We shake it and we stir it….
Written By: Rick Masters
Ive been looking forward to Spectre for quite sometime now, so much so that I’ve been humming the theme tune for the past two weeks, much to the annoyance of my work colleagues. Now I’ve finally seen the great British spy’s adventure I thought I’d dust off my trusty typewriter and share my thoughts on his latest adventure.
Daniel Craig returns along with director Sam Mendes and if the last bond movie, SKYFALL is anything to go by, it’s that these two make a damn good action movie. Sticking with the Bond tradition we are treated to an 15 minute opening sequence before the beautiful and creative title credits roll and what an opening sequence it is! The scene is stunning, I was completely blown away with the cinematography used here, It free flows from the busy carnival streets of Mexico city, up through a bustling hotel and onto the rooftops, most of it seen through an impressive 5 minute, in one tracking shot and finishes with a fantastic battle above the crowds in an out of control helicopter. It’s one of the greatest (If not THE greatest) opening sequences to any Bond film that’s gone before.
After that opening fight the movie does seem to dial it down a notch, Sam Mendes has been slowly steering the series away from the over-the-top, explosive nature of the franchise, and focusing more on Bond’s personal life and his vulnerability. The film does feel a little slower than the previous installments and this being the longest run time of any other Bond film (148 minutes) he can take more time digging deeper into the characters and back stories which is both refreshing yet slightly frustrating. There are a number of scenes I believe that could have been skipped and a few locations which felt were thrown in for the sake of it. That’s not to say this film drags in anyway but I felt it could have been tightened up somewhat.
Spectre has a brilliant collection of actors, Its borderline genius! Christoph Waltz plays Franz Oberhauser, The clearly clever but slightly mad villain who is kept in the shadows for at least half the movie. His presence is fantastic but possibly a little underused. Dave Bautista plays the muscle and has some pretty hard hitting scenes. Two standout moments are when we’re first introduced to him and he proves he’s not to be messed with, (the squeamish may have to look away) and his high energy fight scene through the walls and kitchens of a train. It feels Mendes may have took a little inspiration from the Bourne series here as the music dials down and the sickening sound effects of each punch and bone break takes over. This particular scene also includes a cheeky nod to an older Rodger Moore overhead rail kick move from a previous bond which was a nice touch.
The bond girls are (for the lack of a better word) ‘meh’. Monica Belluci is criminally underused in her ‘blink and you’ll miss her’ scenes. Lea Seydoux plays the ‘main’ Bond girl, the age-inappropriate French actress just doesn’t fit well with (the old enough to be her dad) Daniel Craig. The chemistry is weak and doesn’t match that of Belluci’s earlier steamy moment with the British spy.
As for the action scenes, most of them left me wanting more, after the stunning intro I expected more of the same but nothing quite matches it. The car chase scene through the streets of Rome was a snore fest, there was zero tension… In fact Bond is calmly doing his homework on the villain for the majority of it. After hearing they’d spent a cool £24 Million on destroying Aston Martin DB10’s I expected a lot more destruction. It seems to focus on a bit of light hearted comedy instead (which I won’t ruin) it was quite funny but ripped any drama out of the moment. Left me wondering what that £24 Million was spent on! The other action scenes were an improvement however they all failed to get me on the edge of my seat, they were good but not great.
As for the script it was not always clear or credible however it did quite cleverly mash some old ‘over the top’ Bond style themes into the more up-to-date and believable story. As with the reference to the old Rodger Moore overhead kick it also featured a number of other references to the franchise which fan of the series can look out for and some genuinely funny lines which avoid being Brosnan style cheesy.
If this is to be the last Daniel Craig Bond Movie (which its currently rumoured to be) then it wraps the Daniel Craig era up completely, linking them all together albeit in a somewhat clumsy way. It works but only just. The final showdown also seemed a little flat and left me wanting more which is disappointing.
Overall this latest bond outing lacked an identity of its own. It’s still a good movie and is strong enough to stand alongside the existing three. Certainly worth a trip to the cinema but sadly doesn’t quite deserve 00 status.