Those following my movie reviews may remember that I gave Skyfall a fairly negative review. It ranked 14th of the 28 movies I saw in 2012. I had plenty of time while watching Spectre to ponder why I was less enthusiastic about the later films in the Daniel Craig era. I very much liked Casino Royale, though I wasn't yet writing reviews when it came out. Skyfall and Spectre, though, are not the same kind of film as Casino Royale was; the latter was an action film, and I suspect that much of my issue with Skyfall was that I was expecting an action film, and that's not what it was. Sure, it had action in it - glorious, overly engineered set pieces as one expects from Bond films - but in between it had long, dreary, moody not-action. The ratio of not-action to action was very high.
Spectre is the same way. While I think it's a better film in most ways than Skyfall, it's still not what I want out of a Bond film. It's not an action film, it's not a thriller. It's an art movie. No, really. It's an art movie which occasionally breaks out into action. The entire opening location shoot, right up until the action starts, is a single shot. It's a glorious piece of cinematography, but completely unnecessary. The pacing is glacially slow. The movie is two and a half hours long, but it feels like at least three. Spectre is beautiful, expansive, lush - and also, bloated, slow, and honestly not that well written.
There is a good plot in there somewhere, and I applaud the topical subject matter. However, even with all the glacial slowness, the plot advances in fitful jerks, and not all of the pieces actually fit together very well, especially when it comes to characters and their motivations. The dialogue, while witty in some places, is dreadfully bad in others. The acting, too, is uneven. In some places the actors give compelling performances, and in others they walk through their parts with no emotion.
Is this a good film? Maybe. It is not a good action film at all - it's much too slow. Is it a good art film? Quite possibly, though I'm only an amateur student of film, so what do I know? Is it a good Bond film? I'm not even sure what a Bond film is any more. It seems to hit many of the character and plot points which I associate with Bond, at least. I'm enough of a Bond fan to know that there are quite a number of references to classic Bond films in this one, but not enough of a Bond fan to actually get them fully.
I understand that this may be Daniel Craig's last performance as Bond. I'm okay with that.
Still, I enjoyed the film.
Bechdel: Fail (D)
Mako Mori: Fail
What are these?
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (4.5)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (4.5)
- The Martian (4)
- Pitch Perfect 2 (4)
- Ant-Man (4)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (4)
- Spectre (3.5)
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (3.5)
- Jupiter Ascending (3.5)
- Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (3)
- Jurassic World (3)
- Tomorrowland (2.5)
- Kingsman: The Secret Service (2)
- Insurgent (2)
- Chappie (1)
- Blackhat (1)