I have actually been lamenting putting this one together because I don’t know where to start or finish. I finally decided, what the hell – I might as well put it out there and say I did not enjoy Spectre as much as I wanted to.
In fact, my level of ambivalence was so great, that during the screening and in its immediate aftermath, I was left going through the list of exactly what is it that I really like about the Bond franchise as a whole (still pondering this one). But I guess this particular discussion is best left for another day and time, that way I can focus on what worked and (mostly) didn’t work for me in this latest installment.
I had very high hopes coming off my enjoyment of 2012’s Skyfall. We had a returning director (Sam Mendes), scribe (John Logan) and of course Bond (Daniel Craig). Add two time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz to the mix, along with the other returning supporting actors (Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Wishaw) and you could not go to wrong, could you?
Well, I got some good news and some bad news in that regard …
It’s a pretty picture – All the stuff you see on the screen sure is nice to look at (imagine it looks better in IMAX – I saw it on a standard screen). I was particularly taken with the “Bond visits Hoth” set piece.
It ticked all the boxes – In addition to the aforementioned, you have all the ingredients to make this a Bond film:
- Pretty people wearing pretty clothes, sometimes under the most unbelievable of circumstances. And yes, I do realize this is a Bond film so suspension of disbelief comes free with purchase, but still….
- Product placement. At once a distraction for me has now become a fun game really. Figuring out which sponsors were able to insert their brands into the story passes the time well.
- Nice cars n stuff. The cars and gadgetry were pretty cool. Not too over the top but still kinda neat.
- Some self-effacing humor. Maybe a little too on the nose at points, but at least the film recognized the ridiculousness of some of the situations that were taking place.
- The opening sequence. While I am still undecided on the theme song (maybe I need to listen to it a few more times to make a final determination) I liked the opening credits sequence. Cool.
I like Craig as Bond – Craig plays Bond with a level of aloofness/world-weariness that I can really appreciate.
The plot – I feel like I knew what they were going for but in the execution, it just fell flat for me. The objective I supposed was to take the very personal story of Bond (introduced in and told to better effect in Skyfall) and expand upon it. Great idea since I kind of like the idea of understanding James Bond’s backstory. And I got a taste of that, but on the whole I felt like it (the script) was a bit aimless.
Blink and you might have missed it – In what I can only describe as a cameo and not a featured performance, we have the lovely Monica Bellucci in the role of quickie paramour/plot propellant. Can she even be categorized as a “Bond Girl” is my question. Side note: “Bond Girl” is a problematic term in its own right, but I digress.
Speaking of love … – I get it, Bond always gets the girl, but in this case, the romantic element seemed kind of forced. The “damsel in distress” (played by Léa Seydoux) could hold her own; upon her introduction she did not come off as someone who would necessarily fall under the spell of Mr. Bond. But alas …
A bit of a waste, really – On paper when you think “perfect Bond villain” Christoph Waltz would seem to fit the bill. While I commend his ability to ham it up in this role, his motivation seemed a little incongruous for the acts he is responsible for perpetrating.
I guess if I had to point out one thing above all others identified above, I would have to say that the story (script) really let the side down on this one.
Think what I might, at the end of the day, and despite what I or any other naysayers have to say, and, as the Sunday B.O. reports suggest, Spectre will do gangbusters and give MGM/Columbia Pictures the desired results ($$$$). Which is fine, but all I can say is that is not anger I am feeling, just disappointment.