JAMES BONDSPECTRE’, Film Review, December 2015

Friday night I used another free double pass to the movies, and this time I went to see the latest James Bond 007 film Spectre at Wallis’ Piccadilly Cinemas in North Adelaide.

Again, declaring my allegiance in advance – I’m a James Bond fan from way back. My dad and I used to watch the Sean Connery and Roger Moore 007 films on TV in the 1980s, and the first one I saw at the cinema was Timothy Dalton’s first outing in 1987, The Living Daylights. I don’t think I’ve missed a Bond film at the cinema since.

This film, officially the 24th in the James Bond franchise, once again stars Daniel Craig in the titular role of James Bond, 007, and if you haven’t been keeping up, it’s his fourth Bond film, following Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. He’s joined again by Ralph Fiennes as the new “M” (having taken over from Judi Dench in Skyfall) and the latest versions of Moneypenny and “Q”. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (most famous for his roles in a couple of Tarantino films) plays the main baddie, and French actress Léa Seydoux is Bond’s main love interest in this movie.

After a spectacular opening act set in Mexico City, the plot revolves around 007 tracking down a mysterious group of criminals, terrorists and assassins across Europe and Africa. The action is great – and I really liked that this film brought in a new Oddjob/Jaws-style villain! Hard to knock-down, let alone kill! The actors reprising their MI6 roles do so with relish, and the remaining actors do what they need to do given it’s a Bond Film. Sam Mendes, directing his second Bond flick (after previously directing Skyfall), is back at the helm and all the actors obviously just seem comfortable with what he does in the director’s chair.

I only had a couple of small issues with this film. The plot does get a little slow in a couple of places, especially in the first half of the film, but thankfully just when you feel like it could wander off on its own accord, the storyline and the action pick up again to regain your attention. Then strangely, I almost felt that the story in the last third of the film seemed to compress a little bit – which seems strange for a two and a half hour film, but I felt it almost could have gone slightly longer and not lost anything, and even perhaps fleshed out the characters a little more if they’d taken the time. My only other issue with this film is with James Bond himself. Daniel Craig’s version of 007 seems to fall in love very hard and very fast (remember Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale?). He does the same here. Perhaps it’s a character trait (flaw?) with this version of James Bond. Certainly something I’m not used to seeing from the other versions of Bond in the past.

However the action, plot, characters, acting and direction more than make up for any shortfalls with this movie. You know you’re going to see a Bond Film, and a Daniel Craig Bond Film, and it delivers. Spectre is great entertainment.

3.5 stars + 0.5 star loading for a film franchise I’m invested in = 4 stars

PS. I cannot understand how some people didn’t like this film. Some have nit-picked a number of errors in it, particularly the action sequences. I barely noticed any of the faults (I did notice one – on the train at dinner), and they certainly don’t detract from the film on show. Someone’s supposedly already picked out 35 different faults and inconsistencies with Spectre. Well Skyfall supposedly had 68 faults, and some people call that the Best Bond Film Ever!

Reviewed by David Emms

David Emms is an electronic engineer, a father, and an avid movie goer.

He lives in Adelaide