January 19, 2016
The Bond cannon has continued its cycle of firing a dud flick out after a smash hit, with Spectre, the 24th entry in the series. A direct sequel to the far superior Skyfall, it features Bond on a mission to find out whose committing a string of terrorist attacks that are turning the worlds governments against the tactics of MI5. Attacks malevolent new boy C (Andrew Scott) uses to grease the wheels of his master plan -to move British Intelligence away from the archaic 00 division and into a world of globally integrated cyber technology.
As Ralph Fiennes M desperately battles his younger superior, Bond goes rogue after being grounded-yet again, for roughing up a city in the pre-credits sequence. With a little help from Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) he soon starts boning and brawling his way from Mexico to Rome, through Austria and Tangiers, trying to find out whose behind these attacks, uncovering- as he goes, a syndicate that ties all the Craig-era flicks together.
An international game of cat and mouse ensues, as a sinister assassin with a trademark gory kill (Dave Bautista) pursues him to the snowy hideaway of our Bondgirl Dr Madeline Swan (Léa Seydoux,) and then onto the villains layer in a meteor crater in the desert, for a showdown with Franz Oberhauser. (Christoph Waltz, displaying his usual one-size-fits-all villainy, in a role that’s a blow back from the past with no original boom of its own.)
At 2hrs 30 minutes, its morbidly obese. Lunging from one glutinously shot location to another, overwrought action sequences are salted on in place of any real flavour, so that little context is given to why events are happening, beyond it being what’s expected from a film in the series.
It just gasps out its exposition, spilling references to the series lineage carelessly throughout, so that ultimately, what once made Bond distinct- the ladies, locations and loquacious villains, chafe against its attempt to tell a credible story, with believable characters.Bond is involved in skirmishes involving planes, trains and souped up automobiles. Bond bangs a babe two scenes after she says her daddy issues hadn’t weakened her enough for this to happen. Bond is stared at by a fluffy white cat.
It’s not quite at Quantum of Solace levels of shite. There’s the stunning opening where Bond foils a terrorist plot against the backdrop of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. An African sleeper train is bathed in equally sumptuous photography by the excellent cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. While Wishaw, Harris and Scott make strong impressions in poorly written parts. \
Fiennes has a tougher task to hand.Taking over from Dench as M, whose absence aches throughout this movie, and not in the way intended,the scriptwriters -all four of them, missed a serious trick in not exploring this new relationship so that we can have some investment in it. It costs the movie a more emotional track, which becomes a particular problem when you consider that the Bond Girls, here, are just glory holes on legs with plot points affixed where personalities should reside.
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the staples- it is, after all, these tropes that maketh the Bond, given the great, snide strides made by Casino Royal and the emotional pulse of Skyfall, more is expected than this soggy straddling of old and new.