Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz & Ralph Fiennes
Running time: 148 min
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.
We here at FTN have had such high hopes for Sam Mendes’ second directorial outing and Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as the unstoppable spy, James Bond, 007, license to kill.
All the pieces were in place; Craig and Mendes had begun to bring some of the humour of classic Bond back in Skyfall, so it looked like it would be back this time out (it is, in force; and most of it works), the cast was looking impressive with Christophe Waltz, Dave Bautista and Andrew Scott all signed up, and all potential villains, and the set pieces in the trailers looked great.
Well, some of it turned out to be true. First, the good: The humour is back with a vengeance with Bond throwing out one liners and some silliness occurring that has been missing since Brosnan hung up the gun and it’s a welcome addition here, with it feeling like it was a natural progression over the four movies. There’s a few laugh out loud moments, but most of them are more smirking to yourself… and that’s just fine.
The cast are great, the regulars – Craig, Fiennes as M, Naomi Watts as Moneypenny and especially Ben Whishaw as Q – all have their moments to shine and do more than adequately with the roles they are given. And the new additions, Dave Bautista as Hinx, Andrew Scott as Denbigh and Christophe Waltz as Franz Oberhauser all do great stuff; sadly, they are pretty much working with nothing as all three of them make do with what they have but it’s thin on the ground.
Anyone who knows how Bond movies work will know pretty much know what is what when the movie starts moving and that’s fine, it’s a tried and tested formula; sadly, it really could have been shook up here as it just feels a little empty.
The story overall is thin on the ground and it is, for the most part a lot of fun racing through it, but the production seems more concerned with exotic locales and fun action scenes (as they certainly should) than it does with lacing it all together (as it shouldn’t) so ultimately we’re left with many fun parts that just don’t add up to a great whole. Which is a shame.
I really don’t want to talk too much about certain plot points as to do so would spoil certain events and reveals in the movie, but it most be said that one of the things I was most looking forward to was SPECTRE. I wanted the SPECTRE from old, that planned to launch missiles from volcanoes and had underwater bases and plans to wipe out the world and, I know the idea was to bring Bond back to earth with the new movies, but when SPECTRE returned I wanted it to be THAT Bond again… feeling confident that’s what we would get.
But we don’t.
Sadly, while the movies does its damned best to force down our throats that the previous three movies led up to this (we get it, Vesper was important!) it all felt that SPECTRE itself was a bit, well, meh.
It has the grand plan (that’s not exactly all that far-fetched in our post-9/11 world) and it has its illuminati-type meetings and, yes, it does evil things (mostly off camera) but overall it felt like like Connery or Moore would have finished the job before the silhouetted women appeared in the opening credits.
That all said, it is overall a fun ride – great action scenes (the fight on the train is brutal, fast and fun, sort of like Michael Bay’s version of the Connery and Robert Shaw train fight), nice little nods to numerous Bond movies of old and a great cast, albeit one with little to really do, all come together to make a very passable 007 movie. But it’s no Skyfall.
But at least it’s not Quantum of Solace, am I right?
The movie is perfectly represented by Sam Smith’s theme, Writing’s on the wall; it never quite gets going and is passable but really works best when the traditional Bond tropes are squeezed in but ultimately it falls fairly flat and never hits a crescendo.
James Bond will return… but will he be the man we know? Only time all tell.
3 out of 5 Nerds