Bond’s 24th film, Daniel Craig’s 4th, Spectre has finally arrived.
If anyone has caught public transport in the past two months, read the weekend paper or even watched a smidgen of telly you would have experienced first-hand the Bond frenzy that has engulfed London.
Terrified of spoilers I cut myself off from the outside world. Deprived of my beloved weekend Times, even a scroll of the online Guardian could be dangerous, I have become an unsociable hermit living off news tit bits and the BBC, hard hitting journalism that I hoped would be free of Bond passion.
How wrong an ignorant Australian can be.
Wherever I went, whomever I spoke to the Bond fever seemed to have left its mark. I couldn’t believe it, Bond was everywhere and I feel that as a result, we set him up for a fall (no pun intended).
This was to be the most expensive Bond, the most exciting, passionate, riveting. Did you know it is the first Bond to cross the billion dollar threshold? Or that Monica Bellucci is the oldest to date Bond girl? Also Christopher Waltz plays the baddy the ‘author’ of all Bond’s pain, but the twist? He is actually Bond’s long lost brother.
Before the film even arrived I seemed to already know the plot. Character profiles were published in the Sunday Times Culture section, features were written, the plot and its mystery had already been given away.
The film begins, unsurprisingly, in Mexico City, where a tip off from the deceased M (Judi Dench) to murder the assassin Marco Sciarra leads Bond on an unofficial assignment. What ensures is some really quite amazing camerawork. A prolonged tracking shot of 5 minutes increases the suspense as Bond fights Sciarra in a gripping helicopter scene. Mexico City provides an excellent backdrop for the beginning of Sam Mendes action film, which takes the viewer first to the Austria Alps, Rome, Tangier and of course Bond’s beloved London.
The cast is commendable. Daniel Craig plays Bond with just the right amount of style and suaveness, but this time slightly more humorous. Monica Bellucci features briefly as the widow Lucia Sciccara, the soigne woman of mystery played with distant languor. Lea Seydoux has just enough sullen sensuality as Bonds girl and Christopher Waltz plays the sinister author of all Bonds pain. Ben Whistshaw returns as Q, Ralph Fiennes plays the newly appointed M with Naomi Harris reprising her role as Moneypenny but this time downgraded to what is effectively a cameo role.
The plot is compelling as Bond goes after the sinister voyeur intelligence organisation, Spectre. Of course Bond would not be Bond if his quest to take down evil was not interlaced with expensive cocktails, lusty scenes and high speed car chases. The usual Bond recipe has been shaken and served with expensive Tom Ford, cliches and a licence to kill.
Despite my initial praises, Spectre has received mixed reviews. Daniel Craig has been slated after his unfortunate ‘I’d rather slit my wrists’ remark, and even the most evil organisation in the world ‘Spectre’ run by favorite Christopher Waltz seems to be lacking in sinister vices.
Camilla Long from the Sunday Times called it ‘not very anything’
My REVIEW of Spectre, a beige Remote Sex Hotels edition of Bond. Plus the “creepy-rapey” scene with Monica Bellucci? https://t.co/EDLeEIODsr
— Camilla Long (@camillalong) October 25, 2015
Whereas others were a little more scathing,
I sacrificed watching the rugby live to watch #SPECTRE! What a load of shirt that was! Very Bland for a Bond film
— Jack Price (@JackPrice89) November 1, 2015
— Anuj (@AnujNYadav) November 1, 2015
But my problem with Spectre is that before I even arrived at the cinema I knew the plot, story line, character flaws, all of it. I knew Spectre before I even saw it.
London was hit by Bond fever and I felt that the over enthusiasm to Sam Mendes’s upcoming film set it for fall. Of course Spectre was never going to live up to audience expectations, we were far too unrealistic in what we expected.
Monica Bellucci features all too briefly, Andrew Scott as C is an utter disappointment and Christopher Waltz who plays Franz Oberhauser is non too evil. Bond and Swan end up in his lair in the middle of Africa, Bond is taken prisoner and tortured in a clinical lab where Oberhauser tells him ‘I’m going to hit this nerve and you won’t remember anything or anyone!’ And then it doesn’t work and nothing gets said about it. Instead Bond and Swan escape rather anticlimactically into the sunset, but not before Bond’s cheesy line ‘it is not yet over’.
Indeed it is not. Mendes finale is substandard, Oberhauser returns to London helicopter in hand to take down his arch nemesis and long lost brother, but like all Bond villains he will be undone by his megalomaniac posturings. The brotherly connection between Bond and Oberhauser is lacking in any real depth, neither is it overly viable.
There are a few plot holes within Spectre, but despite reservations I suggest going to view the quintessentially British spy film. Government surveillance and secret organisations are themes that feature heavily in public paranoia. Excellent subject choice but just a little poorly played out in Mendes Spectre.
I suggest that franchise nostalgia needs to be bought down a notch or two. The public hype surrounding Spectre was unprecedented. I think I would have enjoyed this new Bond so much more if I didn’t know the plot line, character profiles or even some of the twists. We set Mendes billion dollar venture so high that it was undoubtedly not going to live up to audience expectations.
Photos: Creative Commons