Jan 27, 2016

[Movies] Spectre (2015)

I was pretty sure that the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies had pretty much reached its peak with Skyfall, but I guess I was wrong to think that the folks behind the movies were going to walk way from such a lucrative franchise that easily. But it feels like such a shame since that movie presented a rather nice end t things and even felt like it connected nicely with the older James Bonds movie (at least most of them) as a sort of prequel.

But here's Spectre, the fourth movie that features Daniel Craig as the world's more famous spy. As much as Daniel Craig is rather easy on the eyes and a very compelling actor, I really felt like this movie just wasn't all that necessary.

But hey what do I know - I'm not exactly that deeply into the whole James Bond franchise and there are still far more movies in the series that I haven't seen than vice-versa. And I tried to go into this movie with an open mind and an eagerness to see what they could come up with. But in the end, I think I realized how much I missed having Dame Judi Dench as M.

Synopsis: Spectre is the 24th Eon Productions James Bond movie and the fourth in the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. It was directed by Sam Mendes with a screenplay by John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Jez Butterworth.

The movie starts with James Bond (Daniel Craig) executing a mission somewhat of his own based on orders given by the last M (Dame Judi Dench). At the same time, the current M (Ralph Fiennes) doing his best to defend the 00 section of the Intelligence arm while C is trying to get Britain to join the Nine Eyes global intelligence program together with 8 other countries. Bond is suspended for his somewhat rogue actions but he continues to pursue leads related to Spectre, some sort of global criminal organisation that has managed to escape attention or at least public scrutiny for so long.

As much as the whole aspect of the Spectre organization does make for an interesting plot twist and a nice way to introduce what becomes a longtime protagonist for James Bond, the way it was presented just fell a little flat for me. This is not to say that the fights or bad or anything - the opening sequence is pretty amazing and does make for good viewing. But as you get closer and closer to the big reveals related to Spectre, things just get so murky and confusing that it's either hard to keep up or just plan crazy at times.

It had a lot of elements familiar to James Bond movie fans and thus beloved, but also features some that felt more cliche and thus annoying. Strong moments like the opening fight don't quite make up for the low points where the story's narrative just doesn't flow all that well. Whether this is more of a screenplay issue or how the movie's story was directed is hard to pinpoint right off the bat.

Daniel Craig generally has his version of James Bond down pat, although there are moments when he doesn't quite carry across through the camera lens. But still, for the most part he is every bit of James Bond through and through and it makes for great movie moments.

I can't say all that much for the rest of the cast since their performances are just a little average in comparison to Craig or the roles they were written into just get rather confusion. In other extremes, some somewhat key characters seem rather underplayed or even not that irrelevant to the plot despite how much screen time or focus is dedicated to them.

Or maybe I'm just miffed at how silly so many aspects of the plot feel like. You expect spy thrillers to borrow a page from mystery stories and you as a member of the audience generally want to follow along in terms of the investigation. But that doesn't always seem to be the case in this movie and I wish it weren't that way.

So Spectre just reinforces that Daniel Craig is an amazing James Bond but the writers don't quite know what else to do with him. And I really, really miss the gravitas that Dame Judi Dench brought to the role M. So the movie only gets 2 unnecessary stunts out of a possible 5.


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