Director Sam Mendes has done it again. “Spectre” ticked all the Bond boxes, from high speed car chases to dry Martinis and a striking bond girl effortlessly portrayed by French actress Léa Seydoux (of ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘Robin Hood’). A new selection of brilliant actors and actresses surrounded a central cast that more than established themselves in 2012’s “Skyfall”. With scenery of epic proportions and its fair share of planes, trains and automobiles, Spectre was a fast-paced thrill ride that left the audience feeling suitably exhilarated and exhausted.
Sam Smith’s theme song took on a new dimension when combined with the typical ‘Bond’ opening graphics, and proved to be a lot more satisfying than at its first release, when Smith did not quite have the anticipated impact. However, the opening graphics themselves were more detached from the plot than usual, giving little else away besides the obvious reference to the key organisation. Mendes cut no corners in terms of special effects either: the new Aston Martin DB10 bursting on to the scene in a high speed car chase along the banks of the Tiber in Rome, brimming with all the gadgets we expect from the fresh-faced Q. Overall, the stunt artistry didn’t fail to impress, and although the opening scene started off a little too comical, helicopter acrobatics over Mexico City’s centre certainly made up for it. Credit must also be given to the fantastic range of costumes worn by extras in the ‘Day of the Dead’ parade through Mexico City, which succeeded in setting up a rather ‘devil may care’ atmosphere typical of Bond movies in general.
As with Skyfall, Mendes has seamlessly merged the traditional structure of a Bond movie with a darker thread once again – retaining the exploding watches and ejector seats whilst starting to expose the fragility of the central character. However, there are aspects of Craig’s Bond that differ perhaps a little too much from his predecessors. After Skyfall drew the story in a much more personal direction, Bond’s character has darkened somewhat, and although Craig moulds to the character impeccably, he dampens the charisma of the mischievous Bond we have grown to love. Furthermore, despite being characteristically crazy-eyed and unnervingly calm, nemesis Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) did not give the same chills as Javier Bardem’s villain in Skyfall. I would like to have seen more difficulty in the relationship between the two characters given the build-up of mystery in the first half of the movie.
Although there were several plot gaps that could have been more detailed, there’s no denying that the entire audience was perched firmly on the edge of their seats throughout the film. This highly anticipated release more than lived up to expectations, and Spectre was another superb cinematic spectacle of the Bond kind.
Director: Sam Mendes
Release date: October 26, 2015
Text: Sophie Scotter