MOVIE – James Bond is back with the famous gun barrel opening and everything, which belongs to the Bond universe is back as well in Spectre, a par excellence Bond movie, which stays true to its very roots, while still delivering the Daniel Craig 007 charisma. While the movie doesn’t invents the wheel, it goes to epic lengths to deliver all you could possibly want from this invincible franchise.
If you were missing a little something in Daniel Craig’s former movies, than you are in for a treat now. Spectre takes everything which was really good in older James Bond movies and takes it to the next level – with a modern style to boot.
Like Skyfall or some other later Bond movies, Spectre is loaded with allusions to the previous films in the franchise, providing much pleasure for true Bond fans. There are some scenes which are reminiscent to previous films of the franchise, like the classic fight against Red Grant in the movie From Russia With Love, the car chase of Goldfinger, or the some other more subtle allusions.
Usually it’s very cleverly woven into the story and really feels like an homage, not something which they try to force down your throat like in Die Another Day.
A pro-Snowden line against the creepy voyeur surveillance
As with every James Bond movie, the fun starts at the very beginning: a deluge of falling masonry sends Bond and his quarry back onto the streets and into the air in a loop-the-looping chopper. The trademark first part of the movie is again extremely exciting and satisfying, with a pure adrenaline rush of top notch 007 action.
As pre-titles sequences go, it’s the equal of any that has gone before it – and that includes the ski-jump gotcha from The Spy Who Loved Me.
Back in London, Bond’s rogue mission has set the cat among the pigeons. M’s MI6 is at risk of being subsumed by an umbrella outfit run by the oily C (Andrew Scott) and can ill afford to let its chief assassin go AWOL. Bond, however, has other ideas, not to mention a Tolkien-esque ring whose octopus engraving points to some seriously sinister shenanigans. So off to Rome he pops, there to seduce a widow (Monica Bellucci, age-appropriate yet criminally underused) with information to impart on a certain acronymic syndicate…
The story is generally good, what you might remark however is the whole “rogue agent against a mysterious criminal society, while his own organization is chasing him” kind of story with the “00 section is about to be dismantled because it’s too outdated” bit added, which was the major theme of Mission Impossible 5 too. Since Mission Impossible 5 was out only a few months ago, it’s a bit boring for the second time, not to mention it’s generally an overused theme in super-agent kind of movies.
However, what’s best about Spectre is not the story, but the way the action is presented – as it’s always the case about Bond movies. There’s a lot of hand-to-hand fighting scenes and besides their excellent presentation, there’s a good vibe of the old Sean Connery films in there.
Bond, Waltz with me!
But we don’t have Sean Connery here, but rather a Daniel Craig, who is still excellent as a brutal, cold-blooded 007, even if he aged a bit and it shows. Still, he has flair, sang-froid, and he wears a suit superbly well by bulging his gym-built frame fiercely into it, rarely undoing his jacket button and always having his tie done up to the top. At one point he simply snaps the plastic handcuffs the bad-guys have put on him, with sheer brute strength. Yet there is also an elegant new dismissive tone that he introduces into the dialogue bordering on camp. “That all sounds marvellous,” he purrs when advised of some footling new procedural restriction, adding later: “That all sounds lovely.” By the end of his Bond career he learned to be a perfect Bond.
We must also mention Christopher Waltz, the main baddie and chief of the Spectre, who is just perfect as Bond’s nemesis. He is an almost papal presence of menace, upsetting all his cringing subordinates by saying and doing next to nothing, and photographed in shadow. When he recognizes Bond in the room, he leers: “I see you! Cuckoo!” – a French expression which in fact is to have a darker significance, revealed at the end.
On the other hand, Léa Seydoux is a bit bland as the new Bond girl. Yes, Bond girls were never known for their state of the art acting, but in the Daniel Craig era we expecting something better. (Especially after Eva Green as Vesper Lynd.)
There are other weak actors in there as well, Andrew Scott for example, playing “C”, another main character is pretty bland as well.
As for the ensemble, relieved by the script of any impulse to reinvent, everyone on board appears to be having a good time — enjoyment infectious enough to make auds overlook the relative workaday nature of Bond’s final quest. (Bond’s working days are more exciting than most of ours, granted.) Given notably expanded duties this time is Whishaw’s Q (sadly not renamed In-Spectre Gadget for the purposes of this episode), who gets to venture beyond the equipment room with plucky good humor, while reminding the errant agent that not everyone can afford his recklessness: “I have a mortgage and two cats to feed,” he chides sensibly. With Harris and Fiennes also settling amiably into their new MI6 positions, the office seems in safe hands with or without Craig’s anchoring steel.
Fleming flavor included
In the end Spectre pulls it off in the grand old Fleming style. Everything is here, what van expect from an excellent James Bond movie. Now, where are my Vodka-Martinis? I want them shaken, not stirred.