I wept only with frustration: Spectre reviewed

There’s too much action and not enough of Bond trying to get through to British Gas

29 October 2015

9:00 AM

29 October 2015

9:00 AM


12A, Nationwide

Spectre is the 24th film in the Bond franchise, the fourth starring Daniel Craig, the second directed by Sam Mendes, and the first at not much of anything. Nothing new to report, in other words. It probably delivers what the die-hard fans want, but it is not like Casino Royale or Skyfall (no one talks about Quantum of Solace, by the way, because it’s assumed everyone involved was drunk) as it doesn’t deliver to those of us who never liked Bond, but then discovered that we did. Where has Bond’s interior landscape gone? Where is his woundedness? Where is the emotional heft? Who might we actually care about here?

At least we open quietly, with Bond lying back in a meadow, simply watching the clouds float by… I’m kidding, of course. We open with an action sequence set in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead. It’s a set piece that sees our hero blow up a building and loop-the-loop in a helicopter, and it’s filmed by Mendes as a continuous five-minute tracking shot, which other reviewers have gone wild for, but I’m kind of over prolonged tracking shots. (The Player famously opens with an eight-minute tracking shot; Birdman is a single 100-minute tracking shot.) And then it’s to London, to discover that Judi Dench’s M has left a message from beyond the grave and it’s not ‘please look after my cat’ even though that’s a film I’d like to see. I’d like to see Bond looking after M’s cat, or performing everyday tasks generally, such as picking up his dry-cleaning or finally getting through to British Gas. ‘The name’s Bond. James Bond. I do not know my mother’s maiden name as she died when I was very little. How about the first school I attended?’

M’s message, in fact, puts him on the trail of a nasty outfit called Spectre. But is he going to be allowed to go after them? There is a new M (a peevish Ralph Fiennes, who is terrible at running, not deliberately), and a C (Andrew Scott), who is above M. C has decided that drones can do 007’s job. ‘007 is prehistoric,’ says C, and he does have a point. By my reckoning, Bond is now 98, or thereabouts, and deserves some downtime to look after a cat, had there been a cat to look after. But Bond won’t be grounded, and goes rogue to Rome and Tangier and Austria, chasing Spectre, which is intent on hijacking the world’s surveillance services, and whose members identify themselves to each other by wearing a ring engraved with an octopus. Personally, if I were part of a sinister, secret organisation intent on hijacking the world’s surveillance services, I would not wear a highly visible ring engraved with an octopus, but you do have to bring a sense of fun to these films, or it would be unbearable. You’d never stop. How come Bond always finds a parking place right outside any place he’s visiting? (In Rome! Have you ever tried to park in Rome?) How come big buildings in densely populated cities are blown up but there are never any civilian casualties? There’s no point to this, and it’s not in keeping with the spirit to keep harping on, but it’s hard. British intelligence HQ? Wouldn’t they have built that with shatterproof glass?

Bond, of course, tracks down the most evil of the villains to his lair, who, in this instance, is Christoph Waltz. He is hiding out in a meteor crater and wants to drill into Bond’s brain, for no good reason whatsoever. The more interesting character by far is Monica Bellucci, a widow whom Bond seduces, but so urgently that she’s only on screen for three minutes, tops. Still, there was genuine chemistry there, and wouldn’t it have been fascinating to see Bond hooking up with a woman more his own age, for once? Who was at least 51, to his 98?

But no, instead, he falls for Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who is a doctor, so it’s not like her only purpose is to look lovely in a silky nightie although, that said, she does look lovely in a silky nightie, while doing no doctoring at all. And, there is no chemistry between Bond and Swann. Not a hint, not a squeak, not a whisper. I would also add that while Q (Ben Whishaw) has been upgraded to an expanded role, Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) has been downgraded to what is effectively a cameo.

This offers everything the die-hard fans want, as all the formula is here: the chases, the exotic locales, the cars, the babes, and so on. But for those, such as myself, who only came on board from Casino on, it’s a lost cause, without any decent back stories, and without Craig putting in his brilliant wounded pathos performance. Instead he is merely sultry, and dull, and there’s no proper jeopardy either. We know Bond is safe, and there are no characters to invest in otherwise.

I wept when Eva Green died in Casino, and I wept when Dench died in Skyfall, but I wept only with frustration here. This film does what it does and probably does it well (she says, grudgingly), but we have seen it all before.

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Show comments
  • davidshort10

    One can get a clue to Bond’s everyday life in the books. While he doesn’t phone the gas board, he does sit down to a predictable breakfast served by his fusspot Scottish housekeeper and we are informed that he believes in a perfectly-boiled egg at, I think, three and a half minutes. A bit gay, or what?

    • William_Brown

      Well, he certainly seems to have got you and Suriani (above) all hot under the collar.

  • Dr. Heath

    You say that the latest Bond archvillain has kitted out a meteor crater as his crime den. Why? Was Doctor Evil’s hollowed-out volcano not available for the usual fee? Did Kevin McCloud’s name appear amongst the credits?

  • Suriani

    The ‘spectre’ at the feast in these Craig Bonds is repressed homosexuality. All that macho suit wearing sado-masochism is highly suggestive. As is the irritatingly awful castratoesque title song.

    • William_Brown

      Oh dear – got something you need to tell?

      • Suriani

        Oh la la very Freudian! Tell me about your mutti?

        • William_Brown

          Hah! : )

    • davidshort10

      Got to be the worst Bond song ever. I would say Live and Let Die was the best, followed by Nobody Does it Better. I think Carly Simon wrote that almost as an addendum to The Best Thing, her eulogy to her former lover, Willie Donaldson (Henry Root).

    • Frank

      Do you know any Frenchmen? We are too polite to say it but I suspect that most of us tend to agree with Bush’s comment about cheese and monkeys. Perhaps you would like us all to be repressed gays?

    • James Hay

      It was pretty obvious in Skyfall, wasn’t it?

  • You seem to have missed the point that Casino Royale (Craig version) is the START (again) so clearly not 98 years old. You miss too that NONE of the Bond films have much of back story.

    You may have a point re parking in Rome but ALL films of ANY genre are guilty of this but especially any one with a car chase in it; every single city I have ever been too becomes very quickly gridlocked and even when free flowing the traffic is a slow moving block of cars.

    Monica Bellucci is soooo sexy, always has been but now maturing well to be ripe and even tastier. hmmm, I have to go and sit down.

  • thomasaikenhead

    Deborah Ross seems to have confused a James Bond film with Shakespeare?

    The films a simply entertainment and escapism, they have never been anything else and so to bemoan the absence of high-quality emotional drama is rather missing the point?

  • ill-liberal

    What a terrible review. When someone starts talking about Skyfall being a great film you usually know they are clueless (Kermode thinks it’s the joint best Bond with On her majesty’s secret service). Skyfall was a film of too halves, one good and one terrible.

    Saw Spectre last night, and loved it. If you like the classic Bond formula and realise it didn’t ever need tampering with too much, then it’s the film for you. It’s not going to win an oscar, it’s not going to show you which dry cleaners Bond uses, and thank god for that.Ticks all the boxes and is loads of fun, even the theme tune, which I thought i didn’t like, fits nicely in the cinema experience.

    • MikePage

      Correction – it could win a technical Oscar.

      • ill-liberal

        Fair point. It looked great.

