Let’s face it; we all lost our shit when the release date for the latest Bond film dropped. We lost our shit even more when we heard that Christoph Waltz would be in the film (potentially as a villain) and when the latest Bond vehicle, the Aston Martin DB10 was unleashed, we were so ready for this film!
I finally got the chance to watch it this weekend past. I took my dad for a guy’s afternoon out because I know he’s a diehard James Bond fan, and so we made a day of it – which was almost forced on us, because the film runs for 2, 5 hours.
Spectre has it all: an elaborate opening sequence that’s way more of a spectacle than it should be, followed by set piece after set piece of action. But is it a great film?
My honest opinion: Not entirely.
Bond Universe Integration
I loved Casino Royale, and Daniel Craig’s roguish, rebellious, rough-around-the-edges, do-my-own-thing, YOLO Bond worked well in a situation where the character had to go against the grain; play the (manipulated) hand he was dealt, so to speak.
Quantum of Solace which came afterwards was a bit of a nothing film that nobody really remembers; so everyone was looking forward to the next one. Then Skyfall landed, and was praised by critics and general audiences alike. I wasn’t a huge fan of the film myself, but must admit that it left some big boots to fill according to the world, and that was attempted by Spectre this year.
Then Spectre comes along and tries really hard to bring the entire Craig Bond universe into a single movie by haphazardly connecting the previous films to one plot – it just didn’t succeed as it used a weak device to do this.
Plot? What plot?
I can’t fault the film for staying current in its subject matter, addressing issues such as global terrorism and surveillance, and making the larger arch a bit more personal- maybe too much so.
Many elements of the film that require exposition seem as if they are facts for the sake of beings facts that move the narrative forward; and don’t really tie in with the characters and their environment and motives.
This leads to a lot of made up things that are a certain way because the screenwriter said so.
What movie are we watching?
Spectre doesn’t feel very Bond. This even more so than ever before, as many people have complained that Craig’s Bond is not suave and subtle enough for the part. His harsh nature is amplified by various things in the film.
This manifests itself in the Gonzo approach to action and set pieces – which is in a stealthless, I-don’t-give-a-fuck-if-thousands-of-people-die-as-a-result-of-this fashion; and also in the raw and brutal style of combat of the main henchman, played by Dave Bautista.
Spectre feels like the creative and production teams took a pinch of Bourne, a dash of Mission Impossible, and the tiniest hint of old school Bond just to flavour the odd scene.
Where are my gadgets?
Once again, Craig’s run as Bond is severely lacking in gadgets – I’ll admit that this is wildly subjective, but it’s just not Bond without those. All we get are two gadgets (which I won’t mention here) but seriously, only two? That’s all you’re giving us?
An interesting review by YouTuber MovieBob actually suggested that Spectre is actually trying to be a Marvel film with its multi film integration. Click here to watch the review (which contains spoilers).
You can find another great review of Spectre in this podcast episode on the Slash Filmcast.
I’m actually very ready for a new James Bond, thank you very much.
Rating: 6 /10
See it/ Don’t See It: Look, the spectacle of Spectre is probably worth the trip to the big screen, but maybe try half price day, or if you can manage then get some comps.
Favourite Part: Whenever South Africa makes a guest appearance, the entire audience (being in Cape Town) had a good chuckle and looked at each other proudly (in the dark).