Spectre succumbs to Skyfall’s spotlight

The 24th film of the James Bond saga, Spectre, was unfortunately unable to live up to the hype surrounding it. You could tell that director Sam Mendes had the pieces to build a worthy spy thriller, but was unfortunately unable to bring it all together.

I should clarify one point: on its own, Spectre was not a bad film. However, when watching a James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig, it’s natural to compare it to other Bond movies starring Craig; in this light, Spectre does not distinguish itself. Though it is much more interesting and better executed than Quantum of Solace (let’s be honest, it would be difficult to do worse), it is definitely behind both Skyfall and Casino Royale.

There are certain elements of the film that are without a doubt worthy of a thumbs up. The action throughout was great. This film seemed to have more action scenes compared to the previous three Bond films, and they were executed more effectively than ever. Whether it was a grandiose scene with massive explosions, or simple hand-to-hand combat, each scene was shot well and kept the audience incredibly entertained. As well, Daniel Craig’s portrayal of 007 was spot on. He has clearly matured over the last three films and was able to find a balance between the stereotypical stylishness and suave demeanour of Bond, and the grittier human element that Craig brings to the role.

The villain in Spectre, played by Christoph Waltz, was quite a letdown. The return of Ernst Blofeld as Bond’s main nemesis was a great addition to the movie, as it added a nostalgia factor; however, Mendes was unable to use Waltz to his prime. Both the quantity and the quality of dialogue that Waltz had was less than expected, and most of the verbal jousting between Blofeld and Bond was predictable and uninteresting.

It was a real shame, since both Inglourious Bastards and Django Unchained have shown us that giving Waltz a good script and ample screen time is basically guaranteed to make your movie better.   

The Bond girls in this movie also didn’t connect as well with Daniel Craig as ones had in the past. The main love interest for James Bond is Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). Throughout the film, the romance between them seems forced, with no real flow  between the stages of their relationship. This is in stark contrast to James Bond’s courtship with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale. It was clear that they had real chemistry, and their connection seemed far more natural.

Finally, we’re left with Spectre’s official song, “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith. The song is an accurate representation of the movie as a whole. On its own, it is a great song. But a Bond song? Not quite. Parts of the song definitely have that classic Bond feel, but on the whole it doesn’t feel like it matches the franchise, and when compared to recent Bond songs such as Adele’s “Skyfall” or Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name,” the song — like Spectre — just doesn’t cut it.   

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