The days when the very mention of a 007 movie captivated the audience are long gone. Now, unless a film is brilliant in every way, the audience wouldn’t waste a penny to watch it, far less spend time in spreading a good word about it.
So that way, Spectre didn’t really enjoy the usual launch pad that 007 films of yore enjoyed, which meant it had to have a certain amount of standalone brilliance to shine through in the crowd of works that the film industry brings.
Unfortunately, the film fails to do this on several fronts. And when one considers the fact that this was a James Bond 007 movie, this fact turns out to be even more of a disappointment. When it’s a 007 movie, the audience’s expectations automatically rise to a certain level. Well, the biggest regret in case of Spectre is that it doesn’t even meet the expectations of a normal film-going audience that expects a well-rounded action thriller.
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and directed by Sam Mendes, Spectre hit theaters on October 26th in the UK earlier this year and opened to the US audience a few days later on November 6th, although the reviews of the shows in the UK pretty much told the world that this one was a rare 007 disaster.
For starters, considering that the budget for the film was somewhere to the tune of around $250 million, there was talk of whether or not the film would even manage to break even. So you can imagine how disastrous the opening was. Eventually, the film did manage to scrape through to this point in spite of initial fears and until November 11th, had raked in $310 million, certainly not a number that would term it a success, but certainly enough to save it from the tag of a financial disaster. Of course, the box office performance certainly doesn’t warrant Spectre an acquittal on other fronts.
The 148-minute long ordeal was Daniel Craig’s last outing as the suave spy James Bond and the super-spy’s 24th, and it seems like Craig was among the few who truly dedicated their soul to the film, irrespective of it turning out to be a writing catastrophe, among other things. It was indeed a surprise to see the audience welcome the film with largely negative reviews, especially since the experts of the industry had termed the film a success through earlier screenings. We are sure Craig must have been among those to see the film take off on a high with most professional critics providing it the thrust, only to see the audience shoot it down. Of course, there were a fair number of negative reviews to sit up and take notice but the miserable show with the audience proved that the numbers were greatly divided on this one.
Of course, the film certainly wasn’t an entirely drab affair – the $310 million in the coffers so far will tell you that. The film is surely an enjoyable affair too – you certainly wouldn’t walk out of the theater in the middle of the screening. Yet, it does indeed fall short of what we expect from a 007 film. Some reviewers have openly proclaimed that this was the worst James Bond movie in three decades, while others have said it doesn’t even stand tall against other mediocre action films that hit the audience on occasion.
Firstly, the fact that this was a James Bond film hit it the hardest. Come on, we all know how the weight of expectations can weigh something down no matter how grand it is and to an extent, the fate that Spectre has met is a result of this paradox. Then again, the film has relied too heavily on past elements and doesn’t have anything fresh to offer in several departments, something that happens to occur in franchise stories. So here is Bond taking off on a solo mission yet again, defying the rules that made him the man he is, and frankly, this plot is one that has been explored too often.
Although the sequences of the film live up to the standards set by the average action thriller, the boredom with which most of the characters participate in these sequences is almost depressing in some cases. The plot keeps too many elements under wraps and in the end, nothing really comes together in a dramatic climax. When compared to the awesome opening sequence that is shot in a single swoop of extraordinary talent and impeccable planning, the rest of the movie sure pales in comparison.
At the end of it all, Spectre is momentarily brilliant with flashes of dazzling brightness that truly lift it up to the levels of its predecessors. Sadly, the moments are far too few. If only the entire movie was wrapped in this cloak. It would have been a perfect goodbye for Daniel Craig, and yet another gem for James Bond fans to lust after.