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By cutprintchris January 30, 2017
In hindsight my excitement for Spectre seems a bit foolish. After Skyfall, director Sam Mendes openly stated that he wouldn’t direct another Bond movie. And even so, Skyfall wasn’t the best of the new Bond films by any measure – dragging on for much too long. But somehow I got sucked into the hype of Mendes’ vision for an homage to the classic Bond, with that somewhat iconic poster of Craig mimicking Roger Moore, and trailers the emphasized a kind of retro re-visitation of some old villains and themes. But Spectre is none of those things, instead it is a film where everyone involved feels like they are just going through the motions. Spectre tries very hard to be an homage to the vintage James Bond classics, but instead ends up feeling more like a mockery of the series.
For starters the script is outrageously weak and predictable. Bond goes from shootout, to chase, to sex scene, saying and doing the exact same things he has done for the last 23 movies. Instead of a complete story, the film is just a collection of set pieces and scenes loosely stitched together. And while some of them work well on their own, by the second or third fight scene, you won’t be able to stop yourself from yawning. When you aren’t yawning you’ll be laughing, and not in a good way. The dialogue is downright cheesy. Gone is all of Bond’s smooth charm and ability to sting his opponent’s with his tongue just as much as with his gun. Instead at one point, he throws a watch bomb and says: “Time flies!”
Bond is one a secret mission, assigned to him by M (Judi Dench) via a video message delivered after her death. The film doesn’t ever attempt to invest the audience in this mission, or in Bond’s motivation for seeking out Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) – which apparently has something to do with his foster-father and his childhood, again – but it never seems important to the story or to James. Meanwhile, a new joint secretary, Max or C as he is known (Andrew Scott), is attempting to unite the world’s intelligence under one surveillance network – and through doing so making the Double-0 program obsolete. Lucky for him, Sam Mendes is already doing that for him.
However, Spectre is a beautiful film. There are about five or six huge set pieces, all of which are wonderfully filmed. And if you are just in the mood the veg out and watch Bond cruise through the streets of Rome in a prototype Aston Martin, than this is the movie for you. But things go on for entirely too long, which would be fine if something of interest were happening. But almost nothing does. Bond gets in a situation and gets out, all while throwing a few pithy, laughable, lines out.
Daniel Craig has never been more disconnected from the character James Bond, than he is in Spectre. I must say first, that I love Craig as an actor and as James Bond – he is my favorite of all the Bonds. But here, he is uncharacteristically not James Bond. A scene for instance where bond throws his gun into the river, is done in such a fancy foppish way that I cringed. It is tough to properly convey how Craig misses the mark in Spectre, but when you see it, you won’t be able to help feeling the same way.
Maybe Sam Mendes and screenwriter John Logan did succeed at creating a perfect homage to the Roger Moore era Bond films? Because in reality, none of those films standout as great movies. From start to finish, Spectre feels like someone filling out a madlibs of Bond scenes, and praying that when they read it back, it makes some sense.
By Frank Ochieng January 30, 2017
Well, cinema’s most treasured and resilient British spy guy is back as the legendary James Bond makes his twenty-fourth outing on the big screen in the highly anticipated and slickly-made Spectre. Worldwide Agent 007 fans understandably maintain their embedded expectations and vision as to what calculating and cunning mission their suave and sophisticated gun-toting, martini-sipping espionage thrill-seeker will encounter in his latest globe-trotting episode. Whatever Bond enthusiasts have in mind for the future twenty-fifth entry of the “licensed to kill” Lothario they should simply settle for the present stimulating currents that trickle as mind-bending material in the polished and percolating Spectre.
