Movie Reviews: Spectre




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     Columbia (2 hrs. 28 min.)
     A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization.
     Daniel Craig, Christopher Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci
Bottom Line:

Laurence Washington

Finally placing the James Bond Gunbarrel before the opening credits of “SPECTRE” was the one thing the filmmakers got right. If you’re unfamiliar with the traditional Gunbarrel sequence, stop reading this review immediately. You’re obviously not a James Bond fan. You’re excused.

What “SPECTRE” got wrong, besides miscasting Daniel Craig as James Bond (I never drank the Daniel Craig Kool-Aid.), was a convoluted plot that ran 2hrs. 28min. too long. Not to mention tedious car chases and fight scenes. Which punctuates the point that there were only 12 Ian Fleming James Bond novels. So how’d they come up with 24 movies? Clearly the filmmakers are using the Bond name as their ATM machine knowing movie audiences will pay an obscene amount of money for anything sporting the 007 brand. (Tickets range from $8 to $12) In fact, its been rumored that Craig wants to leave the series, which is probably a shtick to generate more revenue.

That being said, running out of book titles and original ideas, SPECTRE’s plot suspiciously echoes “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Cause chaos around the world, then governments will gladly sacrifice freedom for security—SPECTRE’s security.

The film opens with James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City to assassinate a terrorist whose planning to blow up a stadium full of people. Bond foils the plot, but destroys an entire city block in the process. Oh, did I mention Bond also hijacks a helicopter ejecting the pilot and the terrorist he’s chasing into the crowded street below – full of Mexico City’s Day of the Dead revelers? We’ll he does.

Bond’s actions call into question the relevance of MI-6 and the Double-O Section, as the new intelligence chief (Andrew Scott) threatens to shut down MI-6 in favor of an ultra surveillance program to thwart future terror attacks.

“SPECTRE” gives a wink and a nod to classic Bond film’s tongue and cheek quips, sexual innuendos and action sequences. There’s white cats, Dr. No Nehru jackets, flame throwing Aston Martins (equipped with ejector seat), and even an eye-gouging Odd Job rip-off (Dave Bautista). Craig’s Bond films have always been grounded. So he comes off awkward in “SPECTRE,” reciting unnecessary puns to advance the plot.

The story eventually culminates the plots of Craig’s previous 007 outings “Casino Royal,” (’06), “Quantum of Solace” (’08) and “Skyfall” (’12) into “SPECTRE.” I’ll give the filmmakers points on that. The classic Bond films were stand alones. They never followed up – even when Bond’s wife was killed. At lease “SPECTRE” has a thread tying the four films together. Bond films use to be the spy film bandwagon, fending off copycats “Mission: Impossible” and “Bourne.” Now it seems the current Bond films are simply knockoffs and parodies of themselves.

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