Tuesday 27 October 2015

Review: Spectre

World of Blackout Film Review

Spectre Poster

Cert: 12A / 148 mins / Dir. Sam Mendes / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

Right, I'll keep this short. Just got in from seeing Bond 24*1 and wanted to review it while it's fresh. Unfortunately, I can't talk about any of what's on my mind without wading into spoiler-territory. Hit me up in this thread on the Facebook page if you want to paddle in those waters. In the meanwhile…

Yes, the much-anticipated Spectre finally hits our screens three years after Skyfall, headed once again by director Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig as everyone's favourite craggy-faced governmental hit-man. As Mendes' second Bond-outing and Craig's fourth, expectations are running understandably high, especially as the story follows the ongoing thread surrounding MI5 and its place in the global security chain. But chess-metaphors abound as shadowy forces move behind the scenes, and James Bond discovers his nemesis.

To be honest, it's an odd fish of a movie which has been undermined by its own hype. Thoroughly acceptable (indeed fantastic in many places), but capable of much more depth which it squanders lieu of car/boat/plane chases and a largely unconvincing central relationship between Bond and Dr Madeleine Swann (and that's largely down to her under-developed character). Monica Bellucci is underused, Dave Bautista is underused, and although Christoph Waltz gets his moment in the spotlight, he's seriously underused. All of this wouldn't be a problem if there was more going on at the Bond-end of things, but compared to his shellshocked, self-doubting character in Skyfall, James is running on autopilot a little here.

But it's still one hell of an autopilot, of course. Ben Whishaw's Q is a welcome low-key touch to the film, as it Ralph Fiennes' M (as he deftly steals some of the best lines). The film's about half an hour too long, the script is occasionally over-written, as is the action, yet all of this isn't a drawback. In fact, it's not really until you get outside of the cinema that you start thinking about all the things you didn't get.

But enough of my moaning. Spectre is very, very good at being a James Bond film, and that's what's important. Of course it could be more, and many might feel it should be more. But let's not over-analyse what is a proudly mainstream action-thriller and a British institution in its own right.

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
It is, but probably just the once.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Well obviously you're going to buy it; it has to go with the others, doesn't it?

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Sadly not.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I think Spectre achieves what Spectre sets out to do, but that's not what Skyfall had lined up for it.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not particularly.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
The latest Bond installment features Mr Mark Preston as an un-named Spectre-agent, who also appears as an un-named Stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and as an un-named stormtrooper (presumably a different one) in Star Wars: Rogue One.
It may be an 'extra' role, but fair fucking play to the guy :)

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Sounds like the world's most exciting news-channel; it's actually just real-time footage of glue drying. Sorry.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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