Dir: Sam Mendes
Star: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Sedoux, Andrew Scott

After the heady delights of Skyfall, might this be the worst Bond film in the Craig era? It's between this and Quantum of Solace; on checking, I see I gave that the same rating. However, in terms of falling short of expectations, this one likely takes the biscuit. Bond us threatened by a bureaucratic merger of MI5 and MI6, whose new boss, C (Scott) threatens to end the Double-0 project, and wants the UK to be part of an all-encompassing global surveillance network. Bond gets a message, from beyond the grave, from the late M, and goes against orders to start digging into SPECTRE, a shadowy criminal cabal who, it turns out, have been behind... Well, just about everything bad that happened to him, ever. They have also been staging terrorist attack as justification for the global surveillance network, whose intelligence to which they will have access, because... Because they're a shadowy criminal cabal, okay?

Less James Bond, and more tame 'n' bland, amIrite? The poster on the right is, thus, an accurate representation of the film, which has precisely one memorable moment: a Very Large Explosion. All the positive goodwill generated by Skyfall is flushed down the drain, by a film where the main villain (Waltz) doesn't show up until the final third and is sadly wasted, while the staples of the series - girls and gadgets - are completely unmemorable. Yes, the technical aspects are as good as the reported cost of $250 million can buy, but it possesses absolutely no heart. It feels more like Mendes (or perhaps more likely, a Mendes-shaped robot) assembled a film from a shopping list of components, which is a surprise given the same director could make a Bond reunion with his car an emotional moment in Skyfall. In a cinematic world where other franchises have stepped up their game, this one seems content to rest on its laurels and slides backwards into inconsequence as a result.

[December 2015]

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