SPECTRE - Press reviews and personal reviews (BEWARE! Spoiler reviews allowed)

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  • edited October 2015 Posts: 12,218
    I saw it last night but wanted to wait to properly digest it before posting because I thought maybe once I'd thought about it, I wouldn't have as high an opinion of it as I do.

    But I loved it. It was basically a 21st century Goldeneye (although honestly, it's probably surpassed that for me). A real all out, classic Bond adventure but at the same time modern, relevant and containing character drama that makes it more interesting than just a standard Bond vs evil villain dynamic, but that doesn't overshadow the whole film, the main focus is still on being a great Bond film.

    Up until now, Skyfall was my favorite of the Craig era. And while I did enjoy it tremendously, the main problem I had with the film was that it seemed quite pretentious, it was as if Mendes and co thought the film was more than it actually was. And that arty, bleak almost smug tone made it hard to forgive the fact that the plot was complete bollocks. SPECTRE does not have this problem. The plot isn't great, it's far fetched and it does a fair amount of retconning to sort of try and tie the previous films together, when it's clear that they weren't written with this in mind, and as such this creates some plot holes. But SPECTRE, just like the best big classic Bond films before it (GE, TSWLM, etc) is fun enough to make you forgive the dumb story and go along with the ride.

    I think all the performances in the film were brilliant. Waltz was fantastic as Blofeld. I know many were saying that if they ever bought the character back, he shouldn't be anything like the previous film versions (because of Dr Evil). And I would've appreciated a take that was more similar to one of the novels too. But come on, when the cat jumped up onto Bond's lap and he walked forward to reveal himself, I can't have been the only one to get goosebumps. I'm glad they embraced the old iconography (the cat, the Nehru suit) because it did make that moment all the more thrilling for me. Daniel Craig was brilliant, he doesn't get as much emotional material to work with as in CR or SF but he still manages to show what a great actor he is even though Bond's more vulnerable side is more hidden in this one, he's so natural in the role now, he's effortlessly Bond. Bautista made a great henchman. His introduction was brilliant (so brutal) and it was great to finally have a villain that was actually a physical threat to Craig. I like how he was a classic, Oddjob/Jaws esque henchman but he didn't even need a gimmick to make him stand out. His actions and his sheer intensity and brutality did that for him. Andrew Scott was fine in his sleazy corporate role (and Bond's line "no I think I'll call you C" might be the funniest moment of the film to me). Wishaw is still great as Q. Moneypenny seemed more natural and less wooden in this one too, although maybe that's just because she (thankfully) had a lot less to do. Tanner was as boring as usual, and Ralph Fiennes was fantastic as M.

    If this is Craig's last (and I think it seems that way, was definitely written as if it could be anyway), and the next one is another reboot, I hope they keep Fiennes and Wishaw on anyway. They're too great to ditch after two films. Dench stayed on through a reboot, and they should to.

    The Bond girls were weaker this time around. Both look great, but neither were given anything to do really. Belluci did a fine job but had a really small role (I read a comment saying she would have been wasted in TND, but they've been proven completely wrong because Paris Carver was much more of a character than whatever this womans name was) while Seydoux was just given bland (her character had little personality despite her interesting backstory) and at points bad material (I get why they had her fall in love with him, to give Bond the chance to walk away, to let him move on and love someone else after Vesper, and to end the Craig era on a happy note, but it was very unbelievable). But yeah, the Bond girls were a let down this time. Disappointing that neither were given much to do (Severine had this problem too, but in just her short amount of screentime became my favourite Bond girl) or much of a personality.

    The story was dumb but it was entertaining, still not a huge fan of the brothers angle but it was much less forced and melodramatic than it could have been, it was handled well. Using Mr White as a plot device was a great idea too, showing how scared he was of Blofeld really sold him as a threat. And I liked the way it developed Bond's character, it was a good ending for him, to realize that he does have a choice, that he doesn't have to be a blunt instrument if he doesn't want to. Overall the story was nothing special but it got it's job done and took Bond to some great locations that were beautifully shot.

