My overall review of this film: biggest disappointment of 2015.
I honestly don’t know if I have anything good to say about this movie. The over the top action never hit its mark, the metaphors never resonated with me, and the score was flat out boring. Sam Mendes did such an excellent job with Skyfall and then threw everything out that worked in it. The villains were the best part, but they were barely on screen. This left the film emotionally desolate and half of the villain team gone in one single, clunky, shaky cam scene.
From Casino Royale, Daniel Craig has been different than the other Bonds. He doesn’t care about the women, he just wants to do this mission. He doesn’t mind killing people and even picked a new drink. This film, Daniel Craig orders the classic drink and gets with every woman he can. What was the point of being different, if you are going to revert to the old ways? It made Craig’s portrayal of Bond seem fake and pretentious. That the “new age” Bond was too much for the audience to comprehend. I think Craig did what he could in the part, but the writing and character fell apart.
Another major flaw I have in this film is the overall metaphor of an octopus. The octopus is a very smart and intelligent underwater creature that some say has personality. How is this organization an octopus at all? They’re constantly being exposed on numerous accidents, they have no face/ personality, and there’s no water anywhere? What does the crack look like in the logo? A spider web. Why would a spider be better? They’re known to be evil and malice. They trap their prey. And to top it all off, the wiring in the final scene where Blofeld (Christopher Waltz) takes Dr. Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) looks like a freaking spider web! When Q (Ben Whishaw) is tracing the organization’s routes all across the world, it looks like a spider web. I realize that maybe they were trying to reference something from the novels or try to stay away from the used out metaphor but when it fits so perfectly into the four movies that you’ve been making, why not continue? I feel like it’s not a fatal flaw, but when nothing else hits the mark, all the small flaws become more and more apparent.
I don’t hate Sam Smith. I really don’t. I like how he’s a British singer, but he just doesn’t fit tonally into the film. He’s know for his upbeat, swinging style. The Craig Bond films have been dark, twisted, even disturbing in some parts. This film continues in that path, but the intro song, that lasts seemingly forever, takes the viewer completely out of the mood. It’s like if I was watching a David Fincher film where the theme song was something from a Disney movie. It sticks out like a sore thumb. He doesn’t have the full, controlling voice of Adele to really connect emotionally. His voice just sounds empty, kinda like this movie. The rest of score tried to be intense and just never hit the mark. It kept me from yawning twice, the other twelve times, it failed.
I love Ralph Fiennes and I think he did a great job in this movie. He was the bright light in the sea of nothing. He didn’t overact and felt like he was connected with the film.
If you don’t want plot spoilers then I suggest you stop reading here. I mean, the story is bland so you probably won’t lose a lot by continuing to read.
Cut the whole first scene and you lose your advertising. Cut the whole first scene and your plot actually makes a little more sense. I honestly don’t know what happened except Bond followed a guy around and did something stupid. Then, Bond got with the wife of the guy he just killed and the entire theater I saw it in gave a collective sigh. I thought Craig was supposed to be the non-emote Bond. It was at this scene that I knew where the film was going. We then saw the opening title sequence with the aforementioned song the person I went to see it with ran to the bathroom before I could leave. 5 minutes later, we are greeted with rushed character development and then led on a journey to find Dr. Swann.
Dr. Swann has no interesting characteristics except that she’s pretty and Bond knows her father. It’s your typical “child runs away from danger” type of character and she was of course, given no material and delivered to the best of her ability. We are then led on a journey to somewhere unimportant to fight the big bad guy. I guess to avenge M. I don’t know, seemed pretty pointless to me.
What seems like halfway through the film, we finally meet Blofeld who’s related to Bond. This is the most exciting revelation in all the films. This is what the series has been leading up to! The emotional ride that we’ve paid to see! The fight between Bond and someone he once cared about that killed his motherly figure! Nope. *movie snaps at you to sit down*. We are then shown Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) who guess what! Doesn’t speak… He says a few words in the most anti-climactic train scene. This was the same director who had Bond shot on a train just one film earlier.
So when do we see Blofeld being evil, well his crazy torture scene has a lot of buildup throughout the film. It shows people getting manipulated and played with. What does it do to Bond? Absolutely nothing. So he takes the girl, what does that do? Destroy a building that no one uses anymore and not hurt anyone. He’s basically a non threat the entire film because of a watch that Q gives Bond. Let’s talk about that watch; when Bond is knocked unconscious and restrained, how does he still have his watch? His clothes have been changed. If I was a mustache twirling villain and I removed all his clothes, I think I’d take the watch for safety measures. Blofeld is then eliminated with no problem except Bond moving his hand together. No emotional scenes, no feeling between the two, just done.
Meanwhile, the action is cutting between scenes of M and C (Andrew Scott) together. C wants to build a network and it’s clear from the beginning that he’s evil. No subtle hints that something is not write, nope. Just flat out evil. C is played by Andrew Scott who plays the exact same character on Sherlock. His voice, movements mirrored the character on TV. If I wanted to see that character again, I’d just watch Sherlock. Scott was not given anything to build on and I feel bad because he did a great job with his part, it just wasn’t new or exciting. C is then defeated just as quickly as he appears and the final credits roll.
This film’s fatal flaw was its lack of character development. They just scenes together and left in long cuts of Bond traveling with a woman we really don’t feel for. We didn’t come to see the Bond & Swann Rom-Com. We came to see Waltz go toe to toe with the world’s greatest spy. We got that for maybe 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes were pretty great too.
Overall, the main problem I had was that I expected so much. I expected to be blown away like in Skyfall or Casino Royale. I expected to see something different and see the character be taken in different directions. Instead, I got the old James Bond from an actor who never acted like that before. I got a score that never moved me. I got lame action sequences with no character development. I got a journey that lasted 40% of the movie but nothing happened. And I got the old, used out James Bond trope. If I hadn’t had any expectations then this movie maybe below average. But it’s because we know what this series can deliver that people need to be harsh. Sam Mendes might have made the best and worst films in this series.
Score: 1 out of 10