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Sitting in the cinema, having to wait half an hour before the film began, with rising excitement and anticipation,This chubby, 51 year old was gradually transported back to when he was a blond haired blue eyed 9 year old sitting in the local flea pit waiting for LALD to begin.
Finally it began, Gun barrel back in its traditional place, oh the joy of hearing the theme blasting out again. The pre title sequence, is fantastic, beautifully filmed and edited ( It has been announced that the “One continuous shot” used to introduce Bond. Was in fact three cleverly edited together ) To be honest I had already though that on first viewing . On entering the Hotel ( Panning to poster) and the girl in the hotel room asking Bond where he was going ( another panning shot) is where I think the cuts were made, as you have to change from out door to indoor lighting, only a guess on my part and in no way detracts from an inventive and skilful sequence. The establishing shot of the street full of people enjoying the festival is splendid ( and on second viewing ) you can see Bond waiting for the villain to walk through the crowd and pass by him.
The opening stunt section is fantastic; I didn’t notice any glaringly bad cgi work, although others have. Leading into Daniel Kleinman’s beautifully stylish Titles. I have loved all his work for Bond and Sam Smith’s haunting theme merges so well with the images. ( I’m one of the few who love the song).
A brief review of the film itself, It’s a mix of the very traditional Bond film. An opening scene with Bond and M, a Q lab sequence. In which Ben Whishaw gives a truly great performance as Q. No one can ever replace dear old Desmond but Ben has given us a very different character, very contemporary but also eager and funny. I love his DB5 joke, which he obviously finds hilarious , the others, …. Not so much ( I can identify with that ). Later on Q has his own moment of peril and I found my self, genuinely worried for him. ( Fans of Ben can see him in his own BBC spy series starting on 9th November).
The locations are beautiful, the cinematography in spectre is outstanding, it gives us almost a visual representation of the “ Fleming sweep” from the novels. The spectre board meeting, so much a part of some of the earlier films, with a silhouetted villain, speaking in a dull voice asking about the mundane business of fixing the price of much needed drugs and people trafficking. The introduction of the Henchman, a truly unsettling scene, almost from a horror film. Mr Hinx is the latest in a long line of wonderfully bizarre characters from the Series.
Lots of action, humour, romance. Even if not a Bond fan, spectre gives you your moneys worth. The second half of the movie, the pace changes, a more serious tone settles in, a little more depth to the characters is added, the romance between the two is enforced.
A familiar Villain’s liar, ( Base in a crater now where have I see that ), with the
Usual Bond villain’s touch of having vibrant green grass in the middle of a desert. The
Design of the control room, I loved, even the act of at one point the lights dimming and all the control staff rising from their seats to turn to face their leader. Visually it was very effective.
The torture scene was very effective (for me anyway) I think most of us have a fear of drills, and the idea of someone drilling into your head, is as scary as hell. (I had a dental appointment the next day, so that didn’t help my anxiety).
It also uses some lines from the torture scene from Col Sun, as Bond begins his escape you can see the drills positioning themselves to drill out Bond’s eyes !
I simply love Bond’s escape from the villain’s compound. There’s just something about a Man in a white shirt firing a machine gun protecting a lady. That simply fills me with so many nostalgic memories of all those spy films from the 60s.
The final sequence back in London, is equally exciting. The safe house with the well know name to Bond fans, was a nice little touch. I was genuinely surprised to see the scar on the villains’ Face, I wasn’t expecting that. One last battle and Bond drives off with his latest romantic conquest.
I enjoyed spectre more the second time of watching, and was able to make a note of some of the little things that, just “tweaked my nipple of enjoyment “ ……….
As Bond and pretty lady are about to leave the lift in Mexico, they sway to the music.
I only realised that the laser attached to Bond’s gun wasn’t for targeting but rather was his vibration bug to hear the conversation.
Q, …… I just love the character. Congratulations to Ben for making the role his own.
Bond giving a friendly wave to one of the spectre thugs at the graveyard.
In the Villa as Bond and Monica are kissing and Bond explains he can help her. A tear rolls down her cheek, which I think is a way of showing that the lady has gone from despair, to having the chance of “Hope” being brought to her by Bond.
This may have been “Digitally” put in ( you can’t tell these days) but I prefer to believe this is just a consummate actress giving a role, everything she’s got !
