I'm a freelance writer living on the Sunshine Coast.
Published March 10th 2016
D For Disappointment
Spectre (2015) is the twenty-fourth James Bond film starring Daniel Craig (in his fourth performance) as James Bond, Even with a budget of around $245 million, the film only won awards for best original song "Writing's on the Wall" (Sam Smith & Jimmy Napes), which was supposedly written in less than half an hour! The lack of awards hints that the movie itself is lacking in so many areas. Let's take ideas for starters. Honestly it felt like I was watching a mishmash of so many other films. For example:Austin Powers (the scene with the boardroom of evil villians), Divergent (the scene with the long fall to a trampoline in a derelict building), attire reminiscent of Casablanca in the train scene, etc.
I also found the plot to be convoluted as Bond races around the world to find one bad guy after another. Whereas the bad guys use the latest technology to obtain all the information they need, Bond is left to find the information he needs the old-fashioned way - through seduction; risking his life; and relying on Q and Moneypenny's computer/research skills. Just when we realise that this cat and mouse action movie is losing the plot completely, James Bond points a gun to a mouse and asks "Who sent you? Who do you work for?" (Sigh of disappointment)
Stylish but deadly - Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Sure, Daniel Craig looks oh so dapper in his stylish suits and fancy cars, but where is the charm and sexiness that Bond typically exudes? Where is the suave, sophisicated Bond? Not here! Instead we see Bond swig vodka straight from a bottle, while his enemy's well-mannered henchmen offer Bond and Madeleine champagne in an oasis in the desert. The writers of the film even deny their hero his obligatory martini. Instead the barman at the medical clinic tells him they don't serve alcohol and offers him a large probotic health drink instead. Bond is quick to tell the barman to "skip the middleman" and throw it down the toilet.
During the opening scenes Bond walks into the bedroom of a hotel with a dark-haired beauty. She lies down on the bed and says "where are you going?" as he walks straight past her on his way to spy on some bad guys in another building. Ultimately one gets the feeling that women are just an adjunct in this film. When Bond rings Moneypenny and hears there's someone else in her bed, he gets a bit jealous! Moneypenny literally tells Bond to get a life. Perhaps she's tired of the fantasy? These are just some of the scenes that are so out of character. Sadly there are too many of them. There's no passion, romance, or pleasure depicted in the sex scenes. It's just pure raw animal instinct.
In Spectre, Bond is represented more as an assassin. Maybe that's why the mood of the film is always so serious. There are a couple of quirky humourous scenes but they don't last long enough. We are told that James has a licence to kill but that he also chooses who not to kill. At the end of the film, James has the opportunity to kill his life-long enemy (Franz Oberhauser) but chooses not to do so. Instead, James says he has better things to do and runs off with Madeleine into the night. Another out-of-character scene? Yes, and completely unsatisfying.
How do the villains rate? Well some scenes involving Mr Hinx and Franz Oberhauser border on horror and are difficult to watch without excessive grimacing. Earlier in the movie, Lucia Sciarra warns Bond that the members of Spectre are extremely dangerous and have no mercy. They are pure evil. But the calm composure of Franz Oberhauser reminds me exactly of the Merovingian from The Matrix Reloaded. Whereas the Merovingian was obsessed with cause and effect, Franz Oberhauser is obsessed with another kind of cause and effect when he tortures Bond.
Villain Franz Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz.
In every Bond film, fans love to see what new high-tech gadget Q will give James, but even that aspect of Spectre was downright boring. I don't know why, but somebody sucked the life out of this film. With each successive movie, audiences expect to see something better but it's just not happening. If you watch Spectre once, it will be enough as you too will be asking yourself "where's the Bond we all love?"