As for the dynamic performer that have served his time with action-oriented cinematic sensibilities through three previous super-charged James Bond installments, the steely-jawed and diligent Daniel Craig is back on the saddle again for his fourth stint as the crafty 007. Naturally both ardent and casual Bond followers can rattle off the filmography of Craig’s on-screen tour of duty as the debonair and daring secret service operative and even rate the previous films as they compare and contrast each edition. Some may give special attention to Craig’s first foray into stepping inside Bond’s explosive shoes for 2006’s Casino Royale that is considered a spectacular introduction for the dramatically trained actor. In 2008’s Quantum of Solace, it was a mixed bag at best as Bond followers for the most part gave this second 007 rendition an ambivalent sign of approval (not too many were thrilled with the awkward movie title either). Thankfully, 2012’s Skyfall bounced back for Craig’s take on the roguish Bond and made for some exceptional brownie points as the cagey spy returning to creative prominence. Now 2015’s Spectre hopes to make some hearty tie-ins to Craig’s past big screen adventures as the stoic jet-setting dynamo ridding the world of masterful riff raff.
In actuality, Spectre is serviceable in that it is an elaborate and excitable reminder of the preceding Bond films where bits of nostalgic elements from yesteryear are sprinkled throughout its presentation. Sure, some wily 007 fanatics may spot a few of the tossed in nods to the aforementioned Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace in particular as the proceedings unfold. For the most part, Spectre acts as a mere bridge to the launching of the upcoming 25th Bond actioner in waiting. To be fair the other Bond films have served as a welcome mat to the next chapter of the late Ian Fleming’s engaging and charismatic man of action so why should not Spectre be any different in this regard? Still, this spy caper has its signature swagger that Bond aficionados relish with familiarity: heart-pumping action sequences, exquisite locales, desirable and devious Bond women, majestic car chases, larger-than-life villains and their loyal henchmen, imaginative gadgets and inventive technology and yes…the indomitable James Bond at your service. Nevertheless. the minor knock on Spectre is that it could have risen to the occasion more than it did as it occasionally feels as if it is going through the mischievous motions. It never resorts to the levels of Bond-ish drudgery in Quantum of Solace so that certainly is a relief in that aspect.
Spectre does incorporate its share of opulence, mystery, suspense, shadowy tension and perilous plight. However, where the standard Bond film-making characteristics are somewhat consistent and captivating (i.e. the breathtaking opening sequence of the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City) there is also a questionable consideration for the weak-kneed Bond theme song in Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” which seems so inadequately suited for a James Bond signature tune. Even the indifferent observers of the James Bond film franchise for the last five decades can attest to the two most important stamps of a Bond film–its opening scene and surging theme song. Thankfully, Spectre’s grand opening sequence obeys traditional Bond practices but Smith’s doggedly tired-sounding “Writing’s on the Wall” feels as it belongs attached to an old televised After School special from the mid-70s. Wouldn’t you give your kingdom for Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Live and Let Die” or Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” or perhaps even Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only”?
One thing that can be said about Craig’s Bond in Spectre and that is his image transformation has been elevated to that of a fashion plate whose GQ stylized look has taken quite a step up. Not since Roger Moore’s Bond has there been a clear case of dazzling attire on display for Agent 007 to strut his stuff in spiffy clothing accessories throughout his ventured travels. Craig, billed as a “blue-collar” Bond whose demeanor is more blunt and workman-like, takes comfort in basking in the finesse shadows of a classic Agent 007 almost foreign to his distinctive spin on the iconic spy. In fact, the overall vibe for Spectre seems to lie in the middle of old school and new school James Bond mythology where the shading suits both camps of the ever-lasting film franchise.
Director Sam Mendes, who handled the direction for the previous Skyfall, finds the right tone and temple for Spectre that certainly shows off its lavish and ambitious production values as the set designs, scenic locations, fabulous pre-credits action sequence are all indescribable in majestic scope. No one can accuse Spectre as to not holding its own in visual functionality. Wisely, Mendes does not forget his Skyfall background players as they reunite with Craig’s Bond and partake in the sensationalized cat-and-mouse caper. It is refreshing to see Ralph Fiennes back as “M” not to mention Ben Wishaw’s “Q” front and center. And a Craig-fronted Bond film would not be the same without Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny.
