007 Specter Review: James Bond Regenerated?

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007 Specter
Sony

For an hour, 007 Specter is a perfect James Bond, before coming down sharply.

France 2 will rebroadcast this Sunday 007 Specter, a few days before the release of his suite, To die can wait, which will mark Daniel Craig’s farewell to the saga (and of which you can read our review here). To be patient, here is the one from the previous opus, published in First in 2015 ?

James Bond is finally back. Pre-generic black screen and the traditional opening “gunbarrel” (present in the 20 previous films up to Casino Royale) appears, back at the start of the film for the “first time” since Craig donned the tuxedo. The message is clear: the regenerated Bond, this toy completely disassembled in the three previous films, the reboot: it’s over. Spectators have been asking for it for 10 years now. Producers finally meet demand. 007 Specter is initially a “traditional” adventure from 007, but redefined for modern times.

WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS

Opening to an uninterrupted multi-minute sequence shot, following Bond on an unsupervised mission in Mexico during the Day of the Dead, 007 Specter poses during its first hour its intrigue, its promises and its stakes. Daniel Craig, we do not know by what miracle, is more beautiful, more brilliant, more charismatic more refined than in Sky Fall. Impeccably dressed, he seduces, murders, brawls, destroys, readjusts his costume after falling from several floors, finally capturing the essence of British elegance and humor of our favorite agent. Qualities which it lacked since the reboot presented it as a rough diamond to be refined, from the “blunt instrument” of Casino Royale.

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So here is finally the “successful” Bond, which the epilogue of Casino Royale (“My name is Bond, James Bond”) gave us hope. It took three films instead of one, but on that side, we are not disappointed. Daniel Craig IS finally James Bond! Now that M, Q and Moneypenny, the main pawns of the series’ chessboard are also laid down and above all refreshed – acquiring in the process a dimension they had never had on screen before – director Sam Mendes can finally bring a “classic” adventure to 007. For an hour, which multiplies the nods to the classics of the saga, Spectrum is working at full speed, and we believe in it. As Section 00 is threatened with being deleted in favor of an Orwellian public surveillance program, an operation led by the sinister C (Andrew Scott brilliant), Bond climbs the layers of a terrorist organization (the notorious Specter) that ‘he will find out after following posthumous instructions left by the former M (Judi Dench). Crazy dog ​​disobeying orders, doing as he pleases, stealing the DB10 promised at 009, in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger and a good word, this is Bond as we like it. And since he had never been under the Craig era. This whole part, taking place in Italy, is absolutely Bondian and Flemingian, adequately set to music by Thomas Newman. The double zero agent, kills with a smile and the right word, seduces women with class and indecency. And progresses in a perfect plot. After sleeping with Lucia (Monica Bellucci, for an appearance of a few cameo shots), Bond infiltrates a Specter meeting furiously reminiscent of the one at the start ofOperation Thunder. Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), appears there for the first time, and it is his best performance in the whole film. Cold, Kubrickian, the scene, where we discover that the Specter controls all the misfortunes of the world from the wings, is freezing. It culminates with Oberhauser’s face emerging from the shadows, for a “Cuckoo !” both hilarious and creepy, and sets off an Aston Martin chase which is the best action scene in the movie.

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The reboot started with Casino Royale culminates in this moment mixing pursuit, exhibition “on the go”, politics, instant retcon of the three previous adventures, gadgets and humor, and ending, as it should be, with a pirouette and a good word. At this moment, therefore, all is good. We tell ourselves that the cruise is on, that the film will keep its promises of a classic Bond, but modernized for the 21st century, and take the agent even further, and us with. Unfortunately, Mendes then begins to connect the dots between them to form his plot, where the strings were almost invisible before. The confrontation with Mr. White (Jesper Christensen, seen in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace) inspired by the new Octopussy, and the arrival of Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who lights up the screen, breaks something. The film suddenly seems to deviate from its trajectory, scuttling the scenes and characterization of the characters as it goes. Thus the assassin Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) suddenly interrupts a dialogue scene echoing Casino Royale, not giving Bond and Madeleine Swann time to make their relationship more credible, before being shamefully dispatched in turn. Why take the time to pose such a threat, such a villain, to skip him halfway through the film, when we dreamed of seeing him face Bond in the finale? We find it hard to understand. Things get worse with the arrival of Bond and Swann in Orbehauser’s lair, which multiplies the nods to Dr. No but without ever finding the intelligence and spirit that animated the split between Bond and his opponent in the original film. Waltz, who isn’t helped by writing, finds his limits as an actor. This is where Spectrum derails and commits THE crime of lese majesty (continuing to insist on the personal side of Bond’s missions in a caricatured way).

It feels like OSS 117 or Austin powers… The film then multiplies the twists and turns without any surprise, where the characterization of the characters goes by the wayside in favor of action scenes without flavor or inventiveness, in which we never really feel engaged. To save, a sequence shot of the destruction of the base, with Bond and Swann in the foreground, which is arguably one of the most beautiful ever conceived by Mendes. The character of Andrew Scott, C, about whom many fans harbored a fantasy of hidden surprises, is cowardly dispatched, when the actor is sure to have done wonders in 007’s recurring nemesis. The final showdown between Bond and Orbehauser does not even connect with the film’s anti Big Brother theme established in the relationship between M and C, and we remain, once again, in suspense on the questions asked since. Sky Fall, namely the importance of the retrograde, but free, character of Bond in a modern world which is increasingly more politically correct and more repressive. There remains the epilogue, in the form of a postcard, which resonates like Craig’s farewell to the character, as if the circle had come full circle, the miniseries ended and the place was left open for the successor. Daniel Craig will he return? At the present time, we do not yet know. But what is certain is that James Bond will return.

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