Sound Off: Sam Mendes' 'Spectre', the 24th Bond Movie - Thoughts?
by Alex Billington
November 6, 2015
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Bond is back! Now playing in theaters everywhere is the 24th Bond movie, titled Spectre, from Eon Productions, directed once again by Sam Mendes. Daniel Craig returns for his fourth Bond movie as Agent 007, this time chasing after a mysterious Oberhauser. Is it time to re-introduce the evil organization SPECTRE? Also starring Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, plus Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista and Léa Seydoux. So how is this new Bond movie? Better than Skyfall or nowhere close? Is Daniel Craig done with Bond? How about that ending? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Spectre.
Spoiler Warning: We strongly urge everyone to actually see the film before reading ahead, as there may be spoilers below. We also encourage all commenters to keep major spoilers from the film to a minimum, if possible. However, this is an open discussion from this point on! Beware of spoilers, don't ruin this movie!
To shake this martini, upon first viewing I have to say that unfortunately I was quite let down. It was odd, because there are so many great parts to it. The opening of Spectre is awesome, the energy, the vibe, the cinematography, the action, that helicopter fight, it's all badass. Perfect start. But then it all goes downhill, and there's really not much to it. The movie is over two hours, but the story just skips along. Suddenly we're at SPECTRE, and really, there's nothing much to the villain either. Jeremy nailed it in his review when he wrote, "it feels more like a Roger Moore-era Bond film complete with lame quips, a storyline that is more convoluted than required, and villains who are more eccentric than proficient, at least when it comes to dealing with Bond." And I enjoy the Roger Moore movies! But this one felt like it was lacking in a big way.
I'm fine with Daniel Craig as Bond, but I agree with the assessments that you can start to notice how tired he is playing the character. So many other interesting characters appear and disappear without explanation, which is usual for Bond, but this time it seems so egregious when there's not much of the actual Bond story to follow. We get that it's going to end with Blofeld, and it's almost so expected when it happens, that I felt like that end should've been in the first hour, and then the movie would've really started. My biggest rant is the ending. Very Hollywood, and not in a good way. Why? Didn't they see On Her Majesty's Secret Service? Bond choosing the woman never works out. So unless this is a tease for what's to come in the next movie (perhaps like OHMSS?) it seems very out of character and bewildering. Why did they make these choices?
What did you think of Sam Mendes' Spectre? One of the best Bonds, or is it one of the worst?
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Reader Feedback - 30 Comments
Needs another viewing to be sure but I enjoyed it enough. It was GOOD. And at times very good. But something about Sam Mendes Bond just lacks something. I can't put my finger on it but skyfall suffered from it too. For all Intents and purposes they should be great movies but they just aren't.
Jon Odishaw on Nov 6, 2015
Also to address the Daniel Craig phoning it in thing, you can tell he's tired of playing Bond but I think he still did a great job.
Jon Odishaw on Nov 6, 2015
yeah he's def tired. Watch CR he seems to have a ton more fun on the first Bond.
Sascha Dikiciyan on Nov 6, 2015
yeah, i'll go with 'at times very good', really enjoyed it. Craig continues to fill the role with a certain brutish charm, he does bring something to the character. not lacking something for me, though, unless what's lacking is that it's not Casino Royale. for Skyfall, which i enjoyed a lot (i know not universally shared here), Mendes did something different from what had gone before while celebrating canon and got criticised for not being 'Bond' enough. for Spectre, he did something much more like canon and has been criticised for *not* doing something different. ah well. (spoilers ahead) good? great pre-credits sequence. expanded roles for Ben Wishaw and Fiennes, a fun circular plot referencing the Craig era. Jesper Christensen did lots with a small role. great fight sequence on the train (Bautista enjoyable throughout). yes, i like Mendes' action; at least i can see what is going on (by contrast, QoS's action sequences were jumpy, over-cut and far too close.) not so good? film's name, forgettable song and opening credits. Madeleine Swann was no Vesper Lynd. not enough Waltz (and slip on shoes without socks? pure evil!). casting Andrew Scott - Moriarty himself - as a bad guy. if he'd been one of the good guys, that would have been fine wrong-footing counter-casting. needed 15 minutes edited out of the wandering bits. the ending was almost *too* neat and circular. but! we all know Bond will be back - it even said so at the end of the credits, as usual. Spectre was an old-fashioned Bond romp, with some modern upgrades and a higher level thriller veneer. Mendes has tried to make something serial that before was episodic, and i've enjoyed both approaches. the Craig era has been tough, robust and never less than entertaining. if Spectre's his last - cheers. i'm going back next week.
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Patience Lapierre on Nov 8, 2015
I agree about Sam Mendes Bond's lacking, however I felt that he kinda/sorta redeemed himself on Spectre cause it was definitely better than QOS and Skyfall. Martin Campbell's Casino Royale I guess was just too damn good. It seems like Sam just can't do better.
