|Klymkiw hates Sam Mendes, hated every Bond reboot aside from Casino Royale and hates Spectre. Klymkiw's going to take a nap whilst Rhodes Scholar Extraordinaire, Thomas Zachary Toles, AVIDLY inspects Spectre.|
Dir. Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes
Review By Thomas Zachary Toles
I would like to formally congratulate Judy Dench for escaping the Bond franchise.
Early in the Dench-free Spectre, Bond (Daniel Craig) is suspended from MI6 for having the audacity to play by his own infinitely successful rules. Casting red tape aside as if it were a sexually frustrated woman, 007 walks defencelessly into a shadowy organization’s home-crater and murders legions of poorly trained goons, only to feel an arbitrary pang of mercy before finishing off their impossibly vile leader, Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). As M (played by Ralph Fiennes, the pitiful rescuer of Judy Dench) explains, this proves to us that Bond, unlike a drone, knows when not to kill.
Bond vows to quit MI6 so he can settle down into a hollow relationship, mainly to provide him with fresh emotional baggage that might just propel him into another adventure in 2018.
Spectre’s absurdly cobbled together plot is meant to suggest that Oberhauser is the architect of all of Bond’s recent tragedies, the big final boss of Craig’s career as the secret agent. Oberhauser is interested in global surveillance, a contemporary paranoia that is pitted against the apparently unproblematic alternative: white male government agents with carte blanche access to exquisitely lethal weaponry.
The most amusing part of Spectre comes on the heels of the recent revelation that Daniel Craig hates playing Bond, despising the character’s misogyny nearly enough to turn down the tri-annual dump truck of money at Craig Manor. There is a [*ahem*] spectre of weary embarrassment behind Craig’s eyes even as he throws a man off a train or ejects himself from a car.
As a matter of fact, Sam Smith, the musician behind Spectre’s completely inappropriate theme, also seems intent on puncturing whatever remains of the Bond myth.
Spectre is far more comprehensible than Quantum of Solace (the opening scene is fairly strong) and, in some ways, less annoying than Skyfall (no childhood homes in sight), but it continues to spin the wheels of a franchise that really ought to be on its last legs. What a plunge from Casino Royale, which miraculously suggested that there might still be something to admire in a well-made, intelligently ironic Bond film.
Though the Mission: Impossible films do many impressive things that the Bond films fail to do, somehow the 007 brand keeps attracting audience members in droves. And I admit, Bond’s allure has sustained a certain nostalgic significance for me, despite the many dubious aspects of the franchise. If Idris Elba could somehow be cast as the interminable spy, my ears might perk up. Until then, I stand by Bond’s decision at Spectre’s conclusion to walk away from his thoroughly exhausted lifestyle.
Sadly, I know that Craig’s claim that he would rather slash his wrists than play Bond again is as unrealistic as his character’s departure from MI6. Both the actor and the character will undoubtedly reprise their roles in a forthcoming jaunt into the high-octane doldrums.
Sam Mendes, the director of Skyfall and now, Spectre, proves once again that he can kill James Bond as easily as he decimates most every movie he purports to direct. On the other hand, the producers of the Bond franchise, like Bond himself, are experts in knowing when not to kill something.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *½ One-and-a-half stars
Predictably, Spectre is playing everywhere.