    The action was really well done. The helicopter scrap in the PTS was amazing and I dunno if it's because of the sound design but it felt like there was much more impact to every punch, gunshot, etc, than there was in SF. The action had intensity, and there were so many big set pieces. The car chase was a bit of a let down (I actually kind of prefer the Aston vs Jag chase from DAD, the gadgets were overused in that one but it still felt like there was more danger and a greater sense of speed in that one), but Bond ejecting at the end was brilliant. The fight with Hinx on the train was fantastic too and the Austria bit was a good set piece. I really enjoyed the finale at the MI6 building (although I thought Bond getting captured and everything wasn't as good a set up as in one of the drafts, where every light in London went out except the one from M's office), and the bridge scene following it was very good too, very atmospheric. I think too many people are assuming Bond sparing Blofeld means that a fifth Craig film is confirmed. To me it just symbolized Bond walking away from killing (which is why he threw his gun away), free to start his new life with Madeline. It doesn't necessarily mean we'll get a fifth Craig film. I still think that this is in all likelihood his last.

    The only problem is that these brilliant action scenes were frequently let down by the bland score. Seriously, now Mendes is gone, let him take Newman with him. Bring back David Arnold. Or get someone else. But please don't let Thomas Newman anywhere near a Bond film again. He's had two chances and imo has failed to produce anything remotely notable. And still no proper Bond theme. When Bond turned up after the cars in the plane, that would've been the perfect moment too (ala the tank smashing through the wall in GE), but no, we don't get it. The theme song was again only integrated into the score in one scene too, and while it was brilliant seeing the gunbarrel back where it belongs, I felt that the music for it was a bit awkward. If you're going to do use the opening bars, then he should have used the main melody for the bit where the blood falls. Newman tried to have it both ways (using the opening bars and then the closing ones ala TND/TWINE for when the blood fell, which meant it felt sort of rushed). I didn't really like the quote either. That felt a bit awkward/stunted. Should've take that out and opened it up on the beginning shot like usual. The design also seemed a bit weird, I did appreciate the shift back to the Binder design but something about it still seemed off. Just use the classic one or the Brosnan one next time please. But despite those issues it was still good to see it back where it belongs. I always thought the theme song was alright, didn't hate it like some, but I thought it worked really well in the film. The title sequence was good too, but not up there with the best (GF, GE, DAD, CR, SF) for me. Still set the mood well though, the theme fit it well and I liked how shots of previous Craig era villains were used.

    Overall SPECTRE was fantastic for me. It was everything I could have hoped for and more, it's everything I've wanted in a Bond film for years. I think if it had a better score and better Bond girls, it'd even stand a chance of being my favorite. But as it stands I really enjoyed it. The best of the Craig era and one of the best Bond films ever for me. Great dialogue, action, cinematography, performances, etc. And the classic Bond ingredients (glamour, gadgets, humour, etc) were all done well.

    I think it's probably my third favourite overall, behind the Dalton films. So my top 5 would be

    1) Licence To Kill
    2) The Living Daylights
    3) SPECTRE
    4) Goldeneye
    5) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (or maybe TSWLM, I'm not sure which I prefer)
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    mcdonbb wrote: »
    Don't see how Bond and Oppie are half brothers if they don't have the same parents or one of the same parents unlike Austin Powers who did share parents.

    Were we really supposed to think they were foster 'brothers'? I find it strange that Babs and MGW signed off on that.

    Personally I chose to interpret it that Hannes (probably a friend of fellow climber Andrew Bond) took Bond in for a short period after his parents died and then he went back and was looked after by Aunt Charmian. It was enough for the already slightly mental Franz to get jealous but not long enough that they could actually be classed as brothers. The notion that Bond lived in Austria for years and he and Franz grew up together is not on for me. Especially as in SF they have banged on about how he is an oprhan. And then to have Franz turn out to be ESB as well really is pushing it.

    I prefer to think Bond stayed with them for 6 months or so while and Hannes taught him to ski and climb to help him cope with the grief.

    I do hope EON arent setting things up for a young Bond prequel at some point involving the death of Bond's parents, the start of his relationship with Franz and initial contact with MI6.
  • Posts: 74
    Waltz phoned it in and ruined it for me. I think the flash in the pan is now over and his cynical way of cashing in the check and not giving a toss about Bond will come back and bite him in the arse, and his career will not recover. Serves him right, one should respect bond and it's baddies history.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger San Demonique
    Posts: 35,914
    How was Andrew Scott as Blofeld?
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,422
    How was Andrew Scott as Blofeld?

