Film review: Spectre (2015) (Spoilers!)

The James Bond series has really got to be treated as straight-up comedies. In the Roger Moore era, the campy humor was more explicit with Moore’s wisecracks letting the audience know that it was all utterly ridiculous. In the Daniel Craig era there seemed to be an attempt to revive the original Sean Connery darker vibe of the hero being more ruthless and cold-blooded, willing to use more freely his license to kill. But despite Bond’s somber expression throughout, this film is a real hoot that had me laughing at its unintended humor.

One thing that I have noticed with these mega-franchises is the declining quality of the villains. In the latest Star Wars film for example, Kylo Ren looks more like a sullen teenager who is about to burst into tears because he has had his cellphone taken away and been grounded by his parents for the weekend. He is nowhere in the same class of menace as his grandfather Darth Vader. In this Bond film, Andrew Scott reprises his Moriarty persona from the Sherlock series, smug smirks and all while Christoph Waltz plays the role of the main Bond villain. But the latter’s attempts to convey menace come off as more goofy than creepy. Like all Bond villains, he devises the usual nutty complex plan to kill Bond when he has him completely in his power, when he could simply have shot him. Of course that enables Bond to escape. And then when he gets another chance to kill Bond, he devises an even more complicated plan! Don’t these Bond villains learn anything from history and realize that Bond always finds a way to escape convoluted schemes? Keep it simple, guys!

I recently wrote how the plot of the latest Star Wars film made no sense and was a confused mess. The plot of this Bond film also makes no sense but it was fun to watch because of its absurd scene transitions. One particular sequence was a beaut. After going to Tangier with the obligatory beautiful Bond woman, Bond finds a secret sealed room that from its dusty look had not been used in years. But when he dusts off an ancient computer, it immediately comes to life and the screen shows a remote desert location. So the two take a train to that place. Although they are traveling light, each with a small suitcase, for dinner in the dining car he wears a white tuxedo and she an evening gown, presumably what spies pack when on dangerous missions.

In the midst of dinner they get into a long knock down, drag out fight with an assassin who has been following them but has inexplicably waited until dinner time to pounce, no doubt because he had to finish some urgent paperwork. The ensuing fight destroys the dining car, the adjoining kitchen, and the car with the train’s supplies. When that exhausting fight to the death ends with the assassin thrown off the train, the two immediately go to her compartment to make love, without being asked by the train staff what the hell went on and required to pay for the extensive damage they caused.

The next morning they both have clean new outfits and no signs of injuries from the fight as they get off the train at the remote location in the desert where there is nothing as far as the eye can see. But suddenly a vintage Rolls Royce appears to pick them up and they are taken to the luxurious headquarters of the villain where they change into impeccable new outfits, in his case a crisp new suit, and where the villain, in typical Bond-villain style, shows them everything about his grand plan to conquer the world.

I laughed out loud all the way through this three-scene sequence. I also want those magical suitcases that can contain so much in such a small space!

Here’s the trailer for this latest Bond comedy.

Spectre is a film that richly deserves and gets the Honest Trailers treatment.

This clip points out all the absurdities of the plot.

And of course there is an Eddie Izzard bit to meet pretty much any occasion.


  1. Mark Dowd says

    Save yourself the trouble and just watch the Austin Powers movies.

    Scott: Let’s shoot them.
    Dr. Evil: No Scott. I’m going to place them into an easily escapeable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

  2. blf says

    Maybe the suitcase is a TARDIS ? Lots of room, amazing equipment (including medical), and the ability to (in effect) alter the amount of time. Of course, it can also go anywhere, rather quickly, so what’s the point of the train, etc.?

  3. rjw1 says

    The popularity of the Bond and Marvell superhero series is one of life’s mysteries, seen one, seen them all. Most of the gloomy, tedious British detective series are also inexplicably popular.

  4. Matt G says

    Ugh, I hated the Moriarty character in the Sherlock series. Moriarty is supposed to be a cool, unflappable evil genius, and that scene at the pool in which he threatens Holmes (he screams something like: “I will watch you burn”) is cringeworthy.

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