Spectre is the 24th film in the James Bond franchise and the fourth installment featuring Daniel Craig as the title character. Christoph Waltz plays Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the main villain in the film and Sam Mendes (Skyfall) returns to direct. Spectre is rumored to have a budget of $250 million+ which would make it one of the most expensive movies ever made.
Bishop’s Review – A Good Action Flick But Still Not a Great Bond Movie
I grew up with Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, the sophisticated, suave spy who had all the coolest gadgets, always had a sweet ride, and oh yea; he always got the girl. Daniel Craig’s Bond from Casino Royale through Skyfall was none of those things, he was rough, always got bested, had no gadgets and no car, so did Spectre fare any better?
Spectre begins with a fast moving scene in Mexico during the Dia de los Muertos festival, the streets are filled with people in skeleton costumes (like Baron Samedi from Live and Die) and of course Bond and his foil are dressed as skeletons. After tracking his target to a shady meetup, Bond immediately starts blowing stuff up (by shooting a bomb intended for a stadium full of people). Like all good Bond movies the target escapes (no way in hell he really could have) so James must chase him to his escape helicopter and a high flying fight scene commences. This is all well and good, very exciting stuff but what I can’t understand is why the helicopter needed to be spinning out of control for all of this… Bond does punch the pilot when he gets on the helo but then is left to deal with the intended target, meanwhile the helo pilot is sitting there like an idiot spinning the helicopter wildly out of control, over a plaza full of festival goers mind you. Obviously both the pilot and the target fall to their death and Bond flies off in the helo after nearly taking out a few dozen bystanders.
After the helicopter scene we’re exposed to the typical James Bond title music and dancing smoke/flame/lava ladies, unfortunately this is the worst Bond song I’ve ever heard, in fact it never even said the name of the movie in the song. This is what happens when you get artists writing songs they hope become popular, billboard hits instead of songs made for the movie. Give me Goldfinger, Tomorrow Never Dies or The World is Not Enough please.
Because James Bond in the new movies has become a stain on the boring agenda of the UK he is instantly reprimanded by M. <That’s one of my most disliked parts of the ‘new’ Bond films. James is supposed to be a respected (albeit somewhat reckless) hero, in the new Bond films he’s basically a child that’s constantly spilling things on the rug.> after being ‘grounded’ yea they used that word, Bond promptly disappears with only a watch and <spoiler> 009’s new Aston Martin </spoiler>, maybe there is some hope for a car chase after all! Not long after disappearing Bond tracks down the villain, played by Christoph Waltz. Christoph plays Ernst Stavro Blofeld (yep, the villain that inspired Dr. Evil) and I must say I loved his villain, Christoph is always a great actor and really nails the insane villain part in all the movies he’s in.
After being seen by Blofeld at the super-secret villain meeting James has to run away fast. FINALLY we get a real car chase in a Daniel Craig Bond film! James leads Blofeld’s main henchmen (Dave Bautista) on a thrilling car chase through the streets of Rome, with James driving his slightly modified Aston Martin DB10 (actually it had an ejector seat and rear guns that weren’t loaded, as well as after burners) and Bautista driving the Jaguar C-X75 concept (maybe they will make this car after all!) at this point I’m finally smiling. All I’ve been asking for are a few shades of the James Bond of old, and finally I’ve got a real car chase with a Bond car, and a pretty funny bit where Bond impatiently pushes a slowpoke in a little Fiat 500. It’s also funny to see six-foot-six, 300 pound Dave Bautista crammed into the tiny Jaguar.
There really aren’t any gadgets in this movie (still), Bond has his signature watch (which in this case is just a bomb) that comes in handy late in the film but other than that it’s pretty standard fare. Bond tracks down the villain from Casino Royale (Mr. White) who leads him to his daughter (the ‘Bond Girl’ in this movie) who is hiding. Coincidentally as soon as Bond finds Mr. White’s daughter (Ms. Swan) Blofeld’s henchmen come barging in and grab her. The second car(?) chase ensues, but this time James is in a plane! I have to say I liked this scene, Bond systematically takes out the two vehicles guarding the Range Rover that Ms. Swan is held captive in and then goes gets to the Range Rover. Does anyone know why Bond never checks to see if that bad guys are actually dead? Bautista’s henchmen (I don’t know his name and he only said one word in the whole movie) gets knocked unconscious by the plane-car crash but Bond assumes he’s dead so they just leave without checking… Like I said, I hate it when movies do this because of course Bautista comes back when Bond and Ms. Swan are on a train. Another pet-peeve of mine is that the bad guys never just shoot the hero. It’s in every Bond movie so I’m used to it but if Bautista had just shot James in the head instead of fought him in hand-to-hand combat, his mission would have been finished and Blofeld would succeed.
It turns out that the reason Bond and Ms. Swan were on the train was because they were taking themselves directly to Blofeld… Who promptly takes them captive and begins torturing Bond. After some villainous speeches with a side of torture by Blofeld, Bond blows up Blofeld (and his facility) with the exploding watch. Of course, like before Bond doesn’t check to see if Blofeld is actually dead (the whole audience knew this because you could see two SUVs leaving the facility as it exploded, only Bond was none the wiser). Its things like this that make me not like Craig’s James Bond, he’s careless and frequently gets made a chump… It’s more the writers’, director’s or producers’ fault than Craig’s but still…
I won’t go in to any detail about the rest of the film trying not to spoil more than I already have but of course there is a bigger picture than just Blofeld, if you’re paying attention you’ll pick up on it way before they tell you (most of you will have a hunch right from the start).
If I had to sum up my thoughts on Spectre in a few words I’d simply say: Spectre was a very entertaining action movie but it’s still not the Bond I’m looking for. I want the suave gadget rich Bond I grew up with and until I get that I won’t ever be really happy with another Bond movie. Spectre was better than the other three Craig lead Bond films but not one of the best all time.
Rating: 6/10 as a Bond Film, 8/10 as an action flick.