Cyberdine on Nov 9, 2015
This one is a tough one. On one hand I thought it was slightly better than Skyfall but overall the total old school throw back, lack of bad guy screen time, stupid ending and most of all again missing Barry's or Dave Arnold's score make this Bond outing mediocre at best. I've always said Mendez cannot direct action. QoS sure has a lot of haters (I liked it) but its action sequences and chases felt real and visceral. At no point do you ever feel 007 is seriously in trouble. But of course this is just my opinion. Im not going into the movies wanting them to suck. It just wasn't great.
Sascha Dikiciyan on Nov 6, 2015
Spoilers ahead... Ha didn't know it was scored by someone else but this explains a lot tied in with the action sequences. I just found it so bland. Take the plane in the snowy mountains sequence for example. When bond is going off course and sliding down the hill it all just felt really flat and lifeless and there was no build up at all. This was in essence an issue that ran throughout the film. I can't believe they spent so little time at the enemies base, with no real cause for being there and then again, there's another odd action scene where bond just exits (shouldn't that last needle poke have caused him to lose his memory?) and guns down all baddies without flinching and then they just decimate the cool set. All over in a flash. Not what I was looking for.
Mr Chatterbox on Nov 7, 2015
That needle thing really confused me. Someone I saw it with was saying "no they were explaining that they had to do one more drill after that for the memory thing". Well I don't remember that, but if I take them at their word, then why did she rush up and ask if he recognized her? And if that was supposed to be the drill that did it, then as you asked, why didn't it? What a weird scene. Classic bad guy taking a long impractical way to eliminate Bond scene, but weird how they did it. Or maybe it did work and the rest was a dream like one of those crummy scifi stories.
OfficialJab on Nov 23, 2015
haha glad I wasn't alone. You're right she asks if he remembers her and he replies. So I think something went askew in the edit and it didn't make sense to me - and at quite a pivotal bad guy scene. :/
Mr Chatterbox on Nov 23, 2015
My comments have MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just a heads up. I've read very mixed reviews since the movie came out last week in England, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But I ended up enjoying it. I feared it would be Quantum of Solace, but it was much, much more enjoyable. The look of the movie is beautiful, and the music is great. Unfortunately the story is were the weakness lies. Here are my main complaints: In the beginning of the movie the new M puts James Bond on suspension yet again. Didn't he just get suspended the last movie!? And M was the one to welcome James Bond back into MI6? Also they introduce nano blood or "smart blood" which is a bit of a stretch considering they used the tracking chip in his arm in Casino Royale. It was clear from the very beginning that C was a undercover bad guy. Like painstakingly obvious. But even worse his character didn't really do anything. Robert Redford was more evil playing the same character in Captain America Winters Soldier. Christoph Waltz as Oberhauser was not used nearly enough. He was great when he was on screen but that wasn't until the 3rd act. We never got to see him get angry. The ending doesn't make any sense for a James Bond film. MI6 is still dismantled and James decides to ride off into the sunset with a girl. We know there will be more movies so this ending means the next movie has to answer all these questions before moving on with another plot. I feel like this was Sony ending their franchise knowing they were going to lose it to another company. Despite all these issues I still liked the film. I'm glad they didn't kill Oberhauser, he should be used again. Now he can have an eye patch and maybe lose his hair. I don't know how I feel about Daniel Craig as 007, he's looking older and tired, but that was part of the plot of Skyfall. He is an older Bond proving he is still relevant. I wished he liked playing this character more.
Craig Boyse on Nov 6, 2015
I enjoyed it, but I recognize the same issue many others did: felt like the film took a very traditional Bond path. I was hoping the continuance of the grit of Mr. Craig's bond. But...maybe this film was just about how Bond has matured over time.
Quanah on Nov 7, 2015
First time in my life I have fallen asleep in a cinema. That's how boring this movie is.
dawko on Nov 7, 2015
It was not as good as Casino Royale or Skyfall for me, but somewhat better than Quantum. Honestly, it felt like some sort of anniversary movie that had a lot of throwbacks in the previous films, both Craig and non-Craig. The third act was the most obvious. Bad Guy HQ in the desert? Reminded me of Quantum of Solace. Train date? Casino Royale. Train fight? From Russia with Love. Ending of the Train Fight? Roger Moore -era. Not bad, but not that good either.
Salvador Venturanza on Nov 7, 2015
I liked it. I really liked Casino Royale, Quantum was ok, and I didn't love Skyfall as much as everyone else did. Having heard lots of negative buzz my expectations were low, but I would probably rank it second of the Craig Bond's.
rickvanr on Nov 7, 2015
Better than Skyfall but not as good as Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace...
Bl00dwerK on Nov 7, 2015
There's something that used to make Bond films great. Gadgets. Humor, Escaping from incredibly difficult situations. This Bond is a Hulk Thug. That only follows 3 rules. Smash, Blow, Kill. Every car he has he smashes under 2 min withouth exploring the cool gadgets that might have been there. No wonder Q refuses to invent stuff for him;). But probably the main disappointment is that this Bond Series tries to be Bourne. Sorry the villain is the greatest disappointment. the bad guy killed his father and spent decades to build a worldwide empire just to ruin it on a petty grudge??? What kind of douches write that stuff.
