Ever since taking up the mantle of “James Bond”, Daniel Craig has seemingly owned the role. There were many people who doubted him as he did not fit the build or age of the titular character, after all he was the first Bond to be under six feet tall, but, with the opening of Casino Royale, all doubts were cast aside. In fact, he is one of only four Bond-actors to have the distinct honor of appearing in more than two films, throwing his hat in the ring with the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. He essentially, he IS James Bond.
I haven’t gotten to see Skyfall, unfortunately I just never got around to it. However, I was extremely excited to see Christoph Waltz playing the villain (Blofeld) and the trailers made him seem crazy-ominous and super powerful–which is just perfect for Waltz. Unfortunately, that is also the biggest disappointment with the film as a whole… Waltz did great for the role he was given, but it is that role that…well… didn’t live up to the trailers. It turned, what could have been, an amazing film into a “decent” summer movie.
Synopsis (Provided by Google)
A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.
The film had tons of action, romance and everything else you would expect from a Bond film. Craig had some awesome fight scenes, daring stunts and did an amazing job for the most part. The problem with this film is not the acting– which was done perfectly– it’s the overall story and how they chose to tell said story along with a less than impressive villain. Also, a secret agent having to take down a secret and overly powerful (and potentially world-wrecking) organization may sound familiar to a lot of you. If it does, you are probably thinking about Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation released earlier this year. In many ways, the two movies are the same. We have a hunt for an OP villain that runs and OP organization and the main character’s spy organization is disbanded because of its unusual methods so, said, main character has to take down the villain without the help of the organization that should be aiding him in the first place. Oh and all of the main character’s companions, that shouldn’t be helping him, decide to pitch in as well. So yeah… I mean… there are differences…. but you cannot argue that the two movies do hit many of the same beats. But if you are one of the rare few who did not see the newest Mission Impossible films than you will probably enjoy this movie more than I did… seeing those similarities made the whole film a bit distracting for me.
Christoph Waltz was a missed opportunity in this movie as the main villain– most for how the character was written versus how the character was portrayed in the trailers. Here is what I expected or wanted going into this movie: I wanted Waltz to be this epic all-powerful bad guy who is genius, has an epic back story, and nearly defeats Bond at every turn. It would also help if he had the dark and sinister vibe going… What we got, instead, was a bad guy that was virtually ignored and undeveloped the entire film and when we finally get to meet him, his motivations seem shaky at best and rather uninteresting. I am not going to get into too much detail– but man did they drop the ball on this one. Even Mission Impossible managed to pull off a better version of this villain than Spectre did…
And while they underdeveloped Waltz’s character, the attempted to develop Bond’s further by humanizing him. He has been haunted by his past ever since he failed to save his love interest in Casino Royale and the body count has just been increasing from there. Bond has to deal with his own mortality and living with his mistakes, he attempts to learn to movie on by either leaving the 007 program and attempting a normal life or accepting who he is and maintaining the Bond mantle. And, while I like that they gave his character more depth, I wish this two would have been more developed… but I am partly assuming some of this was developed in Skyfall, right?
But again, this is a Bond movie… it does well at being that. There is tons of action and romance and everything you have come to expect with the Bond franchise. And they do execute these elements with style and grace and keep you on the edge of your seat– particularly with the ending sequence. I think that may be a sort of good and bad side to it. If a franchise gets too formulaic with its shooting style the movies become predictable no matter how well those elements are executed. You can have the best and most powerful car on the planet but the spectacle will wear off after seeing it drive in a circle 100 or more times (or does it Nascar fans?).
Obviously a bit derivative but both Mission Impossible and Spectre began shooting around the same time so it is hard to say one copied the other. Still if you say Rogue Nation it will be hard not to get distracted by all of the similarities. However, the subplot of Bond dealing with his demons and dark past is pretty compelling– so I have to give the movie some points there. Additionally, they didn’t stay too long on one particular thing that you found yourself getting bored throughout the movie either. (12/20)
The acting, particularly by Craig and Waltz were awesome– I just wish there was more of it! Also I wonder if the producers of Spectre realized that Bautista’s usefulness in the film extended only to action as they literally gave him one line in the film. In any case, Waltz’s voice is also perfect for this role as he pulled off dark and ominous extremely well but in a cool way. (18/2)
Bond is always a great character to see and I love that they are giving him more depth as the movies continue– I’ve always felt that classic Bond movies had a tendency to alienate the woman characters because when one dies, Bond seems to just move on.. I love that they are actually having these deaths affect him. However, Waltz’s character blunder is just too hard to ignore, this movie could have been Oscar worthy had they written his character better but unfortunately we get what amounts to a spoiled jealous villain doing horrible shit (with no socks minds you), for no really compelling reason other than to fuck with Bond. (10/20)
Though the pacing of the movie was solid, the movie focused way too much on Bond and his new mistresses story rather than developing a strong villain or bad ass organization. The movie hits all the important beats but hits them at the usual times and it makes the movies predictable. (10/30)
The trailers honestly made me want to see this film, I was sold the second I heard Christoph Waltz’s voice. (10/10)