Scott Says Daniel Craig’s 007 Thrills Once Again With SPECTRE

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FILM REVIEW: SPECTRE

BY SCOTT PETERSON

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Say what you want about Daniel Craig’s stint as James Bond, but I don’t think we can dispute the fact that he resurrected a dying James Bond franchise that became somewhat cartoonish once the Pierce Brosnan ball got rolling. When he was cast as 007, the choice was quickly met with disdain and vitriol. Once Casino Royale hit, most,if not all fans fears were firmly on board as Craig’s pugnacious, bull in a china cabinet approach to the iconic character brought a refreshingly different perspective to the franchise and in Spectre, he is once again up to the challenge. The film is not without flaws, but I found it entertaining enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as Skyfall when it comes to the second best Daniel Craig Bond film. Spectre doesn’t approach Casino Royale territory, but it’s also leaps and bounds ahead of the awful Quantum of Solace.

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Spectre starts off  in Mexico City with what might be the best Bond openings ever.  What starts as a costumed walk through a parade on the Day of the Dead, ends close to twenty minutes later in a plunging helicopter. Bond has been off the grid and what starts off as a foiled assignation attempt quickly turns into something bigger.  He stumbles upon a secret society hellbent on world domination.  Believers of the Bilderberg Group and New World Order will eat this all up.  Meanwhile, back in London M ( Ralph Fiennes) informs 007 that it’s only a matter of time before the whole 00 part of the agency becomes a thing of the past. It seems as if 007 and his band of agents are too archaic for the new world. They will be replaced with drones and technology that will monitor all forms of communication in an effort to lower crime. Man is being replaced by machine. M relieves Bond of all duties and has Q (Ben Whishaw) inject “smart blood” in Bond’s veins which will monitor his whereabouts at all times. Bond needs time to unravel this new secret society, so Q gives him a wink and tells him the smart blood won’t be active for 48 hours.  Now, give you and me 48 hours and we might be able to go grocery shopping and hit the gym. Give James Bond 48 hours and he’s off to Rome, Austria, Tunisia, etc.

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It is in Rome that Bond walks in on one of these secret meetings and runs into the gigantic Hinx (Dave Bautista)  Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) who will not only turn out to be his biggest adversary in Spectre, but maybe his biggest adversary in all of the Daniel Craig led Bond films.  Part of the fun in Spectre is unraveling the puzzle piece by piece, so aside from the aforementioned bullet points, those are the only beans I will be spilling.  This is a film that puts a bow on Daniel Craig’s run at Bond. Unlike most Bond films, this one works a lot better if you have seen Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall.  Seeing it as a standalone Bond film won’t hinder your viewing experience, but going in having seen them all will only enhance it. I have seen a lot of critics take Spectre out to the woodshed and for the most part I get it. The film is at least 30 minutes too long. The action is at times forced and formulaic. The Bond franchise is still a product placement machine as flashy Omega watches and Aston Martins are rammed down our throats and Sam Smith’s take on the classic Bond opening is cringe inducing. But in the end, Spectre has an interesting story line, some great action set pieces, the Bond girls, Craig,and of course,those damn helicopters.

 

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