    Ha ha.
  • Posts: 2,433
    Don't believe Waltz phoned it in. I think after Bardems flamboyant Silva, it was necessary for a more subtle portrayal of evil. I think Waltz nailed it. I love his intro in the shadows, not speaking a word except whispers to his cohorts, he was hugely intimidating and you felt that from everyone in the room..even Bond!
  • Posts: 6,396
    The Rome meeting was possibly my favourite scene. The eerie silence in the room as ESB whispered his orders to his underlings and the look of sheer horror on Bond's face when his name is called out was simply epic.
  • DrGorner wrote: »
    I think Bond25 will be a lot darker, Blofeld will be out for revenge !
    after all Bond destroyed his pussy. :D

    I kind of agree - posted my general feelings a few pages back and am just settling in for Bond Night on BBC4 - that this is a Blofeld 'origins' and that DC will do one more which will be a grand stand-off and a full on trad Bond adventure. At least, that's what I want.

    It's kind of frustrating that DC had kept pushing a 'justification' for everything in the franchise. I think he said once, on the Whitehall gang, that it's great to have them but you have to 'earn them' otherwise they are a gag. He's right to a point, but at some stage you just have to go for it - and I hope B25 is that one. I think if it wasn't for the writers strike re QoS and the MGM problems, DC would now be looking at his 6th and final movie and checking out level to Sean.

    I still feel SP is a 'mixed bag' but a good one. Looking forward to a 2nd take on it

  • Posts: 1,068
    Yes, a second take indeed! Hands up those that are as excited about their next SP viewing!? Even a after seeing one of the first performances on Monday I'm just as stoked for my Friday fix! I'm probably even more excited as I want to see that opening sequence again as well as the titles and train fight.
  • DariusDarius UK
    edited October 2015 Posts: 354
    mcdonbb wrote: »
    Don't see how Bond and Oppie are half brothers if they don't have the same parents or one of the same parents unlike Austin Powers who did share parents.

    James Bond and Franz Oberhauser are not half brothers, they are step brothers. When Bond's parents died, Hannes Oberhauser took the young James under his wing. This means that Franz Oberhauser aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld do not share any common blood.
  • SirHilaryBraySirHilaryBray Scotland
    Posts: 2,138
    So

    "initial budget was $300 million (it ended up at around $240m) or that it allegedly needed some third act retooling" because Sony pulled back on funding that would explain a he'll of a lot as to why the film does not finish as strongly as it begins QOS situation all over again. Hopefully the new studio partner keeps to their word.
  • TokolosheTokoloshe Under your bed
    Posts: 2,667
    Darius wrote: »
    mcdonbb wrote: »
    Don't see how Bond and Oppie are half brothers if they don't have the same parents or one of the same parents unlike Austin Powers who did share parents.

    James Bond and Franz Oberhauser are not half brothers, they are step brothers. When Bond's parents died, Hannes Oberhauser took the young James under his wing. This means that Franz Oberhauser aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld do not share any common blood.

    Nope, because in order to be stepbrothers one of their parents would have had to marry one of the other's parents.

    @TheWizardOfIce has explained it very well above. They lived together for a couple of years while Bond was made a ward of Hannes' care, as per the certificate we see at the start.

  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,422
    Tokoloshe wrote: »
    Darius wrote: »
    mcdonbb wrote: »
    Don't see how Bond and Oppie are half brothers if they don't have the same parents or one of the same parents unlike Austin Powers who did share parents.

    James Bond and Franz Oberhauser are not half brothers, they are step brothers. When Bond's parents died, Hannes Oberhauser took the young James under his wing. This means that Franz Oberhauser aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld do not share any common blood.

    Nope, because in order to be stepbrothers one of their parents would have had to marry one of the other's parents.

    @TheWizardOfIce has explained it very well above. They lived together for a couple of years while Bond was made a ward of Hannes' care, as per the certificate we see at the start.

    Yeah. I said earlier, although it may have been a different thread, the word 'brother' functions in much the same way 'mother' does in SF.
  • Posts: 6,396
    Calvin's posted his review of the film on YouTube.

    First vid is non-spoiler review:



    Second vid contains spoilers:

  • I didn't like Waltz but I think the material given to him was poor. He can't have a commanding presence if he's just a snivelling batman villain. I half expected Bond to try and make him cry.

  • TripAcesTripAces Universal Exports
    Posts: 3,537
    Up until now, Skyfall was my favorite of the Craig era. And while I did enjoy it tremendously, the main problem I had with the film was that it seemed quite pretentious, it was as if Mendes and co thought the film was more than it actually was. And that arty, bleak almost smug tone made it hard to forgive the fact that the plot was complete bollocks.

