Everyone knows the essential elements of a James Bond film are. There is a villain with an imposing henchman putting the world at peril. You have 007, smart, strong and, using incredible gadgets, a tricked out car and pure grit to fight to keep the free world free, all the while bedding a few delicious women along the way. And of course the action sequences; the car chases, the fights and the outrageous stunts.
Well the newest film in the Bond canon, Spectre, has all of this and one more thing. This film has the pacing of a John le Carré novel. This is not to say I didn’t like Spectre, because I did. I also like le Carré novels. But that is not what we go to Bond films for.
If this had been the first in the Bond films we would have come to expect something different. But this is the 24th film and we have come to expect certain things. One of which is not to be watching a car chase and wonder how much longer it will last.
So, let me review the movie in stages:
The Villain and Henchman: I cannot anyone playing a Bond adversary any better that what Christoph Waltz. He seem to have a certain inherent evil about him even, or especially, when he is being charming. And the Henchman, Hinx, as played by Dave Bautista is a welcome combinations of raw force and menace. You believe that Bond will have an extremely difficult time fighting off this man. Score = A
The gadgets and car: This time 007 has only a few gadgets. And exploding watch and an Aston Martin DB10 where only a couple of gadgets within actually work. Score = C +
The fight (or story): this one is right out of today’s headlines. The fight against rampant global surveillance by governments. The writer did a very good job creating a scenario that can be credible and truly threating. Score = B+
Action sequences/stunts: The car chases and action sequences were for the most part were first rate. These was the exception of the chase in Rome when on so long without any interesting happing that I did wonder when it would end so that we could get on with the film.
The Bond Girls: Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux are very beautiful and marvelous as 007’s bedmate’s and love interests. But why only two! This is James Bond, not a monk! Score = B
007: Next to Sean Connery, Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond actor. And he seems to have been persuaded to be in the next film. Score = A+
Spectre is the second film for the director Sam Mendes, and he seems to like providing back stories and setting the up the franchise for the future. In Skyfall we learn about James’ family history. In this film we delve even deeper, by finding out why one of the persistent Bond villains is actually a longtime nemesis. This is an excellent direction for the franchise to go. It just could have gotten us there quicker.
Extra: Surprising James Bond Trivia:
Did you know that the iconic introduction, “Bond, James Bond” was actually 007 mimicking the introduction the first Bond Girl used? Take a look below in the scene in Dr. No where the world first met James Bond.