Spectre (2015)

Packed with action, but feels overdrawn and coming across as rote, this latest Bond flick serves up a familiar if disappointing fare.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Dir. Sam Mendes
2015 | UK/USA | Action/Adventure/Thriller | 148 mins | 2.39:1 | English 
PG13 (passed clean)  for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language |

Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris
Plot: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind ‘Spectre’.
Awards: Won 1 Oscar – Best Original Song
Source: Sony Pictures

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Normal (but too long)
Audience Type: Mainstream

Review #1,228

(Reviewed in theatres – first published 3 Nov 2015)

Spoilers: No

Skyfall (2012) was one of the most accomplished James Bond flicks in its history. Spectre, in contrast, is disappointing. It will however have another sensational run at the box-office, though that is no indicator of the merits of this uninspired outing.

Sam Mendes once again returns to the director’s chair, but his follow-up to Skyfall not just pales in comparison, it can come across as woefully rote. Spectre ticks all the checkboxes of a Bond film, which is okay and what every Bond movie should do, but the boxes are ticked as if going through the motions, like a factory worker doing basic regulatory checks.

The movie feels like a rehash of what was done before. The worst part is that Mendes and the screenwriters (led by the remarkable John Logan) don’t appear to be trying to avoid the clichés, which you could smell a mile away.

Daniel Craig reprises the 007 role for the fourth time without breaking a sweat. He retains his charisma and charming presence, but also the physical rigour of a spy who is constantly up and about.

“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond.”

This time round, he has to uncover a secret organization led by the villain Oberhauser (a deliciously evil but criminally underused Christoph Waltz), who wants to control the world by centralizing surveillance. Bond girl is played by the gorgeous Lea Seydoux, which brings to mind: can they call on Adele Exarchopoulos for the next instalment please?

Spectre was shot in many countries, namely Mexico, Morocco, Italy and Austria, with the superb location work one of the film’s few strengths. Another positive note, at least for action junkies, is that the movie is jam-packed with stunts and spectacular action. Though I must confess that some of the action sequences throw logic out of the window. I guess only action junkies have the ability to make sense of things.

Overall, Spectre feels overdrawn, as if trying to cramp in as many set pieces as possible. The plotting is easy to follow, and I mean it as a disservice to the movie. Unlike Skyfall’s more dense and substantial narrative that privileges drama first and action second (this is why it is so much more riveting), Spectre gets clunky and tiresome pretty quickly. Well, at least everyone would agree that this fares better than the atrocious Quantum of Solace (2008).

Grade: C+



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