Spectre Blu-ray Review
The worst thing you can say about SPECTRE is that it feels like every other Bond film that came before it not called CASINO ROYALE or SKYFALL. It’s not that SPECTRE is a bad film, it’s that we’ve come too far with the Bond franchise to revert back to something like this. So those wanting a continuation of the greatness of SKYFALL are going to be disappointed, but the film still has a lot to offer. We get a great opening sequence, some good action sequences and Daniel Craig is on top of his game as the dapper spy. Unfortunately, all of that is smothered in a convoluted story, several dry spells and some cheesy moments that take you out of the film.
After going off on his own to stop a terrorist in Mexico, Bond faces the wrath of M (Fiennes) and is grounded for his insubordination, despite the fact that we all know Bond is going to do whatever he wants. M is feeling pressure from C (Andrew Scott), who wants to dissolve the 00 branch in favor of mass, automatic surveillance. But Bond is focused on a secret organization that is intent on causing havoc and controlling the population and his focus takes him around the world, hot on the heels of Blofeld (Waltz). To help him in his pursuit, he teams up with Madeleine (Seydoux), the daughter of one of the former members of the organization that we eventually learn is called Spectre.
Bond chasing down an evil organization is a fine plot device for any Bond film, but the problems with SPECTRE are the details. For one, the four (!) screenwriters that worked on the script seemed intent on connecting everything in the film. Spectre somehow had to be connected to Bond’s past, Madeleine had to be connected to someone Bond knew and at some point, the audience was removed from any reality SKYFALL had created and we were thrust back into the fake world that prior Bond films had created where everything fit too nicely. It was also frustrating whenever they tried to elicit emotion that clearly wasn’t there. For example, we knew Madeleine and Bond didn’t love each other, so having a scene where they semi-profess their love felt more like a device to move the plot than it did genuine emotion.
But let’s remember this is a Bond film and if it weren’t for CASINO ROYALE or SKYFALL, we wouldn’t even care about the plot. So if we take that approach, SPECTRE is a little better, but not without its problems. There are a few action sequences in SPECTRE, the highlight being the opening scene. There are a couple of chase sequences that get the blood pumping and Bond has his share of run-ins with bad guys, but the downer is that there are also some dry spells where the filmmakers focus too hard on trying to develop a plot that the audience can’t get into. Unlike Mendes’s previous effort, the plot can’t save Bond when he’s not facing danger.
SPECTRE made me realize how much I don’t appreciate the Connery, Moore and Brosnan Bond films. SKYFALL had launched James Bond into the 21st century with a great plot, fascinating villain and great action scenes. Unfortunately, SPECTRE set the franchise back and proved that breaking out of that Bond mold is not as easy as it seems. I’m anxious to see what the future holds for the Bond franchise since there are a lot of questions surrounding it, starting with Daniel Craig’s return. But whether he returns or not, I’m not sure the franchise can withstand another run of the mill Bond movie.
Video: SPECTRE is a very darkly lit film, but thankfully the Blu-ray transfer is very nice and supports the black levels nicely. I didn’t feel that colors popped as well as they should have, but it was such a clean transfer that it’s hard to complain.
Audio: The audio for SPECTRE is outstanding.
Spectre: Bond’s Biggest Opening Sequence (20:10): This is a nice featurette focused on the opening sequence in the film.
Video Blogs (9:13): Six different video blogs focused on various aspects of the film. These were way too short to amount to anything.
Gallery and Trailers