Starring: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Monica Belluci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris (Rated M – 148 min).
Hype is at a premium for Spectre for good reason. A James Bond release is not just another movie release but an event – rest assured I won’t spoil any surprises here. After the last 007 adventure Skyfall set the bar so high it was always going to be difficult to keep up the high standard of super spy momentum, a come-down was inevitable. However, inconsistent lethargic pacing does not help and lack of gadgets do not help.
Timothy Dalton (Living Daylights, Licence to Kill) is my all time favourite James Bond (apologies to Connery, Brosnan, Moore or Lazenby admirers). Dalton went rogue, he was the predecessor to the no-nonsense, hardcore, tough attitude that Daniel Craig has portrayed in three previous installments ultimately changing the way Bond films are now constructed.
As a type of upgrade due to technology taking over, the entire double O program is forced to merge with a new centre of national security eliminating field agents like Bond. Going against direct orders from M (Ralph Fiennes), Bond goes on a personal mission which includes chasing possible family connections and infiltrating a secret meeting of obscure global criminals.
Spectre, the unseen global network organisation controlled by pensive madman Blofeld, this time portrayed by interesting Oscar winner Christoph Waltz challenging adversary Bond with maniacal delight. It’s just a shame he is not given enough screen time. Highs and lows throughout are about as uneven as the plot lines which have been likened to the most recent Mission Impossible film, only the latter is far more concise.
Most of the choreographed action sequences are done with absolute brilliance as they should be with a $300m budget. A car chase is, as expected, awesome as is skiing the Austrian Alps. Comic one-liners, although scarce, are funny, during so much deluge wit is appreciated but remains as dry as a Bond martini, shaken not stirred.
Key moments of the overlapping script deteriorate as it references all the previous Daniel Craig films into one stringent plot point. The tragically underused French starlet Lea Sedoux (Midnight in Paris) as a romantic interest is unforgivable. A third act which should set the finale on fire leaves a bad taste on the whole ordeal which came before it.
The pre-credit opening sequence during the Mexican day of the dead celebration was a typically crucial over the top way to start proceedings and featured a masked Stephanie Sigman as Estrella who actually makes more of an impression than either of the more traditional Bond Girls while the theme song ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ by Sam Smith successfully bumps traditions after repeated listens.
Worth seeing; yes. Classic James Bond; no.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.