Alpivan on Nov 8, 2015
Same old Bond, same old rehashed story, same old tired one liners. Bond goes rogue. Bod is caught up in a crumbling building. Bond shags some lonely woman. Bond goes against orders. Bond saves the day. Perhaps the next one should be called James Bond and The Groundhog Day.
Eggyweggs on Nov 8, 2015
I really liked the movie. I enjoyed the throwbacks to the older films and the humor, for the most part, was spot on. I really hope this is the last of the Daniel Craig movies though. It's definitely getting a bit tired at this point. But this was a really good send off. I also enjoyed that the famous Bond theme played as he was just driving away and not during an action scene like I was expecting. A pretty cool send off in my opinion.
ListenToVinyl on Nov 8, 2015
Would have been nice if he had defeated Spectre to earn that ending, not just blown up some facility they used and deleted a program. What about the rest pf that shadowy committee?
OfficialJab on Nov 23, 2015
I was really pulled out of the movie when Andrew Scott appeared on screen, not that he is a bad actor, I just can't see him as anything else other than Moriarty. I leaned over to my wife and wispered, "Hi" in my best Moriarty voice.
James on Nov 8, 2015
while I appreciate the obvious nod to From Russia with Love: the stern German woman, Blofelds cat and his eventual scar, its hard not to think of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers and how Dr. Evil was raised with Austin Powers. Mike Myers did such a fantastic job Parodying the Bond genre.
ron sussman on Nov 8, 2015
Randall13 on Nov 9, 2015
I felt the same way, thinking I had just seem Goldmember without the jokes. Still a good Bond film though. No Skyfall or Casino Royale, but a cut above Quantum of Solace.
MAWG on Nov 10, 2015
Spectre is at least one more script rewrite from being a decent movie. I found it boring for the most part. There was no urgency that would chase the plot along as in Casino Royale, where you felt Bond being driven to get from A to B, but here he's ambiguous, trying to decide between the woman and the job. The movie also didn't know whether to take itself seriously or not.
Armitall on Nov 9, 2015
I'm surprised by how much people liked Skyfall and now they are calling this a messy film. Not sure if we all have seen the same movie. Spectre felt great and uses/appeals the same nostalgia which all saw in Skyfall. And, most important, plays a bit on the edge on giving 007 an end. Maybe we can argue about the quality, but, again, it's a James Bond film, is about that, silly maybe a bit over the top action in a romantic/fantasy spy enviroment.
capitandelespacio on Nov 9, 2015
Why did this movie have to try to tie all of Craig's Bond movies together? I thought that was unnecessary to try so hard to do it that way. Like others below, it could have been rewritten somewhat and shortened a bit.
Randall13 on Nov 9, 2015
It was even dumber to go to all that trouble and then not explain it. "LeChiffre, Quantum, Silva, it was all me" Uh, what was all you? Pretty sure they all were autonomous people with their own motivations that were thoroughly explained. You gave them money, intel, what? That hardly is worth cheapening the previous films' villains for.
OfficialJab on Nov 23, 2015
I don't get the rancor and hate for Skyfall ...and did any of you say this when it came out ?? I Don't Remember seeing this Universal Condemnation , back then in reviews .. Sounds more like you all are just agreeing with an online trend , afraid to buck it ... Just for the buildup( whole plot ) to M's death and the Bond backstory we've NEVER had , it should be celebrated. ..She and Bond are Both getting too old for this game .. besides also the Sottish countryside scenery , and the architecture of London buildings scenery ... the only thing i knock it for , was the "fall into a mountain's river , but wake up on a remote tropical island " . As if his woman rescuer could swim a few hundred miles towing him .. before and after that tho , it hit all the high notes i can understand only the " I Don't Want my Bond grounded in realism " attitude . BUT a Roger Moore-like Bond isn't gong to play well , in this era of movie-going . and not make the money on second views
Dominic on Nov 9, 2015
Hardly saw the point of setting up Spectre if they were just going to toss it away with one bullet to a gas tank, one bullet to a helicopter and Q dismantling their global network, pretty much in his pajamas before his first cup of Earl Grey. Also I was way let down by the car chase. I'm not a car enthusiast to begin with, even Bond's classic cars, but it lost a bit for me when they're using the newer models that look like spaceships. That would have been totally fine though if the chase didn't seem more as though Bond was a sightseeing escort. Until the fire gadget, it could be hard to tell that they were even part of a pursuit or conflict. As for Léa, she was okay but her character was pretty much purposeless - it amounted to her knowing the next place James had to go and she was portrayed as being almost central. It's not a gender politics issue either, I was fine with the girl in Skyfall being a "go here next" character, because like others she disappeared shortly after that part in the story moved forward. Spectre was okay. Casino > Skyfall > Quantum > Spectre is my list and it may move up after I watch it again, which happened with Quantum.
OfficialJab on Nov 23, 2015
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