OP-ROB RATING: BUST
When Daniel Craig was first cast for the role of James Bond, a great many people swore he was too short, too coarse, and too blonde. Ian Fleming probably rolled over in his grave when the decision came out. However, with "Casino Royale", Craig not only proved he deserved to be 007, but also added an unprecedented level of depth to the storied character. With uneven storytelling, "Quantum of Solace" took a step back from the excellence of "Casino Royale", but Blonde Bond came surging back to life under the direction of Sam Mendes with “Skyfall” in 2012. Now, in what may be his last outing, Daniel Craig is back in the new film “Spectre” with Mendes again directing.
Picking up from "Skyfall", Bond is still trying to stop a secretive web of enemies, meanwhile trying solve mysteries from his past. Starting off in Mexico City and bouncing from there to London, Rome, Austria, Tunisia and back to London, Bond picks up clues and ultimately comes face to face with his most powerful opponent yet. This villain is his estranged step brother, Ernst Blofeld played by Christoph Waltz. "Spectre" is a quite beautiful and stylish affair. The locations shot in the film are striking, with the snow covered Austrian mountains, the streets of Rome and London, and the sandy desert in Tunisia. Even the polluted streets of Mexico City look terrific. Bond and his main female companion in the film, Dr. Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) can be observed wearing fine designer clothing looking like they just stepped out of a photo shoot with Vanity Fair.
“Spectre” is visually tantalizing, however the story that unfolds is far less exciting than the visuals and the action scenes. Unlike its predecessor, "Spectre" opts for the typical Bond formula. There are several sexual encounters, a brutish henchman, an evil lair, and a cerebral super villain. Sam Mendes includes some nice throwbacks to the old Bond films, but the story lacks any real substance. The most confusing aspect of "Spectre" is the main love interest, Dr. Madeleine Swann. Bond and Swann meet briefly and inexplicably fall in love after a few short scenes, but the relationship is never developed/explained. Another shabby piece of "Spectre" occurs when Bond is subjected to torture by tiny needles that literally do nothing. In the very same scene the “super smart” Blofeld makes the boneheaded mistake of not confiscating Bond's watch which any old bloke knows can just as easily blow up as tell the time. If that’s not baffling enough, Bond manages to shoot down a helicopter with one nicely placed bullet from his Walther PPK pistol. These things cross the line and make “Spectre” feel more like a satire about spy films rather than a serious Bond film.
The funniest and most memorable scene in the movie happens when Bond confronts a mouse that scurries into his hotel room in Tunisia. Sitting, slouched in a chair drinking a Heineken, Bond points his pistol at the rodent and asks, "Who sent you? Who are you working for?" Besides the humor, this is one of the few scenes where Bond becomes human. He's just a guy drinking beer and having a little fun. It's this more relatable side of Bond that made Craig a game changer. When the hero has “Everyman” qualities it makes his story more believable and realistic to the viewer. This same idea can be seen in "The Dark Knight" when the mighty Batman strains in his office chair trying to stitch his own shoulder up. Unfortunately, "Spectre" misses the opportunity to reveal more of the character of James Bond, and opts for cheap thrills and a rickety storyline resulting in one of the biggest disappointments this movie season.