[Film Review] Spectre (2015)

Spectre poster

Title: Spectre
Year: 2015
Country: UK, USA
Language: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German
Genre: Action, Adventure
Director: Sam Mendes
John Logan
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade
Jez Butterworth
Ian Fleming
Music: Thomas Newman
Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Daniel Craig
Léa Seydoux
Christoph Waltz
Ralph Fiennes
Ben Whishaw
Monica Bellucci
Naomie Harris
Dave Bautista
Andrew Scott
Rory Kinnear
Jesper Christensen
Alessandro Cremona
Stephanie Sigman
Judi Dench
Rating: 6.3/10

After achieving an acme for the prestigious 007 franchise in SKYFALL (2012), both among critics and money-wise, SPECTRE is designed to take down a peg or two from the former (especially losing the best part of the cast, the indispensable dame Dench), but the producers don’t flinch to lose the battle on the latter front, so a safer plan is to recruit Sam Mendes to dish up the same pattern of Bond’s (Craig) globe-trotting escapades, with a villain in a higher rank.

The opening gambit in Mexico City during Day of the Dead is a pleasant spirit boost with a runaway helicopter hanging over a mass crowd, which coincides with the ending to emphasise that helicopter is a convenient but very portentous vehicle for villains, next round, choosing a means of public transportation perhaps, the Tube instead. But sad to say, the ensuing happenings are less impressive, since Bond has to go rogue again, to track down the leader of the Spectre organisation, Franz Oberhauser (Waltz), who is the son of the man who took care of an orphaned Bond when he was young. From Rome, to Austria, to Tangier, then to the centre of the desert, where an intelligence facility is set up by Spectre, will be blasted as default. Then the final confrontation is back in London, the old MI6 building, running against the ticking time-bomb, Bond will prevail in the end.

Plotwise, there is little to feel energised to talk about, the ever-so-effete trend of the evil master-brain, takes a drab downturn as Oberhauser, or under the name identity as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, looks and acts less threatening (what is the purpose of torturing Bond by thrusting needles into his brain? And even for Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann, he seems to be a harmless chap to sit nearby), to concur with Bond, his rambling speech is completely ho-hum. While Bond girls, Seydoux and Bellucci both are stuck in the frustrating stereotype of sultry victims waiting to be rescued by Bond’s overblown omnipotence, only this time, age doesn’t matter, but one is just a casual fling and the other is (supposedly) a soulmate. A 50-year-old Belluci and a 30-year-old Seydoux, who will Bond choose? It is a cinch to divine.

Supporting cast is what we can assume in a standard Bond’s film, the only exception is Whishaw’s Q, who has been usually granted an opportunity to proceed a perilous field work and gives off a frisson of suspense which we cannot trace in Bond’s death-defying vitality (and in this case, also for Bond girls). One wish to see Bond in real trouble (not his girls or friends, but him), not lethal but after the rehashed story being told again and again, audience is reaching a plateau where a need to see something more viscerally damaging to intimidate Bond, otherwise, the appeal ebbs quickly after a fourth time, maybe time for a new Bond is opportune now.

“The license to kill is also the license not to kill”, is the reason why espionage like 007 should exist (in the fictitious world though, in real life, hopefully no), and as the ending properly shows, SPECTRE is conventional in its core but glossy enough to appease the average taste, a safe bet to cash in on its opening weekend, but definitely not stylish or creative enough to sustain its longevity or reputation.

Oscar 2015 - Spectre

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