  • Richard

    The last few Bond films have been so PC they are not worth watching. Why is all British film and television a sort of moderated and censored state media these days, where everything has to conform to some political agenda? Nothing will kill a work more quickly than that, as anybody who has any experience with propaganda will tell you.

    • William_Brown

      PC? What are you talking about?

      There were many scenes of Bond actually kissing, yes kissing, women. Then there were a couple of zips being undone and everything. I shouldn’t be at all surprised if the Guardian has it banned and that Corbyn’s momentum group take to the streets until every cinema owner is justly prosecuted by the righteous left wing ‘International Suppression & Interrogation League’ (ISIL).

    • AndyTheScientist

      Bond has become a poor mans Borne, and lost everything that used to make Bond a Bond film, eccentric baddies, innuendo, sexism, gadgets.

  • iggy igdb

    Bond has become a money-making ploy like everything else – intrinsic to the merciless push for exponential growth in GDP.

    To do this effectively, it obviously has to be the most anticipated Bond film EVER!!!!


    Trouble is, the next one will have to be even more anticipated; bigger; better; etc. etc.


    And seems to me much of this anticipation hinges on “number and force of explosions…”

    I stopped watching TV years ago, let alone going to the cinema. Neither adds anything to my life except for terrible ear ache and a numb brain.

    But seriously: exponential growth is impossible (a law of physics). Things cannot continue getting bigger and better forever. The universe just doesn’t work like that. The only thing growing exponentially is the size of people’s waist-lines as they reach for the next drink, ice cream or burger in order to quell their nagging disappointment at whatever has just been SOLD to them, be it Bond, a fabulously “sexy” phone, or a TV that won’t fit through the door.

    So get real people. Find the truth within you and stop de-sensitising yourselves with all this rubbish.

    Explosions, guns and killing are NOT nice things. There are many wonderful things out there in the real world that have nothing at all to do with explosions: baby sloths for example.

    Go outside and look at the sky; cook yourself something; adopt an immigrant; clip your toenails; read a book; dance around the garden; weave a wattle fence………….. anything but this.

    • HorseBishop

      you sound like a fun-vacuum

  • MikePage

    Reviewer who doesn’t like Bonds doesn’t like this one. Wow. Just wow.

    I saw Spectre last night. It’s the best of the modern-era Bonds.

  • Patrick White

    So happy to find a review that I agree with! I thought I was crazy when I walked out the cinema last night; everyone was harping on about it’s awesomeness and I was just bored.

    The car chase was anticlimactic; the end sequence with the micro-mining technology was just pointless. I know you have to leave your wits at the door with a Bond film, but this is the 21st century and things need to be updated. Saying ‘great to see a return to old-Bond’ doesn’t get me excited. I don’t see anyone trying to make another Carry On film.

    • Sausage McGuffin

      I’d say that quietly if I were you unless you want to start a discussion thread on who should play Sid James.

      • Patrick White

        (deletes previous comment)

    • Freddythreepwood

      Great idea! My name is Bond – Basildon Bond.

    • Indeed. In fact, if the old Bonds were so good, why not just keep watching them in rotation? Or do what I do: don’t bother 🙂

  • CortexUK the quitter

    Amusing, but the serious point behind this article is correct: it’s a formulaic pre-Craig type of Bond movie – that is to say, it is exactly what Casino Royale had rightly moved away from with tremendous success. Bad gags. Silly musical intrusions at a couple of junctures. He rides off with the girl. Big shame.

    Having said that, it’s still a good film worth watching. Just don’t expect it to be better than Quantum of Solace.

    • Des Demona

      To be fair I think it is better than Quantum of Solace, though perhaps not quite up with casino royale or skyfall – but it’s all subjective!

      • CortexUK the quitter

        It might grow on me. Need to see it again.

  • Richard Eldritch

    I’d like to see Bond film about Bond rather than just absurd CGI set pieces. It’s suffering from The Phantom Menace syndrone at the moment. To be honest the best Bond films have been Borne films of late. How about a a retro 60’s or even 50’s setting where we see Bonds life outside of MI6 because without a “Life” story we just get a cartoon character. For example what happened to the other 007s? are they still alive? have they reverted back to using their real names? I want to see former James Bonds as old messed up wrecks, discarded by his former employers.

    • Ridcully

      Did they use CGI in this one? If so I’m disappointed, especially as “Skyfall” went to such lengths to avoid it.

      • Richard Eldritch

        Ya joking? Skyfall was packed with CGI stunt work. All that motorcycling on the roof tops? CGI.

        • Tim

          Hi Richard,

          There was minimal CGI work in this film. Sam Mendes stated in an interview at the world premiere that this is probably the last Bond film, or perhaps one of the last big budget action projects to be made without CGI and has real stunt work.

          Request you to get your facts right before stating your opinion.


          • Richard Eldritch

            Cheers Tim but my facts are sound. I haven’t seen Spectre so my comments refered to previous Craig era Bond, which though not “featuring” Invisble cars still use the same CGI and Compositing systems all be it more subtly. The thing is that watching real events on film is far more immersive than watching composited and rendered sequences no matter how many volumetric explosions the editor puts in.

          • katherine B

            Right, so the far too long helicopter segment over the Day of the Dead carnival in Mexico did not include CGI, and the blown to bits helicopter over the Thames in London, at the end of the film, did not include CGI? Please reconsider what you have said.

        • Ridcully

          I seem to remember when “Skyfall” was released that they made a point of claiming that there was no CGI in it.

        • eyeresist

          Motorcycling on roofs? Pah! That was as fake as all those Mini stunts in The Italian Job! (original one)

  • Wolfgang Amadeus

    “Spectre is … the first
    at not much of anything.”

    That’s not a sentence.

  • YorkshireBobby

    I thought it was excellent; some of the action pieces were very similar to the stuff from Bourne, but it is just good escapist fun – exactly what we have come to expect from the genre.

  • Planet Vague

    Well there we are, what a clever advert. Those of us who were disappointed by Skyfall and very much enjoyed Quantum S will not be disappointed then.

    • ftatman

      Absolutely. Skyfall was not good – though it was more focused, which I liked. Quantum of Solace was actually a pretty classic Bond movie, by comparison to the other Craig films. I enjoyed QoS and I enjoyed SPECTRE on the whole – although there were many specific things I did not like about it.

      – Monica Bellucci should have been the love interest but she was probably only thrown in because they realised the core plot they started with, where Swan is the romance, would leave them open to criticism about the age gap. All the publicity was about Bellucci to distract us.

      – SPECTRE is generally a collection of disparate ideas, stunts, locations and visuals smashed together rather than a focused story centred around a particular theme or message (but what do you expect from Bond, these days); it’s basically the film equivalent of Call of Duty.

      – The surveillance programme plot is laughablly unrealistic. It also felt like a rehash of subject matter touched upon in Skyfall because surveillance is fashionable material for a spy film right now. Why not come up with something different? There was a lot more potential with this shadowy organisation.

      – The personal connections between Bond and SPECTRE are ridiculous and unnecessary. The weakness of the core plot was clearly compensated by trying to shove this element into it.

      – The writers really don’t seem to know what they are doing – or they are under too muc pressure from studio execs to hit certain things, include certain scenarios, etc.

      But you know, I expected all that so I actually enjoyed it for the spectacle, which is about all you can do.

