Spectre (2015) Movie Review: Bury Bond Spectre (2015) Movie Review: Bury Bond
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"Imagine a dour version of Die Another Day, and you basically have Spectre. The visuals are so cold and brooding, but the progression of... Spectre (2015) Movie Review: Bury Bond

I would be lying if I said I was a fan of Daniel Craig’s incarnation of 007. The truth is, I simply don’t like his portrayal of the Martini-drinking womanizer. He looks too rough and acts too straight, like a factory worker doing his best Bond impression. The last 3 films in the ongoing franchise have been aiming for the bleak, gritty, and somewhat realistic version of the british super spy. Yet there is something inherently wrong about that to me. James Bond is, at least in my mind, supposed to be flamboyant, slick, and cool. He needs to whip out one-liners left and right, while overcoming seemingly impossible odds under ridiculous circumstances. The Craig iteration, however, is all too often self-serious, gloomy, and at times boringly clinical in its approach to the source material. That is of course just my opinion. I don’t see Bond when I see Craig. However, I do acknowledge that some people feel differently, and so I always try to measure to which degree the desired target group will enjoy the film. This time, I’m afraid even the purists can’t help but be a tad disappointed.

Daniel-Craig-as-James-Bond-on-the-Set-of-SPECTRE

Spectre opens in Mexico City on el Día de los Muertos (day of the dead). Bond is tracking down terrorists, although we don’t know exactly why. We find out soon enough, though, as it turns out they have connections to a secret intelligence organisation, which seems to have something to do with not only the death of M, but also the criminal activities in the previous instalments. 007 is naturally hellbent on finding out what is going on, and so he sets out on a hectic journey to put an end to the ghosts that have haunted him for so long, before they end him first.

All good things must come to an end, and the same goes for Ian Fleming’s graceful spy character. I’m sorry to say it, but I think this series has run its course. This 24th entry is a steaming mess from start to finish, and I’ll tell you why that is. The tone doesn’t correlate with the ideas. We’ve reached a point where almost everything we’ve come to love about Bond is no longer part of his persona. His fancy gadgets are gone, his wit is starting to dwindle, and quite frankly it feels like Craig is sick and tired of playing him. Imagine a dour version of Die Another Day, and you basically have Spectre. The visuals are so cold and brooding, but the progression of the story is so implausible and cartoonish compared to something like Casino Royale, where at least I can give them credit for sticking to the style they have established. Here it’s just non-stop nonsense. Spinning helicopters, collapsing buildings with no consequences, and torture on the verge of being as cliché as the hero being strapped to a table with a red laser slowly moving up between his legs. Had it been Brosnan or Connery, I would’ve bought into it, because they earned that kind of silliness in their portrayal. This movie is trying so hard to be relevant and poignant, it really took me out of the experience when a guy suddenly caved in someone’s eyes with the sheer force of his thumbs. That’s right!

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The main villain’s motive makes absolutely no sense, and at one point during the film, my friend who sat next to me asked in confusion: “Wait… what exactly is he trying to do?”. I couldn’t answer him in an intelligent way, because the evil scheme is so muddled, not to mention laughably bad. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that the plot is essentially the same as in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which came out earlier this year. I’m not saying that Sam Mendes and his writers ripped off Christopher McQuarrie, but the two films are very similar in parts. The disobedient agent has caused too much destruction and gets relived from his duty, only to find out that a group of people are plotting against his agency, leading him to go on a rogue mission. The difference is that the former is vibrant, colourful, and exciting. Cruise is charismatic, Craig is not. M:I is briskly paced and suspenseful, Spectre is slow and thrill-less. It lacks charm and personality, and for a character like Bond that is a fatal kiss of death. I want to cheer for this guy, not fight to keep myself awake.

There are a few redeemable things about the film, such as an exhilarating one-take that lasts for about 5 minutes. Léa Seydoux also does a commendable job as the new Bond girl, although her character doesn’t really have a whole lot to do, unlike Vesper Lynd. But the positives are few and far between, constantly being overshadowed by convoluted story-lines involving Bond’s past with Christophe Waltz’ character, which is shoehorned in to create some rather unnecessary drama that doesn’t work at all. 007 is no longer as mysterious and fascinating as he once was. He’s become just another streamline action hero in a long production line of action heroes. The filmmakers got so caught up on trying to tie everything together in a conclusive arc, they completely forgot what makes Bond so compelling in the first place. He’s like Indiana Jones or Ethan Hunt, but more classy and perhaps even smarter in nature. Very little of what he used to be has survived in this dreary, lifeless, and routinary 24th chapter that doesn’t take any risks, settling for loud confusion instead of subtle tension. It’s not fun anymore, and I think maybe we should bury this spy for good. We thank you for your service, but now would be the appropriate time to retire from the field.

