Review: ‘Spectre’ Bond has a licence to bore you

At the Spectre screening, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr. and Mrs. James Bond Super Fan (names were changed to protect the innocent) and I felt that you would be hard pressed to find two people who were more excited about this movie than this couple. “I am just tingling with excitement,” explained Mrs. James Bond Super Fan. “This movie is going to kick so much ass!” Mr. James Bond Fan added “You know, that this film is based on one of the actual James Bond Novels.”  So I turned to both of them and asked was there any scenario where this movie wouldn’t live up to your titanic expectations? Mr. James Bond fan turned towards me and stated “maybe if they decided to animate this Bond Movie” he said with a chuckle.

So as I sat ready to be blown away by Spectre , I couldn’t help but wonder if James Bond had gone from bulletproof cars to review bulletproof films. Does it even matter what I have to say about this film? Have we reached that point where Bond will just draw people to the movies? Needless to say, as we left the theater, Mr. and Mrs. James Bond Fan were gushing about the movie and a feeling astonishment overcame me. What movie did they see that excited them so? Was I in the wrong theater? The Spectre I saw took the proven formula of a good Bond film (Fast Cars, Ample Sex Appeal, Cool Gadgets, explosions) and decided to go with a new formula of “More Story and More Boredom” that we all just love to experience when we pay to go to the movies.

What was confounding about Spectre is that it’s not like Daniel Craig can’t do wonderful work in the role of 007; he certainly showed that in Casino Royale and Skyfall. However, in Spectre he’s presides impassively in 150 minutes of pure mediocrity. It’s like Craig and the rest of the cast felt it was necessary to do another Bond film, and they were fulfilling an obligation to Sony.

Spectre opens with the obligatory standalone action set piece, a boring opening chase in Mexico, highlighted by a battle in a helicopter in which Daniel Craig’s stuntman was so evident he might as well have been wearing a neon sign. Spectre trudges towards dullsville when we are treated to boring escapes, a dull bureaucrat, a dull psychopath complete with a dull henchman, and a dull love interest who’s 20 years younger than Bond. To top it all off we have a snoozefest of a torture scene where the guy is petting – wait for it – a Persian Cat! Mr. and Mrs. James Bond Super Fan informed me that all Bond Fans will know what that truly means.

Christoph Waltz plays the villain (Which I won’t name because that’s a surprise), and is grossly underused in Spectre. Why are you going to bring on two-time Academy Award Winner to the project and allow him to have less that a significant role in Spectre? Are you really getting the most of Mr. Waltz by having him “lurk” in the shadows and speak softly? To top it all off, the reasoning behind his malevolence is so absurd that it’s laughable. It ties up all of Craig’s Bond Films with an explanation that no one was ready for and, frankly, nobody needs.

While this was transpiring we also were treated to this gem:

Bond Girl – You Shouldn’t stare.

Bond – You shouldn’t look like that. (Bearded Curmudgeon Face Palm)

Where is the fun? Where is the excitement? Where is the Bond that we all grew up watching? James Bond films should be entertaining , exciting, and full of Eye Candy. Spectre is dull, lifeless, and full of eye sores. Craig doesn’t come across as James Bond in this film, but he does come across as a man who wishes he could quit his job. I guess Sam Smith was right when he was singing “ Writing’s on the Wall.”


Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.