Review: Spectre

Film editors Simon and Emma give their opinions on the latest highly anticipated Bond instalment

NUSU
9th November 2015

Bond (James Bond) shoots, shags and suaves his way back onto our screens with Spectre. Is it a sickening shot of nostalgia, or is it another Skyfall-shaped surprise?  Two of your overlord editors went to find out...

Simon’s verdict: A classic case of a film trying to have both cakes and eat them. Sam Mendes returns to Bond after the gritty (yet glossy) triumph that was Skyfall and tries to align it with the assaultive camp of the original films, with ultimately middling success.

Spectre is, like the other films in Craig’s franchise, most successful when it stands alone. Tying up all the strings to spin them off into something new is Mendes and co.’s main duty here, yet there’s little to no room for creative flair. Everything is serviceable to move things along from one (admittedly very efficient) set-piece to the next while setting up bridges for further sequels and past references alike. The opening is a fantastic display of just what modern stunts can do, and manages to propel itself forward for a strong opening hour. But things soon run out of steam, letting the finale fall flat as it frantically tries to find  a real threat and a way to open things up for more sequels.

"the rest of the cumbersome cast struggle to steal any scenes, with the much-discussed Monica Belluci role being nothing more than a plot device."

Christoph Waltz shines through a stilted villain, being very much kept to the shadows like Javier Bardem before him, and Daniel Craig hasn’t been this good since Casino Royale. But the rest of the cumbersome cast struggle to steal any scenes, with the much-discussed Monica Belluci role being nothing more than a plot device. It seems Skyfall’s few flaws have worsened and the positives deteriorated; the running time bloated, the score recycled, the cinematography disappointingly flat.

If Craig does indeed choose to bow out of Bond here, it’ll be with a whimpering bang. 6/10

Emma’s verdict: I was all full of somewhat naïve enthusiasm for Spectre despite the mixed reviews it had gained. I have always been a fan of the Bond movies, even those cheesy old ones that really were a product of their discriminatory times. However, I was not looking for anything of the old in Spectre, apart from the espionage.

"The film itself is not bad per se, but it is no Skyfall, and the presentation of women is wholly diabolical"

As soon as the opening titles appeared I knew Sam Mendes had got this wrong. Women were stroking Daniel Craig’s chest, and they were shadowed out. When the film got started, it did not redeem itself as women were presented in dubious ways, much like in the older films. In a film released in 2015, this leaves a very sour taste, especially after the brilliant Skyfall seems to have progressed from the misogyny of previous films. For some reason, Mendes seems far too occupied with harking back to the old days when, in reality, those ideals do not fit with today’s standards.

Christoph Waltz is one of best things about this film playing the vengeful villain with a fierce vendetta against Bond. His Machiavellian character creates palpable tension in the film’s quieter moments. Also, Ben Whishaw brings some comic relief to an otherwise dark film as Q.

The film itself is not bad per se, but it is no Skyfall, and the presentation of women is wholly diabolical. Come on, Mendes; you can do better than that. 6/10

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