I must admit that I am a huge Bond fan. Big time nerd who loves the series regardless of some of its major missteps. I think Tomorrow Never Dies is fantastic! But I also love Casino Royale. In my opinion the best with Skyfall a close second. So that being said my rating is slightly bias. I enjoyed the movie, but as a whole it was clunky, and I'm going to get more in depth so people who don't want things SPOILED leave after this paragraph. It's a mess, but somewhat enjoyable. Especially if you like the classic Bond films.
It starts off promising. It won points for me instantly when they had the gun barrel sequence open the film. Then we are treated to the Day of The Dead ceremony in Mexico City. Beautiful cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema. Really gorgeous to look at. Stunning visuals, and way the camera moves made me smile ear to ear. Bond then chases a man for some reason unknown to us. They get into a fight on a helicopter and then we move on.
That's what it feels like through most of this movie. Each scene doesn't complement itself. There is no natural flow. Everything feels rushed through. So now we are at the title sequence. Sam Smiths "Writings On The Wall" plays while Daniel Kleinman's visuals take up the screen. I preferred them honestly, and I've seen way worse. But after the opening things slowly go down hill.
We find out Judi Dench's M sent a video to Bond saying he must find this man in Mexico City and kill him. Also, he should attend the funeral. And that's all she says. Doesn't tell him why. This is when I realized that this is casual Bond. Nonchalant. Let things play out and see what happens Bond movie. Which is weird considering the three previous films. Say what you will about Quantum of Solace. It's at least consistent with it's counter part Casino Royale. This film isn't consistent at all. It doesn't know when to be goofy or when to be serious.
So we move along to Ralph Fiennes M telling Bond he's grounded, and that he's being monitored by Q. But, that means nothing because James Bond will do what he wants. He goes to the funeral where he meets Monica Bellucci. She is the widow of the man Bond killed in Mexico. Bellucci tells Bond where Spectre is meeting, and that is it. Her storyline goes nowhere. She's in it for about two minutes of screen time, and then is dropped. She doesn't die. She just disappears. The marketing team made a big deal about her, and if you blink you'll miss her. It's a shame, because not only is she beautiful but she is an extremely talented actress.
From there Bond sneaks into the Spectre meeting. A very well done and creepy scene. But it's killed by the score and lack of it. Thomas Newman's score is a lot of rehashed music from Skyfall. And like this movie it comes in at awkward times. So Bond is outed during the meeting, and a car chase ensues. There is no urgency. It's shot very flat and boring. It doesn't get interesting until the end. This should be exciting, but it's not. There are comedy bits that don't work throughout the chase. Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx was intimidating, but used poorly throughout the movie. He doesn't speak except for one line. Another underused actor gone to waste.
The movie gets bogged down by subplots that involve M and the rest of the gang. None of it holds any weight, and its honestly could have been cut out or downplayed more. They become more involved later on in the movie when they should have just been in the beginning and that's that. The movie completely falls apart thanks to the dialogue and the poor story. Beautifully shot set pieces are either destroyed by Lee Smiths editing or Thomas Newman's score, or by John Logan (Plus three other Writers) script. It's more of a mess then Quantum was. Lea Seydoux's character has no chemistry with Daniel Craig's Bond. It's a forced love story that is trying to be better than Casino Royales' love story. She, like everyone else, delivers her clunky lines clumsily.
As the plot trudges on and the middle half of the movie wraps up we get into why this is all happening. And like everything else in the movie the explanation is clunky. No one seems to care. Daniel Craig's Bond here is more like a robot than an actual man. He just doesn't care anymore. So why should I. Everything gets solved so easily. There is a part of the movie where it feels like it should of ended, but it keeps on going. There are two climaxes. Sort of like an old Bond film. But the old ways of doing things shouldn't force it's way into something so established as being real. I could think up a way better movie in my head then what they came up with.
Christoph Waltz is great as the villainous Blofeld. I like what they did with him. The few times he showed up I really felt excited and scared. That was the one thing I was afraid about for this whole movie. Turns out I was wrong. The way Bond and him interacted with each other felt like something out of a Connery Bond film. Which was great! Two arch foes battling it out! The climax of the movie isn't bad. Having Bond go through a fun house to save Lea Seydoux. It's lackluster though and that all ends on a whimper. And they beat you over the head that everything from the past three movies were connected to Blofeld. Which I understand the first two, but Skyfall seemed more on it's own. It ends with a nice neat bow of Bond sort of retiring and settling down. But who knows? Maybe Craig will return?
Overall the film is a mess. For a two and a half hour action thriller it moves so slow at times. A lot of stuff should have been edited out. Spectre also suffers like every other fourth Bond movie does. It goes too far in the weird goofy direction. Sometimes it can be fun! Moonraker is awful, but I still find myself enjoying it at times. Or, it can be down right horrendous like Die Another Day was. Well, the same can be said with Spectre. Except this one kind of tows the line between both bad and good. The more I thought about it the more it fell apart, but I couldn't help myself from liking a lot of things in it. It felt like a classic Roger Moore Bond film with a little of Sean Connery mixed in. And I've always wanted a return to that! Just not with an already established Bond. That's where it fails.
Fans of James Bond might be divided on this one. I know I am. But, there is entertaining stuff throughout. Interesting ideas and visuals. It doesn't fit with the other three, but it's a fun book end to Daniel Craig's run. Or is it? Anyone who has seen a Bond film knows that four words appear at the end of every movie regardless of what happens. James Bond Will Return.........