The long awaited 4th installment to the rebooted Bond series hit theaters earlier this month. Let me tell ya, I was so pumped to see this movie as I grew up watching old James Bond movies. Bond was my childhood badass, and he put other action movie heroes to shame in one way or another. Could John McClane beat James in a fight? Hell no, McClane wouldn’t stand a chance with all those kick-ass gadgets Bond has. Could Indiana Jones? All Jones ever does is punch people in the face and get lucky through sheer determination; Bond’s knowledge of martial arts would put Indy out of a fight in no time. And don’t even get me started on AHNOLD’s many (or few, depending on how you look at it) action heroes. The amount of charm Bond has makes up for any advantage AHNOLD has in brute force.
“Casino Royale” (2006) was easily my favorite Bond movie of all time. Daniel Craig brought the character of James Bond back down to earth and out of mediocrity by making him a real person. He had real feelings and was effected by the things that happened to him and those around him. The film itself was exhilarating, thrilling, and simply a damn good action movie.
“Spectre” is but a shadow of what Bond used to be. In order to put into perspective how far “Spectre” has dropped, imagine the Bond series is a man starting at the top of a Bungee Jump, which is the absolutely INCERDIBLE opening action sequence in “Casino Royale.” Now picture that man finally taking that first uncomfortable step into the air with “Quantum of Solace,” then feeling the freedom of the free fall during “Skyfall,” and then splattering his brains across the rocks at the end of “Spectre,” the rocks of course being the final scene where James angrily shoots at a helicopter with his 9mm pistol and brings it down with a lucky shot. HOLY SHIT, I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
This movie is plagued by the things that make action movies mediocre nowadays. The hero’s stakes are fabricated, the villains are one-dimensional and borderline cartoonish, and the story makes less sense than a Japanes-speaking piece of bologna trying to convince a vegan that he was plucked from a spirit tree and, is therefore, okay to eat. I was able to follow the story-line up until characters actually started talking about what was going on. Once you get to the half-way point and ignore whatever the hell was happening in the first part of the movie, things start coming together, but are never developed. For instance, the only motivation we get from the villain is that he’s “a visionary.” Sure, I’m a visionary too, I envision a future in which my action movie villains are cool and have a purpose. This story is full of cliches, littered with action sequences that only make you ask “how the hell does that happen,” and has some of the most uncomfortable love scenes I’ve seen in any movie… and I’ve seen “Deliverance.”
Probably the only redeeming factor of this film is it’s cinematography and directing style. The opening scene is a beautiful long-shot of Bond walking through a Dia de Muertos parade as colorful costumes, floats, and background characters surround him. The action sequence, as ridiculous as they may be, are still well shot, using lots of wide angels and easy-to-follow cuts. The new Bond movies are still prime examples of what action movies need to look like, minus the other bullshit that appeared in this film.
It was painfully obvious that Daniel Craig meant it when he said he would rather die than play Bond again. The character that starred in this film is nothing like the one introduced to us in “Casino Royale.” Craig obviously became either bored or tired during production of this film. While supporting actors like Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris add some character to the mix, they do not receive enough screen time to make a real impact. SPEAKING OF SCREEN TIME; the most atrocious sin this film makes, by far, is its absolute waste of Christoph Waltz as the antagonist, Blofeld. Time and time again, Christoph Waltz has taken a script and run with it, creating a memorable performance no matter how minor his role may be. What “Spectre” decided was that it was best to take arguably its best actor and only show him for a few minutes of screen time during a 2.5 hour movie. This isn’t Hannibal Lecter, people. Waltz’s character is not nearly interesting enough to hold an audience after 30 seconds of screen time like Hopkins was.
It’s a Bond movie. It’s not going to stray too far from its source material. I will say that the Sam Smith opening was pretty forgettable and will take half a point off for that.
X-Factor: 3/10, Bond has no chill
One thing that stuck with me is how “rapey” one of the scenes in the movie felt. Who knows, maybe I read into it wrong, maybe the actors failed to interpret the scene in the manner they intended? All I know as that everyone was uncomfortable with where the scene was going and there was most definitely some awkward questions parents of young children had to answer afterwords.
Overall: 5.4 out of 10
“Spectre” was mediocre. The Bond franchise was unfortunately allowed to slip back into the mix of endless action movie remakes and reboots. I nearly cried with disappointment leaving the theater. I went home and immediately popped in “Goldfinger,” to wash away the movie like a bad dream as words like “bullion” and “Pussy Galore” danced around in my head.