    Well, at least you're being honest. My sense all along is that the general dislike/backlash toward SF is based on what you have said here. Pretentious and smug. I disagree, but I applaud the honesty. SF's plot is no more ridiculous than any of the other films. They're all silly, all full of holes. But for the SF naysayers, they'll fall back on criticizing plot holes (in a Bond film) which quite hilarious. But you have added the additional element: it's the smugness. fair enough.
  • Posts: 10,863
    Yes I agree with Waltz not having much to do. I wanted him as a Bond Villain for a long time, but wasn't really impressed with him.
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 1,068
    I can't quite figure it out. Whilst I realise the later release for the States & Canada, I still expected this forum to go into meltdown after the months of build up and page after page of speculative comments yet there's as much if not LESS discussion about the whole film here as there was about the Jonathan Ross ITV programme.

    I cannot think of even one instance where anyone on this forum has mentioned the quite breathtaking destruction of the Vauxhall Bridge Mi6. Not even a quip about the CGi? I cannot fault this particular piece of cinematic Bond trickery BTW. First time today I saw a comment about the mouse that I thought was a genius piece in the puzzle.

    Maybe SP has everyone very sated of their hunger for the new Bond or indeed, most are back in the flicks getting another fix?? I'm back for another fix Friday!!
  • SirHilaryBraySirHilaryBray Scotland
    Posts: 2,138
    Just wait until our American cousins see the movie you will be waiting 10 minutes for a page to refresh. ;)
  • Posts: 11,312
    I think Ben Wishaw as Q gives the standout performance in Spectre. I thought he was awful in SF but this time his take really worked for me. It helped that they toned down the tech nerd angle from SF and had him doling out cars and exploding watches instead from a suitably grimy looking workshop. Q also gets the best lines in the film.

    Great fight on the train although I was disappointed Mr Hinx didn't return later on.

  • Posts: 10,863
    I agree, He gave a great performance and I really laughed at his joke in the Q lab, as he was so proud of himself. :D
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 1,068
    Just wait until our American cousins see the movie you will be waiting 10 minutes for a page to refresh. ;)

    That's actually what I was expecting. These guys must love talking about Bond far far more than the Brits then! ;)

  • edited October 2015 Posts: 11,312
    andmcit wrote: »
    I can't quite figure it out. Whilst I realise the later release for the States & Canada, I still expected this forum to go into meltdown after the months of build up and page after page of speculative comments yet there's as much if not LESS discussion about the whole film here as there was about the Jonathan Ross ITV programme.

    I cannot think of even one instance where anyone on this forum has mentioned the quite breathtaking destruction of the Vauxhall Bridge Mi6. Not even a quip about the CGi? I cannot fault this particular piece of cinematic Bond trickery BTW. First time today I saw a comment about the mouse that I thought was a genius piece in the puzzle.

    Maybe SP has everyone very sated of their hunger for the new Bond or indeed, most are back in the flicks getting another fix?? I'm back for another fix Friday!!

    I think SP will be less divisive. No claims it's the best Bond ever, but also fewer critics as well I suspect.

    I can't see it being the runaway hit that SF was. But then I thought SF was pretty ropey, so who am I to predict what's going to be a hit.

    The plot/story is a bit more solid than SF, even if it's highly derivative. There's not much to dislike.

    I'm planning on seeing it again in a week or two.
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 2,777
    Things that I really liked:

    -The money is all up there on the screen.
    -It follows the Bond formula and is a throwback to the style of Lewis Gilbert
    -The PCS: Wow! The spectacle. The tracking shot (they actually did a cut three times, but you don’t notice).
    -It has a lot of action setpieces. My favorite being the one with the snowplane.
    -Globetrotting Bond is back
    -Bond is not portrayed as weak, but strong throughout the movie
    -The score: Although I wasn’t jumping up and down when I first listened to the soundtrack, it works great in the movie. The WOTW-instrumental theme is also beautifully integrated and I love the inclusion of Vivaldi.

    Things that I didn’t like:

    -It shows that the 3rd act (from right after the train-sequence) has been through several rewrites. There’s something off, that I quite can’t put my finger on. I have read both scripts, and I found several elements changed in the final movie, not for the better, but for the worse (I won’t get into details, because it belongs in the leak-thread.)

