Friday, 19 February 2016

Spectre

A new James Bond movie, in my opinion, is generally always a good thing. There’ll be an exciting mission, a mysterious enemy, and new ways of pushing Bond to his limits. So what the hell happened to this one, then?


After the massive success of Skyfall Bond is back with a new adventure in Spectre, out now on Blu-Ray and DVD, where things get an awful lot like Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (watch the two together and you’ll know what I mean). After a disagreement with the new M over an unofficial visit to Mexico, Bond is suspended as M comes to terms with the privately-backed Joint Intelligence Service trying to take over, with their new technology which they believe will sort out the ‘outdated’ 007 programme. Despite being suspended, Bond follows the orders from the previous M to finish off a mission whilst remaining undetected by the head of the Joint Intelligence Service, C.


I’ll start with what was good, as admittedly there were some very good parts. The first scene, for instance, is probably the most intense start I’ve seen to a Bond film, and it was done brilliantly. From the very beginning we’re thrown into Dia de Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead), and get to witness a nail-bitingly tense fight staged within an open helicopter. The camera work is beautiful, as always, and many of the scenes from then on are set up to look like classical paintings, which makes it very easy on the eye.

We also get to see some interesting development of the main characters – we’ve got Bond, who’s now effectively rogue, and then Q and Moneypenny, who are both torn between helping Bond and staying loyal to their jobs. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere near as much development for the other characters – C’s personality seems to keep changing throughout, and the women seem little more than something to calm Bond down after a stressful day (although, admittedly, this is pretty much the case in all of the Bond movies). Even our main antagonist seems under-developed, despite a good performance from Christopher Waltz. When I think back the story, it was almost as if he was written in as an afterthought.

And it just goes downhill from there, as I noticed very quickly what the overriding problem was – there was nothing new about it. As always, we see Bond find a new car, a new gadget, and a new girl, before taking on an enemy who’s presented a new set of problems. There’s no originality like Skyfall though, which I find hard to believe considering the diverse plot. Everything felt like I’d already watched it – even the first car chase was distinctly average and, instead of showcasing the new Aston Martin like previous films, only managed to get across just how reckless a driver Bond now is. He might as well have been driving a modded Ford Fiesta and it would have gained the same result.

It was such a shame that the plot was so much of a let-down, as there really were some good parts to the film. The themes of George Orwell’s 1984 played a big part in the story, which I felt was very current. There was a particularly good villain played by Dave Bautista (yes, Batista!) who reappeared throughout, and was so badass that he could remove a blazer within five seconds despite it being on fire. I gather we won’t be seeing Madeline (Léa Seydoux) again in future films and, even if we did, I imagine we wouldn’t care. The one thing I really felt they could’ve focused on was Bond’s backstory, which is actually very relevant to the plot – instead, they filled the gaps with long, drawn out silences that added nothing to the film.


This one has been hard for me to rate – honestly, if I’d watched this as a standalone film, then it would have been very entertaining, and I would have rated it much higher. In reality, it’s probably the most formulaic Bond film I’ve seen and so it only just gets an average rating from me.

If you want to watch another Bond film, maybe it’s best you just watch Skyfall again. 3/5.

★★★☆☆


Hannah Read


Spectre at CeX


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