Sam Mendes took up the 007 franchise again. In my review of “Skyfall”, I wrote that Mendes managed to make a blend of hip action, 007-feeling and arthouse. “Skyfall” is a descent film, but not necessarily the best Bond. I can say the same about “Spectre”.
With “Spectre” Mendes seems to have aimed to make a classic James Bond film. The story is simple, Bond’s ways are spectacular and risky, there is an old-fashioned score, there are women (Monica Belluci’s part is way too short), a villain with big plans for world domination, name it. This aim for a classic feel does work here and there, but like with most films in the series, “Spectre” may be amusing but not particularly good.
We begin in Mexico where Bonds throws a few bad guys from a helicopter above a square stuffed with people. Being pushed aside by M for this scandal, Bond naturally sets out on his own to find the bad guy who was supposed to be dead. With many references to old Bond-films, several actors and even characters that we know from other titles, Bond chases a man who wants to put up a big data centre that will gather global information. Bond’s past chases him as he tries to unravel the sinister plot and save the women he meets along the road.
“Spectre” makes an action film with a fairly uncomplex story, unevolving characters, an allright atmosphere and descent acting.
Amusing, but not particularly good.
However more interesting films are currently to be seen on the big screen (“Cloud Atlas”, “Le Magasin Des Suicides”) we set out to see the latest 007 spectacle. It surely is a spectacle. The full speed opening fight is pretty annoying and the first half of the film makes one of those hip action films of today. What Mendes did manage well is that through all this up-to-date action, he manages to weave that Bond feeling a bit. This gets much better in the second half which is for a large part a real Bond. The story is somewhat atypical with both prequel and sequel elements. With an old drunkard as Bond, the sequel elements prevail. The bad guy does not have plans to blow up the world this time, but this is made into another element to give depth to the whole Bond story. We learn about James’ youth, his relation at work, etc. and Silva’s plan also fits into Mendes’ theme in this regard. There is another nice twist to this film. People who watch the better kind of film, will know Sam Mendes for his “American Beauty”. However he did not plan to make an “Arty-Farty” film the arthouse audience will recognise several actors from “Skyfall” from smaller productions, so Mendes somehow managed to mix the old feeling of Bond with arthouse and action as the audience wants in 2012. “Skyfall”, to me, is not much better (nor worse) than most Bond films, but it will please people who come for the action and people who come for a good film, so I guess this explains why it is already the most succesfull Bond film.
So my girlfriend came home with another 007. Fortunately it is over with new 007’s, since this last one is even worse than “Casino Royale“. The again immoral James Bond (Daniel Graig) violently hunts a rich environmentalist with vicious plans killing most of the leads to the suspects in doing to, to the huge dislikement of his superiors. That about sums up this cheesy action ogre. Even inspite of the beautiful Olga Kurylenko I even find the women more appealing in the older Bond films.
Since some time my girlfriend buys an old 007 every now and then and recently she came home with “Casino Royale”, a recent one. After an awfull ultraviolent opening which shows how Bond became “a 00” (what was the use of that?) an over-the-top spectacle unfolds with an (in my opinion) very thin and ‘unBond-ish’ story (with Bond as a rooky without moral) with when it is all over, five new plots in about 20 minutes. Nope, I prefer the older films that are based on the books of Flemming and with the charm of times past. “Casino Royale” is just an action spectacle of low calibre.
So, three weeks ago we paid a shitload of money to get on the Schilthorn. This is one of the higher mountains of Switserland and on top is the famous Piz Gloria turning restaurant. The restaurant owes its fame partially to the fact that a James Bond film was filmed there, so when we came back, my girlfriend ordered this oldie on DVD. I am not much of a Bond fan, but the films are not really boring. OHMSS has a ‘one time Bond’ in George Lazenby, a not too great story, but some nice chasing scenes on ski and bob sledge and of course some lovely ladies. Also it is nice to see some locations where we were recently (besides the Schilthorn, the city of Bern for example). Not such a bad watch, particularly when I think of it that the film is quite a bit older than myself.