Film Review: Spectre

I enjoyed the latest James Bond film, it was entertaining but it wasn’t as good as the previous three with Daniel Craig as Bond. It lacked a credible plot. The actions scenes, as you would expect, were brilliant, but the plot just didn’t fully cover the spaces between them. The scriptwriters reverted to a previous Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, he of the fluffy white pussy cat, but he didn’t seem to have any real motive for his ruthless global terrorism. He came across as a sadistic motiveless maniac who gets a thrill out of torture.

Although this Bond film has little in common with the writer Ian Fleming’s original character, the name SPECTRE is actually his, standing for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. Glad they shortened the name. Spectre and its mastermind Blofeld featured in the books Thunderball (1961), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) and You only Live Twice (1964). The films have made much more use of Blofeld, who has been in seven before this one if you count a couple where he was just seen stroking the cat.

The modern day Bond in Spectre is part of a department threatened by shutdown, as MI5 and MI6 are being pushed to amalgamate. The Double O Section is viewed as a dinosaur, even though, as Bond remarked in Skyfall, someone still has to pull a trigger now and then. Bond battles the bad guys as well as the bureaucracy.

There were some great set pieces in Spectre, a fight in a helicopter above a crowded festival in Mexico City, a car chase through the streets of Rome, another fight on a train (always a popular setting for Ian Fleming) and a brilliant scene where a plane chases a car both in the air and on the ground. There are some timeless things that have to happen in a Bond film, such as the big explosion of the bad guy’s base. For some reason in Spectre this seemed a little gratuitous. Again the plot let us down.

There was plenty of humour in the film, with even the young geeky Q getting in on the action with a good line about bringing back the equipment in one piece, not just one piece. Even M, who is now played by Ralph Fiennes rather than Judy Dench, has a few choice one-liners. It is good to see the members of Bond’s normally office based team, M, Q, Moneypenny and Bill Tanner, all getting out into the field to join the action.

Best of all for me though, the old silver Aston Martin DB5 was rebuilt, having been blown to pieces in the previous film Skyfall. Bond isn’t complete without that little bit of nostalgia.

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Marcus Hobson Marcus was until recently a businessman but has given all that up to follow his lifelong passion to be a writer. With a varied career behind him, including a degree in Ancient and Mediaeval History (and archaeology) he has wide ranging literary tastes from popular fiction to Viking sea burials. He is currently working on his second novel, a mix of fact and fiction set in the First World War (and crossing his fingers about getting his first book published). Marcus lives near Tauranga with his wife and their daughters, and is the Literary Editor of ARTbop, a local online magazine .

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