Sam Mendes

November 18, 2015

Spectre

Spectre: Pacing
…Mr. Bond…Pacing
2015Thriller/Action2h 30m
Pick up Spectre! The Greatest Hits of Bond only for the low price of $9.99
A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.
Spectre is the Bond film of Bond films. Spectre, its meaning should be the process of breaking down 23 films and taking the DNA of those and injecting it into 1 film. Or look at it like this, Spectre is The Greatest Hits of Bond for $9.99
Is that a bad thing? Nope but you must break it down like this
007 Fans | Movie Fans

For us who spend that money every time a new medium is released with a Bond film we buy it. Doesn’t matter if it is the same copy that was released 2 years ago, we will throw money down to buy it. Seriously I have like 4 different DVD Sets of the same films. Sure you will get a feature here and there but sometimes they will release the same copy just in a new case. I own the 50th collection, then it was release in the white box, so you know I had to get that one. And yes its the same thing just a different box. Yes I’m a idiot but Bond makes me… me. So I do and that’s that. 
So as a Bond fan going in to Spectre I didn’t care if it sucked or was the greatest, it was Bond and that is all that matters. Spectre is the Bond film for the fans. Call backs everywhere gave me a smile. And the fact I could see Bond have a fight in a train, Bond in the snow, Bond having a 007 like car chase with gadgets, Bond wearing a white tux gave the kid in me a tear of happiness. This film is 2 hrs and a half, hey I would of like 4 hrs in a half because Bond is a drug that I must have again and again. It’s odd because I think all Bond fans would say we wanted more even thought we were already given a lot… And that is the problem with this film.
Spectre is the big hit of a powerful drug, when it should of been just a taste.

When we cross over to the Movie Fans we’re given a slew of problems and the answer to why we as Bond fans need more!
Why? Because its 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. Movie writing 101 you have what is called, “Dramatic Structure”. Dramatic Structure dates back to Aristotle, so yeah this isn’t a new thing.
With Dramatic Structure you have
Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Denouement.
Spectre takes these five parts and throws them out the window. Why? Okay lets make it simple then.
Beginning, Middle and End (Climax)
Nope. Spectre threw it out again…shit…

When your watching a film and the climax comes, the climax shouldn’t lead to another climax. What happens then is you begin to pit the two together, which in Spectre’s case made the first climax (the best one) follow the films final climax (the weak one) a nasty taste in the viewers mouth. End the film on the one and only climax! Do not end the film on a weak note. It leaves the audience wanting more and with a 2 hr and a half film, you should already have plenty.
But for movie fans, there was too much in this film. Skyfall had a lot less and that makes the film more enjoyable. Again Spectre isn’t bad, its really good. But you can’t take the process of writing and throw it out the window. Skyfall is 7 mins shorter, yet Spectre feels more like a whole extra half an hour, this is because of its horrible pacing. Pacing is key in movie making, here it looks to be just a afterthought.
Again the Bond fan in me wants to make it clear, it is a fun and enjoyable movie. Craig gives his best Bond yet and that was the big thing that stood out for me, Craig perfected his Bond with Spectre and I need to see him do it one more time in a good paced film. It was great to see Craig bring back the dark comedy that has been missing recently. Léa Seydoux was a great Bond Girl (I know we aren’t allowed to say that anymore but hey I’m a ass, that I already knew). The one thing that did it for me was how she didn’t want to be apart of this killing world. She wanted to leave and does, even though that becomes a setup anyone could see a million miles away. Her character could of been used better, but a recurring theme with Spectre is her character is not flushed out completely. Christoph Waltz is amazing on screen with every project he does. He is a great villain and my only two issue would be 
1) Not used enough 2) They should of hidden him more when it came to the photos and trailers, especially those TV spots I kept seeing, and I don’t even watch TV. The surprise wasn’t there and it should of been. 
Again the writers did not flush out the characters.

The film looked great. It had a dark look that I just loved. The opening is Craig’s best and yes the barrel was put back in the beginning, I wanted to jump when I saw it there, was so happy.
The opening is stunning. That opening shot is beautiful with a few phantom cuts the flow of the opening is spectacular.
The song is okay. Its a good song but it needs more power, its too soft and it has no kick. For a big action opening that leads to a soft song falls kinda flat. The octopus wrapping around women was awesome. Loved the titles and enjoyed seeing past Bond characters popping up.
There is this nice use of Q and M coming out in the field that I really liked. I think Fiennes’ M is shaping up nicely.
Monica Bellucci ooh la la!
The plot with surveillance I didn’t care for nor did I with Mr. Hinx’s weapon I guess I can say, the thing on the fingers, yeah… I didn’t like that nor did I care for his exit.
Spectre is a good Bond film. With so much in there, with such a long run time it seems to be missing things that it shouldn’t. And it does this thing with the villain I feel comes off kinda pointless. Trying not to spoiled anything but somethings are best unknown and left in the dark. With the ending things are left kinda opened. The viewer has no conclusion because so much is left over for a sequel it feels like. Then at the same time the whole film feels like 2 films in 1. It’s a odd taste that is left in your mouth after the film. On one hand its good on the other the question of why? hangs over some choices the writers made. 

