Thursday, 12 November 2015

Spectre

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. 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. 


"The Dead are Alive" are the very first words printed onscreen in Spectre, the 24th and far-from-last James Bond adventure. The success of Skyfall three years ago - yielding not just $1 billion worldwide but breathless reviews, two Oscars and even a BAFTA for Best British film - places this new opus in a tricky returning position. I am a huge James Bond fan, I've loved James Bond my entire life, so I was excited to see what Sam Mendes had done with this one. I've always saw them like superhero movies, starring an indestructible character who simply wore a tuxedo instead of tights and a cape. This film goes to epic lengths to deliver all you could conceivably want from this invincible franchise. From the gun to the other gadgets in Q's workshop, everything is back where it belongs. The "t" in Fleming's Spectre stood for terrorism - the SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge andExertion - and perhaps one of the first uses of the word in pop culture. Indeed, this is a thoroughly British movie franchise. Made of pure action mixed with a real sense of style.


Bond's adventure this time is a genuine personal journey, learning more about himself and others as well. Still, the death of Dame Judi Dench's M at the climax of Skyfall raised the personal stakes for the usual impermeable Bond in a fashion that can't be automatically repeated an instalment later. When Casino Royale have taken those elements away in order to do a more compelling story, here a more traditional Bond character is bring up. Daniel Craig is probably my favourite James Bond ever - equal to Connery. He has grown into the role of the British spy with flair and a welcome lightness of touch, a mix of inconscience and playful self-awareness, just right for a character still trying to find his place in the modern age. Plus, in Spectre Craig offers his most relaxed and witty performance to date as 007. If this is his farewell to the tux, he's going out in a pretty stylish way. Another person who has grown into his part is Ben Whishaw, as the perennially stressed quartermaster and tech supreme: Q. Given much more to do this time around he has developed him as a very enjoyable comic character.



Léa Seydoux and Daniel Craig have an excellent chemistry and you feel like something tangible is there in regards to a possible romance but the film doesn't explore that relationship as well as they could have. Indeed, Sorbonne-learnt psychologist Madeleine Swann skills with a gun doesn't offset the annoying damsel-in-distress role she's been assigned in the action; which at one point is so depressingly retrograde, it's a wonder Mendes didn't just tie her up to some railway tracks.   


David Bautista shows up every once in a while, does something incredibly bad ass and that's it: very minimal but functional character. Nonetheless his brutish physical threat leads to one of the greatest fight scene ever seen in a Bond movie. Later, we also get a horrible hi-tech torture scene, a new version of the sadism that was on display when Mads Mikkelsen was roughing 007 up in Casino Royale. Most importantly the shadowy introduction to Oberhauser was masterfully done, suspenseful and marvellously well shot, it gave us a promise for an intense character. Christoph Waltz has an almost papal presence while bringing his familiar streak of fruity menace to the role. He introduces us to the new big bad , Franz Oberhauser - aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld; please don't act surprised, neither of us were born yesterday! This new (old, really) villain makes Bardem's Silva look like a junior at best. Every scene he's in is amazing. You know those James Bond movies are not usually short so giving three scenes to Christoph Waltz. Three scenes! This was disappointing. You just want to see the villain and then comes this great scene and nothing for a long again. These movies need a good villain, a great villain, we got one but we need him to - like Silva in Skyfall - get things done. However Christoph Waltz just talk about how he hurt James Bond in the past and how good he HAS BEEN. 



Sam Mendes exercises complete control over his material. There is a sort of zen perfection to Spectre, with its steady pace ans smooth, confident execution, the virtuosity of it action and a beauty to the cinematography. Indeed, the cinematography is gorgeous. Seeing the opening tracking shot I told myself "this is going to be the best James Bond movie ever". Ultimately this film is one of the most well shot movie ever. The script runs on rails with great twists, turns and gags. The plot moves the Craig-era mythology forward in smart fashion, the unveiling of Spectre cues a modern-day rewrite of the classic Bond mythos. This busy but tightly controlled script offers a best of nostalgic feast for Bond fans; with nods to Live and Let Die, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, among others. An early car chase through the deserted night-time streets of Rome functions as a smile-inducing throwback to the days when a Lotus Esprit could turn into a submarine, or an Aston Martin could eject its passengers from something other than its side door


A superb craft contribution, admirably demonstrate how the franchise's technical bar has been raised in the last decade without even sweating on the innovation front. James Bond films are, and always have been, more imitative than innovative. Finally, this film feels like a culmination of everything the franchise has been building toward since Craig stepped into Bond part in 2006. 


Overall, this inventive, intelligent and complex new outing showcases Daniel Craig brilliantly in flawless set pieces and more action than Skyfall. Terrifically exciting and spectacular adventure that ties perfectly with the storyline. 



  • Why Daniel Craig should keep on the tux?
Recently Daniel Craig has hinted in interviews that he was ready to hang up Bond's tuxedo and Walther PPQ, in order to explore new challenges. If this is true, he should seriously reconsider. Outside of Bond Craig's films have done only marginal business. As Bond, Craig is gold, but that popularity hasn't (yet?) translated to other projects despite his considerable talent. You step outside of the tuxedo and some of the magic goes away with it. Spectre does tie all the previous Craig films together, so it could be seen as a perfect send-off for the actor. Last but not least, if he does exit the series, Craig deserves all the praise for keeping the Bond franchise relevant in the 21st century and as an actor he proved to the world - but mainly the few sceptics - that he was worthy. He brought a certain sense of danger to Bond. He looks like he could crush a man's skull with his bare hands. He deviated in other ways as well. Daniel Craig landed a bit of mystery to the character and people liked a darker Bond.

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