Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Spectre" is Reliable, Yet Predictable Entertainment

With much explosive spectacle, "Spectre" concludes the story which started with "Casino Royale." Although each film stands on its own, they’re all weaved together by a common thread. Many would agree that “Skyfall” seemed to wrap up the story running through the first three movies. We find out here there's much more to see than what meets the eye… again.

In "Spectre," a cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome. While there, he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter (Lea Seydoux) of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

I couldn’t escape a feeling of déjà vu during certain moments in “Spectre.” The locations of some of the key moments reminded me of places and events I’d already visited in past Bond films like “From Russia, With Love” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” None of these instances were enough to derail the viewing experience; I just thought it was worth noting.

“Spectre” is very much a family affair. Of course the main focus of the film is James Bond. However, this time around M, Moneypenny, and Q all figure into the tale quite heavily. They’re all essential elements in the super spy’s mission and even join him in the field. Q joining Bond on assignment hearkens back to 1989’s “The Living Daylights.”

Dave Bautista’s role of Mr. Hinx will no doubt remind longtime Bond fans of Richard Kiel’s Jaws. Instead of steel teeth, Mr. Hinx uses clawed metallic thumbs to gouge out his victims eyes. It’s pretty obvious the character is being set up for recurring appearances.

Daniel Craig continues to be the most accurate depiction of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. The only possible way he could commit to the role any more than he already has is by dying his hair dark brown. Craig is the absolute embodiment of the character as described in the original novels.

“Spectre” is a little too predictable when it comes to the cast of characters found within. The actors you expect to be the bad guys when they hit the screen are exactly who you knew they were. What are meant to be dramatic reveals are undermined by obvious foreshadowing and clues that anyone who’s kept up with the franchise will figure out almost immediately.

The movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language. There are the typical adult situations with women Bond is known for in all his past adventures. The opening credits have the usual silhouetted women dancing all over the main titles. One of my colleagues commented that Mr. Hinx’s use of his metal thumbs in one sequence is a bit more graphic than what we’ve seen in past Bond films.

“Spectre” brings all the action and excitement we've come to expect from a James Bond movie. After twenty-four movies in the franchise, it becomes difficult to not re-cover ground you’ve tread before. It’s time to move on to a new story, though. Let the tale started in “Casino Royale” come to an end and start fresh with no ties to Mr. White, Mr. Greene, Le Chiffre, or anyone else from the first three films. Writers and producers also need to take a que from previous Bond entries and not overuse a certain character introduced in “Spectre” as a plot device for each new movie.

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