain created by Ian Fleming for the novels. Blofeld owns the distinction of being the villain who killed Bond’s freshly-married wife Tracy (by himself in the novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and by proxy in the film version of same novel) – though in this movie neither Blofeld nor Waltz particularly shined. And a major downside to this villain’s upgrading is the unfortunate decision of whoever to shunt a megalomaniac genius’ plan to rule the world and replace it with sibling rivalry. I mean, how retarded is it to think they can sell some lame idea of this bad guy being behind every death of every special woman in Bond’s life – simply because of daddy issues?
No offense – but for a character known for his women as well as his skills, this movie boasts the worst set of Bond women I have seen in a while – since Olga Kurylenko’s particularly-bland turn in the 2008 tragedy Quantum of Solace. Even Monica Bellucci; one-time screen queen who positively shimmered, is old and sad here. Bond’s latest squeeze; Dr. Madeline Swann (played with bored perfection by Léa Seydoux) is a pale wannabe doctor who prattles on about her fear and love for Bond – and goes from not trusting Bond to not wanting to live (or was it leave?) without him – all in twenty-four hours. Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) who was strident and energetic in Skyfall actually has more screen time here, but had presence, tone and action taken out of her. Could this be because of her relegation to desk duty after shooting Bond in Skyfall?
The film is rich with laughs thanks to witty repertoire served by Craig in his characteristic deadpan manner. There’s an intense car chase that ends quite unspectacularly – not to mention a train fight with a surprise star; all of which points to the truth that Spectre is just another action film with no story or emotional core; factors that combined to make Craig a quite compelling Bond.
We shall miss him.
Spectre is showing at Ozone Cinemas at the following times:
Fri-Thur 6th – 12th Nov: 10:10am, 12:40pm, 2:00pm, 3:20pm, 4:40pm, 6:05pm, 7:25pm, 8:45pm