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Mathias Folsted Film/Music/TV critic, columnist, and news-writer

An aspiring filmmaker, film critic and YouTuber. Previous experience include extensive work for the largest danish film site, www.filmz.dk, where I served as junior editor, film critic, columnist, and news writer. Also a graduate from the European Film College, I've been a lover of motion pictures for as long as I can remember. My criticism is always honest, but above all emotional.

  • Delbert Zissou

    Spoilers!

  • I’ll edit to add a spoiler warning. =)

  • “Imagine a dour version of Die Another Day, and you basically have Spectre”

    LOL daaaaaammmmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

    That’s all I’ll read as I will watch this at some point, but can’t say I’m excited.

  • “…because they earned that kind of silliness in their portrayal”- totally agree!
    Excellent work, I am sadly convinced you hit the nail on the head!

  • Mathias

    Sorry, my bad! But it was kind of hard to let people how bad this one was, without giving a little away. Just put up the spoiler warning 🙂

  • BLOFELD!!!!!!!! I KNEW IT!

    I FUCKING SAID SO, almost a year ago, lol!!!!

  • I think Puck can now read the article.

  • Oops

  • Meh, I figured that had to be the case anyway, no biggy.

  • Yeah, It was sooo obviously the Bond team pulling a “John Harrison”.

  • In case someone wants to reminisce the birth of “Spinning Headlines”:

    http://thesupernaughts.com/columns/iabs-workshed/4th-of-december-well-that-escalated-quickly/

  • Might be a spoiler, but definitely not a surprise

  • Man – I looked so young back then…

  • Mathias

    Is it possible to remove the spoiler tag if we remove the names? It’s just that I’d love to get it out to many people ahead of the US premiere.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Mendes Overrated. Proves it again.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Nice review. if you ever come to New York I owe you a coffee or a beer or something. You saved me some money by not having to see this.

  • Sure. Can you edit after posting? If so just remove what I added and take care of it as you see fit. I’d do it but gotta drive home from work now and then I’m busy until later tonight.

  • Well, I just checked and the wikipedia page already basically spoils it

  • Tarmac492.1

    They have cars in Newfoundland?

  • Didn’t you listen to our episode 4 of “Resist or Serve”?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Christ. If this guy – who seems to give high marks to almost everything – is giving Spectre such a low rating, it has to suck.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Yes, and I believe I was sober.

  • After the end song, there’s NSA-level audio proof that there are in fact cars in Newfoundland

  • Delbert Zissou

    I was hoping to groan in annoyance in the theater.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Like those 1950’s era jalopies they got in Cuba?

  • Tarmac492.1

    The best Mendes-Craig pairing was the Road to Perdition. Not overrated.

  • XD

  • I fucking love that film

  • KilliK

    what’s the point, just like with the shitty Skyfall, it ll still make another billion simply because it has nice cinematography and praised as the best Bond ever because an “arthouse” director made it.

  • KilliK

    not surprising, same actor,director,writers and producers. fool me once, shame.. shame on..you can’t get fooled again.

  • AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • Mathias

    Sure, I’ll do that!

  • Just a kid, you were.

  • Mathias

    Haha, that’s a funny way to look at it. I usually watch movies I think will be good, unlike “The Intern” or something like that. I could give you a list of 30 major shit movies this year. I just don’t always watch those in theatres 😉 + I’d much rather let you know about great films than horrible ones. There are some more bad reviews coming up soon, if that’s what appeals to you 😛 I’m just honest. This year has been really good for many mainstream releases. But I can dig up many pieces of garbage for you. Just wait until the end of the year, and you might be surprised what I didn’t like.

  • Mathias

    Haha, thanks, but I don’t drink alcohol, and I hate coffee. Water is just fine 😛

  • will you do a best of/worst of 2015 list?

  • Mathias

    Yes, the week leading up to new year’s eve, I always do countdown lists of my favorite albums, songs, movies etc.

  • Me too.

  • Well this is a disappointment. Makes our conversation about it o the next imaginarium, a bit awkward.

  • Bop

    How were Bellucci and Batista in the movie?

  • Sagamanus

    What do you care about spoilers Zissou? Didn’t you tell me to F off?

  • molto bella a molto brutale

  • what’s the whole story, the real Zissou has to be exposed

  • Sagamanus

    I kind of posted a spoiler to It Follows, or rather an interpretation. But I marked them with hashes so one has to open up the comment and avoid seeing it. Zissou just lost it. Saying it wasn’t necessary to make him use an inconsequential click where no energy was expended to do so. Apparently he doesn’t care for spoilers being exposed.

  • Mathias

    Bautista is good, but he feels out of place. He would fit much better in a Brosnan type Bond film.

  • Mathias

    Who knows, maybe I’m totally off, and some fans will love it. I can’t imagine that would be the case, but you never know!

  • Does he know that the Planet of the Apes is Earth?

  • Abe

    Fucker

  • Booger T

    i saw the title and was like i bet dio wrote this.

  • jim83

    Amazing film that gets even better with repeated viewings. Amazing score by Thomas Newman too,

  • Zed

    So they ripped off the third Austin Powers movie? Yeah, this series is done.

