Spectre: The end of a cycle


Photo by: Google Images

Grade: B

Verdict: Marked by both strong and weak points, “Spectre” is a fun film, but not an unforgettable one.

Daniel Craig never seemed like a good Bond to me. If you share the same opinion, it’s likely that “Spectre” won’t change it. While picking a favorite Bond actor is almost like picking a favorite president – everyone seems to love a different one. I must begin this review by stating that Craig isn’t my top pick.

Why, then, bother with “Spectre”? If for nothing else, the directing of Sam Mendez is excellent, despite a few mistakes in the way. The villain (Christopher Waltz) is classic: a man of few words, obsessed with the ever unattainable world domination. All which supposedly will help him be cured of his psychological problems. Finally, the Bond girls are dreams come true and everything these characters are supposed to be: sensual, beautiful and enigmatic.

In “Spectre,” Bond chases after a man following a taped message of M, his mentor who died at the end of “Skyfall” (2012). In this chase, Bond isn’t supported by the British Secret Service. After causing chaos in Mexico, he’s asked to take an indefinite break. There are also talks behind closed doors of discontinuing the secret agent program.

The film opens with what ends up being one of its best scenes. Bond and an attractive woman are in a Dia de los Muertos parade in Mexico. In one long take, we see them entering a hotel, going to the elevator, where they slowly begin kissing, and then walking to a room. We are ready to watch a love scene, but Bond has other plans. He leaves through an open window and begins walking on the ledge of the hotel until he stops and aims at three men in a building on the other side of the street.

This opening encapsulates the very best of Bond films: sexy and tense. The long take never allows us to breath. The “what happens next” question is accentuated by it. The movie draws you in like the great opening paragraph of a novel. Then, tragedy strikes.

Not plot wise. Bond lives to fight another day. The initial credits, however, which follow these first 10 minutes of cinematic mastery, undo everything the opening does. These opening credits, which last a few minutes, are accompanied by a sleepy, uninspired score by Sam Smith (Writing’s on the Wall). After such a grabbing first sequence, the music is utterly disappointing. The credits themselves are exaggerated, confusing scenes in a collage filled of psychedelic backgrounds and weak, strange symbols. Even an octopus holds Bond’s gun.

The Bond girls are perfect in their roles. Monica Belluci, the oldest Bond girl ever at 51, plays an incredibly sexy scene with Bond in front of a mirror. She warns Bond that he’s in danger with her and he replies “I can think of much worse ways to die.” Léa Seydoux’s beauty is much less mature than Belluci’s. Her eyes, however, have a danger in them, making them pierce through the screen, just as they pierce Bond’s heart. Seydoux is also the best of the cast in the film in terms of acting.

“Spectre” is an enjoyable film, not a perfect one, nor a title I’d dare to call a future classic. It can be enjoyed by itself for its action scenes, the great villain, the wonderful Bond girls and the beautiful locales. Either way, “Spectre” will keep you in your seat for all its 150 minutes, which go by fast like Bond’s Aston Martin.