SPECTRE (Sony/MGM, 2015)
★★1/2 The twenty-fourth film in the Eon Productions James Bond series. US release date: November 6, 2015. Budget: $245 million. Worldwide box office gross: $879.5 million (US domestic gross: $200.1 million; international gross: $679.4 million). Running time: 148 minutes.
On a posthumous tip from the former M (Dame Judi Dench), James Bond (Daniel Craig) takes an unauthorized trip to Mexico City to foil another terrorist plot, this one engineered by one Marco Sciarra (Alessandro Cremona), whom Bond eliminates, recovering his unusual ring with a distinctive octopus insignia. Investigating both Sciarra and the ring, 007 is eventually introduced to the international criminal organization that, it turns out, has been funding terrorism around the world, including the criminal activities of his defeated adversaries Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), and Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). It’s SPECTRE, and when it’s involved, its ruthless leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), can’t be far behind—this time with an unusual personal history with Bond.
Behind the Scenes
At the time the longest and most expensive James Bond movie ever made, Spectre was a huge grosser when it debuted—but not a hit with many die-hard fans. More a travelogue than a nail-biting adventure, it doesn’t have a compelling threat with a ticking clock. What’s more, its startling reveal—that Ernst Stavro Blofeld is actually James Bond’s foster brother—hardly moves the emotional dial, since Blofeld remains just another sadistic bad guy who seems to enjoy torturing Bond.
For all its attempts to add more depth to Bond’s story—including a more serious romantic interest in Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux)—Spectre scrimps on the qualities that have made Bond an international success story for nearly sixty years: action, sex, and violence. The heat between 007 and Swann is kept at a very low flame, and even a momentary tryst—emphasis on the “momentary”—with Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci barely registers. The much-touted car chase through Rome, with Bond battling Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista), doesn’t hold up next to modern high-octane competitors such as the Fast and the Furious films, while Bond’s escape from Blofeld’s Moroccan desert lair feels too easy to really get the adrenaline pumping.
|James Bond||Daniel Craig|
|Ernst Stavro Blofeld||Christoph Waltz|
|Mr. White||Jesper Christensen|
|Marco Sciarra||Alessandro Cremona|
|Michael G. Wilson|
|Director of Photography||Hoyte Van Hoytema|
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|“Writing’s on the Wall” performed by||Sam Smith|
|Production Designer||Dennis Gassner|
|Costume Designer||Jany Temime|
|Second Unit Director||Alexander Witt|
|Casting by||Debbie McWilliams|
|Stunt Coordinator||Gary Powell|
|Title Designer||Daniel Kleinman|