“Spectre” Review: Bond disappears in “Spectre’s” foggy mess


Socrates Kanetakis, Podcast Editor

I loved Casino Royal, I liked Quantum of Solace, I did not like Skyfall and I am never re-watching Spectre. I will admit it; I hold James Bond, and any other type of European-based franchise, very close to my heart. Consequently, I rate such movies too low or too high depending on my sentimentality and disregard certain aspects that “save” a movie only because the rest were not delivered to my preference. I have been called out for not liking Skyfall and for liking Quantum of Solace, and according to IMDb, there is something clearly wrong with me. But on the night of  Nov. 7, there was something clearly wrong with Spectre.

The fourth installment in the Daniel Craig “Bond” era presents itself as a 1970’s cliche spy film with just enough class, and just enough British humor to pass itself as Bond and not Bourne. The synopsis is as follows: Bond gets a message from his past and seeks the villain. Ta-da…

Starting off with some redeeming qualities, Sam Smith’s song and the sleek montage accompanying it. Done.

Okay I am joking–I didn’t like the song either. What I did like though is Craig’s progression as Bond. In Spectre we have an infallible,  experienced and mature Bond, clearly transformed from the naive Casino Royal one. This transformation is not due to Spectre’s screenplay but rather due to the slow process of character development beginning in 2006 and finishing in 2015. I was just happy to see Craig finally encompassing everything Bond is supposed to be; facetious, seductive, bold and professional.

In addition, Ben Whisaw was undoubtedly the highlight of the film. Playing the series’ classic smart-talking tech-developer, Whisaw nailed his role by being Bond’s constant source of friendly conflict. Lastly, words cannot describe the joy of seeing a 50 year old Monica Belucci in lingerie looking like 30. Ben fatto bambina.

Now, Bond, allow me to be the “author of your pain”.

Dave Bautista, playing the hit-man Mr. Hinx, was incredibly underused. Asides from the complete absence of dialogue (99% complete to be exact), Bautista spends most of his screen time in a Jaguar biting the dust out of Bond’s Aston Martin. Other than that, he just stands there looking mean. Congrats to Spectre’s writers! You made a monstrous, intimidating hit-man with a particular way of murdering who never says a word and beats up James Bond. Were you maybe trying to revivify Jaws from “The spy who loved me” and “Moonraker“?

I don’t know how you guys did it…you took a two time Academy Award winning actor–Christoph Waltz–and made him the dullest, plainest and most boring Bond villain I have seen on screen. On top of that, you made his role as a Nazi sociopath in “Inglourious Basterds” look more lovable than ever. We got a scattered background story for Waltz’s Oberhauser which should provide him some motive for his actions but instead he just appears to be a one-dimensional, jealous, spoiled brat (Bardem’s villain in Skyfall was at least two dimensional).

The most embarrassing aspect of the film was that the story was Fast and Furious Seven’s script disguised as an espionage spy drama. Listen Hollywood writers, if you are so bored with writing well-developed villains in your screenplays that you just end up creating secret organizations who have an international network of cameras as your villains, then you deserve to be sentenced to translating Russian dictionaries to Portuguese for life…or at least give me your jobs.

It looks like this Bond era is going from riches to rags. Spectre might have dazzled some audiences with good action, luxurious filming locations and delicate cinematography but disappointed in fields such as a compelling story, well-developed villain and overall an original “Bond” film. I am sure that when (and if) Christopher Nolan along with his protege, Tom Hardy, get their rights over Bond, we will get the Casino Royal level James Bond movie we’ve been longing for since 2006.

Till then I’ll lose my sobriety in Vodka Martinis and beer…oh wait, I’m sorry, now its actually a non-alcoholic fruit smoothie.

And I am also underage…

VERDICT: 6/10 

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language