SPECTRE (2015) – Film Review

This ain’t no Skyfall


SPECTRE or Skyfall 2 depending on how you look at it reunites Sam Mendes as director and Daniel Craig as the spy to end all spies James Bond 007.  This film promises to deliver a revelation about Bond’s past and begins with an unauthorised mission in Mexico prompted by a ghost from the past.  He is then presented with a mysterious photo of him as a child with on of the figures missing a head that somehow survived the inferno at the end of Skyfall.  In the background MI5 and MI6 are being merged into a new super intelligence agency being headed up by the well connected Denbigh (Andrew Scott) determined to usher in a new era of ever more ferocious surveillance.  He deems the 00 programme surplus to requirements and it appears that (yet again) Bond’s time fighting for Queen and country is at an end.  Bond refuses to be swayed from his mission his ghost has set him off on and so he finds himself travelling deeper into the rabbit hole.

I think it fair to say this film has massive hype behind it.  I’ve heard of people buying tickets who haven’t seen any of the previous Craig-era Bond films.  I rocked up to see the 19:15 last night and had to wait to 19:45 because it was sold out.  Was it worth the wait … well no not really.  I was pumped in the beginning because the opening sequence filmed in Mexico on the ‘Day of the Dead’ is fabulous and you’re thinking ‘and here we go’.  The first act maintains this excitement against a series of beautifully filmed backdrops with equally beautiful women and Craig’s tailor has done a fantastic job yet again.  But then this creeping sensation takes over that things are going off the boil … that joke seemed a bit Roger Moore era … I thought this Bond wasn’t supposed to have all those gadgets … that scene about the threat of excessive surveillance feels a bit superfluous to the plot.

This film goes on for 2 hours 30 minutes and unfortunately you start to feel it,  especially when you’ve had to sit through 25 minutes of adverts and trailers.  I don’t know if this is a treasonable offence but I got a bit bored at times.  SPECTRE certainly has at least two endings, possibly more.  While I won’t give away the big revelation of this film if you have any knowledge of Bond films from yesteryear what we discover about SPECTRE and its leader played by Christoph Waltz (a very good villain given too little to do) is hardly a surprise and I figured out Denbigh very early on.  If I was feeling harsh I would say that the second and third acts are a bit of a rambling mess.  This film could have done with 20 to 30 minutes being edited out.

My moan out of the way I continue to enjoy spending time in the cinema with Daniel Craig and this is certainly the most humorous of the recent films with Ben Whishaw as Q delivering the best lines.  We also get to hang out with M (Ralph Fiennes) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) again and I like this cast.  Mendes has yet again delivered a film that feels slightly old fashioned yet in the moment.  The white dinner suit that Bond wears when travelling on a train looks like something straight out of an early Sean Connery appearance but we still have the latest Aston Martin and plenty of computer tech.

If I have to rank SPECTRE I put it behind Skyfall (2012) and Casino Royale (2006).  It’s a bit of a toss up between this and Quantum of Solace (2008) which for its problems got to the point and gave us lots of action.  Please don’t be left with the impression this is a bad film, it just doesn’t live up to its predecessors and I don’t want to see Daniel Craig go out like this.  One more go please, one more go.  My rating 3/5.

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