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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Movie Review- Spectre

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!! "Who loves kitty?!"


Introduction

"Bond, James Bond". Everyone who's watched a television or has been to a theater in the last fifty years, knows that line. It's as ingrained into our culture as "May the force be with you" or, the song "Take me out to the ball game". Its fan base has only gotten bigger and bigger since Sean Connery first uttered those words in Dr. No. Me personally, I never really got into the 007 phenomena until 1995's Goldeneye. I had seen bits & pieces of The Living Daylights and License to Kill when they were fairly new but, I was too preoccupied with playing with my Transformers and listening to gangster rap to pay much attention. My feelings on comparing classic Bond to modern Bond are similar to those that I have about processed foods to natural foods; If you have the over-sweetened, over-salty, flavor enhanced, artificial foods first (modern Bond), then the blander, more natural foods (original Bond) pale in comparison. That's what happened to me; I saw the newer Bond films first and when I later saw the classic originals, they didn't hit me like they should have. I can appreciate them for what they are yet, I can never go back. The modern day Bond, especially the Daniel Craig versions, are my favorite. It's like comparing Cheetos to unflavored popcorn. One is definitely better for you but, the damage has already been done by the other.

Spectre

Regardless of how many spy films that they throw at us, even in the same year (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation, Bridge of Spies), James Bond is still the alpha male at the top of that list. Every spy movie is compared to it including itself. I would compare Bond's latest film Spectre, to its predecessor, Skyfall. They are connected in an overall story arc that goes back to 2006's Casino Royale. Spectre has less of one thing than Skyfall and more of another. I believe that Skyfall is a better altogether film than this one but, Spectre is a lot more fun. Where Skyfall was a bit too serious (like Ang Lee's Hulk from 2003), Spectre tends to lighten things up in the way of the Pierce Brosnan films. I'm glad that this time around doesn't feel as emotionally draining, even though there are a couple of things that needed more punch. The start of the film is the best part. In what is presented as a ten-plus minute, one shot take, we glide through the skies down to a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City, to a foot journey with two masked spectators. It's a pleasure to watch it unfold and a precursor to the rest of Spectre's beautiful cinematography. Aside from Mexico, amazing shots and sets are seen in Morocco, Italy, Austria, and of course, England. The style is as cool as always yet, sometimes I wonder if I'm watching less of spy film and more of a high end jewelry commercial. There is an overall brown theme to the look of this film. It may look stylish but I just keep picturing the 70's and how boring that palette was back then. The car chases, fight scenes, and complete action, never disappoint. Now the big reveal of the film? That's another question.
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) plays the film's main villain and secret puppet master to all of Bond's problems. Waltz is as good an actor as we have seen but, the before & after of his character's agendas and identity aren't that "Spectre"acular. It almost comes off  as, "Oh, by the way. I'm actually this guy and I've done this and this and this to you". His whole setup should have been better written and given as much attention as was given to Daniel Craig's wardrobe. Craig is as commanding as ever with what seems like less dialogue this time around and more witty remarks. He and his other costars add light doses of humor throughout the movie but never get close to campy. I still find it difficult to believe that these films try to create an intense love story between Bond and one of his flavors of the moment, in this case, with Lea Seydoux (Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol). Their relationship ignites quickly once it starts and is never a hint as good or believable as it was with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale. I understand the sexual attraction, just not enough to believe that it would make someone give up everything for someone in so short a time. Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges), Naomi Harris (28 Days Later), Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas), Monica Bellucci (Shoot'Em Up), and Andrew Scott (Sherlock), all have a few moments to establish themselves as important to the story. Some in my opinion deserved a little more time than others. My favorite though, is the guy with the least amount of dialogue; Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Mr. Hinx. This film knows how to use him by shutting him up and unleashing his ass kicking abilities. He's like the Oddjob (Harold Sakata, Goldfinger) for a new generation.

 The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Spectre

The Good- Bond seducing Bellucci, Aston Martin vs. Jaguar along the Tiber river, a visit with Mr. White, snow play with a wingless plane, hot sex after a train fight, making a bigger crater where there already is one, and safety glass confrontations.

The Bad- Sam Smith may be a good singer, but his intro theme song "Writing's on the Wall", is a whiny, overlong, piece of uselessness, that's as boring as it is poorly chosen for this film. A remix of Adele's Skyfall performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace) would have fit better (That's saying a lot). Just hit mute during this part of the film and play some Sade over it instead.

The Ugly- What happened to the beautiful Latin lady that Bond left on the bed back in Mexico City? Did he ever go back? We'll never know since he just kept flying away in that damn helicopter. I totally expected him to land it on the roof of the hotel for a romantic booty call.

Final Thoughts on Spectre

Spectre is not as grandiose as its intentions imply but, it is a lot of fun and a spectacle to behold. It is definitely worth seeing and one the most all around good movies this year. If this is Craig's final round as 007, he goes out on a decent if not forced note. But either way, he always looks cool doing it. I would love to see Idris Elba (Luther) behind the wheel of the next Aston Martin. Hey, if they can make Bond a blondie (Craig), why not make him a brotha?
Rating- 8 out of 10
148 Minutes
Action/Thriller/Drama

Spectre (2015)

PG-13  |   |  ActionAdventureThriller  | 6 November 2015 (USA)
A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Director:

 

Writers:

  (screenplay), (screenplay)

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