This October, the new edition in the Bond series, Spectre hit our UK screens, and it was well worth the wait.
The public was curious about this new film as its predecessor, Skyfall, was an international hit as it took both the Bond franchise and the 007 star himself to a whole new level of narrative quality and character depth.
But it seems that Spectre has proven very controversial. Some viewers have dubbed it, “Too long,” “Lazy,” and “Pointless,” whereas others have claimed it is, “Exciting,” “Clever,” and, “Balanced.” However, this reviewer went with an open mind and left very impressed and will be adding Spectre to her DVD shelf before long.
The story follows the one and only James Bond (Daniel Craig) after the recently deceased M (Judi Dench) has left him a secret mission from beyond the grave.
But the new undertaking may be James’s most tangled task yet, as he comes face to face with an international cooperation headed by the sinister Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) and it becomes clear that James is entering murky waters and uncovering webs of deceit that has been weaving its ugly way into intelligence for decades.
Indeed, Bond undercovers Spectre, which is an acronym for: Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion-that says it all, right?
And of course, along the way, Bond meets some lovely ladies, most notably Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) who managed to yet again bring Bond into the 21st century and prove that women can be classy, clever and feisty as well as sexy. Seydoux was a great on screen partner for Bond and added dynamic narrative and character curves to the film.
At the same time the new M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Tanner (Roy Kinnear) team up to outmanoeuvre the destructive newbie in the office, Denbigh (Andrew Scott), and save the 00 sector from being laid to rest forever.
Yet, as always this new Bond offered style, glamour, artistic agility, and amusing action, and kept the core spirit of this British franchise well and truly shaken and stirred.
But why is Spectre such a gem in the Bond collection? Well, we all know that Skyfall broke the mould by taking Mr Bond away from the typically and somewhat droll seductive, misogynistic and ritzy image he had developed, and gave James some genuine complexity and soul.
But Spectre didn’t fall away into the trends of the past but boldly added new dimension of its own. It certainly wasn’t the therapy session that Skyfall was. No, it did something new and was artistically delicious. It enthralled itself in a new sphere of cinematic creativity and ultimately came across as a cheekily beautiful visual piece.
Throughout the film, the mise-en was playful and experimental rather than stereotypical for this type of film.
The use of various camera movements and angles within the same scene reawakened typical scenes and made the holistic experience exhilarating and kept the audience focused.
The use of intense high and low level lighting created a new sensual palate. It was an elegant dance of shadows. The entire film drew from subtly constructed climatic moments that made it smooth and edgy all at the same time.
These effects were of course, masterfully amplified the gorgeous performances of Craig and Waltz. Craig was his usual sexy and sophisticated self but retained his compelling vulnerability. Waltz as always proved a master of villainy and showed that his manipulation of tone and timing can create a truly chilling baddie.
The narrative too was fun and fresh with Bond no longer standing alone, but assisted by a team of MI6 agents, all reminding the franchise just what their swanky division is all about. Some fans felt the storyline made it an interesting blend of Bond meets Bourne and then invited 1984 along. Well whatever it is, the plot certainly left a sense of intrigue amongst viewers.
Overall Spectre was a dazzling new diamond in the Bond franchise and whether or not this is the last Bond film for Daniel Craig, it is clear that these last four editions have transformed the legacy into a fresh and relevant 21st century phenomenon.