I’m no expert in Bond. I haven’t even seen all the films, but I have been enjoying the new Daniel Craig Series that started with 2006’s Casino Royal. The way it’s played out has been very similar to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, where they’ve taken a franchise that seems to have run it’s course, and revive it with some new talent and a more realistic and grounded approach to the subject matter. It seems to have worked out for the James Bond franchise quite well, Especially with 2012’s Skyfall, which happened to be one of my favourite films of said year. So, naturally, Spectre was high on my anticipation list for 2015’s lineup of movies. And let me tell you, this film totally exceeded my expectations…..for the first ten minutes.
Spectre opens with promise, showcasing a beautiful action set piece in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebration. The sequence is beautifully shot, engaging, and a great pre-credit scene to get the audience pumped up for the rest of the movie. The opening song, Writing’s on the Wall by sam Smith) isn’t quite as memorable as Adele’s Skyfall, but it’s still a fantastic song and one of the true highlights of the movie. Once the opening credits end however, the film begins it’s slow decline. I was sitting there thinking “Wait a minute, haven’t I seen this before?” The storyline felt familiar. The idea of an evil secret organization made me think of some other film that came out this year….Ah, that’s it! Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation did it first. (and better) I won’t gripe on this too much though. After all, Rogue Nation WAS originally supposed to come out in December, So I guess I can let it slide. Let’s just focus on the film at hand. Spectre just seems to be missing something….A lack of kick. I can’t really explain it. The entire storyline just felt surprisingly corny and underwhelming that it was hard not to be disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong. I love corny. Most of my favourite films are corny. But the Daniel Craig Bond series stood out among the other Bond films because of it’s brutal realism and well thought out action set pieces. Spectre feels like a major step backwards from that, and it leaves us with just another Goofy spy movie rather than another terrific entry in the James Bond series. One scene in particular that sticks out in my mind is one of the action sequences, where Bond gets a plane out of nowhere to chase the bad guys down who’ve captured the latest Bond girl. Wait…where did he get the plane? Did I miss something? I’m genuinely asking. If you know where e got the plane then please tell me in the comments, because I thought I was paying close attention to the film until that plane showed up. It’s moments like these that took me out of the movie.
Now there are some good things to be said about Spectre. Quite a few in fact. The score is pretty good, the film is beautifully shot, and the actors certainly don’t phone it in, and do the best with what they’ve got. There’s also a lot of clever in-jokes and references to other Bond films that fans will surly get a kick out of, and rest assured, this is a well DIRECTED movie. However, a film with good direction can still fall flat if the script is poor, and the script for this film just felt flat. Again, it’s not downright terrible, just flat. The characters, new and old, are forgettable and not terribly well developed. The film’s lead villain, Ernest Stavro Blofeld, is given far too little screen time and is a complete bore when compared to Skyfall’s villain, Raoul. Madeleine Swann, while given more to do than some of the other bond girls, doesn’t really leave much of an impression either. It’s really a shame, because these are all competent actors who are really doing the best they can. The problem truly lies in the script. It’s just not up to par with the past few features, and even when judged on it’s own merits is a little flimsy and not very engaging. I’ll admit, I was never downright BORED when watching the film, but I was sitting thinking to myself “Why isn’t this working for me? What went wrong?” As the end credits rolled and I left the theatre, an unpleasant thought began to sink in….Maybe I just didn’t like Spectre.
It’s hard for me not to be disappointed with Spectre. Even though I’m not the biggest James Bond fan, I was still highly anticipating this film to knock it out of the park after how greatly the last few films impressed me. Well, you can’t win em all. Don’t let this review scare you away from seeing it though. The movie’s been getting plenty of great reviews among fans and critics, so maybe I’m just missing something. I’ll probably still even rent Spectre when it comes out on DVD. I’ll pop it in, watch the first ten minutes, and than I’ll take it out and replace it with Skyfall and watch that for the rest of the night. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.