SPECTRE

(2015)
With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear
Directed by Sam Mendes
Reviewed by JB

Skiing, again     SPECTRE, Daniel Craig's swan song, is the most generic of all four post-Brosnan films.  There are loads of chases and fights, a couple of Roger Moore-style gags, and even one or two Bondian quips, a rarity in the Craig era.  The film works on the same level as THUNDERBALL, LIVE AND LET DIE, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS or TOMORROW NEVER DIES.  That is - there is nothing in this Bond film you haven't seen in any other Bond film.

     That's okay, because all four of those above-mentioned films are still fine entertainment, as is SPECTRE.  The problem is that the filmmakers were going for much more.  For the first time since the sly, slapsticky opening to FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, the series brings back both Ersnt Stavro Blofeld and his evil organization Spectre.  The film should have been one of the best, and it isn't.  Especially irritating is the new trend of casting against type ("You know who would make a great Lex Luthor?  Jesse Eisenberg!") which gives us Christopher Waltz as Blofeld.  I haven't seen him in anything else, but as one of the great literary villains of all time, he's a washout.

     Still, I've watched the movie twice, two weeks in a row (first at home, and then showing it to a friend) and was entertained both times.  SPECTRE may not be the movie it should have been, but it does wrap up Daniel Craig's excellent run in a way that provides a satisfying closure than no other actor who played James Bond ever had. 3½ - JB

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The Secret Vortex


HOW TO TALK LIKE A BOND VILLAIN

"Goodbye, Mr. Bond."  (Not the most original line, but a fitting one for this film)


HEY THERE, RALPHIE-BOY!

    It goes without saying that Ralph Fiennes is an excellent actor, memorable in such films as SCHINDLER'S LIST, QUIZ SHOW, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and, of course, the Harry Potter films.  He replaced Dame Judith Dench as M at the end of the previous film SKYFALL but has little to do.  Thankfully, this time around, he gets to do more than sit behind a desk, and actually participates in some of the action near the end of the film.  It remains to be seen if he will be back when the "new Bond" takes over for Craig, but he deserves mention here as the latest of a fine series of "M"s.