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Spectre Review

Recent world events have spurred action towards the elimination of MI6 and the double-o program, but James Bond (Daniel Craig) won’t let that stop him from going on one last secret mission.  Bond discovers a super secret cryptic meeting of evildoers, the head of which is cast solely in the shadow of some impressive back-lighting.  With MI6 prohibited from taking action, it’s up to James Bond to stop this organization, known as Spectre, from achieving global domination.


First order of business: new light bulbs. Seriously, guys, I can’t stress this enough.

The first scene of the movie is a brilliant long take shot in Mexico City, during a Day of the Dead celebration.  The music is bumping, the people are dressed in macabre fashion, and an impeccably dressed James Bond is in the middle of it all. The camera follows our dapper do-gooder through a bustling crowd, a building, its elevator, and up towards the roof.  All of it is captured in one take, and I’m not sure if there was digital editing involved — it could be possible — but I was very impressed.  Director, Sam Mendes (Skyfall), returns to direct, starting off the film with a dusty palette of colors in the Mexico scene, and as the movie went along, I grew to appreciate the cinematography even more. It gave this film a different look.  Mendes makes sure to capture vast exterior shots of beautiful landscapes before taking a closer look inside buildings or facilities that occupy the space.  I’ve always appreciated the Bond films for making me want to go to places I would never think of visiting, and this film just gave me more places to add to my bucket list.

This is Daniel Craig’s fourth time playing James Bond, and he doesn’t play the role weary-like. In fact, he plays it as an unimpressed spymaster, like he’s basically seen it all and there isn’t much this movie’s villain can do to surprise him.  There’s a fight scene where he basically points at one guy after punching him, and points a finger at him while yelling, “No!” He doesn’t even have to pummel these guys anymore, he’s so good. He just applies the right amount of beat down to anyone dumb enough to get in his way.
Usually Daniel Craig’s version of Bond would eliminate someone with extreme prejudice, but here he’s got a softer touch. I noticed a few henchmen weren’t even killed. One guy took a well-aimed bullet to the knee (aw, how thoughtful).
I noticed that this movie’s James Bond isn’t as grimy as he used to be.  He’s almost too much of a classic Bond.  He doesn’t make mistakes, he never misses his mark, and even the Bond theme music capitalizes his every Bond-ism.
Smart remark? Cue the Bond fanfare.  Bond girl says she’s totally not going to sleep with him, but then sleeps with him anyway? Cue the horns! I LOVE it! It might be silly at times, because some of it makes me want to roll my eyes, but I love it because it’s Bond fulfilling my expectation of who he is. He’s the epitome/parody of an international man of mystery (not Austin Powers).

Everything is falling apart, except me…

However, as much as I love a silly Bond, I’m a bigger fan of fan of Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale Bond, a Bond that was raw, super physical, and struggling with deep character building conflict.
Christoph Waltz, who was deliciously evil in Inglorious Basterds, is rarely used to his full potential in Spectre.  Waltz plays the head of the film’s titular organization and this movie’s Bond villain, and one would think that he’d nail it (which he did), but it’d be difficult for him to be an unforgettable villain when he gets barely any screen time.  Spectre is pretty formulaic. Matter of fact, it reminds me a lot of the Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation plot, except MIRN was a summer blockbuster, and Spectre is more a nuanced action drama.  Even though the movie’s opening was awesome, it does feel a lot like the rest of the story has been done.

Martini! I wanted the martini shaken, not me, you bloody fool!

I’ve been watching every James Bond movie since Pierce Brosnan’s Goldeneye, but I became a bigger fan since Casino Royale, so when I say that this movie was pretty good, believe that it’s a wholly biased and one-sided conclusion I reached before the film’s credits began rolling.
Now, as for my objective perspective? This movie was somewhat, “it’s okay, I guess,” and more of nothing worth writing home about. Spectre isn’t a must-see Bond movie, because it does just enough to clinch another sequel, which I would undoubtedly head out to go see — I’m a fool, I tell you — but I’d honestly wish that the whole of the film would have matched the quality of the film’s opening.  But that’s just not the case. Spectre misses its mark, but not its audience.
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