    -Lack of oneliners and witty dialogue, like “I said bring it back in one piece, not bring back one piece”

    -The pacing: okay, this is probably my biggest complain. I’m not sure if it’s Mendes or the writers who are to blame here, but, like Skyfall, I felt that many scenes weren’t allowed to breathe. Remember that scene in SF where Bond walks on the beach after the main titles, moving towards a tent? Nothing really happens here, but the scene lasts 15-20 seconds, and is an exception from the rule in SF. That scene breathes. In SPECTRE there’s a beautiful shot of a plane flying towards the ICE-Q restaurant accompanied by a lush musical score. It lasts 5 seconds. So does the clip with the Aston Martin entering Rome. In comparison: Bond is picked up by Irma Bunt in OHMSS, and is flown towards Piz Gloria. It’s wonderfully paced, and the whole thing lasts more than a minute. I don’t mind a 148 minute Bond-movie the next time, too. But please try to tell us less, so the scenes can breathe a little more, thank you.

    Overall, SP is my second favorite Bond-movie of the Craig-era, with CR still being my favorite, mainly due to its much better script.
  • Posts: 199
    patb wrote: »
    Sorry if this is a stupid question but why did M keep the info to herself, record the DVD, knowing that the matter would only be dealt with after her death and give time for the target to do more bad stuff? why not deal with the matter whilst she was alive?

    It takes a bit of imagination, but we can probably assume that after Mitchell's attempt on her life, Bond's intel from the Tosca meeting RE: Guy Haines et al and the alarming pushback from the Minister of Defence that she received, she was probably working on pulling apart "the organisation" for the 6 years between QoS and SF -- and then little did she know it would bite back in the form of Silva, although obviously she had no idea the two were connected.

    I assume the recording is done in-story prior to SF's main titles and was the job she would've assigned to Bond had the agent list not been stolen. The recording would be prompted by paranoia around the Mitchell thing.
  • Posts: 1,068
    How about the lack of steamy sex scenes like the shower in SF? We got Monica's zipper teased down in the teaser and her pinned to the mirrored door and the 'let's get a room' kiss in the train. I've seen more risque stuff on tv serial fare and really thought there'd be more than the naked with tentacles titles sequence!? Is this an area that suffered from the cutting room too?
  • Posts: 820
    Just watched an evening showing. Have to be honest and say i thought it was a mixed bag. The good was really good, the bad wasn't bad, just a bit pedestrian.

    The first 45 mins or so are awesome. Right through to where the action takes us to Rome. I found the car chase OK but nothing like as interesting or creative as i thought, and the atmosphere gag and airbag were just weird.

    The links with Craigs other films ties up some loose ends nicely.

    The scenes with White and in the Klinik are good and well executed.

    The aeroplane chase was OK. Would have been better on skis maybe.

    The main issue is the period from here till they are picked up at the train station. Theres lots of piecing together and things happening with very little inkling as to the characters motivations or reasons. Underwritten and superfluous largely. I can see whats happening on screen just not why and to what end.

    train fight is good. Hinx is underused.

    It picks up again once Waltz appears and the torture scene is superb, as is the initial meeting.

    The 'climax' is anything but. I don't mind a low key climax, but what exactly was the climax? Because a few computers were blown up in Tangier and Waltz is arrested is that it? It didnt feel like Bond had earned anything really. And is London ever that deserted?

    Other good points - cinematography although nice isn't as nice as Deakins.
    Some good lines

    Other weaknesses. Would have been good if we had spent more time in the company of the villains to flesh out a raison d'etre and less time plodding towards a climax.

    I do think though that it will improve on second viewing as the middle section may make a little more sense.

    And Christ knows why it cost so much money. they should have spent more time on the script. This happens too often. TND, QOS, SP...

    Overall 4/5
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 1,068
    Flight to Blofeld's Hideaway is one of the best pieces of score in OHMSS and therefore the WHOLE Bond series - which gives an amazing atmosphere, you're so right @Zekidk

    Over and out builds the tension where it could've been cut to fractions of the time SP style. I don't have any real issue with SP though, although I agree it could have been even better for some elbow room - it's still quite a long film!!
  • Posts: 11,312
    That brief reappearance by Dench reminded me how glad I was to see her die in Skyfall. Good riddance!
  • Matt007 wrote: »

    The 'climax' is anything but. I don't mind a low key climax, but what exactly was the climax? Because a few computers were blown up in Tangier and Waltz is arrested is that it? It didnt feel like Bond had earned anything really. And is London ever that deserted?

    My main problem on reflection. The third act was a bit cliche. When Bond walks across the bridge to Swann to a background of emergency services it felt like any old TV thriller and it lacked a classic Bond ending. The third act has been a problem for a lot of recent Bonds I think - I really need a TSWLM/YOLT ending!

    Your comment about London being deserted is well made - the world of this film felt very empty. That may be deliberate but I missed passer-by carnage here, if that makes sense!
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