‘Spectre’ review-does the high budget pay off?

Still owned by MGM
Still owned by MGM

The opening scene of Spectre was overflowing with irony. An assassin killing someone at the Mexican Day of the Dead? It doesn’t get much more sardonic than that. And it was onwards and upwards from there, with a flowing and masterful production; complete with a star cast, a stunning score, and an astonishing number of beautiful locations around the globe. All aspects combined, the latest Bond has all the makings of a classic.

Following the events of Skyfall, Bond has gone on a rogue mission to Mexico based on a tip-off from an old friend-which leads to considerable annoyance amongst his employers. 007 found what he was looking for however, and has a lead to try and track down a dastardly criminal organisation, the titular SPECTRE. He will have to fight every step of the way in his attempt to bring the group to justice, a task exacerbated by a lack of support from MI6.

One of the most noticeable is the wealth of nations across the globe. As you would expect from a production costing north of $300 million, the setting is across the globe, one moment Bond is in Mexico, the next in Morocco. Similarly, the props were fantastic, from the Jaguar supercar to the Aston Martin DB10 (which was specially designed and created just for the film!), the big budget paid dividends; the chase in Rome and the Vatican was exquisite, delightful, edge of seat stuff, classic Bond.

You are a kite dancing in a hurricane Mr Bond

Similarly, there were a wealth of supporting characters, a star-studded cast counted Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Ben Whishaw (Paddington), Léa Seydoux (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Ranulph Fiennes (Harry Potter), Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), and Andrew Scott (Sherlock) amongst its wide ranging and hugely talented numbers. Given the sheer number of first rate actors and actresses amongst the cast, it is sadly inevitable that some of them feel underused and leaves a feeling that the film should have focussed more on all of them.

"Personal effects recovered from Skyfall". Still owned by MGM
“Personal effects recovered from Skyfall”. Still owned by MGM

The script was fresh and sharp, filled with witticisms and references to Bond’s past escapades. The excellent Whishaw was responsible for several wisecracks and lighter moments, maintaining his somewhat bumbling charm from Paddington perhaps? The continuity from Skyfall in particular was very well managed and like many aspects left the viewer wanting more; and the lair in the crater was a very nice referential touch.

It isn’t perfect, the issues lay mainly with the plot which was slightly confused initially; and I would have liked to see more of Waltz (who played the role to perfection) who got surprisingly little screen time as the main villain. The resolution seemed a little rushed; as if it was trying too hard to pander to the viewers who watch purely for pyrotechnics and too simple. The build-up was fulfilling, but the climax of the film seemed like it needed more time devoted to it-though it remained exciting and enjoyable.

Spectre is a high-budget and high concept film which pulls it off spectacularly, the cast, the location, and the props all pull together for Mendes’ coup de grâce. There are several iconic scenes, incredible stunts, and a Machiavellian streak of ruthlessness bordering on psychopathy staved off by moments of touching humanity and emotion from the strongman-the Bond we all know and love.

Overall-the main fault is that it is impossible to give such a star-studded cast the screen time they all deserve, but the film is staggering in scale and an instant classic-★★★★★

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8 thoughts on “‘Spectre’ review-does the high budget pay off?

  1. Matt, your reviews of ANYTHING never fail to leave me speechless. Now I’m going to have to go watch Skyfall as we missed that one. Or can I skip it? More than $300 million! Where do people GET that kind of money. (rolls eyes…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you very much! You don’t have to watch ‘Skyfall’ to understand ‘Spectre’, but it is another great film and helps you understand a few references. Whilst the budget seems massive, they have recouped a twentieth of it in only three days, and ‘Skyfall’ grossed more than $1.1 billion which probably went some way to funding the new film…
      Thanks for reading!
      Best, Matt

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review!
    I’m not sure if you know but they spent £26m on crashing cars alone!
    Totally agree about the Rome car chase scene, absolutely brilliant! I enjoyed the scenes with Mr Hinx (car chase, plane, train) all classic Bond action scenes and he was very reminiscent of Jaws in that he didn’t speak.
    I would be very grateful if you gave my review a little look 🙂 https://rwh92.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/spectacular-spectre-review/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry Sheldon, I’m afraid that I missed it this week. Rather than going back and editing it into the post which won’t get your piece many views, I’ll put you in next week’s roundup with a note.
      Apologies again.
      Best, Matt

      Like

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