'Spectre' - Movie Review
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, David Bautista, Ben Whishaw
Poster of 'Spectre'. Pic/Santa Banta
This fourth James Bond outing for Daniel Craig, the 24th film in a 54-year-old franchise, continues the reboot process from the 2006 film 'Casino Royale' and is a little too 'regular' to be entirely satisfying - especially since its predecessor, 'Skyfall', took Bond to much superior levels of emotional attachment.
This Sam Mendes helmed 'average Joe' prefers to fall back on those antiquated swills and swirls that made Bond a fast-moving assassin with beauteous ladies hotting-up the spy sport. And in this one, Bond swings from a 50 something beautifully ageing Monica Bellucci to the 20 something enchantress Lea Seydoux. It's a rare mix of old and young that helps keep the Bond 'ladies man' image intact and at the same time positions him as a 'desirable' for the new generation of movie goers.
Here Bond has perfunctorily been resurrected for a new era while managing to fit-in all the recognizable elements of his traditional universe. SPECTRE (an acronym for “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”), under wraps for nearly 40 years re-emerges from the 'Connery' Bond. And it's the old M (Judi Dench) who has left behind a cryptic message for the current Bond to pursue and unravel.
The film opens with the traditional 'Iris' credit sequence, sets up some exotica with tentacles and eroticism and then follows it up with a thrilling opening action spectacle with Bond making chase through a crowded Mexican plaza. It sets up high expectations for what is to follow but in terms of spectacle there's not much thereafter. Bond's usual arsenal packed with carnage that includes planes , trains and flashy automobiles as accessories are on display but they don't work up much of a thrill. While the action is measured, there are some quite stretches in between, as set-up, but the momentum never really picks up. There are far too many contradictions draining the enjoyment while thin un-substantive plotting doesn't allow for any great immersion either.
In Pictures: James Bond films and actors who played 007
The franchise roots are visible and familiar but the attempt to cram-in a new-age facet belittles the engagement. Bond is more romantic and even falls in love here but it doesn't sit-in well with the 'old-fashioned' image that the film tries to embalm here. The film doesn't even employ most of Bond's gizmos. Craig brings his own set of values to the franchise which was in full evidence in 'Skyfall' but here it's quite iffy. The emotional attachment is missing and the action is imminently forgettable.
Craig fits in well though, Ralph Fiennes as M is credible, Naomie Harris as the new Moneypenny is effective, Q (Ben Whishaw) plays the geek to good effect, Bautista is passable as the handyman assassin but Chistoph Waltz fails to measure-up as Franz Oberhauser, Bond's arch nemesis. Both Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci add sensuality to this escapade. The truncated kissing sequences (ordered by the Indian Censor Board) takes much of the heat out of this action thriller though. Sam Smith's song doesn't quite fit in with Thomas Newman's score- which does well to incorporate the iconic Monty Norman's theme.
The film, in effect, appears over plotted and a little too long-drawn with a flagging middle act and a neatly executed conclusion. This Bond is akin to an ageing Romeo striving to engage in young-man games...and falling flat just a little too often to be exciting!
Watch the trailer of 'Spectre'