BY DEOYE FALADE
Okay, another James Bond movie is out and with all the hype and publicity before the movie, I just had to quench my thirst. This is the one to end all Daniel Craig’s Bond movies and by all means it should be big. For anyone familiar with the old 007 movies, the mention of Spectre, an organisation we got to know about during the days of Sean Connery, is enough attraction. This is the organisation behind all the woes of James Bond and the MI5 since Casino Royale. As such, it’s only normal to expect the plot to really lead to a crescendo, being the sequel to end all sequels, especially with the heights Skyfall reached in rescuing Quantum of Solace.
Just one problem though: it didn’t really feel like one. Sometimes, sequels aren’t meant to be totally related to their preceding movies and that’s alright. But when you link four movies together as a result of the occurrences in one leading to the other, you better do a damn good job of it – like the Jason Bourne series. Unfortunately, like Quantum of Solace after Casino Royale, it didn’t quite fit in all together. After it all, you get the feeling that it should perhaps have been something different entirely – something totally unrelated.
This isn’t to say that Spectre is a bad movie – it isn’t by any means. But if you had a taste of Casino Royale and Skyfall (I’m not sorry for bringing them up), then you’ll come to expect big things. And you’ll get them, big explosions, lovely toys and expansive worlds as you’d have come to expect from any Bond movie. However, these big moments weren’t always in the right places, making it a movie to enjoy at the moment. Spectre leaves you wanting more – just not more of the same thing you’ve seen. In a way, you could relate it to a woman expecting an orgasm but only gets a few titillating moments and like a sneeze that gets cut off at its ‘almost’ moment, it just doesn’t happen.
I gave myself a test before seeing the movie, to see if I could relive every moment in my mind a week after I’ve seen it– which is why I’m writing this now. If not for my notes, I can barely remember most parts of the movie and that’s one pointer considering that I just don’t forget movies that quickly (or at all). It got me well entertained in the theatre but unlike what we’ve been accustomed to, it’s also quite forgettable too.
It’s not really the acting. Perhaps this is probably down to the script and plot. Maybe Mendes should have sat this one out. Besides Bond who seemed to carry on from where he left off in the previous movies – resulting in a more rebellious, tired and impassionate agent, the other characters weren’t robust enough. The recording of M in Bond’s possession only served to somewhat drag Judy Dench into the fray for a bit and explain the pre-credits scene. Naomi Harris’ Moneypenny seemed subdued despite appearing to enjoy more screen time. I gave a whoop when I saw Monica Bellucci but felt let down that she was in just two scenes as a sad widow. How did that even further the story other than it looking like Bond’s whimsical stop-by in Italy since he knew where he was going already? It all felt…rushed and you wonder what the 90 minutes was used for other than shooting nice scenery and forcing the ‘never-let-me-go’ romance between Bond and Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) SMH!
The villains didn’t fare better either. Dave Bautista’s Mr Hinx character was all muscle and punches and considering that memorable ‘holy crap’ moment when he blinded some dude while bashing his skull, that’s not enough. Even Christoph Waltz’s Franz Obenhauser aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld didn’t have enough moments to assert himself as one character to either enjoy hating or hate liking his villainy. Blofeld is a formidable character and this movie, despite making him pull off some bad things still gives you a ‘meh’ feeling.
And I need not mention that some scenes and scenarios with underhand dealings in the secret service pulled off some parallels with a particular spy movie that also came out this year – yeah, the more memorable one.
I liked that Q, played by Ben Whislaw was able to get out and had more at stake than just supplying nice destructive gadgets and upgrading cars for Bond to drive and crash. He and Bond supplied some of the movie’s most humorous moments too.
In all, Spectre is one movie that would keep you watching till the end. It’s entertaining enough – so entertaining that you just might not notice that that’s all there is to it. It’s not what we’ve come to expect from Bond movies in recent times. It’s a pass, but only just.