Archive for November, 2015

Movie Review James Bond: Spectre (2015)

November 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Spectre and the arrival of SPECTRE James Bond movie review

See the Octopus....ring?

See the Octopus….ring?

Bond is back in a finely formed film, unfortunately, the familiar formula frequently fails to fully fulfill.

So the trailer teases that Bond has a secret from his past and someone very close to Bond is the head of a dangerous organization. Long-time fans and those familiar with the franchise know S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) as the shadowy backbone of so many criminal masterminds Bond has taken down. In the previous Daniel Craig Bond films, there has been a slowly evolving sub-plot involving SPECTRE growing as a threat and now it seems James is going to find out what SPECTRE is and more importantly who is at the helm. The James Bond formula is set firmly in place as we have the gadgets, the girls, the going places, the gentlemanly games and getaways. What’s missing is the level of engagement.


Bond started off in Casino Royale (2006) as the blunt instrument advanced to 00 status with a license to kill. He wasn’t quite getting the girl yet and was more likely to off the baddie than trade barbs until the movies climatic confrontation. He appeared to find himself by films end and that early betrayal set up the Bond never trust anyone mentality. Quantum of Solace (2008) sees a compromised Bond on a revenge trail and culminates with his ultimate maturity and true fit in to the Bond character we expected. Skyfall (2012) takes Bond home and explores demons of the past (for both Bond and M) and debts are paid in blood. The Daniel Craig James Bond stretch was hinted at being near its end as agent 007 was possibly being pushed off toward retirement.

Once again, in Spectre, Bond is on his own and MI6 is in jeopardy of being closed down. James is rogue (again) and a one-man army out to save the world. I did find this aspect a little troublesome as Bond has never been properly supported as an agent in any newer movie. This guy has saved the world, how many times, and their department is still in crisis every movie. Ralph Fiennes (as M) is the cliché police chief screaming at the detectives to follow the rules all the while they bring back results at the expense of a huge mess. We get the huge mess as exciting action-work involving aerial stunts, great car chases and even a plane verse truck. Dave Bautista (World Wrestling Entertainment star Batista) plays Mr. Hinx and comes pretty close to the reappearing foils in past films like Oddjob and Jaws. He gets some worthy exposure as has some well-timed pop ups to keep the action going. Monica Bellucci (The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Shoot ‘Em Up) doesn’t quite get as much screen time, but serves well as the first serving of sultry. Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann is stunning as the primary female lead and their relationship utilizes the Bond formula, where there’s dislike, desperation and finally desire. And the formula seems to be the problem in this outing.

Shadowy and In the Shadows.

Shadowy and In the Shadows.

Casino Royale felt like it was written by an intense Bond aficionado where homage was paid, but also new starts were created. Bond WINS the Aston Martin and sets that theme up for future movies. Here, the iconic Bond-wheels are dropped in and you already know where the story is going. Bond travelled to exotic locations and every mission seemed to start as a vacation. In Spectre, they basically place Bond in a scene and splash the name of the place as a caption, on the screen and yeah, well, Bond is suddenly there now. Spectre has all the right moments, I’m just not quite connecting with them as I thought I would. What works, is that this movie sits in a series, where each installment builds upon its predecessor. The new reboot plays out like episodes that take place moments after the last adventure ended. In that case, Spectre could be setting up Bond’s next adventure and if that is the case, it makes for a fine introduction and a somewhat return to normalcy – assuming Bond isn’t about to be retired or fired in the next movie. Spectre will fit nicely in my Bond collection although it doesn’t add anything new or groundbreaking to the franchise. Hopefully future movies will have a smaller scope and the most interesting characters (and their original actors) will reappear. I’m looking at you, Mr Hinx, M, Moneypenny and Mr. Bloefeld. I like the direction of Sam Mendes and hope he helms another Bond film.

See all films reviewed.