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Question: What did you think of Spectre?
*****   -0 (0%)
****   -2 (28.6%)
***   -0 (0%)
**   -2 (28.6%)
*   -0 (0%)
I'd like to see it.   -1 (14.3%)
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Total Voters: 7

Author Topic: Movie Review: Spectre (2015)  (Read 653 times)
Dave Gray
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« on: November 06, 2015, 08:24:04 pm »

Spectre (2015)

Premise: British spy James Bond tracks a mysterious villain against the orders of his own government, which begins to connect dots about his past.

Rating: I really enjoyed it, but with caveats.

I like all James Bond.  I like it in all its forms.  I like Connery.  I like Moore.  I like the new and the old.  I like it gritty.  I like it campy.  Even though I recognize how bad it is, I have a soft spot for Moonraker.  But I've really taken to these newer, grounded films with Craig.  I think that Casino Royale is probably my favorite Bond film.  And I loved Skyfall, too. 

Spectre is a departure, in that it's somewhat of a return to form to the older tropes of the series.  For me, that pinged nostalgia, but I think for others, it's going to feel like a step backwards.  Bond had grounded its villains, with motivations rooted in reality -- tech moguls, crime lords, etc.  This is a return to the kind of villain you'd expect to live in a secret lair in the eye of Mt. Rushmore.  And this character's motivations are pretty farcical, too.  And while this would probably bother me in other films, I was OK with it here.  It just felt like respecting the past.  Different than previous films, this is much less stand-alone than I'm used to.  The mission he's on is unique to this film, but there are the fingerprints of each of the previous Craig films here, from influences of the villains, to the women, to the architects on both sides.

The film looks incredible.  Each shot is meticulous and beautiful.  Often, I noticed how balanced the frame was.  There is noticeable symmetry that reminded me of some of Kubrick's work in the Shining.  This was also present in Skyfall.  The locations are varied, but they all (and I mean ALL) harken back to iconic Bond moments.  A Day of the Dead parade (Live and Let Die), A series of train cars (From Russia With Love), a snowy mountain range (On Her Majesty's Secret Service), and more that I won't specify as to not spoil some of the film's twists. 

Even the tone of the film starts to move into the old territory.  Where the new Q originally gave Bond a pager and a gun, he's graduated on to the more traditional "exploding pens" of the spy world that he initially mocked.  You even have the classic Bond henchman (a la Jaws or Oddjob) and the torture device where Bond gets to hear the bad guy's plan. 

The problem with this film is three-fold: 1) The desire to tie the previous films together comes at a cost of believably.  2) The romance is so jarring that it's off-putting, even for Bond standards and 3) The movie is WAY too long.  It clocks in at two and a half hours and it doesn't have the depth in story to support it.  And while the first act is impeccable, you really start to feel the length down the stretch.  It's admirable that the film slows down to try to build relationships, it doesn't have that luxury, and doesn't even really succeed.

All of that said, I still really enjoyed my time watching this movie.  But I feel that a lot of that is probably rooted in my nostalgia for the old tropes of the series...even the bad ones.  I'm curious to see how this will be received by general audiences.
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bsmooth
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 06:25:54 pm »

I enjoyed it. Glad to see the brought back SPECTRE and --SPOILER--. It was not as good as Casino Royal or Skyfall, but better than Quantum.
I really like Craig as Bond, and I hope is replacement is as good.






**** Edited by Dave to remove spoiler.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 09:31:34 am by Dave Gray » Logged
Phishfan
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2015, 09:53:07 am »

I have never been a fan of the Bond series and don't think I've watched a Bond move since Roger Moore.
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Dave Gray
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2015, 12:27:34 pm »

Then I don't know if this is a terrible place to start or the perfect place to start.  You might have no connection to the nostalgia, or find it instantly recognizable as throwback.  ...not sure.
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2020, 09:54:09 am »

As an old James Bond movie fan (seeing them from Live and Let Die as my very first, then going back over the old ones, and seeing the new ones ever since), I watched Skyfall again tonight, a much better movie than this....

I feel the Daniel Craig era fell off the cliff after Casino Royale. That was a brilliant movie as a reboot, but it basically contained the WHOLE James Bond story in the one movie from beginning to end. How the hell can you follow that up?... you just can't. Martin Campbell (who had already successfully rebooted the Bond franchise once before with Goldeneye and Pierce Brosnan) wisely walked away from the Director's chair again, and left it to someone else to blow it...

If there is one weakness in Casino Royale, it's it's length, it just tells too much and goes too long - then again I am getting old and used to films before this decade or two (especially Bond films) being less than 90 minutes. Quantum of Solace is more precise but it's a train wreck of visual and audible noise and nonsense that goes nowhere....

Which leads me to Skyfall. Like Casino Royale it's way too long, but the weakness is the story. The visuals are brilliant, and for a while I thought it could have been a good movie if it was about quarter to a third shorter, stop it when Bond saves the day rescuing M from the villain, he gets away and we reset for another movie... the last part is just horrible, like James Bond and M turn it into a Hollywood version of MacGyver. Looking back now years later at what I thought was the good bit... no that story is still rubbish but with a good villain - the visuals are still rather spectacular which is what salvages it until the ridiculous third act which is OTT.

Back to the original thread though... Spectre is the worst of Skyfall stretched over a whole movie. Or a longer version of the train wreck that was Quantum of Solace. There is nothing genuinely original or authentic about any of it, and I do mean any of it.

Is it entertaining? To a Bond tragic, maybe something... but I am struggling to find it.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 10:04:06 am by Downunder Dolphan » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2020, 10:49:01 am »

I do think that these films are way, way too long.

I'm kinder to you on Skyfall, which I think is legitimately good.  And Spectre...I kinda stand by my review.  It's not good and fails at some basic stuff, but there's nostalgia there to make it fun.  But it's...no kidding...like 45 minutes too long.

Even Casino Royale, which is a really clean entry, is too long.  You can get the same ideas done in a shorter amount of time.

Bond wants to be a character study but also an action blockbuster.  I just don't think the latter works in a 2:30+ package and it ends up under-serving the characters, too.



Edit: I just read that No Time To Die is 2:43.  Christ.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 10:51:06 am by Dave Gray » Logged

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