  • St Louis

    Ross has got so used to writing in a convolutedly clever dick style that it’s all about her now, and nothing to do with film criticism. But as a rule of thumb she serves some purpose as one can go confidently to most things she slags off.

    • Trainspotter

      Succinctly put. I normally skip her reviews nowadays but I’ll go and see this film.

  • Yiannis

    Not going to bother- Craig looks like someone who should be selling the big issue – Bond – yeah right

  • Malcolm Stevas

    This is not one of the better film reviews I’ve read. The 6th-form tone is reinforced by such affectedly cool stuff as, “I’m kind of over prolonged tracking shots…” A good tracking shot is to be treasured: the reviewer might usefully watch the opening shot of Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” for instance.
    Might see this film some time but unlikely to go out of my way, since the first Bond films managed so cleverly to combine a flavour of Fleming’s originals with Connery’s self-deprecating, raised-eyebrow good humour.

  • Always_Worth_Saying

    First half’s excellent, goes off the boil as we approach the baddies lair in a hollowed out volcano (oops meteor crater). Messy, lost interest ending which is a bit too easy for all concerned. Minor reboot required. Halve the budget. Concentrate on the plot and dialogue, lose the endless ‘references’.

    • Always_Worth_Saying

      Incidentally, some of the rewiews (Komode, BBC) have been so far over the top they must be on the payroll.

      • Frank

        Komode is quite strange.

    • eyeresist

      “Weak second half” is how I feel about most modern Bond films. Making one under two hours would definitely help.

  • Tristram

    Hugely underwhelming film and easily the worst of the Craig Bonds. The opening 20 minutes are absolutely fantastic, but the film quickly flatlines soon after and never recovers. There’s so little story here and there’s absolutely no reason they needed 2.5 hours to tell it – Bond can be a lot of things but boring should never be one of them. The half-assed screenplay is really to blame here. Lots of ideas introduced but only taken halfway, and a piss-weak villain who’s given nothing to work with. A massive letdown.

  • Mick Winward

    Behave,Spectre is classic Bond,it has it all. No way a Bond fan wouldn’t enjoy it

  • RasT

    Without a doubt the greatest Bond film of all time is From Russia With Love followed closely by Die Another Day. They had all the ingredients; Bond how Fleming intended, good actors and acting, no tampering with some of the key characters, Connery projecting like a dark spy and not an SAS commando!!!, great stories, a sparing use of technology to assist in telling the story not the technology (of the day) used to drive the story, realism to the point that a man cannot be shot in the chest go down a waterfall and 5 mins later turn up at HQ without any explanation (Skyfall), Bond being aggressive when he needs to be balanced with witty one line humour, one of the greatest train fight scenes in the history of cinema (FRWL), powerful songs sung by giants of the singing world, a satisfying feeling throughout that it was a Bond movie you just saw.

    Instead of getting carried away with the hype of a new movie I would recommend people watch some of what has gone before (if they have not already) to get a comparison in their minds and maybe see that what has gone before is many ways superior.

    • Ivan Ewan

      Die Another Day?


      I agree with your first choice though, FRWL. I also think Goldeneye deserves a lot of credit.

      But Die Another Day??

    • According to Film4, Die Another Day can be summed up thus: ‘An attractive cast, silly gadgets, bad puns, worse CGI and a totally ludicrous plot make this the least of the Brosnan Bonds, but it all paves the way for an injection of grit with Casino Royale’.

    • will91

      Die another Day!?!?! That’s poorest of the lot. I thought it was a complete pile of crap when I saw it in the cinema…I was 10!!

      Not to mention Madonna absolutely murdering the theme.

      • eyeresist

        I agree Goldfinger is probably the greatest. It stands up so well. OTOH I also have a soft spot for NSNA…

  • This review is doubtless more entertaining than the film. A question, though: how does La Ross discern ‘chemistry’ — or none — between actors? Presumably they all have to be capable of acting hnrny, or else they wouldn’t get past the audition. Is Ross able to glimpse a genuine glitter in the eye, or what is it?

    The question of why the mad blue jay comes to my window to tap it with his beak while bopping up and down and making the strangest array of sounds will have to go unanswered at present. (As a corvid, you’d think he might be smart enough to have sussed the truth by now.)

    • katherine B

      Chemistry between actors? Well the actors seeming to have the thoughts of the characters they are portraying, creating empathy and interest to the viewer. Completely lacking in Spectre.

    • pedestrianblogger

      Part of a genuine actor’s job is to counterfeit emotions. This is why Bill Murray, a very bad actor IMHO, can only convincingly do “insincere”. Robert Mitchum’s method, on the other hand, was once described as pointing his suit at the camera and reciting his lines.

      • Heh heh. Funny you should mention Bill Murray: when I was asking this question about chemistry, he was one chap that came to mind. I felt that he is essentially not a lead man and the love moments with Andie McDowell seemed awkward to me because of that. I mean, a man without looks needs great charm and though he had the special knowledge born of having lived the future, he still lacked the charm. And the looks. So no chemistry there. But most male leads are better-looking than Murray and manage a certain cool-catness, don’t they?

        • pedestrianblogger

          Fortunately for me, I have great charm and great biceps, unlike the pipsqueak in question. Unfortunately, my broadband connection is pretty darned ropey at the moment so I will have to bid you “goodnight”!

  • hdb

    Deeply silly review. Bond is sheer theatre. There is no point moaning like some naive book of the month clubber that ‘you don’t believe in the character’. It is about as realistic as baroque decoration, a collection of devices that should run like machinery. Nobody is expecting plausibility.

  • Jonathan Burns

    I loved it as have all my friends who have seen it.

  • katherine B

    I have just seen the film and I was bitterly disappointed. This must be Sam Mendes ‘Promethious’ moment. I can not think of one part, after the brilliantly shot Carnival of the Dead, Mexico, epic opening sequence ( before the ludicrously prolonged helicopter sequence,) that took my interest. What the hel1 happened to the humour of the previous films. I can well understand Daniel Craig calling it a day on this role.

    • JJ

      yeah that helicopter sequence, where we have no idea why they are fighting and have to just wait until it is over (as we know bond wont die or crash into civilians)

      in fact poor sense of stakes probably characrerises whole film.

      let down

  • imw101

    Bless Deborah … you’re clearly too young to have understood and appreciated the homages to early Bond movies (From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Dr No). Come back when you’ve seen them. At the moment your review is about as informed as Jeremy Corbyn road testing Range Rovers.

    • Films can and should be judged on their own merits, like any work of art. They should also be open to those that don’t ‘go way back’ with their makers. Your point makes as little sense as suggesting that no one could criticize the latest Agatha Christie (she aimed every year for a new ‘Christie for Christmas’) if they hadn’t read all the previous Christies for Christmas. By the same token, liking The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd obliged no one to admire Passenger To Frankfurt.

      • DrZanz

        Yes but when knowing all the references MEAN the difference between enjoying it a bit and enjoying it a lot, then yes, the knowledge of previous instalments is obviously needed to appreciate the film properly, the references are part of the ‘artwork’ for a reason. You’re only partially correct with your first sentence, and by adding ‘like any work of art’ you’re just not thinking about it. When an artist places secrets and references in a painting it goes from being good to being incredible. Without reference you inherently remove the majority of the appreciation of anything.

