For Reel

Spectre (2015)
November 14, 2015, 9:08 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sam Mendes
2.5 Stars
SpectreIn the late 90s and early 2000s, the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films had been criticized for their lousy special effects and the very unbelievability of their situations, despite Bond’s long history with the preposterous. Casino Royale in 2006, then, is remembered as a gritty reboot, casting Bond as a tortured man with a then unheard of sense of complexity and sorrow. Nearly a decade later and the series has started to flirt with its fundamentals in Spectre, which drops the post-modernism of the recent Bond films (“shaken, not stirred” is delivered earnestly, not updated with an ironic twist) in favor of playful, action spectacle. There is a sense, however, that Spectre wants to have it both ways. The screenplay is the film’s death knell–in trying to contextualize all of the Daniel Craig films as parts of a whole, the picture not only fails to rewrite its own history, but cheapens the earlier efforts. Moreover, delivering a “traditional” Bond film seems removed from the intentions of the performers, who largely seem bored with the material. Even Christoph Waltz, with undoubtedly the role with the most potential for camp, is neutered in the shadow of Javier Bardem’s Silva. Moreover, save for the opening Day of the Dead sequence, the setpieces don’t have the same sense of rhythm and creativity of even the Mission: Impossible series (Rogue Nation feels like a better updating of the classic spy film). Like the script, the movie seems to continuously offer the potential for intrigue without capitalizing on it–this is a film where Bond’s “smart blood” is referred to repeatedly in the first act, and then it barely factors into the action going forward. Chekhov’s gun has no bullets in the chamber.

3 Comments so far
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Completely agree with you that the actors seem bored – what a shame!

Comment by Charley

Thanks for the comment! I was most disappointed with Waltz–given that this is a throwback, I would have expected more scenery-chewing. The usually fabulous Lea Seydoux was also a fairly humdrum Bond girl!

Comment by Eric Fuerst

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