film, James Bond

Movie Review: Spectre

As of this date the last Bond movie released, I know there is at least one more with Daniel Craig and then he’s done. While I get where people are coming from regarding the “big twist” that basically everyone saw coming I did not think this film was too bad. Spoilers ahead as usual.

On a posthumous mission from M (Judi Dench) Bond kills a crime boss in Mexico City before he plants a bomb and takes his ring, which has an octopus on it. Because of it the current M (Ralph Fiennes) suspends Bond from field duty while in the midst of a power struggle that wants to take away the double O program, calling it outdated, and replace it with a global surveillance intelligence initiative called Nine Eyes backed by a man named Max Denbigh whom Bond calls C (Andrew Scott). Bond, along with Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) disobey M, and travels to Rome to attend the funeral of the man he killed. Seducing the widow Lucia (Monica Belluci), she tells him her husband belonged to an organization with criminal and terrorist get together. Bond manages to sneak in, but is identified by the leader Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) forcing him to flee in a pretty epic car chase between Bond and an assassin known as Hinx (Dave Bautista). Hearing that someone called the Pale King is to be killed, Bond (thanks to Moneypenny) reunites with Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) for a brief period to get information. White, already dying of thallium poison, kills himself but not before he makes Bond promise to find and protect his daughter Dr. Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux). Bond, Madeline and Q soon discover that all the villains from Bonds past (at least in the Craig movies) are connected to Spectre and to Oberhauser who is from Bonds past but is under a different name (yeah no shocker here that he was Blofeld) and that Nine Eyes has something to do with the final plan. Not on Bonds watch.

Like I said before this film isn’t bad, but it was also kinda predictable. Everybody knew Waltz was going to be Blofeld, even when they said no it’s this guy did not have people buying it, also the reason why is kind dumb. Craig I thought was good, not great this time as Bond, I think at this point he is kinda done with the role, but he has at least one more film and then I believe he is officially done. My thoughts on Swann will be later so moving on. I was glad we got to see more of Moneypenny as a secretary, but with her field agent background, Q playing a bigger part and M getting some action in as well. However I don’t want them to go overboard with the characters going forward just because the actors have bigger names, but now that I said something. Overall Spectre is a good, not fantastic, addition to the Bond franchise and I for one cannot wait for the next one. On a final note I LOVED the Oscar winning song “Writing’s on the Walls” by Sam Smith, very hauntingly beautiful. It makes me excited to hear the next one.

film, James Bond, must see

Movie Review: Skyfall

Now we are getting into the Bonds I began to like once I caught up with the rest of the series. This 2012 Bond film has also been seen on many top 10 Best Bond films of all time (admittedly not high probably 6 or 7 tops). Skyfall is in my opinion the best performances of not just Daniel Craig, but of Dame Judi Dench and without question one of the best villains in the Bond franchise in a long time. Because it is unavoidable, spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and field agent he later learns is named Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) are after a mercenary, Patrice (Ola Rapace) who has stolen files of the real names of undercover agents. Bond and Patrice fight on top of a train and M (Judi Dench) orders Moneypenny to take a shot. She hits Bond instead and Patrice escapes; Bond is assumed to be dead. A few months later M is being pressured into retiring by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, but then MI6 gets hacked and the headquarters blows up, not before M receives a message taunting her. Bond returns to help M and despite his failing physical and psychological tests, M clears him for duty. After receiving gadgets from the new Q (Ben Whishaw) Bond sets out to discover who is after M. With a little help from a woman named Severine (Berenice Lim Marlohe) Bond soon meets the man responsible: Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a man from M’s past she disavowed after he hacked the Chinese government without her permission and was taken prisoner. Bond takes him prisoner, but soon realizes that was what he wanted; however he escaped before Bond catches on. Bond takes M to Skyfall, his parents’ house in the Scottish Highlands, but tells Q to leave a trail for Silva to follow, ready to end this. Bond, M and the Skyfall keeper Kincade (Albert Finney) fight off Silva and his men, Bond eventually killing Silva, but M is wounded in the fight and dies in Bond’s arms. At the end of the film Bond returns to the field, Moneypenny becomes a secretary and Mallory becomes the new M.

As far as Bond films go this is one of my favorites. Everything from the writing, acting, action and some very incredible cinematography was just perfect. Daniel Craig really shined as 007 in this movie, I’m glad we got Moneypenny and Q in here after a lengthy absence, and while Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw are good they do not hold a candle to the likes of Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewellyn respectively. For me at least two performances really stand out from the movie and that is Javier Bardem as Silva and Judi Dench as M. While Le Chiffre was a fantastic villain in Casino Royale he wasn’t the main bad guy which is why Silva for me is the best Bond villain in the Daniel Craig Bond franchise. He is not only scary, but is wicked smart and is willing to do whatever it takes to kill M, no matter who is in his way. While Judi Dench has been M for many years it was her final turn as the character where I thought she did her best work; while M was always a big player in the franchise we hadn’t really know much about the character or had a movie focus on someone other than Bond until Skyfall. I was a little sad when she died, but I think Mallory will do a good job with the role of M but that is a story for another day. On a final note while I haven’t mentioned the songs in the other films I did like them however I LOVE “Skyfall” by Adele; it also won the Oscar for Best Original Song. I think if you like the Bond franchise or are just starting out then put Skyfall on the must watch list right now.