New Bond Film “Spectre” Reunites Craig and Mendes For A Second Time
By Scott Kurland
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Andrew Scott, and Ralph Fiennes
Director: Sam Mendes
I went into the new James Bond film “Spectre” knowing it would not be as good as the previous Bond film “Skyfall”. There’s no way “Spectre” could live up to that masterpiece. I think that’s what made me like “Spectre”, and I can’t possibly comprehend why this film is getting so much hate. A lot of critics and fans are saying that “Spectre” is one of the worst Bond films in years. Did we all forget about “The World Is Not Enough” or “Die Another Day’? How about the two Timothy Dalton films? Don’t even get me started on “A View To A Kill”, the film that made Roger Moore stop being Bond. So let’s see if “Spectre” is as bad as everyone is say it is shall we?
“Spectre” takes place a few months after the events of “Skyfall”. James Bond (Daniel Craig) is hot on the trail of a secret organization that poses a threat to MI6. Bond is being thwarted in his efforts to pursue this syndicate by M (Ralph Fiennes). M is under fire by the Joint Intelligence Service leader C (Andrew Scott) partially due to Bond's antics. C believes the 00 program is outdated and wants to see a full on drone program that does the same work that Bond does. Bond goes undercover one last time to see if this secret organization called “Spectre” has anything to do with the JIS. What Bond finds is a blast from the past in the form of Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). What lengths will Bond go to to fight a man who has caused him nothing but pain?
Ok, let me start by saying this. I know why this film is being poorly received, I think we all know what I’m referring to; Daniel Craig’s press junket. In said junket Mr. Craig said some unfavorable things about playing Bond. The meat of that was, he never wants to be Bond again. Saying this led a lot of critics to review this film negatively. Most of these reviews state Craig looks unhappy as 007 on screen. Honestly, I think he’s having a blast. That press junket was a publicity stunt. It was a poorly organized one, but it was a stunt nonetheless. With that said, I liked “Spectre” a lot. It was not as good as “Skyfall”, but is was a million times better than “Quantum of Solace”. For me the Craig Bond pecking order from best to worst goes “Skyfall” , “Spectre” and “Casino Royale” tied for Second, and at the bottom “Quantum of Solace”.
I really think that Sam Mendes brings life into these Bond films. Mendes brings back the espionage aspect that was so present in the Connery films. The Roger Moore films were campy, Dalton had too much intensity, and Brosnan’s Bond was all about how good looking he was. I dare you to go back to Pierce Brosnan’s series and take a shot every time he uses his good looks to win a scene. You’ll be drunk on the floor before the thirty minute mark. Mendes brings back that 60s Bond flare. Whether it’s how he directs a fight scene; or how he makes us remember why Q was such a memorable character. I truly stick by this statement, but Mendes brings Bond back in a big bad way.
The casting and performances in this film were just right. We all know both Andrew Scott and Christoph Waltz are great at playing villains. Seydoux is always cast as the sexpot, as is Monica Bellucci. What I loved about “Spectre” is how much screen time Mendes dedicates to three classic Bond characters. Mendes gives us plenty of James, but we also get insight into M, Q, and Moneypenny. I think Mendes did this once again as a throw back to the “Dr. No”/“You Only Live Twice” days.
I will say I did have a problem with the close ups in this film. My only beef with “Spectre” is Hoyte Van Hotyema’s cinematography in the romance scenes. Hoytema gets too close with Craig and Bellucci kissing, and these are gross sloppy exaggerated kisses. It’s a little off putting, and in all honesty I felt like I was watching something I shouldn’t have.
“Spectre” is a good Bond film, it’s not the best. It’s definitely not the worst, there are better films for sure. What “Spectre” does is brings Bond back to its roots. We have a great villain in Waltz, two good Bond Girls, and a magnificent Oddjob like villain played by DaveBautista aka Drax the Destroyer. If Craig never makes another Bond film that will be alright with me, because he ties up all his loose ends with “Spectre”. If you are a Bond fan and love this film series, see this movie. If you aren’t big on Bond this might not be your cup of tea. I recommend “Spectre” to everyone young and old, and I must say this is a film that should be seen on the big screen.
REVIEW RATING: B +