Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux
3 (out of 5) Globes
The thing about the Bond movies is that most of them are just fine — spotty, often noticeably stupid bursts of incidental pleasures, coasting on a film franchise that’s now 53 years young. That’s where “Spectre” falls. We’ve been trained by the Daniel Craig era, and by the current blockbuster landscape in general, to expect extremes. They’ll either be one of the very best (“Casino Royale,” “Skyfall”) or one of the very worst (“Quantum of Solace”). “Spectre” may look and act like it’s another of the this-time-it’s-personal(-again) brooders, told with funereal heaviness by Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes and featuring a minimum of quippage by its pissed-off (and, based on interviews, possibly actually unhappy) star. But at heart it’s another dopey Roger Moore outing, minus the dick jokes.
It wants to be more. Once again, 007 is on a rogue mission for himself — poor Ralph Fiennes, as the new M, looks like he just wants to rattle off a classic nonsensical assignment while Craig looks disinterested — this time to find out more about the shadowy criminal organization that may be behind the events of the last three films. He winds up stumbling upon SPECTRE, the super-baddie collective from the Connery era. This is 2015 so they’re not just ordering terrorist attacks. They’re also volleying to become Edward Snowden’s worst nightmare of the NSA, and they may have ties to England’s new intelligence administration, who wants to dissolve the 00-program entirely for being too “Dark Ages.” That means we’re once again treated to a thinly-veiled treatise on Why Bond Still Matters. (Though no one in the film posits that one reason is the films continue to make boatloads of cash.)