SPOLIER WARNING: If you have not seen the latest Bond film, Spectre, I would urge you to stop reading here. This blog post while it might not give away specific plot points, does discuss the film.
I am not one for all those “dishaw dishaw” (as my aunt called them) action films. I generally don’t go in for film violence and I wouldn’t choose to see them. Somehow, though, I make an exception for Bond films. Not hitherto a Bond superfan, I am rather partial to the Blonde Bond and I’ve really enjoyed the last three Bond films, even Quantum of Solace, which wasn’t really that good.
I was really looking forward to seeing Spectre, the latest Bond offering with the Boywonder who, like me, wears his heart on his sleeve and can barely conceal his excitement at Bond’s derring do. Sad, then, that he’s so far away, but we still all went without him this evening.
I’m afraid I was rather disappointed. Not just because it didn’t live up to the hype – I’ve largely avoided the hype – but because I found myself not gelling with the characters and not really caring very much so my disbelief was only partly suspended. Unusually for a Craig Bond film, I found myself regarding him and his latest venture with extreme scepticism. I’m sorry. No-one regrets this more than me.
There was none of the complicated plot, for one thing, of the previous films. OK, this meant that those as slow on the uptake as me were not left bemused and confused but it also means that I’d forgotten the film almost as soon as we’d left the cinema.
Where was the charm, the wit, the elegance of Casino Royale? Where were the moments of plot twist surprise that made us gasp in Skyfall? Completely missing. I felt that Spectre was pugilistic, pedestrian and plodding, clunky in its attempt to tie up strands from the previous three films.
An awful lot more could have been made of the premise of the surveillance society and its dangers, of fighting technological robot warfare without actually facing your enemy. Obviously M and Bond represent the old-style human intelligence but I’m afraid M’s speech to this effect was unconvincing.
And what has happened to the women? I had high hopes for an expanded role for Moneypenny in this, and they were dashed when it became clear that she was simply a research assistant at the end of a phone; Madeleine Swann promised t be a complex character but quickly fell into James’s arms for no good reason. I found her admission of love and the bit at the end, I shan’t spoil it, utterly unconvincing, I’m afraid. As for Monica Bellucci, promising a glamorous, role for a slightly “older” (she is 51) woman: what happened? In the end she was just peremptory shag fodder.
What on earth has happened to Bond’s charisma, his allure, his seductiveness? They certainly weren’t in evidence in this film. I’ve often been caught saying that Daniel Craig as James Bond might be seen as my ideal man, but this mesmerising presence was almost totally missing from this film, I’m afraid. Where were the skis, the free running up ladders? The sexy bits just weren’t. To me they were animalistic, passionless and brutal. What has happened to the cheesy chat up lines of Quantum of Solace or the sultry cat and mouse flirtation of Casino Royale or, indeed, Skyfall? Women were very much incidental characters in this disjointed film and it’s the worse for it, in my view.
More minor irritations: where did he find the black plane? Are we to believe that planes like that are ten a penny on the average Alp? Where on earth did Madeleine Swann get that perfectly -itting satin evening gown? IN Austria or in Morocco? I’d like to know for next time I have a quick look around the Duty Free Shops at the airport. And why on earth were there so few other passengers on that train? This sort of stuff brings my disbelief right back down to earth.
Standing out from the mediocrity was Q, played by Ben Wishaw who, ironically, seems to be emerging as the techie hero of the piece, as sort of IT Crowd meets Bond.
I am so disappointed by Bond’s latest outing. Oh dear. Perhaps I’m just becoming a grumpy old woman.