A night at the movies: Spectre Review

Hunter Wolff, Editor in Chief

Daniel Craig;Lea Seydoux
A beautiful scene shot in Tangier, Morocco.


Following the huge $1.1 billion box office hit, Skyfall, the 007 James Bond franchise continues with Sam Mendes’s latest film called Spectre. The hype for this film was as big as every James Bond film in the past, however, this one gained more attention because of the possibility that this was Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the Bond series. Craig’s outstanding performances in the last several films have put him in positions of being considered one of the best Bond’s of all time. Craig has played Bond for nearly 10 years now, starring in four films. Casino Royale, his first appearance as 007, was highly acclaimed and is still regarded as the benchmark for Bond films today. While the films following Casino Royale haven’t quite been on the same level, they have definitely been high quality films that maintain the production standards expected from a James Bond film. But now that Spectre has recently released, how does it stack up compared to other movies in the Series?

Spectre showed promise right from the get go. The film began in Mexico City during Day of the Dead celebrations. The camera follows two characters in particular walking through the upbeat celebrations, however, we don’t know who these characters are because they are masked in traditional skeleton masks. This scene was beautiful and one of the highlights of the film. Thumping drums and panning shots of a lively Mexico City fed the viewer the feeling of the hype around the film. The excitement built up until the man took of his mask to the tone of the famous static strings in the James Bond theme song. The man behind the mask was none other than Daniel Craig as James Bond. It was from here the film began.


A shot from the scene in Mexico City.


Critiquing the cinematography of Spectre, there isn’t much to complain about. Director Sam Mendes’s visuals were stunning, crisp, and very consistent throughout the film. Another great aspect of Spectre and several other Bond films in the past, are the varied locations that the movie takes place. One of the best shots of the film took place in Tangier, Morocco, a quaint village in the middle of a barren, almost archaic, desert in North Africa. Other locations included Austria, England, and Italy. The exotic locations that are used in the film really make the movie unique yet consistent with the previous Bond films.


007 in action in Austria.


Another big part of Bond movies is the glamorization of his story. 007’s life consists of fast cars, gorgeous women, and alcohol consumption in almost every scene. These themes may make his job seem like a dream or fantasy to some, and indeed his life is pretty cool. One of the best moments of Spectre is the chase scene between Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 (a one-off made especially for James Bond by Aston Martin) and villain Mr. Hinx’s one-off Jaguar C-X75 Hypercar Concept. As the two speed, drift, and maneuver their sports cars throughout the tight streets of Rome, Mendes shoots the scene in a way that focuses on the glamor of the cars, rather than the actual vehicular warfare that viewers know from a Bond film. Never the less, the car chase was one of the best ever from a Bond film and one of the highlights of the movie.


The Aston Martin DB10 is the perfect car for a modern James Bond.


As the 24th installment of 007, there are some great and weak parts about Spectre. The plot was slow at certain points, where action and dialogue were dull. Additionally, there were times where the action seemed way over the top and unrealistic for a Bond film. With the last several movies the action seemed real and believable, however, Spectre was different. James Bond has often been referred to as a character that people can relate with, but it felt like he had superpowers in a few scenes. It just didn’t feel natural for James Bond.


Spectre is not as good as Casino Royale or Skyfall, but is better than Quantum of Solace, which means that Spectre is the movie in the middle. Spectre as a movie is above average but comparatively to the rest of the Bond series it lacks in areas of plot engagement and action. Despite the negatives, Spectre is a film well worth your time to go see. It is a beautifully shot film with unique locations and if you are a Bond enthusiast you will not be disappointed.