Agent 007 falls flat

Spectre fails to captivate audiences

By Chris Skarnulis
Staff Writer

PG-13  |  148 min

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The James Bond series, started in 1953 by English author Ian Fleming, has become an iconic sensation worldwide. What started as a series of 12 novels about MI6 (British Secret Service) agent James Bond, has been adapted into a number of spin-off novels, 24 Eon produced feature films, television, and video games. The 24th installment in the Eon film series, “Spectre,” marks the fourth portrayal of James Bond by English actor Daniel Craig, who rose to prominence from his depiction of Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. Since then, he has appeared in three Bond films: “Quantum of Solace” (2008), “Skyfall” (2012), and “Spectre” (2015).

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The film sees the return of several fictional characters from the James Bond universe including MI6’s secretary Eve Moneypenny, MI6’s weapons specialist Q, MI6s Chief of Staff Bill Tanner and the newly instated “M” Gareth Mallory, head of MI6. With the aid of these characters, “Spectre” follows Bond as he attempts to save the world from Spectre, a terrorist organization.

After receiving a cryptic message from the recently deceased M, Bond hunts down an assassin,

kills him and learns of his involvement with Spectre, and trots the globe to put a stop to the

organization. Bond comes in contact with Mr. White, a corrupt former MI6 agent turned criminal

underworld kingpin, and discovers that he has ties with Spectre.

White informs Bond about Spectre in exchange for Bond’s protection of White’s daughter, Madeline Swann. After Bond saves Swann’s life, they discover a secret chamber in that reveals White’s life work with Spectre. They find coordinates to a crater in the Moroccan desert, which is revealed to be the organization’s location. The duo travel to the base, and Bond comes face-to-face with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Blofeld reveals Spectre has been staging terrorist attacks worldwide to garner support for the “Nine Eyes” program, a global surveillance system.

A fight ensues, and the facility is destroyed by Bond. Bond and Swann return to London and are

followed by Blofeld, having survived the destruction of Spectre. He kidnaps Swann, prompting

James to save the “damsel in distress.” Bond saves Swann, and as Blofeld attempts to escape

London via helicopter, it is shot down and he is arrested by MI6.

The film contains many insane action scenes. Bond films capitalize on action scenes, to which

“Spectre” delivers. Highlights include an upside-down helicopter battle, car chases in the Austrian mountains, and a fistfight between Bond and a muscular assassin aboard a train. The film’s score is excellent; composer Thomas Newmann, who directed the score for “Skyfall,” “Spectre’s” predecessor, returned to work his magic on the latest addition. Cast portrayals were great, with Craig as the determined James Bond and Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann. However, the film lacked a strong plot, because it relied so heavily on action and special effects, which made “Spectre” unfocused.

The film contained too much unnecessary filler content which contributed to the lengthy two and a half hour running time. However, the biggest disappointment was the portrayal of Blofeld by Christoph Waltz.

Waltz, an Austrian born actor with several award-winning performances in films including “Inglourious Bastards” and “Django Unchained” played a very bland villain. Villains play key roles in Bond films for being sinister, psychotic criminal masterminds that plot Bond’s demise, but Waltz’s performance was dry and unintimidating. It didn’t help either that he had very little screen time.

“Spectre” had expectations from audiences to be perfect. Although it didn’t live up viewer expectations, it is a worthy edition to the Bond series.