Quality: This score grades entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score grades political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical or middle ground.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score grades moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 2.5 stars, Political – 3 stars, M/R – 2 stars
Pardon my angst, but this is getting old, as Daniel Craig’s 007 keeps going rogue. Like, almost every movie. How M (now played by Ralph Fiennes) puts up with it is beyond me:
M: “James, as you can see, the compound will be vulnerable to approach from the north, and—oh, could you hand me that pen?”
Bond: “No. I’m going rogue.”
M: “But…it’s just a pen.”
Bond: “I’m my own man. I do as I will.”
M: “Fine! I’ll get one from the next room!”
Bond: “I’ll be gone when you return. Off the grid, outside the rules, blending in with the natives—”
M: “Are you finished?”
Bond: “—almost—like a phantom, fighting evil my own way…I call it ‘rogue-ing.’”
M: “Stop that.”
Bond: “I have this full head of hair, thanks to—”
M: “—please don’t say it—”
M: “I’m getting a pen. Back in a minute.”
Bond: “I’ll be in this room—but not this chair. I could be anywhere, off the grid, blending in…”
Honestly, why can’t this Bond just do his job? It’s so simple, James! Just kill musclebound henchmen with fake karate chops! Escape shark tanks in a tuxedo! Have unprotected sex with women whose names are sexually suggestive--just cut the drama and do your job! Why is this Bond such a…well…annoying employee?
(Then again, the sex names were a bit awkward. I'd rather say, “Mom, meet my new girlfriend, Cori,” than “Mom, meet my new girlfriend, Baroness Von Octopussy from Slutvakia.” But I digress.)
Thankfully, this film still provides harrowing fun. At its best when smirking through nostalgia, “Spectre” rehashes characters and concepts from Bond movies past. Fight an unstoppable brute on a train? Check. Demented supervillain with a white cat? Check. Gorgeous, self-assured woman (Madeleine Swann, played by Lea Seydoux) vowing not to be seduced—wink, wink? Check-a-roo! Eschewing the Gloomy Gus aura of the past three outings, Craig’s 4th Bond flick restores some Bond wit, embracing formula enough to make fun of formula. It works.
If only Director Sam Mendes had settled for that. If only. Even with tracking down Spectre (a secret terrorist organization from multiple Bond films), this film’s playful frolic should only have taken 2 hours—but it’s about 2½.
I believe this is the longest Bond movie ever. Dragging it out is a needless subplot, wherein British leadership wants all intel under one roof—endangering the “00” program—and favors smothering surveillance of the population. Hence, our fun is invaded by an anti-Patriot Act lecture (regardless of one’s opinions, such sermonizing slows the pace). And typical of Hollywood, the antagonists are painted in exaggerated terms; blind with power, contemptuous toward our heroes.
Well, 007 doesn’t like this one bit.
“The name’s Snowden…Edward Snowden.”
“Spectre” is a classic example of doing too much. It already has a terrific villain (the evil Franz Oberhauser, beautifully played by Christoph Waltz). It boasts gorgeous scenery, amusing banter, charming characters like Moneypenney (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw), and action galore. It even offers an engaging mystery—but creeps through it at a snail’s pace. The problem? Topical preaching. Such political evangelism requires a movie of its own, but shoving it in creates that uneasy feeling of ulterior motives; like we’re only being entertained so the director can slip us his propaganda.
No one likes that feeling. It cheapens both the movie and the director’s pet issue. Worse yet, it cheapens the audience—those paying big money for movie tickets and popcorn. In the end, “Spectre” basically give our money’s worth, but…
…it’s a bit too preachy. A bit too fight-the-system. A bit too rogue.