Spectre, the costliest film till date in the James Bond series yet again features Daniel Craig as the suave, gun totting agent 007. Also, in starring roles are Christopher Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci and wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista not forgetting Andrew Scott who thrilled us with his character in the ‘Sherlock’ series.
Spectre starts with a cryptic message from the past that sends James Bond (Daniel Craig) on a rogue mission to Mexico City, where he meets Lucia (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organization known as Spectre. Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre of National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6 led by the new M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of intrigue built by Spectre. As the daughter of the assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot. As Bond ventures towards the heart of Spectre, he learns a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks.
Right from the onset Spectre much like the earlier Bond films that feature Daniel Craig as the main protagonist focuses more on the interpersonal relationship that his character has developed over the years. Unlike the Bond films of the days gone by, Craig’s Bond seems more attuned to his feelings developing attachments to those around him. While to a viewer who has followed the series, this diversion from the carefree, no strings attached Bond character, may appear a bit unconventional, but Craig’s rough, brooding and intense Bond who despite narrowly escaping from a potentially life threatening situation remains composed is a refreshing take on the character. Christopher Waltz as Bond’s arch nemesis Blofeld does not come across as a fearful menacing character when compared to the one played by Javier Bardem in the previous film Skyfall. However his power hungry, conniving yet charmingly suave mannerism does make him a bit intimidating, but it does leave the viewer wanting more intellectual and physical confrontations between the two.
On the other hand Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann is much better than Olga Kurylenko from Quantum of Solace and Berenice Marlohe from Skyfall, however in comparison to Eva Green’s character in Casino Royale, Seydoux who has a much more limited role pales despite her convincing performance. Andrew Scott who thrilled us in the ‘Sherlock’ series is yet again at his evil best, as he perfectly embodies the character of C, who is bent on scrapping the ’00’ programme. But the highlight of this Bond film has to be its action sequences, that though limited, do feature enough adrenaline pumping scenes to make it appreciable. And here in comes the wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista as the mountain of a man Hinx. Bautista’s entry sequence that sets the tone of the brutish action that will eventually be on display is just a teaser. In fact, despite being a rather functional character that appears every once in a while, Bautista and Craig’s hand to hand combat on board a train in Morocco can easily be called as one of the best fight scene ever seen in a Bond movie. But while director Sam Mendes does do a good job if interweaving the previous four Bond film featuring Craig as a tribute, the massive story-arcs and the rather dark back-story of Bond does slow the overall pace of the film.
On the whole, Spectre maintains the essence of a Bond film with enough doses of gadgets, car chases, stunts, wine and women. It could have featured a better title track, since Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ appears to be rather sluggish when compared to other Bond films. However Spectre, in essence, features the return of Bond and is definitely worth a watch.
(Bollywood Hungama Rating: 3 1/2)