Looking back on the year so far, 2015 has truly proven itself to be a season of espionage. We’ve had the unexpectedly enthralling Kingsman: The Secret Service, the surprise hit comedy Spy(my personal favourite), the 60’s thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E and the suspense filled Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Now, everyone’s favourite secret agent, James Bond returns to our screens to take his rightful place on the spy-movie throne – or does he? ‘When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.’
It’s no secret that Daniel Craig’s career as James Bond has been a somewhat of turbulent one. In the 24th instalment of the franchise, Craig reprises the role for his fourth mission, Spectre.
Okay, I have to admit it. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of yet ANOTHER Bond movie, in fact, I had little intention of going to see it. Yet despite my reservations, on opening night, there I was with my cinema card in one hand and my ticket in the other.
As someone who was brought up in the Sean Connery era, I have always found it hard to connect with Craig’s portrayal of 007. This was never really to the fault of the actor, but rather that of the writers, and the struggle to tone down and modernise the suave and (satisfyingly)sexist Bond.
Not wanting to give away too many plot points, Spectre follows the ever-confident 007 as he skips across the globe, trying to track down a criminal organisation whose desires are less than clear.
We open with an action sequence set in Mexico City on Dia De Las Muertos, the Day of the Dead, with the big clue ‘the dead are alive’ flashed at us from the get go. The starting sequence sees our hero accidentally blow up a building and almost crash a helicopter into a crowd of unsuspecting civilians.
I honestly felt the opening sequence was somewhat clumsy, but after settling into the idea of an old style bond film, mixed with the contemporary character we have known more recently, I started to enjoy the dark and satirical undertones on offer.
Finally after years away from the Sean Connery rendition, we get to see Bond being pure Bond. Spectre was Craig’s first chance to play the role fully formed without having to play the character as vulnerable or damaged. He’s also tougher than he’s ever been, which proved to be both ridiculous and amusing – with some particularly fantastic fight scenes between 007 and an unbeatable hitman, Mr Hinx.
During the motion picture, 007 explores two love interests, but his mixed portrayal of the notoriously sexist spy left Bond seeming conflicted. That and the fact that he seemed to fall in love at the drop of a hat was pretty ridiculous.
Of the few things I knew to expect from Spectre, the presence of lovely Monica Bellucci was one. More than a match for Bond girl expectations, I was disappointed by her limited on screen time and lack of meaningful dialogue (It’s Anne Hathaway in Les Mis all over again!). Still Bellucci manages to go head to head with Craig’s steely persona, and her stage presence was evident from the onset.
Spectre tries to deliver some of the old-fashioned thrills that made Connery’s era such a hit, it gave many nods to some of the most beloved Bond films. Although I was left particularly unsatisfied when he failed to deliver one of the most classic 007 tag-lines, when ordering a martini, one must alway specify preferences in preparation. Bond of all people knows that!
Quite honestly, there were a few periods during the screening where I was *almost* bored, but Mendes manages to keep me on my toes. Introducing gruesome, shocking and unexpected twists. Culminating in a pretty spectacular, if not slightly horrific, torture scene that includes a cranial drilling machine, with Bond and his undead Skyfall nemesis, Oberhauser played by the talented Christoph Waltz.
This rendition was lacking for me, just short of 150 minutes, at times, it felt endless. Even after the finale, I was still left trying to figure out the actual plot.
That being said, I enjoyed the movie, I did, it was Bond after all! But the two biggest disappointments of the release, for me anyway, was the lack of 007 gadgets, and then the disappointing and less than overwhelming track provided by Sam Smith. But then again, Skyfall was always going to be a tough one to beat.
(If you’re wondering why I’ve failed to mention Money Penny, it’s because her character was basically redundant.)
What did you guys think of the movie?
Let me know below!