Spectre Screen 19 articles



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  • Spectre never forgets to have fun, but aside from an opening couch gag Matt Groening would be proud of, the film’s lack of visual wit and charm is symptomatic of the derivative nature of the relationship between Bond’s past and present.

  • The film’s peppered with endless references to previous installments, recycling entire (much more famous) sequences, not because they’ve been modernized in some way but because you’re expected to notice that the new is like the old. The whole exercise feels exhausted of fun and perfunctory. Rather than exasperated by another attempt at freshness Spectre seems actively disdainful of its own formula.

  • It can't help but impress with sheer scale, as well as with certain bold images, like... the overhead shot of Bond entering the bombed-out ruins of MI-6 headquarters and literally casting a long shadow. But an hour or two after you've seen "Spectre" the movie starts evaporating from the mind, just like "Skyfall" and "Solace" before it. It's filled with big sets, big stunts, and what ought to be big moments, but few of them land.

  • In the end, Spectre is just too much of a good thing. Though each scene is carefully wrought, there's little grace, majesty, or romance in the way the pieces are connected. The whole is bumpy and inelegant — entertaining for sure, but hard to love.

  • On the plus side, it's gratifying to see characters like Q (Ben Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) retain their fundamental traits while getting more active roles. Less satisfying is how, say, a fight on a train so blatantly recalls From Russia with Love that the fisticuffs between Bond, Madeleine, and the film's main heavy, Hinx (Dave Bautista, muscles forever about to burst out of his suits), start to feel more like homage than original action.

  • Spectre comes across as just another collective of disposable goons. And despite having been born to play a Bond villain, Waltz never comes within striking distance of the volcanic menace of Javier Bardem’s Skyfall heavy; perhaps the former has done the false-civility thing too many times for it to land anymore. Like most of Spectre, he’s not quite old, not quite new, and not quite distinct enough to shake (or stir) this sequel out of second-tier Bond lethargy.

  • Much as the perfect is the enemy of good, originality is often the enemy of the global box office. And so Mr. Craig has suited up to play [Bond], with Sam Mendes occupying the director’s chair for a second turn. They’re a reasonable fit, although their joint seriousness has started to feel more reflexive than honest, especially because every Bond movie inevitably shakes off ambition to get down to the blockbuster business of hurling everything — bodies, bullets, fireballs, money — at the screen.

  • In trying to further jostle the moral and emotional order of the Bond universe, director Sam Mendes and his collaborators paradoxically succeed only in stultifying it. The script’s anxious speechifying about advanced surveillance tech and drones ring of hollow sociology (à la The Dark Knight), and as it’s never, ever clear exactly how the villains plan to use the damned things once they’re in place, the sense of threat is rather abstract.

  • Christoph Waltz sleepwalks through an underwritten part as the villain, though hulking Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) is more imposing as the chief henchman; his encounters with Bond have an intensity lacking in much of the film.

  • It brings me no pleasure to report that Sam Mendes’s Spectre is a bloated, stodgy and on-the-large room-temperature affair, content to reiterate the same formulas that gave Skyfall a surprising, ultraluxx spryness even while its every narrative back alley was flushed with still more needless exposition.

  • Bottom line (for me) is that Skyfall cashed in 50 years' worth of chips - peeking behind the mask for the first time - but those chips are gone now, and I can't stay invested in the emotional life of a (deliberately) shallow pop icon.

  • Sam Mendes’ second consecutive Bond outing again passes its physical with flying colors: Ricocheting from London to Rome to Morocco across action sequences of deliriously daft extravagance, the pic accumulates a veritable Pompeii of mighty, crumbling structures.

  • For all its wayward plotting and off-the-peg elements, SPECTRE works. It has a parade of imaginative action sequences, the lush cinematography of Hoyte Van Hoytema, spectacular locations (a mountaintop clinic after the manner of Blofeld’s lair in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a SPECTRE base in a Tunisian meteor crater), superb costuming (Craig gets a white tuxedo and Seydoux a classic pale blue gown for their North African interlude) and Craig’s perfect cocktail of grit and charm.

  • The portent of Mendes' style works well in individual scenes, but it works against the fizzy nonsense of the film's broader narrative arc (such as it is). The film never cracks a smile, until you realize that it's all one big joke. On some level, Spectre is a betrayal of the More Serious Bond promised in Casino Royale. But it's also the first Bond film in a long time that actually lets you have fun with it.

  • Let me say that I half share my [British] colleagues’ enthusiasm for Spectre—personally, I had my own unexpected burst of belated 007 enthusiasm with Skyfall, arguably the most elegant, sophisticated Bond film ever. And for me, Spectre is no Skyfall. Still, Sam Mendes has once again brought a lavish feast of effects to the table, and applied them with seriousness and grace, as well as the mandatory brio. You won’t be disappointed—well, not too disappointed.

  • The first shot in Spectre begins above a carnivalesque party during Mexico's Day of the Dead... It is a very impressive opener and Hoyt van Hoytema's cinematography is one of the best elements in this serious, entertaining and yet somewhat routine instalment.

  • What I appreciate about Spectre as the potential capper to the Craig series of films is how it finally embraces the absurdities that Casino Royale, Quantum, and Skyfall tried to quell (to varying degrees of success) with oh-so-serious emoting.

  • Even with the botched final act, Spectre's self-consciousness is less stifling than Skyfall's. Mendes is still trying to laboriously inform this series with torment, but that ambition has been subsumed primarily into the fabric of Hoyte van Hoytema's incredible cinematography, which emphasizes a lusty, dusty, alternately lush and over-exposed realm of pleasure and old-world rot.

  • It’s a swaggering show of confidence from returning director Sam Mendes and his brilliant cinematographer, Hoyte van Hoytema, who shot Spectre on luxurious 35mm film – a marked change of texture from Skyfall’s gleaming digital froideur. The film’s colour palette is so full of mouth-watering creams and chocolates that when the story moves to Rome, the city looks like a $300-million-dollar Tiramisu.

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