Under a Spectre

Some time long ago the owners of the James Bond franchise had approached the mythical cross roads and summoned the devil. You see, after the entertaining mess that was “Die another day” the producers were worried about the Bond franchise looking silly and over wrought, and were also worried if it could survive another bout of silly plot contrivances, such as Bond surfing into North Korea, out racing a killer space satellite energy beam or turning the North Korean bad guy into a white British guy. With those thoughts weighing heavily on their minds, they summoned the Devil and offered him a contract. Could he remove the silliness from future Bond movies, to which the Devil agreed, with the added clause that they wouldn’t be fun.

Okay so that’s all rubbish, but have you seen the Daniel Craig Bond movies? They’re so dour and, not that much fun, perhaps too serious for their own good. Casino Royale was great, it had a killer opening song, fun parkour stuff and brilliant, if a little overblown action piece in a sinking house. Ever since that, it seems that fun is a dirty word within the scripting room and any notion of fun has to be removed, lest it ruins the seriousness of the movie.

Spectre follows the long line of Daniel Craig films that can be dubbed “The Daniel Craig experiment”. Before Mr Craig took the reigns, the movies were mostly done in ones, with very little over lap. There might be the occasional overlapping character, but that was it. There was always a Bond, a Felix Lighter, a villain with a bombastic plot and the occasional quip.

Spectre, while functionally good, is just dour and not really fun. It is well shot with particularly the opening bit during the day of the dead parade is amazing, but it quickly falls apart after that. Yes, it’s well acted, but it feels like it’s holding onto the past. Spectre, for legal reasons, weren’t even apart of the Bond movies, and that made them better.

There is the obligatory car chase with a tricked out car that fails to pinch the adrenaline. Mr Hinx continues the bizarre trend of Bond Villains having some weird quirk to them or disfigurement, in this case he doesn’t say any thing, making Mr Hinx a whiter version of Drax. Christoph Waltz is great as the main villain, but then when isn’t he great as with Daniel Craig and Ralph Fiennes in their roles. The action is okay if nothing terrible exciting.

At the end of the day Spectre is an okay Bond film. It’s not as much fun as the others, overly serious and looks good. Not as good Skyfall, but still better than Moonraker. Although to be fair, nothing is as bad as Moonraker. Join me next time when I talk about where the Bond movies went wrong.

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