You only live 24 times
Classic Elsternwick - Sunday 15 November 2015, 10:15am
Running time: 148m
Country: United Kingdom
Classification: M (Action violence)
Release date: 05/11/15
Cost: $10 (Optus Rewards)
Rating: 6.5/10 (ME 3/5, DP 3.5/5)
Daniel Craig returns as 007 in the 24th instalment of the Bond franchise, Spectre. There are changes at the top and the 'double O' program is set to be dismantled and absorbed into the newly formed Centre for National Security under the care of career bureaucrat Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott). But Bond has other plans, and a message from the grave from former M (Dame Judi, the Duchess of Dench) sets him on a path of revenge, intrigue, martinis and a bevy of beautiful woman around the world, all while being tracked at HQ through his newly injected 'smart blood'...thanks Q (Ben Whishaw). Yep, this is a James Bond film and will feel very familiar to those who have had much or little exposure to the films to the previous instalments.
Spectre's opening scenes in Mexico City during the 'day of the dead' celebrations are stunning and the opening shot, lingering alongside a masked man walking through the streets and into a hotel, is a masterfully created piece of cinema. The performances are, well, what you would expect. Nobody really goes to a Bond film to encounter great acting, and Spectre doesn't change this. Ralph Fiennes, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris round out the supporting cast with competent (though generally soulless) performances, but it's Christoph Waltz who adds colour and texture in his performance as Bond's arch nemesis.
The visual effects and stunts are breathtaking and there's a slick and deliberate visual style to the various 'acts' of the film. However, Spectre soon falls into a familiar routine with close escapes, elaborate plans to kill James (oh, just shoot him already if you want him dead so badly) and a countdown to an explosion... all in fabulous clothes. Yawn. The opening title sequence is suitably camp but Sam Smith's song is a snoozefest. Can we just dust-off Dame Shirley for the next one, please? However the biggest problem with Spectre is that it's far too long. The snappy pace of the opening soon fades as it becomes a talk fest between the action sequences. It's a fun way to spend some time and fans will enjoy it, but it's probably not going to make it into anybody's list of the 5 best Bond films.
NOTE: If you're not familiar with the previous 3 Daniel Craig Bond films you may want to have a look before you see this... or just go to Wikipedia and save yourself 8 hours. (ME/DP)
88th Academy Awards
73rd Golden Globe Awards