I have become a big fan of pre-ordering movies on Amazon in the last year or two. One reason is because they do a pretty good job of giving you the lowest price on what you order, and even refund you some money if the price went lower than what it was at the time of shipping. The other reason, is because I tend to pre-order some movies as soon as the option is available, usually several months before they are released, so I sometimes forget I ordered them and then suddenly I get a present containing a movie I ordered. Now If you have been reading this blog for a while now, you will know that I am a fan of the Bond movies and already own all of them. So it was a no brainer that I would be getting today’s movie, 007: Spectre, as soon as it came out.
The plot: During the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City, Bond listens in on a meeting between three terrorists and a man named Marco Sciarra. When he is spotted, he kills the three terrorists but accidentally shoots the bomb they had, causing part of the building to explode. Sciarra survived the explosion and Bond chases after him, catching up to him as Sciarra tries to escape by helicopter. Bond jumps on board and begins fighting with Sciarra, during which he manages to grab Sciarra’s ring before kicking him out of the helicopter. Bond then knocks out the pilot and proceeds to fly out of there while examining the ring, which has an octopus engraved in it. When he arrives back in London, he is placed on indefinite suspension by M for going on an unauthorized mission. As Bond is leaving, he meets Max Denbigh, the head of a Joint Intelligence Service that is trying to get rid of the 00 program. Leaving the building, Moneypenny catches up to him and to give him some personal effects that were just released from Skyfall but he has her bring them to his place later that night. When she arrives and asks him what’s going on, he plays her a DVD from M that was sent to him after her death, telling him to kill Sciarra and not miss the funeral. Bond tells her that the funeral is in Rome and asks that she look up information on someone called “The Pale King” for him. The next day, Bond is taken to see Q, who injects him with nanotechs so that they can keep track of him per M’s orders. Bond asks Q to help him disappear and Q reluctantly agrees to give him 48 hours. The next day, Bond sends Moneypenny a clean phone to use to stay in touch with him, then steals the newest car from Q and heads for Rome. Attending the funeral, Bond sees Sciarra’s widow Lucia and tries speaking to her there but noticing some men keeping watch, she refuses to speak with him. When she gets home, two assassins try to kill her but Bond kills them and seduces Lucia to get whatever information she knows. She tells him about Spectre, a criminal organization Sciarra belonged to, and Bond goes and infiltrates a meeting for the group. Inside, Bond watches as the board members choose a replacement for Sciarra, a man named Mr. Hinx, when suddenly, the leader of Spectre calls out Bond by name and moves from the shadows to reveal his face to Bond. Bond manages to escape from the meeting and get to his car but he is pursued thoughout the city by Mr. Hinx. During the pursuit, Bond calls Moneypenny, telling her that the planned attack in Mexico and two other attacks were all linked. Moneypenny tells him that The Pale King is Mr. White and gives Bond his last known location. Bond then tells Moneypenny to search for information Franz Oberhauser, who has been presumed dead. Bond manages to lose Mr. Hinx by ejecting from his car before it crashes into a river, then heads to Austria to see Mr. White. Finding him in a secluded cabin, Mr. White tells Bond he is dying of thallium poisoning and then tells Bond that his daughter, Dr. Madeleine Swann, can help him find Spectre. He then makes Bond promise to protect his daughter before he uses Bond’s gun to commit suicide. In London, M is arguing with Max about his “9 Eyes” global intelligence program when Max reveals that he has been keeping tabs on MI6 as he plays a recorded conversation between Bond and Moneypenny. Meanwhile, Mr. Hinx arrives at Mr. White’s cabin to kill him but finding him dead, he notices a security camera and goes to retrieve the footage. Bond meets Madeleine and informs her of her father’s death and how he needs her help but she has him escorted out of her building. As Bond is waiting at the bar downstairs, Q shows up and tries to convince Bond to come back to London with him or else both his and Moneypenny’s careers are in the toilet. Bond gives Q Sciarra’s ring and asks him to see what he can find out about it and Q reluctantly agrees. As Bond is leaving, he sees Madeleine being kidnapped by Mr. Hinx and some men and goes after them. Meanwhile, Q is in a cable car analyzing the ring but as he tries to leave, two men attempt to stop him but he manages to escape when a group of snowboarders board the cable car, blocking the men’s view of him. Using a small airplane, Bond chases after Mr. Hinx and manages to rescue Madeleine when he causes their car to crash. They meet up with Q, who apologizes to James and says that Oberhauser is still alive and that all the men James has faced recently are all connected to him. When Q shows James a news story about another attack, James tells him to go back to London while he and Madeleine head to L’Americain, which Medeleine says is a