The Bond films of late have always seemed to come out around my birthday which makes a trip to the cinema a bit of a no-brainer for my birthday celebrations.
It’s not without a certain amount of concern that I entered the deserted and cold cinema with Siggy on a windswept Sunday in that wonderful seaside town that is Rhyl. If you ever get a chance to visit I urge you not to. After parting with almost £9 I visited the men’s toilets – making full use of the facilities I had paid for. There I found a broken sink full of water with a used nappy floating around in it. It summed up the ambience of the place for me.
We shared the emptiness with three other couples and one middle aged man who sat on the end of one aisle of seats and must have left with a severe crick in his neck. The new Star Wars trailer aside (was that Luke Skywalker’s gurning face?), the huge tranche of adverts and trailers was unwelcome and I found myself blowing into my hands urging them to get on with it. Looking like an Eskimo, Siggy had almost disappeared under layers of clothing and a tactically placed coat over her legs.
Once the film was underway I was immediately blown away by the opening sequence. The fight aboard an out of control helicopter above Day of the Dead celebrations in a Mexican city was one of the most impressive opening sequences to a Bond film I think I have ever seen. Unfortunately the excitement I felt slowly dissipated as the rest of the film played out.
Sam Smith’s theme song sounded much better on the surround sound system of the cavernous cinema but I found the title sequence a bit boring to be blunt. I found myself replaying much better title sequences and much better songs inside my head.
The story of the film directly connects itself to the events of Casino Royale and Skyfall with a barely perceptible nod towards the slightly floppy Quantum of Solace. Viewed as a quartet of films Spectre rounds the whole storyline nicely and sees both Bond and Daniel Craig retiring from duty.
Cristoph Waltz unsurprisingly is very much the star of the show as Blofeld – his casual attitude as he is torturing Bond made me want to giggle and clap my hands together in glee. After casting was announced I was also looking forward to seeing Monica Bellucci doing a turn, but she seems to only be on the screen for five minutes or so and continuity is ignored as she strips bare under the wily hands of Bond and then in the next scene appears perched atop the rumpled bedding in a basque and suspenders. It seemed a sad waste of a good actor.
The supporting cast from Skyfall are in attendance and Q has a few good scenes. I thought Andrew Scott was typecast as C and my immediate assumption, after seeing him as Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock, was that he was in league with Spectre which turns out to be the case. I was kind of hoping for a twist where he rather than Waltz turns out to be Blofeld. Léa Seydoux is okay as the main love interest, but she’s no Eva Green or Naomie Harris – neither vampy sex goddess or action girl and although she fights the urge to fall swooning into Bond’s arms for most of their time together she finally succumbs in a rather predictable fashion.
The plot to my mind was rather too simple and the finale not grand enough for me. The plunge down into the netting was reminiscent of Divergent and I never had that feeling of tension I usually have at the end of a Bond movie. I think back to the scene where Vesper dies in Casino Royale or the shootout at Skyfall and think that’s how to do a big ending.
The Aston Martin Vanquish is a beautiful automotive cast member and it was a shame to see it get ditched in the drink so quickly after a chase through Rome. However, the worst crime committed by the film-makers is left to the end where the reconstructed DB5 gets even less screen time than Bellucci.
So bets are on for the next actor to be cast as Bond. My money is on Michael Fassbender. I also look forward to a different director being handed the reigns of the franchise.