Posts Tagged ‘Daniel craig’

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.

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Movie Review Skyfall

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

 Movie Review Skyfall

The James Bond franchise mirrors The Dark Knight Rises and rises well.

James Bond Skyfall poster

Her past may destroy his future.

The ultimate spy had a reboot in 2006 when Daniel Craig took on the role of 007. He followed the successful run of Pierce Brosnan, who felt he was simply getting too old to play Bond. Casino Royale gave us a look at the early Bond- and just as Craig was being promoted into the shoes of the Ian Fleming character, James was promoted to the level of 00 Agent with a license to kill. It was a risky move to make the usually disarming and charming Bond so physically brutal and violent. He was described as a ‘blunt instrument’ by M (wonderfully played by Judi Dench) and we could all see the rough edges that would be smoothed over with confidence and sharpened with experience. In his first outing, he didn’t get the right bad guy, didn’t get the wrong girl and took one hell of a beating by movie’s end.

Quantum of Solace played out more as a part II and literally took place mere minutes after Casino Royale. An emotionally compromised Bond appears to be more interested in vengeance than saving the Crown. By the end of the film, we’ve been given many classic James moments and Bond had found his stride. I’ve seen this movie several times and I still have no idea what the title means.

Having dark and questionable deeds from the past resurfacing to wreak havoc is a common theme in stories. The fallen angel is always presented as a perfect match for any hero to go up against. We’ve seen this in other Bond Films and most recently in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Both of our heroes are inactive, aging and losing the spark that energizes their spirit and fires up their desire to save the world from evil. Both films feature a formidable foe with the same training as our heroes, but seem to relish their roles as wronged agents seeking to set things right. We are shown antagonists- so focused and sharp, they make all the gadgets and gizmos seem like useless gimmicks and expose the tragic weaknesses of our heroes.

Moving on to the main movie

Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Road to Perdition [Daniel Craig was in this too]) takes the idea of reflections and weaves his visuals around this theme. Just as the evil Silva (well done by the talented Javier Bardem [No Country For Old Men]) is a reflection of what Bond could become, we see Bond being reflected in mirrors and glass as false images, smoke and mirrors and double-takes are repeated (ahem) throughout the movie. It’s a wonderful mix of the old and new coming together with a healthy mix of twists, turns and interesting background information thrown in.

This is a Bond movie doing what a Bond movie does: thrill us with action sequences, make us wish we were James Bond and then make us glad we’re not James Bond…and finally make us wish there was a real James Bond doing the dark, daring and dangerous things to keep the world safe. But, just as The Dark Knight Rises reminded us, there is always a price to pay. You can’t get down in the dirt without getting dirty and the dirty little secrets always find their way into the light. Bond pays a very high price and the series is given another new start. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and found the balance between frenetic action and quiet moments perfect. Skyfall has the right James Bond, the right bad guy and the right music. The title makes sense and I sense some more great Bond movies coming.

Bond is cold, the woman is hot, the bad guy warm and the MI6 is frozen in time. This is a fine addition to the Bond franchise and glad to see the classic quote in the last frame- ‘Bond will return’. I’ll be waiting. I’m not a movie critic; I’m just critiquing a movie.