Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015)

What's it about? James Bond (Daniel Craig) has gone rogue (again), this time in a globe-trotting investigation which matches him against shadowy organisation SPECTRE and new(?) bad guy Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz).


Is it any good? A bit of a disappointment actually. It's not bad, but it's a rather shapeless, muddled entity, with plenty of spooks, and some demons, but little spirit - a pale shadow of the much superior Skyfall. It's a pity, because at its heart is a neat enough attempt to bind the DNA of the four Craig Bond movies into one inter-related family, one which is even proud of the hopelessly retarded Quantum of Solace when it could have just kept it hidden in the attic. Sadly, it takes so long to introduce both Waltz and love interest Léa Seydoux that this central theme is lost in a baggy story, when leaner writing could have used both characters to develop some genuine threat and emotion. Waltz in particular has good reason to feel short-changed, given little opportunity by the writers to develop his baddie into doing anything more memorable than wearing shoes with no socks.

There are some highlights, however. The opening sequence, which features a bravura tracking shot set against the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico City, is really terrific. Ben Whishaw pretty much steals the show as Q whenever he turns up and Wrestlemania star Dave Bautista impresses as silent-but-deadly adversary Mr Hinx. And there's always that Pavlovian thrill any time the dah-da-da-dah! theme kicks in. So it's perfectly watchable, but in comparison to Skyfall, this sprawls in too many directions, lacks any backbone, moves slower and is a bit pea-brained. That must be what the octopus is about.

I don't trust you. What do others think? Ecstatic reviews from the first few screenings have tempered quickly into a more measured reception, as the hype dies down a bit and people start to realise that there's maybe a good reason Craig was so grumpy in those press interviews. Although Mendes and the writers must shoulder some of the blame, I think it's fair to lay the blame squarely at the feet of Sam Smith who squawks his way through the ghastly theme song. Things went downhill after that.

What does the Fonz think? Should also have been called Heptopussy

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