Spectre

Daniel Craig

Christoph Waltz

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarhalf star

The stage had been set. We had three films to qualify Daniel Craig as Bond. The tone had changed from wild use of superfluous gadgetry and cocky one liners after dispatching various minions to a visceral, real world spy who was flawed, and scarred by loves lost (Casino Royale)and physically by gunshots (Skyfall). Finally we got Q and Moneypenny after an entire film dedicated to qualifying their considerable skills in addition to Bond’s. Now we get Spectre, which was supposed to do the same for every villain we’ve seen since Casino Royale. A sort of anti-Avengers coming together of evil geniuses. And…it falls flat.

It shouldn’t have, though. There’s an extravagant opening sequence taking place in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead with folks dressed up in lavish ghoulish yet fancy attire for the occasion. It reminded me somewhat of good ol’ Baron Samedi from Live and Let Die and not a little of Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride. A shootout, explosion and chase to a thrilling in-helicopter battle really starts the film out right. The opening titles are less impressive with the high pitched voice of Sam Smith (either you like him or you don’t) singing over a stern, creepy octopus creeping around various scenes of the film we’re about to see. Its tentacles find their way around the delicate zones of naked women redolent of lower tier Japanese manga of the 1980’s.

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Skyfall

Daniel Craig

Javier Bardem

starstarstarhalf star

007 had been at it for nearly 50 years when this film came about. It’s classic and innovative at the same time. It’s quite different from the previous Daniel Craig James Bond films thus far which seemed intent on shaving away everything down to the absolute bare essentials shedding the excesses of gadgetry and high spy living. While we won’t be seeing invisible cars or exploding pens anytime soon, it was nice to see the franchise being taken seriously. I, for one, missed the presence of Q (for Quartermaster we now learn) in the first two Craig films and it’s nice to see him (played with restraint and subtlety by the great Ben Whishaw) back in action here. Another vital part of the Bond franchise is reborn here but is such a refreshing surprise at the end that I’ll leave you to enjoy it/him/her.

The film opens with a chase through Istanbul foregoing the initial “Bond in the Crosshairs” intro customary to classic 007 flicks. It’s a daring chase on foot, car, motorscooter, and even atop a moving train. Bond is pursuing Patrice (Ola Rapace) an enemy agent in possession of the MI6 version of NOC list from the first Mission Impossible Film ie a list of embedded agents and their real names and faces. Bond is aided in his pursuit by Eve (the sassy and beautiful Naomie Harris) whose driving skills are top notch although her abilities as sniper could use a bit of work.  The film’s opening theme begins with the sultry sounds of Adele’s Skyfall which is the best Bond theme in years at least since the 90’s anyway. The opening sequence, too is beautifully dark and gothic.

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