Spectre

It isn’t Skyfall. How frustrating it is to hear that, as if audiences would react kindly to a rerun of the last Bond film. I thought it was excellent.

I am not going to pull rank. I could wave my film degree (if I could find the bloody thing) and pontificate on the reasons Bond 24, Spectre, is worth more than the paltry 60 it received from metacritic. A site that crunches the crap of critics into one concentrated super turd.

A quick glance at the user reviews paints a mixed portrait. Some witless morons say that it is tired, and the lightest Craig Bond so far. Others warn innocent moviegoers to avoid it and spend their money elsewhere. How irresponsible these ostensible Bond fans are.

Still, there are some people out there who contrast the hollow joylessness of the people I have just described. They say it is a brilliant film. One of the best ever, and I agree. For one, I don’t want to see progressively dark Craig movies. The ruthless side of his Bond has been well explored, and has more depth than any of the other Bonds, but is a well we have come to the bottom of. Why does exploring the human element so alienate some viewers? It might be aimless to try and understand the sociopaths, but there you go, I have gone and made my point about those particular fans.

Spectre is the super-villain organisation at the heart of the 007 franchise. It first featured in the Connery movies as the group backing original super-villain Dr No. The head of Spectre then and now (his face was obscured in the Connery movies until You Only Live Twice) was Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the proper arch-nemesis of James Bond. He was always portrayed stroking a Persian cat, and the most famous characterisation of him was when Donald Pleasance was cast as Blofeld and had a bald head with a distinctive facial scar.

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This is the origin of Dr Evil in Austin Powers, and Blofeld always had outlandish plans and lairs. So it should not be a surprise (and certainly not a disappointment) that Spectre features lairs and plans verging on the outlandish. Like a butler in tails taking Bond’s gun from him on a silver platter when 007 and his attractive companion arrive at a gleaming base build in a meteor crater in the deserts of Africa. The lawns are watered and well maintained. This is silly, but it is James Bond silly. So it works.

Blofeld is played by Christoph Waltz, who does a fine job portraying one of the more cliche characters in cinema. The rest of the supporting cast does a fine job too, and I couldn’t find a weak link anywhere. Of course, I wasn’t looking for one, and that is the point. If you are watching a film and breaking it apart before the credits roll then you are a snob and your opinions aren’t worth thinking, much less listening to.

Lea Sedoux is fantastic, and like many I have had a crush on her since the first thing I saw her in. Monica Belushi is great too (and who doesn’t have a perpetual crush on her?) although I would have loved to see her screen time extended. Her part was too fleeting.

Ralph Fiennes was superb but when is he ever not? He portrays an M who has seen violence, and can do violence, but acts with cold principle and puts country ahead of all else. A better successor to the inimitable Judy Dench could not be asked for. Ben Wishaw and Naomi Harris as Q and Moneypenny respectively are excellent. Wishaw beats John Cleese’s Q any day and in the modern world a technical wizard with a laptop seems much more appropriate than a dithery bank manager, as Cleese seemed to be. Naomi Harris is sublime.

I am pandering now so it is best to stop. But for heavens sake see the latest Bond film. It cost $275 million to make (one of the most expensive films ever) and needs a high box office take to break even.

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