Cast includes: Daniel Craig (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Ben Whishaw (I’m Not There), Naomie Harris (28 Days Later…), Andrew Scott (Sherlock)
Director: Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road)
Genre: Action | Thriller (148 minutes)
“The dead are alive…” It’s Mexico City, the Day of the Dead… festive music, skeleton floats… everything is black and white… most wear skeleton masks. A man in a white suit goes one direction. A man in a black suit goes the other. We follow the black suit… he turns out to be 007… following Sciarra, the white suit. With a listening device, Bond learns of the plan to blow up the stadium… and there’s a name he doesn’t know… the “Pale King.” The pursuit culminates in a dramatic struggle over the town square in a helicopter… a soundtrack of chaotic pulsing rhythms and the screams of hundreds of thousands below. Before giving Sciarra the final push, he removes his ring… the one with an octopus symbol. The song in the opening credits gives us a clue into where this 007 film is going… “The handwriting’s on the wall… For you, I have to risk it all.”
In London, M demands an explanation for the international incident in Mexico City… not that it will be good enough. Bond’s grounded. “Very good, Sir,” says Bond. Anyway, the new C, Max, is planning to bring British Intelligence out of the dark ages into the light. Q injects Bond with a new tracking system… “smart blood.” Bond really is grounded, unless he can get help from Q and Money Penny. It isn’t enough for Bond to have killed Sciarra in Mexico City… he must get to the funeral in Rome. Bond’s likes his new car… “No, that’s for 009”… about Bond’s last car… “When I told you to bring it back in one piece… you brought back one piece,” says Q. At the funeral, Bond learns there’s a meeting to choose a replacement. Maybe he’ll also find out who the Pale King is. “What took you so long?” says Biofeld when he exposed Bond. “CooCoo.” [That’ll mean something later on.] Eventually, the chase leads to Madeleine Swann… but only after Bond promises her father he’ll keep her safe.
In the 24th James Bond film, 007 does something out of character… he promises to “risk it all” to protect a woman… not that she wants protection. She wants nothing to do with Bond or her father’s legacy. But she can’t escape… the symbol on the ring… “Its name is Spectre.” The plot line in Spectre doesn’t so much unfold, as it spirals deeper and deeper inward. Every twist takes us into a labyrinth going back to Bond’s earliest memories. Perhaps it’s fate that Madeleine, played by the wonderful French actress Léa Seydoux, would be a different kind of Bond girl… their early lives are intertwined.
Compared with early Bond films, recent Bond films are more psychologically complex… which some fans prefer, while others don’t. In the Bond tradition, this film takes us to many exotic locations… in Tokyo, Max and the other intelligence services are finalizing plans that could render Bond and the other double-O agents obsolete. James Bond has never had a reason to leave the service before now. “What would happen if you did?” says Madeleine. “Stop?” says Bond. “Yes.”
3 popped kernels
Has James Bond finally encountered a reason to leave the double-O service?
Audience: Young Adults
Gender Style: Bold
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release
Tempo: Pure Adrenalin Rush
Visual Style: Computer Effects & High-End Production
Nutshell: James Bond #24
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure Entertainment