Monday, November 9, 2015

'SPECTRE' REVIEW - "THEY SAY YOU'RE FINISHED" [SPOILERS]

Wow, I still can't believe how bad this movie was. No wonder Daniel Craig is lashing out at the press. If I was in this film I'd be lashing out too. I can totally feel Daniel's pain after watching this film. 'Spectre' is a shadow of the modern Bond franchise. Everything the previous Bond films did right, 'Spectre' gets wrong. When Bond was rebooted so to speak with Craig, the filmmakers broke all of the "Bond rules" and got back to the basics. The villain in 'Casino Royale,' Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) tortured Bond with a bar of soap, a piece of rope, and a chair. There were no sharks, laser beams, crocodile farms,venomous spiders, or elaborate setups. Bond's fighting style also changed. Bond's new fighting style was vicious, hard, and inelegant-- similar to Jason Bourne. Bond didn't even care which way he received a martini as long as he got it. The new Bond was updated for the new generation, as is always the case. Unfortunately, 'Spectre' is a failed attempt to go back in time to the Bond films of old. For reasons listed above...it just doesn't work,

I preface my review by saying that the opening scene of 'Spectre' in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead celebration is absolutely spectacular. It's also done in a single take and it's breathtaking. It made me want to dress up in costume and go to a Day of the Dead parade. The only thing this film has going for it are the exotic locations. Similar to other Bond films, the locations are absolutely gorgeous. However, beautiful locations without a developed storyline do not make a good movie. The reason 'Skyfall' was well received was because it had a decent storyline, along with incredible visuals, a great song, and stunning scenery. I wish I could say the same for 'Spectre.'
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is in disguise with a beautiful woman on his arm (of course). He's attempting to stop a terrorist attack without the support of his spy agency MI6. Sadly this is your only taste of a decent scene. After the credits roll the film goes downhill with each passing scene. Back in London, M (Ralph Fiennes) reads Bond the riot act and attempts to reign him in. M is in the midst of a power struggle and a merger between MI6 and MI5. MI5 is headed up by newbie C (Andrew Scott) who thinks that drones and surveillance have rendered the "Double O" program obsolete. 
It's not like we haven't heard this one before? I think we have even seen this subplot in a Bond film before if I'm not mistaken? This is the crux of the plot--technology replacing the human element. The "fear of technology" storyline has only been around since the invention of the wheel. Who needs fresh and original? Once Bond is dismissed (again...it's not like that hasn't happened before) he continues his own personal mission. 
Money Penny (Naomi Harris) knows Bond is unto something. It's here that he confides in her that he's following the former M's (Judi Dench) orders before she died. He needs to follow the primrose path to Rome to meet with Lucia, the terrorist's hot widow (Monica Bellucci). This is another sticking point I have with 'Spectre.' A lot of hubbub was made about the casting of Bellucci because she's an "age appropriate" Bond girl. It was as if the makers of the franchise were trying to say, "hey look we're not sexist! Bring your date to see our crappy movie!" 
Yeah, ok. Then why was Monica Bellucci (the sexist woman alive...IMO) in 'Spectre' for a total of two minutes, one of which was on her back? This film is frustratingly long, running at an excruciating 2-1/2 hours. Why then was Bellucci given so little screentime? Bellucci serves no purpose except as a sex toy. That should hardly be surprising in a Bond film, but considering the hoopla they gave Bellucci it was unexpected and much too fast. I know this is a fictional film and yes I know this is a Bond film, which means it's flamboyant and over the top. But even Bond films should make sense. Why would a woman who just lost her husband have sex with a complete stranger in the span of 5 minutes? No offense to Daniel Craig (as I think Craig is an attractive man), but if a normal (and mostly sane woman) had sex with a complete stranger, he'd certainly have to be better looking than Craig is. It's insane even for a Bond film. 
Moving on, Bond goes on to see a familiar enemy, Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) who has been in previous Bond films 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace.' Mr. White is an old and dying assassin who entrusts Bond with the care of his daughter Dr. Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). What a fun way to introduce a new love interest-- a woman half Bond's age. Supposedly Dr. Swan knows enough about her father's past to lead Bond to Spectre...the international terrorist organization that has been the real force behind all of the nastiness in the previous films. We get to see brief flashbacks of all of the previous villains of the other Bond films: Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), Mathieu Amalric (Dominic Greene), and Silva (Javier Bardeem). It feels like director Sam Mendes and the makers of Bond are laying it on thick that this will be Craig's last Bond film. If that's the case, then this is really sad because this is not the film to go out on.