        • All right, I’ll grant you that. Just never knew that Bond films could be so esoteric!

          • DrZanz

            Ha, well when the rest of the film struggles to make an outstanding impression, perhaps esotericism is all it has. I mean like the review said “It probably delivers what the die-hard fans want…”

  • andrew murnane

    I felt very disappointed with this latest installment of bond. I kept waiting for the good bits to happen and then realising towards the end of the film that I wasn’t going to get them. The best bit for me was the fight scene on the train and that was short and all too brief. All I can say is bring back Martin Campbell for the next one as casino royal remains the best dc bond film.

  • Fave theme song: Living Daylights. But then I love nearly all of ’em: I bought the album, eh? (Pre-Craig)

    • kyalami

      But surely, nobody does it better (than Connery)?

      • Mr Hairy Scot? Yeah, he was grand. Though I did think of Bond as an Englishman.

        • SPW

          Half Scottish half Swiss.

          • Callipygian

            Ah. So even farther from English, then.

          • Richard Charisma

            He was originally English. Fleming retroactively made him half Scottish after seeing how well Connery embodied the archetypal character.

  • RasT

    Daniel Craig is a brilliant actor. Problem he has is his employer are making him do these Bonds in a way and editing these Bonds in a way that is not true to tradition. What do you do? Well in any profession if you disagree with the way the boss treats you, you hand in your resignation.

  • SlimSladey

    I am in a hospital bed and probably will be for another month. I have seen every Bond, and consider myself a fan, although Skyfall did not feel like a Bond Movie in the second half. Too serious, too much rage and revenge and no humour, I left the cinema unimpressed. So, do I make a big effort to force my family to wrap me into a wheelchair and risk 150 minutes of sitting still in the dark with no nurses nearby? Will watching Spectre at least take my mind off my predicament, and maybe even transport me into another, more exciting place? Or will I leave the cinema cursing myself for being an over-optimistic fool. With my family embarrassingly pretending it was a great film and all well worth it?
    Just tell me!

  • Crusty Bufton

    I saw SPECTRE tonight and it was great. Yes you can pick holes in it but in what Bond film can’t you. It is too long but the three big city scenes are fantastic.Go an see it.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Unofficial channels, around a dollar.

    • EUSSR 4 All!

      Well, you do need every single Japanese Yen of your Japan Disability benefits for your cat and dog food … well, just don’t choke on them, eh!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Revealing yet more of your sad existence? Deprived and depraved.
        Cans of pet food, is that what you’re reduced to?
        That stuff contains ground-up bone which can damage the lining of your stomach.
        OK, as you were.

  • RasT

    Timothy Dalton was the first of the aggressive emotional Bonds. But even he showed a humorous side. Craig’s portrayal has taken the angry aggressive with no humour Bond to the extreme. I am sure Craig knows this full well. Well what some of us Bond loving fans are crying out for is a return to the Connery/Moore/Brosnan style. Who knows Barbara Broccoli might one day realise this and do a complete U-turn as to what orders she gives to her actors.

  • kyalami

    98, eh? You’d never guess. Perhaps Deborah would enjoy Bond more if she watched Brosnan or Connery in the role – or even Moore.

  • James Horton

    I’ve seen some of the Craig, Bond films and I think he is very “wooden”. After the first half dozen Bond -which, in my opinion, were the best-the whole series should have been put to rest.

  • Arik Shimansky

    TG there is an honest review of one of the most illogical and boring Bond romp’s ever produced. Judging by the universal accolade given to Spectre one would think that most reviewers quake in their their boots at the thought of a publishing anything less than sycophantic in case no one ever invites them back to a premiere.

  • Neil Saunders

    James Bond isn’t supposed to have an “interior landscape”, as the late Kingsley Amis explained in his “Dossier” on the Fleming novels; he was just re-tooled for a touchy-feely, emotionally incontinent era by writers and directors too young and ignorant to understand, and too arrogant to care about understanding, the character.

  • Ebst

    Finally an honest review of this film. Yes it’s good, yes it’s well made, yes it’s action packed but this is the Fast and Furious version of Bond. I have no idea what the plot really was but lots of people get thumped and killed and blown up and it’s all very spectacular but it’s in no way the best Bond movie. 2nd best of the Craig films and worth seeing but calm down everyone, it’s not more than that.

  • Naheed

    I went to see the film and thought it was brilliant. Its very clever the way it goes back to classic Bond. I am not sure what the author above (Deborah Ross) was expecting. It is Bond at his finest. Before Daniel Craig played Bond, Bond’s personal life (background) was never featured in the films and the new Bond films have some classic Bond as well as bringing Bond into the 21st century. Its action packed and I like the way the theme of the film keeps you guessing about the future.The film is brilliant.

    • Oh look, I’ve run out of lollipops!

      • Naheed

        Buy some more……

  • MrSaxon

    What a terrible “review”. I’ve seen SPECTRE twice now and it’s fantastic. Hoping to go again this weekend!

    • Another lollipop (it’s Halloween after all).

      • MrSaxon

        I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about. “Another lollipop” isn’t a statement or even a full sentence. It’s gibberish.

        • Callipygian

          I’m giving out lollipops — metaphorical ones — to all the little boys on this thread. They’re enthusiastic, uncritical, not very articulate, and will watch Bond movies however dreadful or troubling till the cows come home.

          • SPW

            Oh… dear… What a waste of time.

          • Callipygian

            At least I’m saving time by not seeing the movie!

          • MrSaxon

            You’re calling ME “not very articulate” after writing “Another lollipop” as a functional sentence, despite it containing none of the attributes which would define it as such? Well done, lollipop man. *Slow clap* Well done.

          • Callipygian

            Glad that the humourectomy worked out just fine! : )

          • MrSaxon

            You couldn’t have found a more articulate way to express that, without making up fictional words? Oh dear. 🙁

  • Toby Tyke

    Saw Spectre last night….Came out underwhelmed …….A capital like Mexico City with an explosion of two square blocks at the height of the Nation’s ”Dead ” procession….Hundreds of thousands of people milling around and not one other casualty. One minute Bond covered in dust after falling 50 feet into a particular well place sofa…. 30 seconds later in pursuit of the bad guy his suit immaculately spruced up by a mobile Sketchleys no doubt up…. 80 seconds later there’s that dust and muck again …..A helicopter doing a 360 inverted dive loop ……. this aint Top Gun and a physical impossibility for that particular model of aircraft . Bond getting the battering of his life on a train in the Saharan desert by the most recent Oddjobesque villain and comes away from such a beating without as much as a bloch or blemish. For the love of God and Ian Fleming, start to get some pukka realism to the fantasy which has always been OTT 007.

  • me

    Can’t take anything a woman says about bond seriously….they just don’t get it.

    • I’m giving out lollipops today: here’s one for you, too.

  • Ben Willetts

    This person must be really stupid Spectre is great

  • Christopher Barnett

    Then watch the originals as well or stop complaining you silly woman.

  • andylowings

    It is endlessly depressing to see creativity reduced to formulaic trivialities. Bond, the handsome clever sensuous thug brought down to an “action-man”, marketing add-on merchandise.

    An infinity of film ideas and genres and this is what we get !

