I find myself highly disappointed in Spectre. It seems the filmmakers tried to use a checklist to satisfy the idea of what elements are needed in a James Bond film. This causes the picture to not live up to the quality of it’s predecessor Skyfall. Also, as the media has reported, this may be Daniel Craig’s last Bond movie and the director Sam Mendes tries way to hard to make memorable scenes versus letting the film play out naturally. This film needed one more review of the script and perhaps needed to be delayed until they Bond team got everything tightened up.
Evil henchman, check. Surprise twist, check. Good looking Bond women, check. Great locations, check. Great story and script, um no. The story only exists to further the various sequences in the film, it does not bind them together. I can tell you exactly what the great Bond films where about. In a month, I won’t be able to tell you what Spectre is about.
The movie opens with some of the best action and visual sequences of any Bond film. I don’t know how they did it, but the sequences shot during the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City are just fantastic. At one point, I felt a bit out of sort as my stomach was queasy from watching the fight within a helicopter above a crowded square. The back and forth in the copter was outstanding. This is the highlight of the film and it is within the first ten minutes.
There are several wasted opportunities within the film. Starting with the female leads. Lea Seydoux and Monica Belluci are the two female Bond women in the film. Their roles should have been swapped. Belluci exudes sex appeal and Seydoux doesn’t really seem to have a great connection with Bond. At one point she tells Bond she loves him. They don’t have enough moments and they are in love? Bond fell deeply for Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, Seydoux’s character has none of her charisma and chemistry with Bond. Belluci connects with him more in five minutes than Seydoux does in the rest of the film. I never believe that they are in love.
The second wasted opportunity is Dave Bautista. Having seen him act as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, I know he can bring the serious and cheeky fun. In this film, they made the odd choice of making him a mute. He should have been taunting Bond and as a mute, they could have had him make motions and signals at Bond. While Mr. Hinx and Bond beat the living stuffing out of one another, Bautista not being able to talk takes away from the sequence.
The final great failure of the movie if Christoph Waltz. He is a fantastic bad guy in Inglorious Bastards and has this feeling of menace about him. But he never really brings it out and the director and screenplay do nothing to show him as a someone to fear. Your movie is only as good at it’s villain. Remember they are following Javier Bardem’s Silva from Skyfall. Silva is one of the best Bond villains ever, and Waltz’s Oberhauser just fall’s flat.
Not wanting to give away the surprise, I was just dumbfounded at the direction they chose to go. Introducing Spectre as the overarching evil organization and revealing the reason’s why they are doing what they are doing just made me shake my head. This all ties back to the point I made earlier, they should have done one more script revision before shooting the film.
1.5 Stars – NOT a Hitting a Mark recommendation (Sadly)