WRITTEN BY: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth
DIRECTED BY: Sam Mendes
STARRING: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes
RATING: 2.5 stars
James Bond (Daniel Craig) receives a cryptic message from his past that sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation called Spectre. Meanwhile M (Ralph Fiennes) deals with the politics of keeping the 00 program running.
Spectre feels like a series of short films rolled into one with a plot that vaguely follows the Bond formula but barely makes any real sense. A lot of the action sequences are thrilling and the stunt team does an amazing job, especially during the opener in Mexico, an edgy train fight, and a swanky car chase through Rome. But several action scenes drag on and the film overall is painfully long, particularly given the plot is so jumbled. I kept looking at my watch every 15 minutes. Perhaps there were too many writers on Spectre and director Sam Mendes could not pull all the elements together well enough.
At times, it seemed Craig was as bored playing Bond as I was watching him. However, there were some emotional scenes for Bond in this instalment and it was great to have a skilled actor portraying those moments. I adore Waltz, but he has so little to work with in this film. There is so much build-up around his character and suggestions about his villainous past, but he is toppled over too easily in the end. Similarly, there was so much hype about casting a woman Bond's own age as a potential love interest or femme fatale, but Monica Bellucci has such a tiny and bland role, it was a total waste of her talent. Instead, the younger Lea Seydoux plays the real female lead, and while she is good, she will not be remembered as one of the best Bond women. However, it was enjoyable to see more screen time involving the supporting cast including Fiennes, Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny.
Craig will have at least one more opportunity to play Bond. Hopefully, he can go out with a bang rather than another fizzer like Spectre.