Review by Eric Renderking Fisk | March 2016
From IMDB and Google...
A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.
“Spectre” is one of those movies that reminds you why you love movies in the first place, especially the Action-Adventure genre. There were moments when I was reminded of other great movies that obviously include earlier entries of The Bond Franchise, Indiana Jones (especially “Raiders…” and “Temple…”) and countless others.
This specific Bond film reminded me of all the times I’ve asked myself, why can’t they (EON productions) do this with the franchise, why can’t the fight scenes be more realistic and brutal instead of looking so staged so often? How come there isn’t more jeopardy in some of the predicaments Bond is place in? And why is it that all the Bond movies feel like they’re mere parodies of the franchise?
Why can’t these Bond movies feel more realistic, put him in real world situations with the sense that our hero might actually not survive just like some of the original James Bond novels written by Ian Flemming? It’s hard to be at the edge of your seat if you don’t believe the main character is in any real danger.
"Spectre" reminds me of the old adage, be careful of what you wish for.
In this fourth – and perhaps final – outing for Daniel Craig – there are a couple of moments when we’re left wondering if this is the way they’re going to end the franchise. There were a few scenes where I thought, this would be pretty ballsy of them to do what I think they’re going to do… actually kill James Bond and our new Bond girl (Léa Seydoux – “Madeleine Swan”) will have to finish the story on her own.
OK, Fisk… you got what you asked for.
This is perhaps one of the most brutal, violent Bond films I think I’ve ever seen with genuine moments of suspense. There are incredible chases, an intense fist fight with Dave Bautista’s “Hinx,” and a torture scene to rival any of the “Saw” entries.
This film also includes a plot plucked out of some of my favorite conspiracy theories… all the secret organizations Bond has been investigating and fighting against have all been mere subsidiaries of “SPECTRE,” and all the villains in the previous movies have been mere underlings of the ultimate Bond Villian - Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
This Bond film echoes some of the serious themes of the previous three, the villain has been manipulating specific world events and people’s fears. In this motion picture, we discover that the final goal of every 1st world country contributing to a global surveillance and anti-terrorism task force, thus surrendering their sovereignty to this mysterious organization… once again another subsidiary of “SPECTRE.”
The final act of the motion picture requires Bond and his team - including the new M starring Ralph Fiennes, and returning characters Naomie Harris as “Moneypenny,” with Rory Kinnear as “Tanner,” and Ben Whishaw’s “Q” – keeping this new surveillance program from going online while simultaneously fighting the final battle in the soon to be demolished former headquarters of MI6.
If there is one complaint about this film is the aforementioned violence and grotesque torture scene. Some of the violence is a bit too intense for a PG-13 movie.
There are a few instances when we’re reminded of a discussion about heroes and what makes one great; the greater the danger and circumstances and the eviler the villain, the more heroic the protagonist becomes. If this was merely a movie about James Bond’s trip to the local grocery store, it wouldn’t be much of a movie. James Bond and any other hero must overcome some pretty large obstacles and put down some genuinely evil bad guys or he’s not much of a hero, is he? The audience has to believe the danger is real or there is no real sense of victory or accomplishment.
Bond does overcome a lot, and does accomplish something extraordinary, but for some viewers, they might not be able to enjoy the ending with the lingering sense of nausea they’ve been subjected to in the previous act.
In the end, we’re left with a motion picture that asks if whether or not we’ll see Bond again, or if we’ll see Mr. Craig return to this famous role. This could easily be either the last film in the franchise or the last one starring Daniel Craig, either way, it’s a very satisfactory send-off.
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