Monday, November 16, 2015


*** out of ****

James Bond has returned with Spectre and all the financial support it could ask for after 2012’s Skyfall took the Daniel Craig run of the franchise to new box office heights. Through the continuing efforts of director Sam Mendes, this film is just as gorgeous looking as the last. The action is fun, Thomas Newman’s score is dramatic, the locations are breathtakingly captured -thanks to Swiss cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, and once again everything onscreen - no matter how effects-heavy - looks real.

However, I am compelled to agree with Bond fans critical of the misguided efforts to make new 007 films more interesting for a modern audience. So far, Quantum of Solace was the most off-point by trying to make the world around Bond more real. Now the series has found another wrong direction: trying to make Bond more real.

As a moderate fan of this series, I believe that each entry is, at best, a superficial guilty-pleasure that attempts to capture the collective heterosexual male fantasy world of the year in which it was made. Making it too real is a confusing buzzkill. Making it too outlandish destroys our suspension of disbelief. I could recount the story of Spectre to explain how it walks this tightrope until it stumbles embarrassingly, but I’d be telling yet another story about MI6 getting horribly compromised by another world domination scheme leading up to a couple of majorly dumb spoiler-filled plot twists.

All I know, is that something about this movie felt off despite how pleasant it was to watch. Actors like Dave BautistaLéa Seydoux, and Christoph Waltz in key supporting roles feel like such uninventive cases of typecasting, that this project seems like a step backwards for them. Bond movies tend to be great at introducing relatively new talent for their beauty, physical intimidation, sinister personas or other superficial qualities so they can develop a profession with "007" on their resumes. Some valuable jobs were stolen here by two people who already have it made and one who is definitely on his way to bigger things than mute heavies after proving to be funny with dialogue in Guardians of the Galaxy

I mentioned that the only spoilers I could cover are dumb. Trust me, they are -even for this franchise. Spectre is beautiful yet ridiculous -and it would be better if the movie itself could own up to this fact. This is Bond. He has a license to be ridiculous. 

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