The Car chase, so many funny moments, but especially Bond intrigued by who is in Moneypenny’s flat .
I’m very happy with spectre, it’s now my #2 Craig bond ( after CR), I have read about plot holes etc, But To be honest.
I’m not an educated guy ( as my spelling and grammar proves) my love for the Bond films and books, comes from my gut!, I’m not really interested in picking faults, I had a great night out, I enjoyed my self. So a big thanks to all at EON, the cast and crew, office staff etc, for letting me into Bond’s world for a few hours, and making me feel nine years old again.
The Spy Who Loved Me was the last Bond movie to succeed on the back of old formula to do something ridiculous, make it impeccably stylish, and never look back. Since then, success in Bond movies has been about finding the right balance between questioning the traditions of the franchise and embracing them. Some, like Quantum of Solace and Licence to Kill, have veered too close to abandoning Bond's roots. Others, like Tomorrow Never Dies and Octopussy, have skimped on the questioning and plowed ahead with the old goofiness. A select three, GoldenEye, Casino Royale, and Skyfall, have hit the perfect balance and cemented themselves as top-flight Bond movies.
Spectre's chief accomplishment is presenting a new failure mode, in leaning too heavily both on the questions and on the past glories. After the triumphant celebration of the old ways of espionage in Skyfall, the filmmakers decide that the best course of action is to immediately retread that ground with Denbigh pushing for Nine Eyes and shutting down the 00 program. To make matters worse, this isn't just a flagrant retread of Skyfall, they're also ripping off Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which actually bothered to develop the evil plot, such that there's some sense of tension when it's about to succeed. As the fine reviewer at io9 put it, "...Spectre is much more of a mess, culminating in a final countdown where I honestly could not tell you what would happen if the countdown reaches zero."
Second of all, they also decided to revisit the Blofeld and Spectre well, which, fine, it was in the title of the movie, everybody and their grandma saw the reveal coming, and they wouldn't be totally wrong if they thought QoS ruined the appeal of Quantum as a nebulous evil organization. I'm still not the biggest fan, but I can understand the rationale and look at the merits. But good heavens, the merits. The reveal means nothing in universe, and it's only for the benefit of the audience. And then, and then, and then, they decide on the single dumbest, laziest twist in Bond history. Blofeld is Bond's adopted brother (?!) who has been trying to get back at Bond for the last decade (?!?!) because his dad liked Bond more than him (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!). So since Bond has been little more than a newly-minted, mostly unremarkable 00, Blofeld was manipulating things to bring him up and then break him down here. Good heavens, what a way to cheapen Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and for such a POS motivation.
But that's not the worst of it, no, not by a long shot. They also felt the need to shoehorn in Silva's plot, whose entire appeal was that he was a lone wolf, an abandoned, embittered, evil version of Bond out for revenge against M. That was what gave Skyfall its emotional force, and I daresay not a single person in the theater worldwide was thinking, "Boy, you know what would be better? If Silva were in some vague, undefined way a puppet of another villain, who's mostly mad that his dad liked Bond more." The sheer stupidity of that choice is easily Spectre's dumbest moment.
Now, having spent several paragraphs ranting about the problems that run Spectre into the ground, let's talk about the good parts. Mr. White's reappearance is excellently done, if brief, and I enjoyed the callback to Felix and Bond's dalliance with Lucia Sciarra, as well as the subversion of the sacrificial lamb trope. The car chase in Rome and the big setpiece in the Alps were loads of fun, even if Bond's sudden possession of a plane doesn't make much sense. The fight on the train was pure kinetic violence, if a little heavy handed in its mixture of Grant, Oddjob, and Jaws. Astute readers will note that all three scenes involve Dave Batista, who is a highlight of the movie. The little callback to Piz Gloria also set my heart aflutter.
