Just as I was shaking the awful images out of my head from having mistakenly watched a copy of “Snakes on a Plane,” my copy of “Spectre” arrived via
I had pre-ordered it because I had missed it in the movies, and being a Daniel Craig fan and a fan of his interpretation of James Bond, I needed to see what the hubbub was about, and why Craig was fed up with his own character.
Craig appears to be looking for a way to get out of his contract to complete five films. This latest is the fourth film in the series. While co workers claim it is the best, it is better than the second, but in general, a disappointment.
By far the best of the series is Casino Royal, which introduced Craig as Bond. While “Quantum of Solace” did not come up to the same level of expectation, it has its moments. Skyfall was nearly as good as the first movie, but started to stumble down the path that led to many of the flaws of “Spectre,” foolishly attempting to connect the dots with the Sean Connery Bond movies.
Connery’s movies were strong because they were tightly based on the books, and the failure of later Bond movies was less in who played them than in the flawed writing that went far a field from the start.
This was partly the strength in Casino Royal, where Bond was reintroduced, and the story tried to borrow from Ian Fleming, but did not try to duplicate the cold war atmosphere.
By the time we get to “Spectre,” we are stumbling down a path that makes the film somewhat painful to watch.
This has nothing to do with Craig, but with the lack of originality of the script. We are strolling through a past from which Bond is not likely to recover.
And script affect’s Craig’s performance. He is less sharp than in the earlier films as if he is merely going through the motions of being Bond without being the Bond he was in the first movie. It is no wonder that Craig wants to give it up for something more challenging like taking out the trash at his
East 5th Street apartment.
“Spectre” was supposed to show us more of Bond’s inner workings, and showed us far less than “Skyfall,” and still less than “Quantum of Solace.”
Interviews with Craig, however, show just how little he understands the impact of his own character. He seems to hate Bond almost as much as the villains in these movies do, calling Bond misogynistic, when from the viewer’s perspective, Craig’s Bond is exactly the opposite. Earlier versions of the character, especially the Connery’s were, but one of the significant changes the Craig films bring to the Bond character, is the concept of love,
From the first movie to the current one, Craig’s Bond can’t escape love, if not for the women tragically killed in these movies including M, to those he must walk away from. If Bond has a weakness in these films, it is that he cares too much, and tries to make up for it by being even more ruthless than he needs to be, a man full of violence and rage, which he brings against his opponents. This allows him to win conflicts he otherwise could not win, because many of the villains are stronger, meaner and more powerful than he is.
Craig’s Bond is not superman, although he thinks he is, or is like Popeye eating spinach, gets strength he needs to overcome his enemies by pumping up his rage.
Unfortunately, in Spectre, this aspect of Bond is made into a cartoon in the same way other aspects of the film are.
In each film, we get a brilliant action sequence, chase scenes that pump us up, and also give fuel to the story that follows the opening credits. The opening in Spectre seemed too contrived, as if the filmmaker was desperate to out do his earlier attempts rather than to bring us a meaningful sequence.
The great personal mystery that was supposed to bring the Bond films to a new level proved to be simply another plot device in order to introduce the arch villain that Connery’s Bond faced – although Blowfeld in the original series was a weak element. The better films – with the exception of Thunderball – were better off without him.
While Spectre did not leave the same bad taste in my mouth of “Snakes on a Plane” did, it did leave me disappointed. And it made me realize why Craig might not want to do another film since the Bond character is already strolling down a path that will lead to more disappointments.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope Craig makes another Bond movie, and it is a movie as good as his first Bond movie. But I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t.