Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spectre (2015)

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers:  John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth
Cast:       Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

I am not really a big fan of James Bond films and the only ones I have seen in full are the ones with Daniel Craig in it- Casino Royale and Skyfall. Skyfall was comfortably better than Casino Royale, but that is going by the James Bond standards and not necessarily by the genre standard. It is a franchise which doesn't know where exactly to turn to and has been surpassed by both Mission Impossible films (last two) and Bourne series (next one is due with Greengrass and Matt Damon united). The pivot that they took with Daniel Craig and Casino Royale was a response to the success of Bourne series and one could say that considerable amount of humor was lost because of that. Bond series was never exactly known for being realistic and it seems MI films have managed to strike the right balance of Action set-pieces, ridiculousness and humor. Daniel Craig films can't be as 'seemingly' realistic as Bourne was, because of the baggage that the franchise carry, and is never as fun as MI films are. So you end up with films that are good watches but are not in any form memorable after you finish watching it. 
Spectre is no different and it is a good watch with nothing spectacular about it. You cannot really fault it for its cliches because that is what you get with these kind of films. Taking a leaf out of M1:5, double zero program is under threat of shutdown and Bond is on his own to figure out and defeat the villain. Christoph Waltz is as underutilized as Javier Bardem was in Skyfall. Film starts with a very good long tracking shot scene. Action set-pieces come frequently and all of them are good but the film as a whole suffers from not having any that would take your breath away, something MI films manages very comfortably. Global surveillance and related privacy issues is the it-topic, post-Snowden revelations, and that is also at the center of this film. But it is not done with much impact and just serves as a plot-point. Monica Bellucci is there as the Bond-'woman' and Lea Seydoux plays a role which is much more than a traditional Bond girl. It is almost confirmed to be the last Bond film with Daniel Craig in it and they have managed to give a nice closure for him. The plot also references and connects his other films as Bond, starting with Casino Royale.

So, it is a good enough watch without being anything more than that. Action set-pieces are good as is the humor but there is nothing spectacular about it on the whole. If I were to rank Daniel Craig films as Bond, this one will be number two with Skyfall being the first and Casino Royale the third (Not seen QoS). Product placement in CR was was just horrible and that poker sequence was also icky with expositions that felt to be so. Idris Elba as James Bond could be the boost that the franchise requires to stay relevant. TBF, it is doing spectacularly well at the box office as it is.

PS: One reviewer described the film as: "Bored...James Bored"...Hahaha....

Rating: 3/5