The jokiness didn't bother me so much. Some of them I could have stood to get rid of, but I'd have to rewatch to know just which ones (the couch didn't sit right with me right away, though). Bond leveling one ineffectual guard with a gut punch and telling the other to stay was a particularly good bit, as were his interactions with the other members of the MI6 crew, one of the few new spins that actually worked. Craig's performance is fine, not nearly as invested in the first three but also not nearly at Connery in YOLT-level disengagement, and he can do all that's asked of him well. The "examine Bond's psyche" bits feel a bit tacked on and they don't go as in depth as CR or even GE (see the first paragraph about half-assed retreads). The relationship with Madeline Swann was a mixed bag. As a standalone romance, it worked pretty well, but if the film expects us to buy her as a replacement to Vesper and a serious contender for the love of Bond's life, they're on something (which, given the Blofeld reveal, isn't a bad shout).
Hopefully she doesn't turn up dead in Bond 25 at the hands of Blofeld...ah, who am I kidding? He'll probably be mad that his cat likes Bond better this time around.
Spectre clocks in at 16/23, just below Thunderball and Quantum of Solace, and above Octopussy.
The pre-title sequence is the greatest in the entire series - and it is probably a shame that it is the best part of the movie.
Because indeed, throughout the rest of its duration, Spectre never quite betters or even matches its beginning. Not just in terms of action, but in terms of general quality.
It's observable throughout that lots of money has been poured into this film. The film looks, as objectively spoken as possible, beautiful. The cinematography is artful, and every scene is a visual spectacle. But money does not equate to quality.
Maybe it was the script, maybe it was the direction, but honestly, what prevented Spectre from being one of the greats was that it fell beneath its impossibly high ambition.
The film just tries to do too much, and though it is the longest Bond film, it can't quite squeeze everything in right. There's a romantic arc, the introduction of a new criminal syndicate, an attempt to give Bond's MI6 allies a day in the limelight and an attempt to hearken back to the good ol' days, among other things. And at the end of it, the 'I love you' from Madeleine comes off as forced, one doesn't understand how Quantum links to Spectre, one is left tired at Q and Moneypenny's antics, and the film is more weighed down by the past than being inspired by it.
Its insistence on referencing past films is really quite arbitrary - we've had enough references already from Die Another Day to Skyfall, did we need another trip down memory lane? Normally this wouldn't be so much of a problem, but Spectre references past films so religiously that it ends up being almost completely unoriginal. The kicker is that Spectre has no identity of it's own.
The characters, speaking generally, are underdeveloped, since there are just too many of them. People are not convinced that Madeleine could be a potential love interest. Hinx dies far too prematurely. And C is not really in the film for a reason. But the greatest treason character-wise is Blofeld. Really it was the script but Blofeld in this film is just average. His character wasn't really capitalised in any way. He ironically ends up being wasted.
The script is indeed a detractor in some places. Some dialogue just isn't written well at all. The "matter of perspective" exchange is an example. And the script is also to blame for the general cartoonish-ness of the entire film. Introducing a villainous organisation by having them in the shadows - is this a 2015 film? The jarring torture sequence and escape from the exploding Moroccan crater base are also notably badly written. And who thought of retconning previous films like that? I'm not even going to bother writing about that, the idea and execution are flat.
The script is better in a few other places, like in the sexy Sciarra seduction scene, the meeting with Mr. White and the meeting with Madeleine. But overall, it's clear that we need some new writers for this franchise. I can't have been the only one yawning when Blofeld pulled the worst damsel in distress cliche ever - die saving her or live with the regret of letting her die! Or perhaps I just groaned.
And action-wise the film is also uneven. The helicopter fight is the film's greatest achievement, and the train fight is also a highlight (but piggybacks on past train fights). But unfortunately, there is not much else. A car chase that has almost no sense of pace. A snow plane sequence that is alright but suffers from bad direction and has little urgency until the end. And the finale is probably one of the most anticlimactic in the series, which is saying quite a lot. Bond didn't even fight anyone! Surely I wasn't the only one expecting a final fight with Hinx? Not to mention that Bond shooting down the helicopter with one shot is an almighty cheat. I would far prefer the actual boat chase in The World Is Not Enough which they homaged in that scene.
OK, the humour was off for the most part. It's predictable, weighs down the film, and let's just say that what worked in the 70s won't work in the 21st century... what were they thinking?
The music is hit and miss. Would be more hit if Newman did not so often rehash his previous soundtrack but I suppose you can't have everything.
