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Spectre - Film Review

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Published April 11th 2016
Please note this review contains spoilers


Spectre's director Sam Mendes said audiences are already familiar with the Bond character, so he wanted to drop them straight into the action without wasting film-time on preliminary context. "[I wanted to] put them in the middle of a labyrinth and let them work their way out of it with the character" Mr Mendes told the American Society of Cinematographers.

"And then, gradually reveal the story later" he said. Sam Mendes does this with ease.




In a helicopter careening above a crowd of people screaming below, James Bond grapples with the villain before throwing him and his pilot into the landscape below.

Thus begins the opening scenes of Spectre in Mexico where thousands of people have gathered in the town to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

Following this death-defying introduction, the plot itself unravels with James Bond promising to protect the daughter of his, now deceased, nemesis from the villainous Sp.E.C.T.R.E. organisation.

The SPecial Executive for Counter intelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion aka Sp.E.C.T.R.E. seeks to control the world with their surveillance techniques while simultaneously blowing things up terrorism-style.



above: Spectre's theme song sees Bond risking his life to save a woman, and the world, from the octopus arms of Sp.E.C.T.R.E.)

The slinky arms of the octopus wrap around bodies as the opening song plays with fire. The octopus represents Sp.E.C.T.R.E. as a surveillance body with its arms everywhere. It is this octopus which recurs as the bullet hole's shattered glass, and as the embossed emblem on the ring.

spectre
The bullet hole with shattered glass represents the arms of SPECTRE's octupus symbol

As 007, it is James' duty to eradicate Sp.E.C.T.R.E. even after M16 has disavowed him. The best clue he finds is the emblem of the octopus on the ring he pulled off the finger of the guy he threw out of the helicopter.

Bond… James Bond
bond
James Bond. (Pic source: James Bond Facebook stills)


Rob Simmons, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and the affable 'rough around the edges' Mr Sean Connery have all resurrected James Bond. However, no Bond is yet to compare with…Mr… Daniel… Craig… ladies and gentlemen!

Like a crystal-blue eyed wolf hunting snow-capped mountains, and breathing plumes of warm breath into the frosty winter air, Mr Daniel Craig is the quintessential 21st century James Bond; wild with a piercing-blue gaze, mysterious yet minty fresh. Who needs a martini when one look at Daniel Craig's Bond can leave any woman…shaken, not stirred. Although this is to say each Bond character brought to life the imagination of Ian Fleming in his own way with a style that is simply Bond, no matter their colour. The rumour mill once winded around talk of Idris Elba playing the Bond character… and it would not matter. Bond is Bond, whatever colour he changed into could not change the character internally.

Bond Women
Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sicarra, Lea Seydoux as Dr Madeleine Swann, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny (pic source: Moviemarker.com)


Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, and Monica Bellucci play the Bond girls. Lea Seydoux is the daughter Bond is sworn to protect, Naomie Harris is a spy agent working with James, and Monica Bellucci is a widow who plays a bit-part at the beginning of the movie. Much has been said of Monica Bellucci's age in Spectre. She's only a youthful 50 year-old, closer in age to James Bond than the majority of his previous flings. In a phone call with Ms Belluci, Sp.E.C.T.R.E's director Sam Mendes said; "For the first time in history, James Bond is going to have a story with a mature woman. The concept is revolutionary."

It's just a shame they had to kill off Judi Dench in the previous Bond film Skyfall; nevertheless, Ralph Fiennes does a suavely delicious job at governing the undercover agency M16 in Spectre.

The Villains

bond christoph waltz blofeld
Above: Christoph Waltz plays villain Blofeld. Right: the Spectre ring emblematic of SP.E.C.T.R.E. (Pic source: on sale at christies.com)

Blofeld is the ultimate villain in charge of the evil Sp.E.C.T.R.E. organisation. Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, is psychopathically evil. Just like the ageless James Bond character himself, Mr Blofeld has also re-emerged looking somewhat different from his earlier characters. He has grown some hair and his face looks more chiselled in Spectre.
cat
Blofeld's fluffy cat

Although his fluffy white cat, which first appeared in For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Never Say Never Again (1983), makes a brief reappearance in this latest version.

Mr Blofeld increased his global notoriety when he skipped over into the comedy genre appearing as ultra-funny Dr Evil in Austin Powers.


(Above: Blofeld reincarnated as Dr Evil in Austin Powers)

An honourable mention goes to 21st century's Javier Bardem's portrayal of the twisted Raoul Silva in the previous Bond film released in 2012 called Skyfall. Javier Bardem's acting skills as the ultra-villain in No Country for Old Men is a close contender to the skills he portrayed as Raoul in the previous Bond film Skyfall.

Cinematography
A cinematographic landscape of monochromatic colours set amidst a darkened theme contrasts with earlier versions of the Bond films set-designed with pop-culture colour. At times, though, it does feel like one is driving along an endless road with the same view… camel, camel, camel, gold, camel, brown, camel, gold, brown etc… It would have been good to have contrasted the storyline's monochromatic colours with vibrant reds, brilliant blues, greens, yellows, oranges etc during the opening scene in Mexico.

Nevertheless, the colours fit within the screenplay, the mood of the latest Bond film, and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema's award-winning signature touch working with a 35mm.




A five star form of entertainment now out on DVD.

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