SPECTRE 007 (2016)



Director: Sam Mendes

Writers: John Logan, Neal Purvis…

Cast: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Wishaw…

Runtime: 148 minutes

Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Rated: PG-13

Price: $19.99 (Blu-ray) $15.99 (DVD)



Reviewed by Cherie Jung
(May, 2016)


It’s Bond versus the sinister organization known as SPECTRE, in a mishmash of the usual – a helicopter stunt, a car chase, fist fights, distractions by beautiful women, martinis, and yet another attempt to declare the MI6 operatives obsolete.

Generally speaking, I like James Bond movies. I know they are formulaic but I go with it.

The nicest things I can say about this movie are that it was disappointing and unsatisfying as a Bond movie, or any movie. The plot was preposterous. I realize people want “the same but different” and that’s to be expected from a franchise such as James Bond, but the “same” must be done better, not worse than before!

The writers were lazy and the plotting lame. For each of the flaws in this movie I could name up to a dozen other, similar movies that dealt with the same plot points that this Bond movie messed up, where the other films pulled it off. So many times in SPECTRE the story crashed to a halt because of not only improbable events but impossible events. Like where did he get the plane to rescue Dr. Swan (Léa Seydoux)? Where did they get the luggage for the train trip? Where did she get that evening gown?!? (It’s certainly not an off-the-rack, pick it up on the way to the train station kind of dress.)

Then there’s the whole he’s my brother/he’s not plot device which has been over used. Although, at first, I thought they were going to have Daniel Craig play both parts. That might have been interesting.

The Blowfeld connection was an unbelievable stretch…partly because the actor wasn’t very good. I agreed with Bond that death would have been preferable to having to listen to him go on and on. He wasn’t a credible villain, in my opinion. Now the guy – can’t remember his name – in “Skyfall” was an excellent villain. He was smart, devious, and creepy and a match for Bond…a real challenge.

I found the white cat tedious. It just didn’t work for me. “M” telegraphed the ending with his “a license to kill is also a license not to kill” speech. The fall of “C” was hokey. – Have you seen the movie “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law, directed by Paul Feig? The guy who fell several stories actually did the fall (or his stunt person did). It was spectacular. The Bond fall cheated. The actor might as well have ducked out of sight under the camera. And the over-the-edge shot was so distant as to be useless.

The characters did stupid things throughout the movie and each time it jarred the story to a halt. Why were the kegs on the train chained together? Why didn’t Bond put a bullet through the re-appearing thug’s head at the second encounter if not the first? Why wasn’t Bond killed several times over? And who leaves a watch on James Bond, knowing he has gadgets that blow up or cut through steel? They would have stripped him before starting the torture, like they did in “Casino Royale,” or put him in something they supplied, like a track suit or left him in his underwear. (Again, if you’ve done the stunt or plot point once and are re-doing it, it needs to be better than the other times.)

The actress playing Dr. Swan was too young. Daniel Craig could have been her father. He was a contemporary of Mr. White’s in the first place. Plus, there was simply no chemistry between the two of them.

Another annoying aspect for me was when Blowfeld took credit for kills he had nothing to do with – Judi Dench’s “M” and the guy who killed her, whatever his name was.

Previous henchmen like Grant, Oddjob and Jaws… all had actors who could act and they had integral parts in the story.

“M,” Moneypenny, and even “Q” have very little to do in this movie. The actors are wasted. Moneypenny has become the token Black with little more to do than fetch stuff for Bond. “M” has very little to do. The other double-0 agents are fired and what? They go off to collect unemployment?

Some of the action scenes quickly became boring; case in point, the helicopter tussle. Similar action sequences have been done too many times in other films and the sequence went on way too long! Initially the interior scenes where they were grabbing the straps or belts to keep from falling out while fighting were interesting but again, too long. After a while, I was hoping someone would fall out so we could get on with the movie. It was completely unbelievable to land the copter in the crowded square. Using a rope ladder would have made more sense, would be effective, and could have been shot more interestingly. The Bond movie with Roger Moore who becomes trapped in the helicopter when the pilot is killed but manages to get out and get in the cockpit and take control over the helicopter and then go after the villain in the wheelchair (it was Blowfeld, I think) was much more interesting and exciting even if implausible.

Sadly, it seems as if they came up with the stunts first, then where they wanted to do them, and only later tried to wrap a storyline around it. They didn’t start with a solid story in the first place.

A little tweaking of the plot might have improved things. Perhaps “C” should have been Blowfeld.

Even the music was terrible, especially the opening song. (The original James Bond theme song playing as he drove away in the classic car was good though.)

It’s not that I hated every moment of the movie. I liked that the gadgets in the new car weren’t working properly and the guns in the car weren’t loaded with ammo yet. I liked the stunt in Mexico where the exploding building began to collapse on Bond and he wasn’t able to outrun it and fell through several floors, ending up breaking his fall on a couch. I also liked the watch “telling time” comment and when “Q” said to Bond, “I asked you to bring it (the car) back in one piece, not bring one piece back.”

All in all, this movie was rather insulting to James Bond fans, I think.

Copyright © 2016 Cherie Jung. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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