SPECTRE || 2015, USA || Action || Directed by – Sam Mendes / Written by – John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth [based on characters by Ian Fleming] / Produced by – Zakaria Alaoui, Barbara Broccoli, Daniel Craig, Roberto Malerba, Callum McDougall, Andrew Noakes, Stacy Perskie, David Pope, Wolfgang Ramml, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Gregg Wilson, Michael G. Wilson / Music by – Thomas Newman / Cinematography – Hoyte Van Hoytema / Editing by – Lee Smith / Production design – Dennis Gassner / Starring – Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lèa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes / Running time: 148 mins.
What should have been a sort of worthy culmination, a coming together of the Daniel Craig 007 era – a section of the timeless franchise, from Casino Royale on, made of more highs than lows – is actually one of its most underwhelming additions. Spectre fails to provide a satisfactory ending to the continued narrative arch of the previous number of Bond films. It also lets down the high expectations that came with the prospect of the returning director of the excellent Skyfall, Sam Mendes.
Spectre is one of the most expensive films ever made. Every aspect of its visuals, from cinematography, effects, production design and costumes, certainly show the film’s expense on-screen. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long for the film to hit a false note. The opening sequence, one of the must-have feature for any respectable Bond flick, is one of the least creative ever. This is followed by one of the worst Bond theme songs ever, which is accompanied by one of the most ill advised opening montage Bond sequences that was arguably ever put together.
Yet, the story of Spectre certainly had potential. Not least of all because, like the previous entries, it feels terribly contemporary. Here, everyone’s favourite near-mysogynist spy is pitted against the titular criminal organization and attempts to thwart their plans of hacking into a global surveillance system. In its two-hour and a half mark, it struggles to find a balance for its many twists and turns, not giving enough screen time to the numerous characters that populate it. This negatively impacts the energy of the film and the well-meaning performances of its big-name cast, that includes a show-stealing cameo by the ever-charming Monica Bellucci and a fun if over-the-top, devilish Christoph Weitz, whose turn it is to oppose Craig’s poker-faced and suave 007.
Perhaps in an attempt to conceal its evident flaws and awkwardness, or even in order to use such apparently negative aspects constructively, Spectre is full of references to some of the most familiar elements of previous Bond movies. This choice almost confines it to caricature and gives it a more cartoonish air. Really, what it is is another symbol of a production that possibly got out of control somewhere along the line. That can happen, especially and coincidentally, with big budget blockbusters.” – 2/5