For months, there has been a lot of hype about the release of Spectre, which was always going to be the case when you take into account that it may be Daniel Craig’s last film playing the legend that is Bond… James Bond.
The opening of the film really puts the viewer in the mood to watch a Bond film. The music feels and sounds exactly how it should. Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall” is definitely a good edition to the collection of previously established Bond music. The animation and imagery is suitably intriguing and threatening. As well as this, the acting is impeccable and the fight scenes and special effects unfaultable, although relatively toned down from some of the earlier entrances into the franchise. However, that’s forgivable considering they were clearly going for a less severe look in order to draw in younger viewers and their parents.
The problem with this film ironically lies in two of the most essential archetypes within a Bond film: the Bond girl and the villain. The main Bond girl, Dr. Madeleine Swann, is played by Lea Seydoux. Unfortunately, her excellent acting is not complimented by the writing of her character, which is contradictory at almost every point. One moment you see her dismantle a gun in under a minute, the next she is taken down with one hit by a henchman. One moment she states that she has no interest in James Bond, the next they are madly in love without spending more than a day or two with each other. Her stated motivation for joining bond is sketchy at best, and then her reasons for wanting to leave, and how she does it, are, if possible, even worse. It seems as if she was written by two different people wishing for her to be the exact opposite of what the other wanted. One clearly wanting her to be a strong, independent, perfect woman for the famous spy, whilst the other wanted the typical Bond girl sucked into Bond’s world and in need of rescue. Either would have a place in a Bond film, but including both only produces a hapless mess.
The villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, is excellently portrayed by Christoph Waltz. However, much like the Bond girl, he remains poorly conceived and badly written. The most threatening line he says is quite literally “coo coo”. There is an attempt to connect him to Bond, but it comes off as contrived and forced. Not to mention that, in his first genuinely threatening moment within the film, he is immediately undermined. The worst thing is that there is a lot of potential in this character had they only connected Bond’s past experiences better, rather than only relying upon dialogue.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable but, thanks to the capricious Bond girl and the lacklustre villain, it doesn’t meet the standard for a truly great Bond movie. The first three Bond films in which Daniel Craig appears were dazzling, and had all the trappings of a good bond film. While this one tries its best to match its predecessors, it is ultimately brought down by schizophrenic writing and a villain who makes baby noises.
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