Vol. 9, No. 3 – November 11 – November 24, 2015 – Movie Review

Spectre/ 1 ½ Palm trees

By Eduardo Victoria/eduardovictory@yahoo.com

The latest outing for super-spy James Bond takes us back to his roots in director Sam Mendes’ Spectre. The evil organization behind some of Bond’s best films over the years makes its return in a not so spectacular fashion in a film bogged down by clichés, a slow plot, and a “why would you bother?” villain story.

Bond (Daniel Craig) tracks the name of a man left to him by the previous M (Judy Dench) to Mexico City, eventually leading him to a shadowy organization behind many terror attacks throughout the world. At the same time, the new M (Ralph Finnes) must deal with a merger with MI6 that will render the “00 Program” obsolete.

The opening sequence in Mexico City is captivating in its set design, choreographed action sequences, and look for each character. Setting it on the Mexican tradition Day of the Dead creates a beautiful aesthetic that is unfortunately not carried through to the rest of the film.

In rebooting Bond with 2006’s Casino Royale, the franchise began to move in a direction never before seen. Though the films are still about the gadgets and location jumping, the Bond tropes here are too much. Instead of pushing the franchise forward as the prior 3 films starring Daniel Craig have, Spectre takes us back to the days of tired Bond plot points.

Léa Seydoux’s performance shines through a terribly dull script from no less than 4 screenwriters. Craig is excellent as always. However, newcomers Monica Belluci and Christoph Waltz are terribly wasted. Franz Oberhauser as a villain is strange and his motives are an eye roll (as a matter of fact, they were much more effect when they were used in a James Bond parody film, which I will not mention due to spoilers).

In the grand scheme of things, the villains are seemingly evil for no real reason. An Edward Snowden-esque intelligence program is being run and we can tell something isn’t right from the beginning. But we never really find out why evil is a foot. Is the charm of classic evil corporation Spectre enough of an excuse to forgive this film for it’s less than stellar plot?

Frankly, no. Spectre brings up the conundrum of why dig back into the lore than taking the films in a new direction? Blofeld has been done before and defined by Donald Pleasance. As has Goldfinger and Dr. No. As a viewer, I’m more interested in seeing where Bond is going as opposed to returning to places we’ve been in the past. As expected, James bond will return and hopefully the next time around, it will be in a much more original and spectacular way.

 

Playing Century10 Downtown rating PG13

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