Spectre: not so stirring

In this image released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions, Daniel Craig appears in a scene from the James Bond film, "Spectre."  

Daniel Craig is back as 007, sporting the usual sharp suits and his sexy pout. He travels the world—from Mexico City to Austria and Tangier via Rome. There’s the spectacularly exciting opening sequence set on the Day of the Dead in Mexico City, where Bond is aiming to take a shot at a certain Signor Sciarra. It quickly leads to a gravity-defying helicopter fight in which Bond, expectedly, emerges unscathed.

There are more such stunning action set-pieces that play out against majestic backdrops, one aboard a moving train. And of course, all ends well eventually in the streets of London. But the adrenalin rush comes in fits and spurts. Perhaps it’s my own fatigue with the Bond franchise and the knowledge of exactly where it will go and how things will turn out that makes the old-fashioned and nicely campy Spectre not as gripping a ride as I would have wanted it to be.

Genre: Thriller
Cast:Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Andrew Scott, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Christoph Waltz
Director: Sam Mendes
Storyline: Bond discovers the terrible truth behind SPECTRE
What does hold interest is how most of the action on screen seems to have a link with the past. Bond’s chase of Sciarra is connected to Judi Dench’s M. The sinister villain Blofeld/Oberhauser (Waltz, who greets 007 with Cuckoo at the first meeting) is a leaf out of Bond’s own childhood. Cuckoo itself comes with a layer of meaning attached. And the organisation Spectre itself suggests that all the evil that Bond has encountered till now in his many adventures could well be the tentacles of this big Octopus of an entity.

There is the good, old villainy—death through punctured eyes and mind manipulation—and a villain who says lines like: “from horror comes beauty”. And you can only giggle. There’s more throwaway humour. Like Moneypenny on being asked about what a friend is doing so late in her house: “It’s called life, James. You should try it sometime.” Of the women, Monica Bellucci, as the mysterious widow, walks in and out of the frames. It’s the brooding beauty of Dr. Madeleine Swann (Seydoux) that makes Bond’s heart skip a beat. There’s even a whiff of a “walk away into sunset romance” here.

Last but not the least, the villainy gets a touch of politics too. Bond is not just fighting Blofeld, but locking horns with an anti-democratic surveillance that comes in the form of Max Denbigh aka C (Scott). C wants British intelligence to come out of the Dark Ages, which means imminent obsolescence for 007 and M (Fiennes) in the face of a new computer stakeout programme that C is helming. He wants global intelligence agencies to come together, eventually all for Spectre’s good. But of course, there can be nothing to fear when Bond is here. And so the balance is restored till the next Bond hits the screens.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 12:17:09 AM |

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