Let’s not even get started on the censor board issue.
Its here. Finally. After a bhai induced delay thanks to PRDP(Review here) Spectre hits theatres in the country officially today. Does it hold its own against the likes of Casino Royale and Skyfall or does it plumb the depths of the disappointing Quantum of Solace?
Well, a bit of both actually.
When Spectre is good, it is really good. When its bad, it’s well, rather boring. And that’s something you wouldn’t usually associate or would want to associate with a Bond movie now.
Spectre starts off in Mexico City in a rather impressive opening sequence, easily one of the franchise’s more memorable ones. After cutting into a surprisingly beautiful opening credit scene that manages to give Sam Smith’s mediocre attempt a much needed lift, the film proceeds to build a plot loaded with intrigue and mystery but with a payoff that leaves a lot to be desired. As Franz Oberhauser would say, “James.. I am a little disappointed.”
However, if you’ve grown up on Bond and consider yourself to be a bit of a connoisseur of the series, then this will fit right in between late Connery and early Roger Moore. You will enjoy the holy bejesus out of this movie. Sweeping locations, witty exchanges, a hilarious relationship with the Quartermaster (Ben Whishaw looking more like the part in this one) a slightly cartoonish villain and Bond girls who don’t offer much apart from being eye candy and a slightly absurd plot, it’s all there.
In Spectre, we have Bond setting off on a personal vendetta against the organization that has caused him so much misery over the last decade or so. A Double-O agent going rogue is also the last thing M(played brilliantly by the ever dependable Ralph Fiennes) wants especially at a time when a Global Surveillance Unit is being brought into replace the “prehistoric Double-O Program” as C(Sherlock’s Andrew Scott), the head of the new operation puts it. Bond’s journey takes him across the world before he meets Waltz’s Oberhauser. Now Waltz possesses enough talent to take the film and make it his own, but he’s severely inhibited by some poor writing. Bardem’s Silva in Skyfall was one of the best Bond villains in recent memory, a character that made you sit up and take notice every time he appeared on screen. Here Waltz is anything but intimidating, a shadow of what the character should’ve been. The big “reveal” in the end does not help his case either as the film decides to place its faith in elaborate sets pieces and a heavy dose of nostalgia.
And oh so much nostalgia.
Sam Mendes slips in Bond’s Greatest Hits Collection and hits play. Right from Dr No to Skyfall, Spectre is littered with tributes and throwbacks to the Bond of old. A particular nod must be given towards a train sequence in the film, where Bond and Bautista’s Oddjob-esque Mr Hinx go toe to toe with the former sporting a crisp white suit, you can’t help but feel that the only thing it’s missing is a small tag with the words, “From Russia With Love” scribbled onto it. There’s so much fan service to those who’ve followed the series throughout it’s entirety that you can’t help but tip your hat to the writers for doing such a wonderful job integrating all these elements into the film.
But for the average movie goer, that proves to be quite the problem as it sacrifices continuity to throw a reference in your face you probably won’t get. I was one of the few laughing in the theatre during these moments while the rest just stared in bemusement. Perhaps a bit more balance the next time, guys. I’m not complaining though. From a personal standpoint, more the merrier.
On many levels, Spectre works and on several more it does not. It proves to be Craig’s most run-of-the-mill Bond film, something which we had in abundance with the older ones. Craig here is again terrific as Bond and will probably walk away from the franchise as the best of the lot, not just in terms of performances but also the movies he’s graced. Eva Green’s Vesper was truly his match and his chemistry with his actresses since leaves a lot to be desired, especially with Lea Seydoux proving to be the least compatible of the lot. Monica Bellucci’s role in the film is what the phrase “Blink and Miss” was made for. Seriously, you blink and she’s gone.
Spectre possesses the lure and charm of an intriguing footnote in Bond’s illustrious history, something present purely to satisfy the purists. For the rest, you’ve probably seen it before, but it still makes for a good time at the movies. Strap into the passenger seat and let Bond take you on a tour around the world like only he can. Rest assured,you’ll have fun along the way.