  • SullyOar

    Two thoughts about this review:

    1) This is really disappointing, especially after Skyfall seemed to build such the perfect spring board between the modern day gritty bourne esque reality-‘conscience’ based Bond, and The ‘classic’ Bonds, while being something of a treatise or understudy for pretty much all of Bonds films up to date, working backwards yet forwards if you like, if that makes sense?

    Might have been all the mushrooms and trypothan while watching that movie, but if Bond leaping off the back of a Komodo Dragon after being thrown into their pit to escape doom and let his assailant get eaten by Komodo Dragons isn’t symbolic of the handover betweeen the recent explorations of the ‘realities’ of the spy/espionage political thrillers/identity dramas, and the more older escapist classic bonds that won’t deal with deep tragedies and realities based around the mythology of the character as a whole after hs ealry grounded days and around Her Magesties secret Service,. then I don’t know what is. If anything.

    2) It’s actually in reality very easy to cave a persons eyes in with just your thumbs. No seriously. Should I not be saying this? Is this the equivalent of telling someone you can easily kill a dog by pulling its two front or back legs (or just the front legs?) apart? No one’s actually supposed to know this? Because no one ever told me that no one else was supposed to know these things.?

  • Mathias

    I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m just saying it came off really cartoony in this otherwise “realistic” and gritty Bond portrayal. The tone and the content simply did not match very well. Too cheesy for this Bond era.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    stop your complaining and put in your man-pon!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    You are always a fool, fool!

  • Stalkeye

    OOOOOOOOO, someone ripped this sequel a new Arsehole!!!
    Truth be told, I was never happy with Craig as Bond. he’s not charismatic or suave whatsoever, and with that cro mag face of his, its as if they grabbed some Sod from Brixton to star in some fantasy role. Skyfall was boring as was Casino Royale and I grow weary of one man saving the World over and over, yet he doesn’t have super agility (Captain America) or extensive training. (Batman, Snake Eyes.)

    Same ol same ol.

    This franchise needs to go out like the Western.

  • Stalkeye

    Who?

  • Stalkeye

    But he’s shagging Kate Winslet!!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Seriously? Dio!

  • Stalkeye

    Like I said, who?
    Oh, the same guy who turned on the Supernaughts, amirite?

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    You may be wrong, but you may be right……….he must be the last in line!

  • Agree about all but the last sentences.

    The world could need a more humorous, suave hero like Bond again.

  • Zed

    The rating on Rotten Tomatoes is dropping like a brick. Perhaps they were a little hasty in writing that “consensus” blurb.

  • I read McWeeny’s review yesterday. Holy bejeezus he tears the film a new one.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Fuck it. Lets see Idris or that other british dude–the white one.

  • Zed

    Indeed. Sounds like the Dynamic Duo did an uncredited rewrite, only there’s no magic blood.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I hate to tell this to Craig. His star isnt guranteed to shine once he is done with Bond. I like the dude, but what hits or even good films has he been in since he started Bond? Was that Capote flick he was in post Bond?

  • Zed

    Tom Hiddleston or GTFO

  • Tarmac492.1

    He would be a very good choice. I go back and forth on whether Fassbender would make a good Bond. I like his portrayal of Magneto, so I would say yes to him, as well.

  • Tarmac492.1

    He is the Man on the Silver Mountain.

  • Stalkeye

    Well, the former TB/SN Dio’s ego is as big as a Mountain. (;’

  • Or maybe….just maybe Kurtzman & Orci are actually not the worst screenwriters working nowadays….

  • …the Bond-series has the dibs on that one now

  • Stalkeye

    They are! trust me, I have been tortured to death thanks to Transformers ROTF and Amazing Spider-Man 2. Honorable mention goes to Eagle Eye and Cowboys & Aliens!!

  • Stalkeye

    Fuck Yea! better than Craig!

  • Stalkeye

    Fassbender is a great choice!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Capone or Quint or one of those guys didnt like it either. It is tough to tell them apart. They all write the same.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Do you like Westerns?

  • Depends. I prefer the Italian ones.

  • I hope you don’t mean snake face Damian lewis.

  • Zed

    They didn’t do Eagle Eye. You can kind of tell because the plot, while moronic, doesn’t rely on flashbacks or characters resurrecting.

    Though there is some magic blood, sort of.

  • Zed

    Then who is? The only place I’ve seen worse writing is video games.

  • ErnestRister

    I saw it last night and had an absolutely wonderful time. Just had a ball, and was constantly impressed by the action staging. See it for the opening unbroken tracking shot alone. The last half-hour isn’t as assured as the first two hours, but that’s a minor sin. It’s still wildly entertaining. And Newman just knocks it out of the park.

  • ErnestRister

    There’s amazing work in the film, K.

  • ErnestRister

    It doesn’t suck.

  • …racist!

  • Tarmac492.1

    When it comes to douchebag, pseudo-intellectual hacks call me the Grand Wizard of the KKK!!!