Bond and Dr. Swann continue down the rabbit hole in an effort to root out Spectre. There's the old familiar Elizabeth Bennett/Mr. Darcy tension of "will they or won't they?" This particular storyline has only been around for a couple hundred years. Needless to say, Dr. Swann falls into the sway of the charismatic James Bond. There's even a nod to Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) from 'Casino Royale' with an elegant dinner scene on a train between Bond and Dr. Swann. Despite international assassins being on their tail, they both manage to dress to the nines and drink dirty martinis in the train dining car. Clearly I've been in the wrong type of train cars. I'm sorry to say that there was more sexiness in the flash of Rebecca Ferguson's legs in 'Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation' than in this entire film.
A brutal assassin, Hinx (Dave Bautista) interrupts this romantic interlude in the film's best and most savage fight scene. Bond is thrown through train walls and nearly thrown from the train himself. For some reason neither the train conductor nor passengers seem to notice Bond being beat to a bloody pulp or the train being destroyed. After taking such a merciless beating what does Bond want to do? Have sex with Dr. Swann of course. Please don't get me wrong. I don't mind the idea that James Bond is a ladies man or a lothario. That is par for the course. My issue is the ridiculousness of the plot. The writers really fell down on the job in this film. My previous least favorite film in the Craig/Bond franchise, 'Quantum of Solace' looks like a freaking masterpiece in comparison to 'Spectre.'
Perhaps the worst part of 'Spectre' is the villain. Who exactly is the villain in this film? Well...the villain is Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). Oh but wait it's C the head of MI5...no...it's Hinx. That's the biggest issue in this film. Everyone is a villain! There is no clear villain like 'Skyfall' or 'Casino Royale.' So what is Oberhauser's relationship with Bond you ask? This was a real mind bender--not in a good way. The writer who came up with this twist should be forced to watch movies with my dad. My dad is one of those annoying people who talks during movies (among other things). For him movie watching is an interactive experience with discussion, popcorn, loud chewing, and a cell phone with an obnoxious ringtone. 
Oberhauser is the son of the Bond family's caretaker. I assume he is referring to Albert Finney's (Kincade) character from 'Skyfall.' Oberhauser gives Bond a metaphorical example of the cukoo bird. Cukoo birds are known to lay eggs in other bird's nests. The newly born cukoo birds then kill the mama bird's real babies. So supposedly Bond is a cukoo bird and Oberhauser is a smashed egg. Another thing that makes no sense is how Bond doesn't appear to recognize Oberhauser. You would think that they would have come into contact at some point or Bond would have seen a photo or something. I don't know and I didn't care at this point. I would rather smear poop on my walls than analyze this film too deeply. 
Bond and Dr. Swann escape to London to help M, Q (Ben Whishaw), Money Penny, and Tanner (Rory Kinnear) take down "Skynet." Ooops I mean, the Spectre computer program. You know the intrusive surveillance program that is supposedly going to replace people. It's in London that we learn that somewhere between the train scene and the end of the film Bond has fallen madly in love with Dr. Swann. Oberhauser says it will take the daughter of an assassin to truly understand him. I liked the fact that Bond developed deep feelings for a woman. It's a nice break from his playboy ways. I enjoyed Bond's relationship with Vesper in 'Casino Royale,' but the love story in 'Spectre' is so contrived and preposterous...even for a Bond film. 
Despite all of 'Spectre's faults. Perhaps the film's worst flaw is that it's BORING. Considering the quality of this franchise it is extremely rare to see a Bond film this bad. I seriously could have fallen asleep during this film if my father and movie partner wasn't keeping me alert with occasional farts during quiet scenes, spitting popcorn kernels out his mouth, yelling at the screen to "shoot out the tires,!" or balling up napkins and tossing them across the floor. Thankfully we sit so close to the screen that no one was in front of us. Whew. So it's fair to say that I really didn't like this film. Since I frequently see films with my dad I don't think it was his fault.

