Fiction often mirrors reality and the latest installment of the James Bond franchise – SPECTRE – is totally self-aware of the pending predicament that surrounds it. Since the distribution rights to the Bond franchise by Sony Pictures has run out, the franchise finds itself in a quasi-limbo situation as a bidding war for the rights loom over Bond films like storm clouds taking over a sunny day. And as the sun sets over the life of this latest incarnation of Bond led by the dynamic Daniel Craig, this leaves us with the questions… when will the rain fall? Is this the end for Daniel Craig? Is this the finale of this style of James Bond? And is this the end for this type of spy thriller as we embark upon a changing society which is fed by technology?
When we go to a Bond film, we expect to see an extravagant opening action scene and set piece, incredible fights and impossible battles, beautiful women who fall for the charms of James Bond and his signature phraseology… “Shaken Not Stirred.” For Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond, shaken not stirred is the best way to describe him. Unlike other Bonds’, Craig has been a more physical and tough…”shaken”, which was very different from his predecessors who were more style, smooth… “stirred.”
Because the film understands the uncertainty of the future, the movie panders and relies more upon paying homage to the other Bond films and abandons what made Daniel Craig’s version special. Spectre rehashes old plot points and themes as an all-knowing, all-seeing, clandestine organization is behind ruling governments and countries and has also been behind all “the pain” that Bond/Craig has endured in his other 3 Bond films, Casino Royal, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. Spectre strives to pull together those 3 stories into one major plot, to bring about a finale to this Bond.
Spectre is a much slower paced movie compared to the other three in this series because it has to address every beat from the other Daniel Craig Bond films. And while this movie is beautifully shot and has some wonderful set pieces to tell the story, the movie lacks in motivation. Outside of the obvious rule the world desires, the bad guy, played by Christoph Waltz, is sparingly used and wasted in this film, as is henchman Dave Bautista. As a stand alone action film, Spectre is pretty good but when it gets compared to other Bond films and the last Daniel Craig film, Skyfall… this movie becomes a let down.
Now that we live in a technological society, the need for spies with a “license to kill” is no longer a priority and this film addresses this reality as MI6 must deal with a new world view and the fallout from “Skyfall.” With one computer keystroke, someone can change the destinies of countries and organizations and the barbaric ways of the old spy organizations may have been rendered useless, and the people who thrive from it, none more than Daniel Craig/Bond.
Spectre seeks to send Daniel Craig/Bond riding out into the sunset with a girl on his arm, a severance package and his “license to kill” just in case they need him. Spectre is a worthwhile movie to spend your time and money on and many a Bond fan won’t be utterly disappointed but they may find themselves in the inevitable position that Daniel Craig/James Bond now finds himself… not knowing whether to have your drink “Shaken or Stirred.”