After a tip from a reliable source, James Bond goes on the hunt for a shadowy criminal organization known as Spectre. However, what he finds is that not only does he have a personal connection from his past with the organization, they have had a hand in all of his missions to date.
Spectre: The Good
1.Since Casino Royale, the Craig films have strongly hinted at possibility of a return to the Spectre crime organization from the Connery films of the ’60s; however, they were unable to properly do so since they did not have the rights to the name “Spectre.” Thankfully, the rights were obtained for this film and now we know that the crime organization of the Quantum from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are in fact one and the same.
2. The opening sequence of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico City was absolutely fantastic! The cinematography pans the camera to follow Bond dressed in a sinister skull mask and skeleton suit. When he reaches the hotel room with his companion, he ditches the costume for his trademark suit. The music does a wonderful transition from the sinister percussion to the Bond theme that we all know and love. This was an excellent way of introducing our hero as he is in the middle of spy subterfuge.
3. Thanks to Skyfall, the Bond inner circle is all here: Bond, Moneypenny, Tanner, M, and Q. It was good to see them all together since the recurring characters of past films have consisted of Bond, M, and Tanner. All of the inner circle contributed to film in their own way. This movie certainly had a revival of the old formula from the ’60s and ’70s.
Spectre: The Bad
1. Certain actors were unfortunately underused in this movie. Monica Bellucci had very little to do and was only in the film for a few minutes before they quickly wrote her out of the movie. Even Christoph Waltz did not have nearly as much screen time as one might expect. I wanted to see more of these two wonderful actors in their respective roles but was sadly disappointed.
2. Although Waltz did the best he could with what he had, his character was a bit dumb in thinking he could thwart Bond with his various schemes. If Spectre really did manufacture all of the trouble in the previous Bond films, then why were they just dumb in this one? To make matters worse, Waltz’s character was supposed to have a past connection with Bond. Would he not know Bond more intimately than the previous villains? Oh, and on a sidenote, when you have captured a spy and you notice that he is wearing a wrist watch, it would be wise to confiscate said watch since most people do not wear watches anymore. Just a thought.
3. I’ve mentioned that Spectre was supposed to know all about James Bond, both his weaknesses and strengths. And yet, this movie was probably the easiest on Bond of any of them. Bond thwarted plan after plan with little to no personal injury or sacrifice to himself. This struck me as poor writing, allowing the hero to get by so easily.
4. I despised the romance between Bond and Swann. It was very superficial. I know. I know. Bond movies are supposed to have superficial romances, but the writers wanted us to think Swann (Lea Seydoux) was as special as Vesper or even Tracy (from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). As much as I love Seydoux from her work in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Inglorious Basterds, she did not strike me as anything more special than the usual Bond girl. There was little chemistry between them and the relationship was based on Speed, a relationship founded on a mutually intense experience.
I was never expecting this film to surpass the mastery of Skyfall. I doubt anyone was. However, with the same director returning, this film still had the potential to be a spectacular Bond film. Rather, it turned into a decent sequel, not a good sequel, but a decent one. Oddly enough, Spectre‘s plot was reminiscent to another recent spy movie’s plot, Mission Impossible V: Rogue Nation. Both films deal with a shadowy organization that seems to know our hero intimately. However, Ethan Hunt had a much more difficult time than James Bond. Perhaps we needed a new director for Spectre. Sam Mendes did express a reluctance in returning to the franchise. Then again, perhaps all of the problems can be blamed on the script. Wherever the blame falls, Spectre is certainly a movie worth seeing but sits at being a “good” film instead of an “excellent” one.