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Review: Spectre – Bond is Back!

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond
Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE. Photo: Jonathan Olley

Thrilling, adventurous – and a little lacklustre.

The new Bond film has been hyped virtually since the end of Skyfall. The buildup in the past few weeks has been one of anticipation, but ultimately disappointment.

Shirley Bassy, Adele Atkins and Duran Duran all created spectacular Bond songs, setting the tone of past films in a fantastic light. It’s a shame that this was not true for Sam Smith’s unimpressive “Writings on the Wall”. I don’t really understand the relevance of the song, even after watching the film.

Despite this as I awaited the show on opening night I couldn’t help but feel excited; after all we’ve waited over three years since my favourite Bond film, Skyfall.

The story starts in the midsts of Mexico at the Day of the Dead festival. We travel with Bond (in skeleton costume) into a hotel hall, up a lift, out of a window and we finally arrive, looking out of the sights of a gun. This first scene is amazingly vibrant and colourful and transports you into the moment – you feel as if you are following Bond every inch of the way. The scene ends with an action packed helicopter fight, leading straight into the opening credits – always my favourite part of every Bond film. Skyfalls’ opening was fresh and innovative although on reflection the Octopus action within Spectres was too reminiscent of older movies.

Then we are plunged into the dull and grey exterior of London where MI6 is being forcibly merged into a global spying organisation headed  by Andrew Scott’s sly and unaffectionate Max Denbigh, also know as C. Bond is stripped of status and flees to Rome in the new Aston Martin DB10 (created for the film – only 10 have been made) and gets involved in an epic car chase.

Spectre, it seems, is attempting to tie things together, wrapping up loose ends from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, placing Bond up against his ‘nightmare’ of all villains – Christoph Waltz as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The trip to the desert is somewhat confusing and seems detached from the whole story- what is the relevance? Blofeld has a complex in the desert – yippee!

In some ways it sums up the film when I say that the best line is “and now we know what the C stands for.”

On the other hand Madeline Swann is the most seductive, beautiful and clever Bond girl I have seen although there is something slightlty predictable about her. Daniel Craig’s performance is stunning throughout and I hope he stays with the franchise even though he claims that he hates it! The mass turnover of actors in recent films has been huge and without Craig keeping the continuity the film would have been much worse.

The amount of camera time which Q (Ben Whishaw), M (Ralph Fiennes) and Ms. Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) have in Spectre is too much – at this rate, after a few more films, it’ll be the Famous Four rather than Bond flying solo. The loss of Judi Dench leaves a huge gap, though Fiennes fills the boots adequately, offering a previously unseen side of M.

The ending is depressingly predictable – we’ve got three minutes to find the girl or we’ll be blown to pieces – the most conventional and predictable ending to any Bond film yet! Spectre has been over-hyped and over-thought.

Definitely worth a watch – but not worth the three year wait!

SPEC_INTL_TSR_1SHT_4C

★★★★☆


Images Copyright: SPECTRE © 2015 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. Article Thumbnail: Chase scene from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure
SPECTRE. Photo: Stephen Vaughan