With a tip of the cap to past and present Bond movies, this film encompasses all you could want from the man with a license to kill. What could potentially be Sam Mendes’ and Daniel Craig’s final partnership on the Bond scene doesn’t fail to disappoint. From the outset, hearing the Bond theme begin to play out at a slowed pace instantly brings with it a flood of nostalgia. The film franchise, goliath that it is, has especially high expectations following the critically acclaimed Skyfall. The film greets us with rich tones of a bustling and vibrant Mexico City amidst the Day of the Dead festival. Particular credence must be paid to the very beginning of the first scene, which is, what must have been a painstaking endeavor, ultimately achieving a seemingly unedited trailing 4-minute-long shot. It truly welcomed the audience into the film and bowled me over.
It may come as a relief to some that this next instalment is nowhere near as dark and gritty as the ageing warrior depicted in Skyfall. For the most part we move away from hamartia, however elements of Bond’s human character flaws do seep into SPECTRE. Tense scenes harmoniously coexist with well executed humour throughout. I really liked that the gags mostly came from the personality of Bond, it threw me back to the dank underground bunker in Casino Royale where our Bond wise-cracks whilst having his manhood thwacked by a knotted rope.
Essentially, expect what you would from a high quality Bond movie. Flashy cars, beautiful women, dispensable henchmen, breathtaking locations, illustrious enemies, train fights, helicopter fights, plane fights, you name it fights. I’ll warn you not to get too attached to any attractive architecture you see. A lot of buildings come crashing in on themselves giving rise to an Indi-swiping-his-hat-from-under-a-closing-door-hairsbreadth-narrow-escape scenario.
The all powerful enemy agency ‘Spectre’, the mothership of all evil organisations, is a manifestation of current world issues. Today the balance between our right to privacy and security are in issue as governments and businesses have more access to our personal information than ever before. Spectre has an army of henchmen as well as enhanced cyber intelligence. Her majesty’s secret service faces off against a foe able to use the power of big data against it, which is like Mumm-Ra forging a better Sword of Omens and smiting Lion-O with it. The movie really creates the sense that Bond is analogue in an all too digital age and that the ‘00’ programme is redundant. Much of the Dame Judy Dench’s M “fight in the shadows” rhetoric crosses over into SPECTRE and we see our antiquated hero strike back doing what he does best.
Needless to say Christoph Waltz aces the villainous role of Franz Oberhauser. I also enjoyed seeing Oberhauser’s conduit, Mr Hinx in action. From reading an interview with Dave Bautista it was indicated that his villain would be intelligent which I don’t think quite translated. He may be, but from a character who has next to no lines it’s hard to tell, so who knows. In any event his brawn is capitalised in a very Drax the Destroyer fashion as we witness a brutal toe-to-toe between he and Bond.
I really enjoyed the characters Q (Ben Whishaw), M (Ralph Fiennes), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and look forward to seeing more of them in future. Mendes has conceded being protective over these characters in a recent interview as their creation came about under his watch. With a clean streak of two winning Bond films this could be what draws him into directing a third. As it stands, he has purposefully left this question open after admitting that his previous refusal after Skyfall was evidently rather too hasty.
By Zachary Whyte