I know it’s been weeks since Spectre released yet I can’t shake it off. I was told, warned and maybe held back, from watching Spectre! I was wondering how Sam Mendes could fuck it up. He helmed Skyfall for chrissake, one of the finest James Bond movies in recent times. Spectre was also rumored to be Daniel Craig’s last Bond movie and it deserved to be nothing less than epic. This is going to be a scathing review of Spectre and nothing else. While there’d be many who liked the movie or maybe even some who’d pass this off as a good entertainer, for me it was a very bitter affair.
I grew up watching Sean Connery’s James Bond, thanks to my parents influence. Although Pearce Brosnan could be considered the Bond of my generation, he always fell on the cheesy side of things. Of course he had the personality and the panache of James Bond and for a time it was indeed good, but by Die Another Day, Pearce’s time was almost over. When news broke out that Daniel Craig was cast as the next bond, he had to take major flak. Even I had my doubts at the time, but Daniel Craig and Casino Royale turned out to be the best thing that happened to the franchise. It was only until Casino Royale we’d known what we’d been missing all along. Hardcore bond fans did have a tough time getting used to a gritty James Bond and I guess they still do. Quantum of Solace was such a waste of an awesome title and it was undoubtedly the one that could be considered the worst of the lot. But in 2012, Sam Mendes did something nobody ever had the balls to try throughout all these years: Skyfall! James Bond had taken a new route and I was looking forward to Spectre.
Spectre starts off with a bang! A literal bang, setting things in motion at Los Muertos, the action set piece, the cinematography, the score everything was the very definition of ‘gluing somebody to their seats’. 20 minutes in, everything went kaput. The movie was so confused with the plot, the protagonist, the antagonist and everything in between. James Bond was reduced to an oh-so-caring, mushy character who grinned as often as Alfred E. Neuman. Daniel Craig did his best to portray the same gritty Bond we’ve gotten used to since Casino Royale but a bad script kept him on a leash. The less said about Christoph Waltz, the better. Of course he was his scene-chewing self as the antagonist, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but coming off as a seriously underwritten role who was given just 3 scenes. That too with him rather ‘explaining’ how he had been the author of all Bond’s pain than do anything intimidating? Believe me you’ll laugh your ass off when you learn about why Blofeld is hellbent on destroying Bond. Compared to Blofeld, Bautista’s Mr. Hinx, paying homage to old Bond villains, made a more powerful impact. What was Sam Mendes thinking when he was giving the all-powerful, all-evil organisation such hype and leaving it to our imagination at what they were up to and what exactly was at stake?
And yes, lets talk about Lea Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann. The femme fatale from Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and the blue-haired vixen from Blue is the Warmest Color is by all means a good bond girl. But I just can’t believe James Bond fell head over heels for her in a span of few hours. His rapport says that he’s a womanizer and following the events of Casino Royale we all know why exactly he was so. It was slapped all over that he’s already HAD ‘the one woman’ in his life: Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale, who’d wooed and broke his heart through the course of the whole movie. Hell, even Blofeld said so in the movie. And yet Spectre wants us to believe that James Bond would forget all that and go for Dr Swann whom he’d been with for a few hours. Sam Mendes, time again was trying hard to impose with the idea that Dr. Swan was the (next) one, a kind of redemption for James Bond to bid adieu to his 007 career, yet showed us nothing that made us feel the same. Monica Bellucci and Andrew Scott just becomes mere names in a AAA cast.
Why I am so pissed off is coz Skyfall had set a new never-before-pathway for the franchise. It had been a long ride for the Bond franchise, since the creation of the character itself in the 50s, 15 novels by Ian Fleming, plenty of spin-off novels, comics, cartoons and video games and the film series is now 50 years old. An extraordinary 23 official films, but few as extraordinary as Skyfall. Spectre is nothing but mediocre follow-up to Skyfall and had it not been Quantum Of Solace adorning a BAD rating, Spectre would have sunk further to the bottom. Sam Mendes…you disappoint me.