    I don’t want to see a 50s Naval Officer written by Fleming, “re-written” by someone else.
    I dont want Beethoven to be resurrected for his 10th symphony.
    I dont want to read something “as if” it was written by PG Wodehouse.

    Tired. Tedious and tatty.

    • Mary Ann

      Not as bad as sequels to Jane Austin.

      • andylowings

        yes Mary Ann that too..
        All that is needed is to write or create something afresh.

  • glassfet

    The great joy of Bond movies is seeing things on screen, and locations you haven’t seen before. The number of breathtaking shots in Skyfall is almost too many to count, from the coffins draped in flags to standing on the rooftop at the end. I have occasionally visited places on holiday only because they were in a Bond film

    With the exception of the opening shot, Spectre offers neither of these things. Instead it is a succession of badly rehashed scenes from previous films.

    Alpine health clinic? On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

    Epic chase down showy hillside? The World is Not Enough

    Glamorous Bond Girl in train dining car? Casino Royale

    Train fight with huge, mute henchman? Jaws did it so much better 30 years ago in The Spy Who Loved Me

    Desert hideout explodes in enormous fireball? Quantum of Solace (Yes, even that film had a better scene in it)

    and so it goes on, until it mercifully ends with a scene that worked brilliantly in a previous film, and should have been left there

    What a waste of talent.

    • Liam Scally

      The content of your review is exactly what I said to my better half when we left the cinema last night. It was for me the most disappointing Bond Movie yet and as Bond drove off in the old Aston Martin I predicted that he will marry her in the next Bond film, she will get murdered on honeymoon as per Diana Rigg and the torture will go on and on and on. Why do the movie makers constantly go down the rip off homage route, are there no decent script writers left in the UK anymore and am I the only one who does not rate Sam Mendez?

    • SPW

      I found Spectre very well crafted with excellent action pieces and a subtle plot. As to the list of ‘rehashed scenes’ I’m sure these were there on purpose; the whole film is ruminates on the crossover of past and present.

      • sammy gravano

        One man’s ‘ruminates on the crossover of past and present.’ is another man’s ‘rehash of tired old scenes because they can’ be *rsed/ don’t have the ability to come up with anything new.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    James Bond is so 1960s.
    Come on guys, grow up.

  • Nathan Kelly

    Ok I think you were watching a different movie to me because what I saw was a lot of back story being merged into just the beginning of spectre because if you see at this point none of the adventures before Casino royal have happened yet and there is the whole point of here’s what is in store and if you weren’t watching closely Ernst Stavro Blofeld was trying to wipe James mind to nothing, make him a puppet to use for his own purposes however the procedure didn’t go to plan which in turn caused James to escape, you have to actually have a good inkling on what’s really going on not going in to critic everything that was right with the movie for those who had never seen bond I think it would amaze and bemuse them because you actually have to like big story arcs and good storyline however if you’re just trying to get the views then well done but, if you are just blind to great movies, well we will just let you get back to your god awful rom-coms. Thank You and goodnight.

    • Ross doesn’t like rom-coms. There goes that then.

    • JJ

      Spectre is not a great movie and is below par for the hype and expectation.

      This comment doesnt help your cause – not sure there’s a pause for breath until the end!

      Also fairly sure you use character arc waaay to liberally – what exactly were the arcs in Spectre? Where was the sense of stakes and danger? Why did Lea Seydoux say she loved Bond after two days/scenes together?

      Why did I need to care about any of it? Because of a couple of lines of dialogue about women trafficking and cutaways to problems in Cape Town? Why was no danger on the screen?????

      • sammy gravano

        We say ‘faar’ in this country not ‘waay’.


    • sammy gravano

      Did you know they’ve invented the paragraph?

  • tigertank

    Each Bond actor injects a little bit of their soul into the part. The feature of the Daniel Craig persona is of an unrelieved thug. Sean Connery had a dark chocolate persona. Moore was a suave sophisticate. Dalton was a gung ho enthusiast. Brosnan was a nonchalant daredevil. The only Bond that was wooden was Lazenby. The personification of James Bond in the story lies with the actor chosen. However the storyline of future James Bond’s have yet to be written and thus the persona to be adopted. If I was choosing a writer for future James Bond novels I would look to Felix Francis .

  • MarkyM

    When I’ve seen a bond film previously it usually has the following effects on me:

    1) I feel like a suave spy when I leave – so always wear a tux when seeing one.
    2) Leave the theater with the theme song is ringing in my ears
    3) I drool after the cars and it inspires me to own one – reason I now own a Jaguar
    4) I want to visit the places in the film – Reason I have been to Mardi Gras & Rio Carnival
    5) I marvel at the cinematography & can’t wait to own the Blu Ray
    6) I chortle at some of the one-liners and marvel at the set-pieces
    7) Lusting after the Bond girls…OK I was young once too!

    Sadly this latest outing had none of the above effects on me and I found it pedestrian and downright boring in places. Bond looks tired and (whilst I never thought I’d say this) I am relieved that Daniel won’t allegedly be making another.

    There, done without giving any of the plot away!

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      The pstchology of advertising laid bare.

    • Richard Charisma

      Great comment MarkyM, the quicker Daniel Craig quits so we can all move on, the better. Bring Back Brassy, Sexy, Gadget-Romps!

      • Thomas Rakewell

        The point of Craig leaving is so we can move away from the cheesy gadget-romps and towards a more realistic, grounded Bond again, surely?

        • Richard Charisma

          No, I disagree. Technology and science fiction have always been a part of what make Bond films fun to watch.

          • Thomas Rakewell

            Would you apply that to Casino Royale and Skyfall?

          • James Hay

            They were not fun to watch. Casino Royale was interesting….but guaranteed the Bond films would drown in self-importance.

          • Thomas Rakewell

            It sounds like you didn’t find it fun to watch yourself. The sales figures don’t back that up – so it’s your opinion/personal preference, which you’re entitled to. But if the producers want Bond to continue being relevant and successful, it’s painfully obvious from the cinema and DVD figures and from the reviews that Casino Royale and Skyfall were massive successes (so much so that they guarantee the success of SPECTRE too) and that the “ligher” cheesier Bonds were not. Die Another Day nearly killed the franchise off.

            Modern audiences want to be engaged, they’ve moved on from the old Moore and Brosnan Bonds (I’m assuming you’re relatively old from your comments and these are the Bonds you prefer, but I might be wrong…). So what you see as drowning “in self-importance” other people are seeing as good filmmaking. Casino Royale specifically rescued the franchise and turned it from a dying irrelevant joke into a worldwide success. People generally want that type of film, where effort is put in to making it great. The Bond films are now amongst the highest grossing films worldwide, rather than a quaint British pasttime of the Austin Powers variety. I’m willing to bet SPECTRE – which has seen amazing ticket sales off the back of Skyfall – will see worrying signs in its DVD sales as a result of it’s return to pastiche and cheesiness, and this will have a knock on effect on the next film in the franchise if hey don’t reserve course.

          • James Hay

            Entertaining and fun are two different things. Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and Platoon are all entertaining…. that doesn’t make them fun. They are “important films”…no satire intended… that knew better than to repeat the formula with sequels.

        • Ronald Heatherington

          Yawn!!!!! Nobody watches Bond films anymore but for a bunch of middle class tossers.