I find fault with Mendes' pretentiousness as well. He ruins the opening gunbarrel with his 'dead are alive' shtick, not to mention that the gun is openly visible. Shoddy. Just shoddy. We haven't had a good gunbarrel since The World Is Not Enough, and not a competently scored one since GoldenEye. It may be his fault too that there is very little suspense in the movie (which has been lacking since Casino Royale). You can't really call Spectre a thriller, can you?
Still, whilst the film is heavily flawed, there is a sort of joy when watching it. The actors, in the moments that they transcend their script, are a joy to watch. Both Bond girls are beautiful - Belucci showing that older women CAN look good. And the production value really is very high and the film is admirable for its intention. But too many times it threw money at the screen without any competent direction.
So I'll just say what was good first. First of all good PTS here I must say. The final meeting between Bond and Mr. White was very good. The classic Bond elements were a welcome addition even if they felt forced at times. We have some good action sequences too. Craig does an ok Job here. Dave Bautista is pretty alright as Mr. Hinx. Ralph is once again great as M here. The film has somewhat of that classic Bond feel to it but it isn't 100% there sadly. And last but not least we have good pacing for the most part here.
Now..here comes the bad and boi is there a lot of it here. To start off Madeline Swann is just awful, she always acts like she can do everything and then when she's getting messed up she basically screams for help and then continues to complain for said person helping her. Ben Wishaw is still not good at all as Q though I'll admit he's improved here compared to Skyfall. Naomi Harris is still pretty bad as Moneypenny. C as a character was just worthless and only seemingly was there to fill the void and confuse an already screwed up plot (more on that in a bit). The whole trying to take over the world via surveillance was just taken straight from Terminator Genisys and it makes it just groan inducing here.
I also don't like M, Q, etc being on the field as it's not done well at all, M makes sense as he has military experience but Moneypenny, Tanner and Q being out in the field? Just no its bad they should never be on the field. Speaking of the plot that's another damn problem with this film, the plot is an absolute mess plain and simple, it needlessly tries to connect the previous 3 films into 1 awful shoehorn with bringing in Spectre as being behind it all when it doesn't even make any sense whatsoever for them all to be a part of spectre, especially Silva and need I mention it was only done cause they got the licence for them BACK. Speaking on Spectre let's discuss the bastardisation of the blofeld character, why? Well let's see they made him Bond's brother, Yes his Fucking Brother like are you serious?how actually dumb can the writing team possibly be to come up with something so idiotic and stupid, it's just rage inducing, not to mention he's evil cause Daddy didn't love him as much as James, give me a break.
And last but not least we have our old pal Thomas Newman and his generic garbage music that rivals Hans Zimmer in it's sheer awfulness, I won't even bother explaining why it's awful, listen to snow plane if you don't believe me. Oh and of course we have Sam Smith who can't even sing to save his life doing the main theme
So in the end, how does Spectre hold up? Well the return of some classic Bond elements, The action sequences, the decent pacing, and the Mr. White scene are all pretty good along with the rest of the positives I mentioned, but the negatives here really do hurt this otherwise alright bond film. But honestly it's not completely terrible and it's not as awful as it's made out to be and certainly isn't the worst Bond film. I do feel it's better than Skyfall, but it's still not very good at all, I'm sad to say. The first Hour was honestly good but the film falls apart after it.
My final Rating is a 5/10
The more I rewatch this, the further it falls in my rankings. The aesthetics and directing make this watchable as a mindless action movie. But overall, the bad outweighs the good.
SPECTRE shows how much bad writing can mar a film. Having a plot thats basic or uninspired is one thing, but a plot that's completely ridiculous and damages the legacy of past films is a whole new level of stupid.
It may not be fair to compare it to the widely acclaimed previous film, but Skyfall had lots of clever and witty dialogue. So many quotable moments. We're just not getting that here.
I don't see the length as a problem. A good film can get away with being long, but this is just not a good film.
I feel like all the other 4 Craig films have better content (plot, villain, action scenes, dialogue, etc). But the main problem is that nearly every aspect of SPECTRE is forced rather than naturally incorporated where it belongs.
(P.S. if only Connery were alive to do an unofficial remake of this film called SHPECTAH)
It being a Craig Bond film helps, as my attachment to him and his journey in the film adds somethings special to it. The film ranks last in large part because he did such phenomenal work in the other efforts, one of which is probably my all-time standing favorite Bond film. Heavy competition.