Spectre (2015 United Artists)

The Sam Smith theme tune is s**t, obviously, but the rest of Spectre is quite superior to most other 007 entries in the long and tortuous franchise going back to before most of us were even born. Heck, this may even be my favourite. If you’ve wanted a Bond film that successfully merges Craig’s gritty Casino Royale, with all the old school touches, look no further. Director Sam Mendes tries to create massive story-arcs that span 4 films! Adding to that he attempts to weigh in on Bond’s steely personality, giving him a back-story that almost turns him into Bruce Wayne. (Don’t laugh) In modern parlance, this is some deep s**t.

I will use the word s**t as a kind of tuning fork for this post. Every time I get bored this word will appear, as a leitmotif. Not a heavy motif. A light motif. OK, on with the show…It’s a smart film, with a lot of wit and plot, as well as action. Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz deliver outstanding performances, and the chemistry between Q, M, 007 etc is outstanding. I liked that the plot stayed focused on the task at hand, and not just on bedding meaningless Bond girls. Also, when there was action, it had a purpose within the plot – not just an effort to show off a new gadget (props to the new and clever Q in that department!) or blow something up.

Mendes opens the film with an incredible, five-minute opening shot following Bond as he makes his way through the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City. It’s a stunning visual coup, unprecedented for the series or in any other similar action film of recent years, and announces that Mendes, after making “Skyfall”, is still interested in innovating within what has become a British institution. Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is superb, matching Roger Deakins’ work on “Skyfall” by taking a very different approach: shooting on film, van Hoytema brings a sophisticated, even classical, elegance – capturing the blazing light of Morocco and the shadowy, diffused look of Rome. One of Mendes’ key legacies during his tenure as director of the series will be how elegant photography defines both of his films.

What other s**t can I praise? Bond is again going rogue and trying to save the world and heal his soul as he puts together the various elements of what led him to become 007. He might not like what he’ll find. However, we are certain to have a ball as he demolishes entire blocks and buildings in several parts of the world. We don’t have jets, but helicopters come alive and do very well here. New to the mix is Dave Bautista as Hinx (in the mode of Oddjob and Jaws), and Andrew Scott as C … the latest of those trying to shut down the “00” program. The evil doers have become more intellectual over the years, and Oberhauser and Spectre have the goal of global surveillance and controlling information and data. It’s a modern theme for a Bond film that also seems intent on reminiscing. There are nods to most previous Bond movies via (among other things) Nehru jackets, cats, scars, and a white dinner jacket. And it’s nice to see the gun barrel sequence back in the opening credits where it belongs.

As a pimp once said to his prostitute, after buying her some new pantyhose: This is the s**t.

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Comments

  1. Hilarious review, this is indeed the sh*t! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

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