          • Thomas Rakewell

            That’s just not true is it? Skyfall was the biggest grossing film of all time in the UK, and had similar success in other countries. If they carry on in the vain of SPECTRE, then their popularity will decrease again though.

        • FumigatedBraincells

          now now… let’s not fight… what we’re trying to get back to is WELL DONE cheesy gadget romps and WELL DONE realistic gritty realistic Bonds. Ideally they should alternate between the two! The watch with the wrist fired explosive/poison darts would have been QUITE HANDY in this film wouldn’t you say? And a rocket firing LAPTOP would have been quite a nice touch in a certain scene wouldn’t it have?

    • sammy gravano

      1. Yeah but you saw your reflection in the mirror when you went to the cinema loo after the film. Killed the idea of you as a suave spy stone dead.

      2. Sam Smith’s shriek certainly caused ringing in my ears.

      3. DB10 looked alright to me.

      4. Day of the Dead looks worth a visit, though I imagine the streets are 10x as busy as they were in the film.

      5. Blu Ray – hello the noughties is calling and wants its redundant technology back.

      6. You must have chortled when Bond found out the DB was destined for 009

      7. I’d already seen everything Lea Seydoux has to offer (Blue Is The Warmest Colour)

      • MarkyM

        1) I would at least be inconspicuous…as no one would expect a spy with a tan! As Will Smith said “I make this **** look good. Bond is Black anyone? :O)
        3) Yes no denying it looks good, but it will never go into production!

      • MarkyM

        1) I would at least be inconspicuous…as no one would expect a spy with a tan! As Will Smith said “I make this **** look good. Bond is Black anyone? :O)
        3) Yes no denying it looks good, but it will never go into production!

  • SV

    Both Craig and Waltz are and look middle aged especially on a large
    screen. Middle aged men in denial playing roles that are meant for men
    in their prime is just sad. The star of the movie is London with great
    supporting perfomances by Mexico City and Rome.

    • Major assumption there. Middle aged men aren’t in their prime? Depends on the individual and whether we’re talking about anything more than mere muscles. That said, lots of men actually improve physically with years of work — bodybuilders, for instance. And older people can be savvier, more experienced, smarter.

      • jim

        Ignore her.She sound like a bitter feminist. Pure penis envy …an acute case.

        • Callipygian

          Oh. It never occurred to me that the writer was female.

  • Terry Field

    Humourless, juvenile, teckiestuff, designed to appeal to the dead-heads who play infantile computer games on their digital shitboxes.
    Dialogue, character, dramatic content, storyline, human scale.
    Forget it.
    Not for the new armies of hardworking striver New Robots.
    Poor little sods.
    Craig is like a down-market Putin.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Not a fan, I can tell.

    • Ronald Heatherington

      Bond was the original Savile, my hero!

      • FumigatedBraincells

        Geez… I think we can ALL handle the fact that they are GAY MEN on the planet. I’m sure several members of the cast are openly OUT and if that fascinates you then knock yourself out. As for Daniel… I mean… SO WHAT?

  • Avinash Jha

    I love James Bond movies. Specifically when Daniel Craig is playing Bond. I can’t wait to see Christopher Waltz and Daniel Craig fighting each other in this movie on 20th November.
    Well, as a blogger I have put together a list of interesting facts and details about this movie SPECTRE (2015).. Here

  • Mary Ann

    She wept! it’s a Bond film,

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Bond makes a lot more sense after half a bottle of the hard stuff.

  • SPW

    D.Ross dross as usual.

    What qualifies you to write this piece?

    You have followed the Bond franchise for a long time?
    “for those, such as myself, who only came on board from Casino on, it’s a lost cause” Nope.

    You are a fan of Bond films?
    “it doesn’t deliver to those of us who never liked Bond” Nope.

    You are a film critic?


    So what qualifies you? Nothing. As usual nothing but your personal response to the film in text. Nothing about the use of sound. Nothing about references to other films (Blade Runner?). Nothing about the cinematography, the rhythm of the image, the use of colour. Nothing but you telling the story and how it made you feel. You didn’t cry.

    The Spectator is robbing its readers to the tune of the amount they pay you.

    As to “Where is the emotional heft? Who might we actually care about here?” I thought the scene where the suicide is playing before Swann and Bond tells her not to look exceedingly strong and unlike anything in another Bond film. She turns from the image choosing to ignore what is future and to remain ignorant of what has passed. The film folds on itself and the words of a previous scene echo into the present with poignancy. The resolution of the image simply to cuts between Bond’s face and hers; the repetition of sound, knowing what is coming next; the absence of music; the links to the theme of surveillance and what we choose to do with it – this is certainly ’emotional heft’ but maybe too subtle for you?

    • sammy gravano

      What qualifies *you* to write this piece?

      • SPW

        I’m not paid.

        • sammy gravano

          Yes, I’m not surprised.

          • SPW

            My comment was for D.Ross. What qualifies you to comment on it?

          • sammy gravano

            Do you know how the internet works?

          • sammy gravano

            He doesn’t Sammy.

            Leave it, he ain’t worth it.

          • SPW


          • SPW

            I am no film reviewer, but I am a reader of reviews. I buy the Spectator because of the quality of the writing. The reviews section is excellent in my opinion, each reviewer discoursing with insight and knowledge; with the exception of D Ross. I find her reviews meaningless and formulaic.

            I have here taken issue with D Ross’s review – not as a defence of the film. As to the film, I liked it for what it was. I just wish Spectator would employ a reviewer who could discuss film intelligently.

            As to your comments I can place them neither here nor there.

          • SPW

            My comment was for D.Ross. What qualifies you to comment on it?

    • FumigatedBraincells

      You’re right I thought that was the best scene in the movie. But that theme should have been explored by making the locus of that story the main villain and not the other one. Too much running around instead of drilling down into that story and that character.

      • SPW

        Agreed. A good comment on the film. Pity that the real critique of the film usually happens in the comments section appended to D.Ross’s article – not in the article itself.

  • logdon

    Are we supposed to take this stuff seriously?

    Let’s face it, if Bond were to reflect modern reality, he’d be stuck in front of a screen or trudging around Bradford, Manchester or Birmingham.

    Back when they were written, the Russians in the guise of SMERSH were the villains. Now the obvious has been obliterated by our unwillingness to call a spade a spade.

    Once that’s gone and it becomes semi-farce, Bond joins the rest in total avoidance of any reality.

    I think its called denial.

    • Richard Charisma

      Agreed, the day Bond films become good again is the day Bond confronts and defeats an Islamist terror plot. But PC producers would never face this reality and allow it to be portrayed properly.

      • logdon

        The story lines are all out there. Pretty much unmatched by any fiction, they’ve got the lot including extreme uber-violence.

  • Tamerlane

    It’s just a bit of fun Debs, plant tongue firmly in cheek, sit back, dig out large fistfuls of popcorn and enjoy. Nothing more or less. This is the problem with female film reviewers: They’re only satisfied by films involving dysfunctional families. Preferably facing poverty and overbearing/abusive fathers, lots of wide shots of open spaces from places like Nebraska, wallpaper coming off the walls (a metaphor on life n’est-ce pas? Oh so clever), a few single mothers, maybe some substance abuse, ain’t life a struggle etc etc…oh it’s all so boring.

    • sammy gravano

      Perfect descriptionof Bridget Jones’ Diary.

      Oh wait.

