The latest instalment in the 007 franchise is everything you ex'spectre' from a Bond film, but falls short of its predecessor in a variety of ways.
The long awaited follow up to the brilliant ‘Skyfall’ is the start of a new path for bond. Compared to the gritty and dark prequels, Spectre is a walk in the park, a love letter to the classy films of the past. Sam Mendes’ attempt of mixing a new Bond with old Bond ingredients is admirable, but it’s almost like he tried too hard. He has tried to blend the best of Brosnan with the Class of Connery and it simply doesn’t blend. From its vodka martinis to its exploding buildings, the whole film is like a YouTube playlist of moments drawn from earlier entries in the series.Remember Pierce Brosnan hurtling down the Thames in a speedboat in The World is Not Enough? Well, Craig does that in Spectre. And remember both Sean Connery and Roger Moore having brutal punch-ups on luxury trains in From Russia with Love, Live and Let Die, and The Spy Who Loved Me? Here’s another one to add to the collection. In fact I’m now pretty sure you could now make a feature film titled ‘Bond on Trains’ Despite this, there are many genuinely funny moments to reminisce about on the car journey home, but nothing will stick longer than a couple of days.
The opening sequence of the film is fantastic. Set in Mexico City on The Day Of The Dead, Bond is hunting down a long haired Mexican in a rather nice tuxedo, but all goes downhill very quickly and 5 minutes later Bond is having a bust up whilst hovering over thousands of people on a fairly uncontrollable helicopter. Seeing a helicopter do a loop the loop is certainly thrilling to watch and you can’t help but gasp at all the hits bond is taking before finishing his enemy and cleaning up the mess. The suspenseful action and beautiful colours of Mexico City mix together for probably the best scene in the film.
Throughout the film you notice that Craig is more comfortable than ever in the main role, and he has trademarked his own distinct take on the character. I think he has certainly earned the right to be considered one of the best bonds ever. He oozes class in such a discreet way that you wonder how he does it. Nothing impresses him, nothing scares him. If he likes something he will smile for a spilt second and all the women in the cinema will sigh. Speaking of women, his chemistry with the newest Bond girl Monacca Belluci is refreshingly strong. She seems to like him, and he definitely likes her. When seeing them sleep together you feel like it’s because they are in love, not because its 007 tradition.
The only major disappointment in Spectre is its villains. Dave Bautista’s Mr Hinx is a brick wall in a three-piece suit and a modern day Jaws, who I wish I’d seen more of before bond kicked him out onto the train track. While Christoph Waltz’s Franz Oberhauser is barely seen for the film’s first 90 minutes. And when he does appear, Waltz acts with none of the madness and power that Javier Bardem had in Skyfall. Oberhauser is built up to be an all-powerful super villain. In person, he is, frankly, a bit soft. Maybe it’s impossible to be a genuinely terrifying criminal mastermind while you’re wearing loafers with no socks, but his global surveillance plan doesn’t seem to far-fetched from the near future.
James Bond will of course return, maybe not as Daniel Craig, but as someone hopefully very similar. Hopefully Mendes will learn from his few mistakes in Spectre and bring Bond back to his best in the next instalment, however far away it may be.
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