Spectre: Worst. Bond. Ever. Rest assured that I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.
If I had to sum Danel Craig‘s fourth outing as the super spy, it would be: Boring.
I’m not joking, either. So much was made of the ridiculously overhyped Skyfall, with almost every film critic in the land (and abroad) making it sound like it was the Second Coming of Cinema! It was not. Beyond a decent opening scene, we had Adele’s horrific warblings and then a film so limp and so badly directed the original prints should’ve done their own sky-fall, without a parachute, and be buried the desert along with the as-then-unearthed Atari VCS copies of E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.
As I said, that film had a decent opening scene, at least. That’s something Spectre doesn’t even manage. Well, perhaps slightly. However, it splutters along rather like the engine of the helicopter in which James Bond eventually finds himself. Before that, the film opens with a “spectacular single tracking shot” some critics have said. It doesn’t. There’s at least 2 obvious edits in there. And I’ve seen far more impressive – and longer – tracking shots.
And that sets the tone for Craig’s latest (and final?) Bond outing – everything it does has been done before. And much better.
Bond begins by going rogue in Mexico and stumbling across clues which begin to lead him towards the SPECTRE organisation (that is not a spoiler – the clue is literally in the title!). Following this, he’s is grounded, just like he was in 1989’s Licence to Kill (which was meant to be called Licence Revoked, since his licence to kill gets revoked) but the filmmakers didn’t think that Americans would understand what ‘revoked’ meant. Wikipedia describe what happened next in that movie as “Bond flees from MI6 custody and becomes a rogue agent, bereft of official backing, although he later receives unauthorised assistance from MI6 armourer Q.” And that’s what happens with Q, here. And Moneypenny. And just about everyone else Bond seems to interact with on a daily basis, making the whole point of being grounded redundant.
And then come the tired cliches such as the exchange:
- Moneypenny: “They say you’re finished.”
Bond: “I’m just getting started.”
The whole thing reminded me, in that aspect of Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, retiring the IMF for the umpteenth time, but at least most of those films are delivered with the adequate humour, panache and action.
Elsewhere in the threadbare plot, due to various government mergers, MI5 et al is being replaced by “9 Eyes”, a worldwide initiative where the nine largest nations take over and deal with all kinds of electronic surveillance where everyone is watched all the time (as if we don’t get enough of that in the UK already!). This new taskforce is called “CNS”, led by Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), who almost like like he’s about to blub because, in similar mono-lettered-name fashion, everyone calls him “C”. Constant overplay is made of how this relates to a swear word, but the only swear I can think of beginning with “C” is “crikey”.
Christoph Waltz turns up at around 40 minutes, as the supposedly mysterious Franz Oberhauser (albeit not at all if you can put two and two together – and do NOT look on Wikipedia for this film unless you want it to get the whole Spectre game away!), and then disappears for another hour before having a bit more impact, but overall not having too much screentime, harking back to Skyfall and The World Is Not Enough, where both main baddies didn’t turn up until the films were half-over!
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film.