TWO OUT OF FIVE STARS

24 comments:

  1. Haven't seen this yet but will, sad to hear it's not good!

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    1. Be prepared to have your pillow and blanket with you in case you fall asleep!

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  2. Such a fun - ny review! My favorite line: "I would rather smear poop on my walls than analyze this film too deeply."
    I will definitely not go out and see this one - it'll be on television soon enough.
    Sorry you had to sit though such a bad one, but so appreciate that you did.

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    1. Ha, awww thanks Yolanda!! Yes, it's one of those to watch on television just in case you fall asleep!

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  3. I will definitely wait for the DVD release now since I am a compeltist when it comes to Bond. I love the look of your reviews again as well as the content. This is great stuff.

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    1. Oh thanks Cal! Yes, dvd is definitely an option! I wish I would have waited for it ondemand. I'm a huge Bond fan so I had to go see it in the theater. Unfortunately that's what they were expecting.

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  4. I had to skim to the end because I'm not seeing this one until Friday. Bummer it's not that good. And such a cool way to open with the Day of the Dead celebrations. I don't have high expectations anyway. I'm one of the few that thought the last Bond film was way overrated.

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    1. You may like it more than I did, but I was really frustrated with this film! the day of the dead scene was incredible though!

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  5. On the face of it Spectre looks great with action, car chases, explosions and Bond on the wrong side of the law. Heres hoping this Bond movie can recapture some of the old Ian Fleming magic.

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    1. Me too! 'Spectre' really missed the mark! I can't believe how bad this movie was.

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  6. "beautiful locations without a developed storyline do not make a good movie" Yes exactly!! You echoed a lot of my gripes here Mariah. I totally agree that scene w/ Bellucci's character is just laughable as even in a Bond movie I find it so hard to believe she'd be seduced by someone who look like Daniel Craig within 5 minutes of meeting him. I mean come on!! But yeah, Blofeld's character arc is so darn lame, it threw away the Blofeld that's been established in the past and they concocted a personal connection between him and Bond. WHY??! It's just so dumb and again they wasted Christoph Waltz too. Yeah, the opening sequence is really the only good thing about this movie.

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    1. Thanks Ruth!! I totally agree. I felt like your review was almost identical to mine. I agreed with everything you said!

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  7. I haven't even dared to write a review yet, but it won't be pretty.

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    1. Oh it was terrible. I can't believe how bad this movie was. I look forward to reading your review.

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  8. Agree Bellucci was underused. I thought the villain was bland, but it was a fairly entertaining ride while it lasted. Yes, the train scene was lacking in warmth, although I liked Madeleine Swann was smart and picked Bond's brain(even though the answers he gives her are boring). Enjoyed reading your review.

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    1. Hi Chris! Thank you! I thought Bellucci was grossly underused. It was awful! Not a fan of Swann, but I thought the actress did good with what she had.

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  9. I was totally checked out for this one, as you may know. It didn't even try to engage me.

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    1. Me too! I almost fell asleep in this movie. It was terrible.

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  10. Eu vim deixar um beijo,
    dizer que gostei muito
    do seu blog e também
    dizer que o estou seguindo.

    Siga o meu blog também,
    vai.

    Beijos e bom natal.



    .

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    1. Olá, é muito bom conhecê-lo. Obrigado por comentário no meu blog. Desejo-lhe um feliz Natal. Eu vou visitar o seu blog também.

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  11. I was really looking forward to this one, but after it came out all the bad reviews threw me off. I never thought I'd here a Bond movie called boring. Yikes. This movie was in development forever which means even they knew it was going to be trouble. Thanks for saving me a ticket, so I'll see it on RedBox.

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    1. Oh you should totally redbox it. Unfortunately these people have already gotten most of our money. It's already gone on to make a ton of money, despite the reviews. I suspect they will lose money on the back end with dvd sales. I don't think many people will go back for seconds.

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  12. an amazing masquerade in the first scenes!

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    1. Oh that was amazing wasn't it! The first scene was the best scene in the movie. If they had kept that up I would have been a happy camper.

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