James Bond returns in Mendes-directed Spectre

The famous 007 returns and this time he’s going after Dr. King Schultz!

Spectre is directed by Sam Mendes and stars Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Dave Bautista and Christoph Waltz and is the fourth installment in the Daniel Craig-James Bond franchise, following Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.

In this film, Bond, after the traumatic events of Skyfall (which I will not spoil), hunts down the diabolical organization, SPECTRE, and its leader, Franz Oberhauser (played by Waltz), who, as referred to in the trailer, claims to be behind it all.

Therefore, you would think you might have to refresh yourself by watching all previous three films before you enter this one, but you don’t really have to. The film does a pretty good job filling in the gaps for you.

There’s a common trope found in all Bond films, that being the process of accomplishing some huge, penultimate battle, immediately making passionate love to the distressed damsel, followed by going to the bar and ordering the shaken-not-stirred usual, and then facing off with the main bad guy, topping it off with a jazzy fanfare symbolizing the successful aftermath of another stressful mission. This film is basically the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, this film is good. You won’t spend the two-hour-and-twenty-eight-minute runtime wishing that you would’ve done something more fruitful and life-fulfilling. It’s just that (keep in mind that this is all just my opinion) it doesn’t make as much of an impression as the majority of the previous three films had.

The first thing I noticed, starting from a brilliant opening tracking shot, was the amazing cinematography. The scenes in this film are lush with beautiful colors, enticing shots, clever angles and amazing movement. Your eyes will never want to look at anything else except these wonderfully-filmed images.

Once again, Craig brings a lot of charismatic life into the character of James Bond. The acting all around is definitely believable and well played out. Bond films are good with little quips, winks, humorous little facial and hand gestures and this one is no exception.

Seydoux brings a lot of life into Dr. Madeleine Swann. She does a very good job of standing out amongst previous female protagonists with great power and a great backstory.

Whishaw as Q is one of my favorite aspects of Skyfall and once again, he delivers the goods here. The light that Whishaw brings into this quirky, smart, interesting character is one of my favorite aspects in this film, too.

Naomie Harris delivers a delightful, although relatively absent, Eve Moneypenny, Bautista delivers another great performance following his wrestling career (he shocked the world with his performance as “Drax the Destroyer” in Guardians of the Galaxy) as the strong, menacingly silent Mr. Hinx, and Christoph Waltz, of course, plays a great Bond villain. Waltz does a great job of acting behind his eyes, as he’s displayed in Django Unchained and Big Eyes. He is, however, also relatively absent in this film.

This leads me to my main flaw of this film: the script. The only problems I have with this movie involve the screenplay and how it is written.

Much like the “Día de los Muertos” theme of the film, it feels a lot like a skeleton in the way that it has the structure and foundation, but not enough stuff to make it lively. When the villain is there, on screen, it is fantastic. I got goosebumps in that first scene with Oberhauser. It’s just that he isn’t there enough and the film treats SPECTRE more like one, whole villain when it shouldn’t have.

I’m one who likes the personal journey of a famous vigilante or spy, but this one seems to gloss over that, too. Unlike some of the previous recent Bond films, this one is a lot more focused on the action.

Going into the movie, I knew that this film had big shoes to fill. I loved Skyfall with all of its thrills and emotional, more personal stories and I knew that it would be extremely difficult for this film to top that sort of thing, and in this respect, I was not let down.

One critic described this film as “Serviceable Bond” and I could see why someone would think that. Although it doesn’t explore the emotion as much as it could have, it delivers the action and slyness of 007 needed to keep an audience entertained. If you want the characters to quit jabbering and start chasing, you’ll definitely be satisfied.

by Graham Hartlaub

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