    • Thomas Rakewell

      Seriously? What’s her gender got to do with it? All sorts of people like all sorts of films. As a man, I kinda find it offensive that you think I’ll like Spectre more than a more intelligent film.

      I’m a “die hard Bond fan”, but if you have to put your tongue “firmly in cheek” then it’s probably not a good film. That’s what nearly killed Bond off in the Brosnan era. Go watch Austin Powers.

      This is the issue I have with this review: the assumption that Bond fans will prefer a Spectre type film rather than the grittier, more emotionally engaging ones. I don’t think that’s true. Bond fans generally like Casino Royale and that style of Bond (OHMSS always comes out well in polls of fans as well), not the Die Another Day variety. I don’t know who it is they’re aiming these lazier, flimsier efforts at but presumably it’s morons (please see above post). That’s the only issue I have with this review, otherwise I’d say it’s spot on. Spectre bored me with its cheese and gadgets and invincible hero and bland car chase and upside-down helicopters. Bond is going to need reinventing all over again now.

      • Tamerlane

        You sound like a bit of a weedy little tick to me.

        • Thomas Rakewell

          Ha. Wow. Are you, like, literally six years old?

          What are you doing reading the Spectator?

          • Tamerlane


          • Twerp.

          • Tamerlane

            Yeah, you too, blah, blah.

    • AliceT

      are you joking!

      • AliceT

        Have you applied for clarkson’s job?

        • hugo761

          You make it sound as if leaving the BBC was the end of the line for Clarkson, like he’s left some sort of broadcasting paradise. Best thing he ever did was to punch that producer.

  • sammy gravano

    Very cinematic, decent set-pieces, Day of the Dead nicely spectacular, all very pretty to look at and I happen to like Craig as Bond.

    But very little originality in the film, and the writing is extremely lazy. 99.99% of the production effort went on the set-pieces, 0.01% on the plot.

    I couldn’t quite grasp why Bond and Lea made the trek through the desert to Waltz’s lair only for Craig to get whacked on the head when he got there. What did he think was going to happen. Lazy lazy lazy script-writing.

    The defence is always – what do you expect from a Bond film? Well exactly what I got. That doesn’t excuse the laziness and lack of originality though.

    I saw The Martian the week before – an infinitely better film.

    Filmed on location on Mars too.

    • Paul Saunders

      Agreed. I think I’ll go watch the Martian next then.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      I’m betting the Bond producers wish Matt Damon had STAYED on location on Mars instead of raining on their parade by announcing he’d do another BOURNE!

  • Dogsnob

    Don’t know if it’s worth seeing it after this review. And that Sam Smith theme tune is dire – blooming ridiculous having a bloke wincing like that in front of everybody.

    • Picquet

      Embarrassingly bad, I thought.

    • Robbi Kuromi

      yes, agree. the theme song was awful! i was like ” when is it gonna end?!!” ….. who chose this?
      the movie was alright. classic bond entertainment. wouldnt think so much like parking. the show reminded me a little of the living daylights…the location shoots.

    • Anonymous Guy

      I hated the song too when I first heard it, but it works surprisingly well in the opening sequence. And the flourishes from the song throughout the film were very welcome. Breathtaking, even.

      I’d give the film a chance. I thought it was solid. It was also nice that we start off with a fully realized Bond. This was the first Craig film in which I thought, “We’ve gotten to the point where this is Connery’s Bond. The backstory, although it was very fun, is finally done.”

    • FumigatedBraincells

      I mean… if you have the time.. patience.. and it’s not your last 15 bucks you may want to check it out. But after movies like Kingsman or MI:4 you might squirm a bit at points.

  • Callan

    I’m confused. The Daily Express says it’s the best Bond film ever, the Times says it’s a load of old rubbish. And now this. Well I suppose, looking on the bright side, with all the explosions, loud music and helicopter noises etc. you won’t be able to hear the mobile phones going off around the cinema.

  • CK

    Firstly the film is brilliant. However, in the context of the franchise people need to remember that Casino Royale is the new beginning. Hence why the first set Dr No – Die Another Day have little/no correlation to the Daniel Craig films.

    The song; I feel it actually works with the film and the opening sequence. But, I will admit, I didn’t like the song previously and believe that in the future they should be released after the film.

    The film sets up the franchise brilliantly, and I enjoyed the technology aspect of the movie. It will be interesting to see where it goes next but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it move towards `007: James Bond` being a code-name rather than an individual character.

  • quotes

    I absolutely and completely agree. I loved Casino Royale and thought Spectre was terrible. Fun, but crap.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      Martin Campbell vs. Sam Mendes…. Goldeneye, Casino Royale vs. Skyfall, Spectre.

  • paul

    Poor film started off promisingly but there was no real flow just trying to tie up the loose ends of the previous Daniel Craig Bond Movies with a collection of Worldwide destinations a few stunts and Daniel Craig who seemed totally disinterested in the role.
    Perhaps the problem lies with Daniel Craig being a co-producer and I think there needs to be an emotional detachment from the Director Sam Mendes to his lead actor.

    • Ronald Heatherington

      The whole thing was Gay!

    • Anonymous Guy

      Daniel Craig is not a producer of the Bond films.

      • Martin Zandstra

        He ís a co-producer of Spectre!

    • FumigatedBraincells

      I mean the GERMS of a great film were there but it’s almost like someone shot 3 different films and tried to join them all together.

  • Timple

    Looks like I’ll wait till ITV show it on boxing day. For me a good Bond film is where Bond manages to do a series of stuff which each time is just about feasible 1 time in a 1000. (Rooftop chase in Skyfall – Bungie jump off a dam in Goldeneye etc) Added up it is of course totally impossible. Whenever the producers get tempted to do stuff that is totally implausible in its own right they’ve lost it for me. And of course it needs some back story to link the films and make you care and it sounds like they’ve gone and done a load of impossible stunts with no backstory – oh dear.

    • al_frick

      Your statement is contradictory – you say a good Bond film is one where he does a lot of 1/1000 things. Yet, you say that if they do something implausible, they’ve lost you. Which one is it? 1/1000 is implausible.

      The implausible action sequences are supposed to be a testament to Bond’s skill and training. As long as it’s not dumb luck, I have no problem with him free running.

      • Timple

        I probably didn’t explain myself well enough – each stunt has to be just about plausible in real life – perhaps 1/1000 is too implausible. Its when you add all the sequences together it becomes implausible!

  • RasT

    People do not despair. Go and watch From Russia With Love the greatest of the Bond movies in the whole series and refresh yourselves. FRWL and many other brilliant Bond films are still there you know. You are not bound by RoboBond if you do not want.

    • Simon de Lancey

      I’m a big fan of OHMSS myself, but From Russia With Love is also very good.

      • al_frick

        So is Daniela Bianci. One of the top three hottest Bond girls. Ursula Andress, Britt Ekland, and Carole Bouquet are the only other contenders.

        • FumigatedBraincells

          oh boy.. you and me are in sync on that… Daniela Bianci… Carole Bouquet.. I’d throw in Luciana Paolozzi and Claudine Auger as my top favorites. Something about GORGEOUS Swedish, French, or Italian models with a fitful command of English rubs a young boy the right way!!! And I’m an OHMSS diehard to the end. I also think the first 20 minutes of The Living Daylights was damned good!