hotel in Tanzania. At the hotel, Bond ransacks the room that White always stayed in but is unable to find anything until he notices a mouse going through a hole in the wall and finally discovers White’s secret room. The room is filled with pictures of Madeleine as she is growing up but also contains co-ordinates to Spectre’s base, which is in the middle of the desert. The two take a train to where the base is located and Bond tries to teach Madeleine some self defense but discovers that she already knows how to protect herself. In London, an emergency meeting happens and 9 Eyes is officially sanctioned, with C being placed in charge and he informs M that the 00 program is officially terminated. Later, Moneypenny and Q go to see M and tell him where Bond is going but M says they can’t help him as anything they find out, others will too and it will only weaken Bond’s chances. On the train, Bond and Madeleine are having dinner when they are attacked by Mr. Hinx, who fights with Bond through several cars before James manages to knock him off the train. Arriving at a desolate station, Bond and Madeleine are picked up and brought to Spectre’s base. At the base, they meet with Oberhauser and he proceeds to show them around his base, while hinting at his history with Bond. After showing Bond video from inside MI6, where M is announcing the end of the 00 program, Bond figures out Oberhauser’s plan, that he caused the attacks in order to get 9 Eyes formed, which he actually funds, and therefore is able to get access to the major countries intelligence and that C works for Oberhauser. Oberhauser proceeds to torture Bond, while explaining to Madeleine his history with Bond, how he killed his father and faked his death in the avalanche, and now goes by the name Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Using an explosive hidden in his watch, Bond and Madeleine are able to escape, leaving Blofeld for dead in the explosion. They head to London and meet with M, Q, Moneypenny, and Bill Tanner, and Bond fills M in on what has been going on. Q is tasked with keeping 9 Eyes from going online while Bond and M go to see C, but Madeleine refuses to go as she doesn’t want to be a part of this life anymore. On the way to C’s office, a car crashes into Bond and M’s car and Bond is taken prisoner but M manages to escape. The kidnappers take Bond to the old MI 6 building but Bond manages to free himself and after killing the kidnappers, heads inside. At C’s base, he orders someone on a phone to find M, then tries to access his system but finds himself locked out and finds M and Q are there to shut down 9 Eyes. At the old MI6 building, Bond moves through the building and sees a disfigured Blofeld. Blofeld explains that the building is wired to explode and Bond has 3 minutes, to either get out and save himself or try to save Madeleine, then pushes the button and makes his escape. Back at C’s headquarters, Q manages to stop 9 Eyes from going online and M tries to take C into custody, but C struggles with M and ends up falling out of the window and falling to his death. Bond continues searching the building, pausing when he sees a helicopter carrying Blofeld hovering nearby, then he finally hears her screams and locates Madeleine and frees her. Bond grabs Madeleine and jumps down a hole in the building, where they are caught by some safety netting below, then the two manage to escape by boat before the building explodes. Chasing after the helicopter, Bond begins firing at it, eventually causing it to catch fire and crash. Blofeld is injured but manages to crawl from the wreckage, where Bond catches him and levels his gun at him but though Blofeld tells him to shoot, Bond refuses and instead walks back to Madeleine and the two leave while M arrests Blofeld. Some time later, Bond heads back to Q’s workshop and grabs his repaired Aston Martin DB5, then drives off with Madeleine.
Spectre met with positive reviews from the critics, earning a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus is that “Spectre nudges Daniel Craig’s rebooted Bond closer to the glorious, action-driven spectacle of earlier entries, although it’s admittedly reliant on established 007 formula.” Many detractors of the film complained about the length of the film as well as the lack of screen time for new characters. As of Feb. 7th, the movie has grossed over $877 million but since it is still in theaters, albeit the “dollar” theaters, that figure might go up.
The problem with following what is considered one of the best movies in the series is that there is a lot of hype to live up to. While this was not as good as Skyfall, this was still a good entry in the Bond series. Daniel Craig has really hit his stride with the role. While Christopher Waltz did make a decent Blofeld, Dave Bautista definitely made one of the best henchmen in a long time and the way he died was just terrible. The story was pretty good and did a good job of introducing Spectre to a new generation of Bond fans, though I will admit that the whole foster big brother being the bad guy was a bit of a stretch. The action and chase scenes were some of the typical Bond movie style but there was some decent suspense moments that did help keep the movie from being a boring action movie. It’s hard following in a great movie’s footsteps but this is still a good Bond movie to watch.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5