Monday, November 09, 2015


      Director Sam Mendes returns with star Daniel Craig for the 24th  James Bond film. This is Mr. Craig's fourth turn as Bond and rumor has it, it will be his last. Mr. Mendes previous partnership with Mr. Craig resulted in the biggest grossing Bond film ever, the terrific "Skyfall".

        "Spectre" follows the Bond formula perfectly and the result is far from terrific.  Seeking to top their last effort, they instead cram in every element of what you have come to expect from James Bond and end up with an overstuffed turkey. Granted it's a tasty meal at times but the formula shows it's age and between the fine action sequences, boredom has set in.

      The plots reveals a thread running through all four of Mr. Craig's films that seeks to bring closure to his tenure as Bond. Christoph Waltz plays Oberhauser, chewing the scenery as the over the top villain. In typical Bond fashion, he explains everything to the trapped hero facing certain death. His great reveal should come as no surprise to Bond fans. The film also stars Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Wishaw as Q, Andrew Scott as C, and Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann, the requisite Bond "girl", who holds her own for most of the story but in the end, still needs to be rescued by our hero.

          Of course there are some spectacular action sequences and beautiful scenery but something about it all seems too familiar. Maybe it's a comfort level we've come to expect from these films but you can telegraph every sequence before they happen. There really is no suspense anymore.

         Mr. Craig wears a stiff upper lip along with his finely tailored clothes whether he is seducing Monica Bellucci, an assassin's widow, for information or getting tossed about like a rag doll by wrestler, David Bautista in a train sequence that pays homage to both "Goldfinger" and "From Russia With Love" at the same time. In fact, there are many moments that honor Bond history and that is one of the most enjoyable things about the film.

         With or without Mr. Craig, James Bond will return and fans (including this one) will look forward to it with much anticipation. I can only hope the next one will be called "Phoenix" as it rises out of  Spectre's ashes.

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