The film should of been broken up into 2
I guess all said and done this film had too many cooks in the kitchen. Spectre is a bloated film with extremely under used characters. But hey Im happy I got to live another day to see another Bond and that’s all that really matters to me. But we are at a professional level of movie making. Sam Medes and crew are on a $300 million dollar film here and should be a bit more professional especially 23 films in already.
Robert Wade, Neal Purvis Please Leave Bond.

Wanted
What I wanted when I saw the trailer was a bigger threat towards Bond. I wanted Bond scared. The Double 0 program is hanging on a thread. I thought Bond would connect with other 00’s and work on this threat. That’s my big issue with what was missing, no real threat. They tried but it came off weak, Bond doing it alone, again, come on people. We have a villain that should be the biggest threat and yet Dominic Greene came off more of a threat. A lot of misses with this one which will make Spectre the most controversial movie of 2015.
November 13, 2012

Double-ovember, Skyfall (Justin’s Take)

Skyfall: Beautiful
(143mins, 2012, Action)

Beautiful both visually and story.

Lets just get this out and say, Skyfall is the most beautiful looking film I’ve seen this year and I might even say within a few years. Roger Deakins has made a stunning looking film that wowed me at the theater. Thanks Roger you made the best looking Bond film in years.

Skyfall might not be the best Bond film ever like a lot of people are saying, I believe From Russia With Love holds that title, but Skyfall is in the top 10.

Why? Because it is a different side of Bond. To make films that span 50 years and each one touches a fan in its own way is a remarkable thing. You might remember the first Bond film you saw. You might have a favorite film and maybe you have a film that touches your life. Each Bond film has one of these toward a person who views a Bond film. But when you do the formula like what Bond has used so many times it will at one point get a bit tougher for new ideas. We can all pick a point where Bond films got weak but believe it or not there isn’t a bad Bond film. They’re all good in their own way.

Skyfall takes a completely different approach to the formula and I stand up and applaud it. Yet, it never goes off the formula that we all have come to love.

Spoilers

The star of Skyfall is M. I didn’t mind M being the star. I enjoyed it, but we also got Bond’s backstory. I always wanted to touch on Bonds family in a film, but I felt it was slightly wasted for Skyfall. But then again it was nice to see that finally. Daniel Craig gives his best performance as Bond. Q works well and I can see an awesome future with him. M shines and it was great to see that. Silva is Craig’s best Bond villain. That might of been the one weakest part of Craig’s Bond films. Sure CR and QOS had okay villains but we really got a great, classic Bond villain for Craig this time. We also have a new composer which was refreshing. Sam Mendes did a great job and I hope he comes back for another one. And I look forward to having Ralph Fiennes in the future Bond films. Always loved the guys acting.

I liked Skyfall’s Bond girls but for Sévérine I thought she was underused. I would of like to have seen more of her instead of making her a throwaway. Eve was good and I’m curious to see her evolve in the next few films.

When I reviewed The Dark Knight Rises I said this was made for Batman fans, well Skyfall was made for Bond fans. There are a ton of Bond references in this film that came off really badass.

A older couple was sitting to the right of me and they just kept telling me how they have seen all the Bond films at the theater since the start. They said Skyfall remind them of that early time period and they liked that about it.

Speaking of the ending as a fan, this is the ending we needed. We are now back to the classic formula. Moneypenny, a new M and Q is finally back. That scene at the end in the office gave me chills because we haven’t had that in such a long time. Even the set design with the dark wood and coat hanger just got me excited. I even kept hoping that Bond would throw a hat onto that hanger.

It felt so awesome.

Skyfall is a wonderful film. It’s fantastic film with a few issues, but hey almost all films have some nitpicks.

I didn’t like how the story of the film was about the lost drive and Bond was trying to track it down. Then half way into the film after making so much fuss about it not a word comes up on it again and it becomes protecting M. I understand why, but I just would of like a better transfer of the two parts.

I felt the komodo dragon scene was okay on till the eating. I know they went for that classic Bond death but it came off a bit odd.

And the last thing was all about Bond being old…Might be my most hated thing about this great film. Two films before it, it was the rage that he was all young and new. Now he just too damn old. And I like the old storyline but maybe in a few years when Craig is ready to say goodbye. Not now. Sorry I felt that was out of place and it got to me.

