Matt’s Movies: The Bond Story Continues


Matt Chouinard, Film Critic

The history of film is filled with countless iconic figures, with movies delivering us famous characters, both historical and fictional. Typically when a fictional character becomes very popular among mainstream audiences then more movies will be made about the character’s adventures. This usually results in a couple additional films, but seldom is a character presented in so many films that the movie studios have to recast the character because the original actor has grown too old for the part. This is the case for James Bond, one of the most popular movie characters ever, who has been recast multiple times over the course of 26 different films. His story is one that seemingly doesn’t grow old among the public, and with its latest entry, Spectre, the franchise continues on with another action packed tale. From the standpoint of someone who has not seen really any of the preceding James Bond movies, this film stands on its own fairly well. Naturally there are references and links to past adventures that will be picked up on by franchise enthusiasts and probably add to the overall enjoyment, but on its own is still an enjoyable action movie.

Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes, finds James Bond (Daniel Craig) traveling all over the world, tracking a secret organization known as SPECTRE. With Bond’s own organization of MI6 beginning to be called into question regarding it’s relevancy, his only resources at his disposal are his fellow agents and friends, Q (Ben Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Naiome Harris). Together they must try to figure out who is behind this sinister organization and what they are planning next before it is too late.

The best quality about Spectre is its action, placing James Bond in many different situations, all of which produce exciting action sequences. Ranging from intense fight scenes involving Bond and many shadowy agents of SPECTRE, to speedy car chases, and plenty of explosions, the film provides plenty of style and flair. Daniel Craig does a great job playing Bond. He fully embraced the character in what is his fourth time making the onscreen appearance. His cool, calm demeanor and stone cold intensity is balanced out by the occasional witty remark to present the charm necessary to successful embody the role. It makes the story fun for the audience, watching Bond save the day like usual in whatever exciting manner he sees fit, always knowing that he will come out on top because it is the nature of the character. Another positive takeaway from the film is its cinematography. There are many scenes throughout the course of the film that are beautifully shot. Plots that take the audience around the globe from country to country present ample opportunities for excellent visuals and this film takes advantage. The fight scenes are also excellently choreographed, presenting some exciting sequences in some unconventional locations.

All the style and fun that is presented in Spectre makes up for its weakness in the substance department. The storyline presents some interesting new gadgets and minor twists, customary of the spy genre, but builds up to a less than stellar conclusion. In what can only be assumed is typical for James Bond films, there is a paper thin romance between Bond and a female protagonist, Madeleine Swann(Lea Seydoux). This is very unfortunate as Swann is quite interesting and presented with some serious potential, only to be wasted as another “Bond girl”. Seydoux’s talents were definitely wasted on the role. There is also underused potential with the head of SPECTRE, Blofeld (Christolph Waltz), as the final faceoff between the two of them is unrealistic and anticlimactic. Waltz is a very talented actor and gives Blofeld some intrigue and a great deal of intellect and sophistication. He definitely delivers one of the best performances of the film, but the script underuses him at the end, presenting a somewhat tacky conclusion.

Overall, the rest of the cast turned in solid performances to help create a positive end result. Naiome Harris and Ralph Fiennes gave solid performances in their roles, while Ben Whishaw stole the show by giving maybe the most enjoyable performance of the film in much more limited screen time. He was very intelligent and quite funny. Daniel Craig and Christolph Waltz carry the film with their more important performances, but everyone else definitely contributes what is required of them as well.

Spectre is a typical James Bond film, in that it presents a great amount of style for its viewer, although may lack in plot and substance, which this one did to a certain extent. Daniel Craig presents a very good embodiment of the character and creates an exciting ride for the viewer. The action is very good and never really slows down from beginning to end. I give Spectre 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of James Bond, or just enjoys action movies in general.