Agent 007 fans will find a common "Bond" with Daniel Craig and his fourth outing as the licensed to kill Lothario in the stunning and kinettic SPECTRE
Agent 007 fans will find a common “Bond” with Daniel Craig and his fourth outing as the licensed to kill Lothario in the stunning and kinetic SPECTRE
It is a given that the diabolical criminal network known as SPECTRE has always had its affiliation with the Bond universe especially in the classic Sean Connery Bond-age years. Instinctively, SPECTRE’s evil heart and soul was pumped continuously by that organization’s dastardly mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Oscar winner Christoph Waltz does the sordid honors of taking the reins as Bond’s nemesis Franz Oberhauser in Spectre with devilish delight and is more colorfully corrupt thanks to his handy go-to muscular minion Mr. Hinx (ex-professional WWE wrestler and “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista) echoing the memories of beloved brute Jaws (played by the late Richard Kiel) from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker).
We can never forget that along with Agent 007 folklore comes the responsibility of being labeled a treasured Bond babe. And although the latest sultry women represented in Spectre will never make us forget the iconic likes of Dr. No’s Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder) or Casino Royale’s Eva Green (Vesper Lynd) for that matter they still hold their own and give a measure of titillation to both Bond and the vast amount of male admirers wishing they carried a gun and wore expensive tuxedos while being at the receiving end of a provocative smooch by these vibrant vixens. Lea Seydoux’s Madelene Swann and Italian siren Monica Bellucci’s Lucia are on board as the Bond bombshells for hire.
As a whole, Spectre has its up and down moments and never is quite sure about standing alone as an independent Bond story or being dismissed as a pit stop for 007-related flashbacks and reference bits ode to yesteryear’s glory of the super spy’s engaging and raging exploits. The verdict is that Spectre ultimately satisfies one’s craving for the invincible James Bond whether you can to relive his vintage reputation or look forward to a millennium-enhanced production that will grow with the ageless wonderment pertaining to Fleming’s literary ladies man-turned movie-making mainstay of action-packed cinema for half a century. As one-time Bond songbird Carly Simon would attest in her soothing lyrics, “nobody does it better…” Yet in the dimensional escapist world of James Bond this particular go-around could have been a tad bit better.
2 hrs 28 mins.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott
Directed by: Sam Mendes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre: Spy-Espionage Caper/Action & Adventure/Suspense Thriller
Critic’s rating: ** 1/2 stars (out of 4 stars)
(c) Frank Ochieng (2015)
By Andres Gomez January 30, 2017
A "correct" Bond movie. All the expected stereotypes are included, Waltz is an OK bad guy and the intro scene is something really impressive.
Nothing else really new ...
By Reno January 30, 2017
> Not your usual Bond movie, but still a good entertainer.
What I liked from a couple of last Bond movies was they were off the regular 007 style, like not overly rely on spy's special gadgets. This change has been since the day one of Daniel Craig as a famous British spy, James Bond. Anyway, he's the most fittest (muscular) Bond I've ever seen and he's celebrating 10 year anniversary with this film release. But the question is whether he to do another film or done with the franchise. The doubt after the confusing end of this film.
The end was quite clear on the story perspective, so I kind of felt it was a farewell for Craig. But, later I came to know that the official source says Bond25 will be his fifth and so on till he opts out himself. 'Spectre' was a very simple Bond movie I have ever seen, but I can say the production quality was so good that you can't resist the enjoyment. The actors, they were also good, but not as I anticipated. Maybe many scenes were very ordinary for a Bond movie, that's comparable with the nowadays action movies, otherwise it was not as bad as critics expressing their disappointment.
You can't believe what I was disappointed, you know when they say what the C stands for - is that the best word they come up with against the M for Moron? Anyway, James Bond movies have always had ups and downs, the last film 'Skyfall' was a mega hit and now this has not stood up to that standard. But very entertaining with all the actions and unexpected turns in the narration. As a spy movie, it was okay, but as a Bond movie is what might upset you, so its upto you how you look at it. But to be honest, I enjoyed it.