Spectre (2015)

Review #1,228

Director:  Sam Mendes
Cast:  Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux
Plot:  A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization.  While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind 'Spectre'.

Genre:  Action / Adventure / Thriller
Awards:  Won 1 Oscar - Best Original Song
Runtime:  148min
Rating:  PG13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language.
Distributor:  Sony Pictures

“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond.”

Skyfall (2012) was one of the most accomplished James Bond flicks in its history.  Spectre, in contrast, is disappointing.  It will however have another sensational run at the box-office, though that is no indicator of the merits of this uninspired outing. 

Sam Mendes once again returns to the director’s chair, but his follow-up to Skyfall not just pales in comparison, it can come across as woefully rote.  Spectre ticks all the checkboxes of a Bond film, which is okay and what every Bond movie should do, but the boxes are ticked as if going through the motions, like a factory worker doing basic regulatory checks. 

The movie feels like a rehash of what was done before.  The worst part is that Mendes and the screenwriters (led by the remarkable John Logan) don’t appear to be trying to avoid the clich├ęs, which you could smell a mile away.

Daniel Craig reprises the 007 role for the fourth time without breaking a sweat.  He retains his charisma and charming presence, but also the physical rigour of a spy who is constantly up and about.  This time round, he has to uncover a secret organization led by the villain Oberhauser (a deliciously evil but criminally underused Christoph Waltz), who wants to control the world by centralizing surveillance.  Bond girl is played by the gorgeous Lea Seydoux, which brings to mind: can they call on Adele Exarchopoulos for the next instalment please? 

Spectre was shot in many countries, namely Mexico, Morocco, Italy and Austria, with the superb location work one of the film’s few strengths.  Another positive note, at least for action junkies, is that the movie is jam-packed with stunts and spectacular action.  Though I must confess that some of the action sequences throw logic out of the window.  I guess only action junkies have the ability to make sense of things.

Overall, Spectre feels overdrawn, as if trying to cramp in as many set pieces as possible.  The plotting is easy to follow, and I mean it as a disservice to the movie.  Unlike Skyfall’s more dense and substantial narrative that privileges drama first and action second (this is why it is so much more riveting), Spectre gets clunky and tiresome pretty quickly.  Well, at least everyone would agree that this fares better than the atrocious Quantum of Solace (2008).

Verdict:  Packed with action, but feels overdrawn and coming across as rote, this latest Bond flick serves up a familiar if disappointing fare.

GRADE: C+ (6.5/10 or 3 stars)

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Nice review... here are my thoughts:

Spectre does have its moments but it is one of the weakest of the four films starring Craig as 007. The culprit is its weak storyline and a runtime that’s the longest ever for a Bond film. However, the action is topnotch and the fight sequences featuring Daniel Craig and Dave Batista are the movie's real highlight. Spectre proves to be a worthy addition to the James Bond film franchise but unlike Casino Royale and Skyfall it fails to leave a lasting impact. Spectre is an attempt on the part of the makers to pay homage to the classic 007 movies but the execution only reflects their confused state of mind. The creative think-tank must quickly decide if it wants to return to the classic 007 elements or build upon the new ones that Casino Royale brought in. Despite its aforementioned shortcomings, Spectre serves as a pleasant viewing experience and is a must watch for the Bond movie enthusiasts. 7/10

My complete analysis can be read at:

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