The Skyfall scene was fantastic. It felt so different but yet so Bond-ish. And I just can’t get over the beautiful look of this film. Really beautiful lighting and composition. The song by Adele was great, felt like the great classic Bond themes we all love!

All in all I thought it was a great film. It looks amazing in IMAX even taught it didn’t use IMAX cameras and even the Sony 4k viewing I saw in the small theater looked fantastic. (even though their audio sucked. Theater’s fault not the film.)

Go see Skyfall its a good time and a damn good Bond film.

November 10, 2012

Double-ovember: Skyfall (Matt’s Take)

Skyfall – Dysfunctional

I’ll set the record straight; in no way am I as big a fan of James Bond than my co-reviewers.  I’ve seen the more well-known Bond films (Goldfinger, Thunderball, and the Pierce Brosnan flicks).  I enjoyed the re-done “Casino Royale” and thought Daniel Craig did a great job as a young (and crazy) 007.  However, watching “Skyfall” I found myself wondering; when did it become so cool to become a nihilist?

Let me start from the beginning before I lay into “Skyfall,” the 23rd Bond film, and third to feature Craig as the MI6 agent.  When I watch these new Bond movies I can’t help but realize that everyone wants to go the Christopher Nolan, Batman, route.  If I had to rename this film I would probably call it “The Bond Knight Rises.”  By the end of “Skyfall” James Bond has become Bruce Wayne in many ways, and I have a hard time understanding why they decided to go that route, oh wait, I know; it both makes money and is a sure-fire plot device.

When you think of iconic characters you could say Batman, Indiana Jones, John McClane, and James Bond.  They are part of our pop culture DNA and while I do appreciate a darker, more anti-hero, aura around heroes, it comes to a point where the soul is sucked out from them and they become a hollow shell with few redeeming qualities.  Apparently this is what our society has comes to.  They crave blood, vengeance, and nihilism.  For my money I might call “Skyfall” one of the most polarizing, and dysfunctional entries in Bond’s 50 year cinema history.

I don’t want to say too much bad about “Skyfall” because I know I’ll catch hell for it.  But, I’m going to do it anyway.  The plot, as paper thin as it is, includes a stolen hard drive containing important MI6 information, a former MI6 agent now terrorist, and a plot to kill M (Judi Dench).  There is a lot of MI6 stuff in this film as you can tell.  As we’ve come to know this new breed of Bond we know that he hates authority, hates women (sort of), but loves his country.  If anything can be said, “Skyfall” can live by the monikers, “Britain Soldiers On,” or “Bond Kills a Lot of People Without Remorse.”

Another issue I have, and this comes right back to dysfunction, is the identity of “Skyfall.”  The atmosphere is stark and everything seems critical and any wrong move can mean someone’s death.  Then you have something ridiculous where a komodo dragon eats someone (you have to see it).  This goes back to our review for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”  Either be serious or silly, you can’t be both, especially after how serious both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” were, it seems like the writers jumped into their DeLorean and decided to revive plot devices from “Die Another Day” one of the more ridiculous Bond films in recent memory.

To wrap up my gripes, I’d also like to bring up the third act of the film which devolves into two things.  One, Bond’s past.  This I really didn’t mind but it felt force fed and not necessary to the overall plot of the film.  Like I said before, they tried to turn Bond into Batman, and it seems contrived.  Two, the clear “Home Alone” rip-off.  Yes, imagine James Bond, the most bad-ass spy of all time, taking cues from Macaulay Culkin.  Again, this is something that you will have to see for yourself because you might think that I’m kidding, but unfortunately, I’m not.  I was waiting for both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern to slip down a staircase at some point.

The one saving grace is Javier Bardem, who plays the primary antagonist, Silva.  He is clearly a bad-ass former spy with some serious sexual confusion and seems to hate women, just like Bond.  Throw in some mommy issues, a bad soft palate, and you have the makings of a great villain, but just like “Skyfall” he falls short, with poor character development and not enough screen time.  This is the film’s biggest mistake which usually prides itself on larger than life bad guys.  Silva is by far the best villain the series has seen since maybe Sean Bean’s 006 or Christopher Lee in “The Man With the Golden Gun” and it feels like he is just window dressing.

With two Bond movies already under his belt, you have to wonder how many more films Daniel Craig will stick around for (he already is signed up for Bond 24 and 25).  Yes, “Skyfall” is going to bank a bunch of cash just based on the 007 name.  However, tread carefully, there are a lot of issues with this newest Bond installment; thin plot, fodder characters, lackluster action scenes (though I do appreciate how they used a lot of practical shots, in particular the opening scene), but worst of all, an identity crisis.  Fanboys will love it, especially the end, but the casual fan; you might find yourself scratching your head.

Fun Fact:  Before he was Bond, James Bond, Daniel Craig starred in the “Tales From the Crypt” episode, Smoke Wrings in 1996.

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