Spectre: Yes, But With Caveats

I don’t get the people who drink a good bourbon and come up with cardamon, honey, and chocolate flavors. It sounds damn pretentious. Is it good or not? That’s what I want to know. I feel the same way with movie reviews. Was the movie good? Essentially, was I entertained and was it stupid? Those are the key exit questions.

I saw Spectre last night, the latest installment of the James Bond series.

Yes I was entertained. No it was not stupid. But there were many more annoyances than Skyfall, though less than Quantum of Solace.

Here’s a minor spoiler given away in the trailer — the bad guy, who is the return of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the mastermind of Spectre (formerly Quantum until a copyright dispute was resolved and now Quantum is a subsidiary). He even has his white Persian cat back.

But, and this is in the trailers, in this iteration it turns out Blofeld’s father became James Bond’s caretaker after Bond is orphaned. Okay, stop reading here if you cannot tolerate any spoilers no matter how small, but this is the source of the annoyance.

We get, in Spectre, that Blofeld resents Bond coming into his life as a boy and that his father clearly had a strong relationship with Bond. That’s it though. That is all we get. So we have a criminal mastermind shadowing James Bond around, killing off his loved ones, and it all stems from jealousy and/or daddy issues? Or was it just coincidence that their paths crossed again later in life?

You’d think a major plot point like this would be expounded on, but nope! It gets maybe two minutes tops. That was really damn annoying.

Set that aside, if you can. The movie was beautiful to watch. The Bond humor was there. The opening song was not Adele, but passable. The movie worked, but wild how they get amazing clothes while on the run.

The director made too much use of clever focus and focal length though. Every other scene seemingly started out blurry only to see central actors come into focus. A few times it was fine, but half the movie was ridiculous. They needed to invest in better steady cams too. Seeing the movie on a giant screen made camera shaking really noticeable.

All that said, yes I was entertained. The movie could have had a better ending. It seemed to have multiple endings edited down. It could have had some plot points fleshed out. I suspect there’s going to be a Directors Cut of this film.

It leaves open a sequel that will hopefully have Daniel Craig. He has become my favorite Bond. He handled the character well and the car was awesome. This is a Bond who does not rely on clever gadgets, but fists, guns, knives, and wits.

I would not put this movie at the level of Casino Royale or Skyfall, but ahead of Quantum of Solace. It is definitely worth seeing, but you might leave slightly annoyed.