    • FumigatedBraincells

      Heck… go to EPIX Channel and watch THUNDERBALL and it’ll lift you up more than this one did. My goodness… Andrew Scott and Christoph Walz and Bautista … what might have been!!!!

  • RasT

    Why has Spectre had some rave reviews. Its probably part of the publicity campaign. Any film has to rake back most of the investment capital + profits within the first few weeks of release. They probably have “arrangements” with various critics to give them a good review. Can’t prove this but I suspect this. One example is Barry Norman (who for those that are too young was Jonathon Ross’s predecessor in TV film criticism). The way he used to rip films to shreds made Jonathon look quite mild in comparison. Yet I remember reading his review on Skyfall. He couldn’t fault it. Gave it 5 stars I think. Personally I gave Skyfall 2 stars with a struggle. I ask the question why would a film shredder like Barry Norman give a below average film like Skyfall full marks? That’s when it twigged that things aren’t all they seem to be.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      yeah the first day’s reviews on Spectre were GLOWING. I mean.. EVERYONE of my friends were looking at each other at the end. We love Daniel and all but I don’t think SKYFALL was all that and SPECTRE was at points just crazy!!! The backstory was a bad joke!!!

  • Picquet

    It’s tripe. The aerial sequences look like computer game videos, and are therefore dull; wholly unbelievable, so relaxing rather than tense. The roar of the music seems to be a desperate way of upping the tension; fail.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      really… Monica brought heat to the screen. A little implausibly .. but give me excitement over plausiblity anyday!!!

  • Ronald Heatherington

    Most overrated Bond ever! So self-important. The whole dark-edgy thing is quite overdone with these films. If I wanted that I’d watch the series Murphy’s Law. And they had to put the feminist-victimology thing in the previous film with the former child prostitute. Just DULL!

    • FumigatedBraincells

      well the victimology stuff does go back all the way to Dr. No, but I hear ya.. Bond is a little too close to a chick-flick with all the macho-checking of the last 15 years.. and I have to agree.. .we GET it.. he’s a tough take no stuff guy and they have to keep current with Bourne etc. but we don’t need an Italian horror film here!!!

  • Rintintin

    “I wept when Eva Green died in Casino, and I wept when Dench died in Skyfall,”……ah, the onward march of emotional incontinence.

  • paperdetective

    I weep at the absence of reviewer quality. No mention what is really good or bad in plot, theme,, characters, scenes, camera work, music etc. Just vague suggestiveness that something may be wrong, but no objectivity, no factual references.

    • John M

      A reviewer who, by her own admission has only ever seen the last four Bond films, is a bit of an insult to knowledgable readers and people actually familiar with the genre.

      If Ross wants to wax on in future about stuff she clearly hasn’t a clue about, she should join The Guardian

      • Henrique Rodrigues

        No one that claims to have watched only four Bond films can call himself a movie critic.

    • ianwestc

      Not to mention the jokes that fall flat because they make incorrect assumptions on the franchise. Bond is 98? Is the reviewer unaware that the current Bond films are supposed to take place at the start of Bond’s career, alt-universe prequels, if you will?

      It’s also debatable whether each of the different James Bonds is supposed to be the same person. There were references in the series to it not being the case (in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby in his only appearance as Bond quipped “this never happened to the other guy..”), but other movies have presented it as a continuity with one character. Roger Moore’s bond refers to his dead wife, something that happened in OHMSS above.

      Either way, saying Bond, the man, is 98 years old is a little ridiculous, and jokes about how looking after M’s pet would make for a good Bond film show that the reviewer is not interested in a James Bond movie. Which is absolutely her right, but I think that’s a weakness when reviewing a Bond film. Gene Siskel had the same weakness, and he gave a number of now-classic action movies bad reviews because he doesn’t like action movies.

    • smileyadam

      Actually having seen this – is a fair review of the movie – I went with my wife and we asked the same questions (particularly around parking) – which is an indicator, as fans of the recent movies, of how uninvolving this particular chapter is in comparison.

      • Cobbett

        So, Bond spends the movie looking for a parking space in Rome? Riveting.

        • FumigatedBraincells

          Even IN the movie he spent more time looking for parking in Rome than he did getting out of that tight situation.

          • Cobbett

            I’m going to see it later today…so i’ll find out for myself.

          • FumigatedBraincells

            so… what was your verdict? jan 12 2016

          • Cobbett

            I thought it was all right…after all it is Bond.

          • Cobbett

            I must have missed that bit.

  • Dropbear

    Yeah. The tagline should have been “Spectre…there’s nothing there”.

  • RasT

    Brosan, Brosnan, bring back Brosnan. I wept when Brosnan was retired.

    • al_frick

      Uh, no.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      C’mon… The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day were Brosnan’s. I like Pierce but he didn’t shine in the role and this isn’t about the ACTORS… it’s about the SCREENWRITERS & DIRECTORS dropping the ball as they so often have. When those things are on point you get a great Bond film and when they’re not the thing wanders all over the place.

  • Tarnia Sand

    The action shots/rapid flashes of what we usually can’t tell have become monotonous in movies. Not everyone that pays to see a movie is a 13 year old games addict. The pace is so fast your mind has no possible chance to absorb any of the movie. Any stunt work fight scenes is more rapid camera blur thanks to a lazy director. It implores no emotions other than the usual sheer disappointment.

    • Henrique Rodrigues

      So you’re essentially saying you’re too slow for this movie.

      • FumigatedBraincells

        I’m going to plead guilty to this as well. Sorry my hand/eye coordination won’t win me any video games but as an action movie fan of long standing .. I’d say guys like Walter Hill, Sam Peckinpah, or Martin Campbell knew a thing or to about making movies for smart audiences and they knew how to shoot action.

  • al_frick

    You cannot have a non-Bond fan review a Bond movie. Just a poor review.

    Casino Royale was absolutely fantastic. But we all know that Bond movies are not meant to win Academy Awards. Especially since the only way they’ve become “tearjerkers” is by killing people off (Eva Green, Judi Dench). Can’t do that every Bond movie. (Waaah, Blofeld’s dead!)

    As a lifetime Bond fan, I want to know how the storyline rates, whether the action sequences gives you goosebumps.

    • James Hay

      Only a Jim Jones fan can savor the Kool-aid ; ) (just kidding)

      • Stephen Crane

        Flavor-Aid. But who’s checking.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      You’re right it’s not Shakespeare… it’s just an action film kids. But WOW… it must just be me but there’s plenty of great action pics from the last 40 years that get at least a couple of things right in terms of story and direction and THIS movie just seemed to lose it’s way. I mean the BRAKES get hit at several points and you just can’t go with it!

  • al_frick

    In general, I commend Bond films for remaining relevant in this day and age. Consider what has changed: air travel used to be exclusively for the rich. And so, most people watched Bond almost as much for the exotic locales as for the action sequences. Nowadays? You can book Marrakech for $99 on Ryanair. Additionally, the internet and information age has made knowledge of exotic locations and special historical filming spots well known. And well known = less revered and admired.

    To counteract this, they at first tried to increase the action (Goldeneye), fancy up the gadgets (Die Another Day), with disastrous results. The Casino Royale reboot and return to good acting really saved this franchise.

    • 9sqn

      I agree, DC has taken it up to a new level. But then, after the Bourne films, he had to. But Spectre, oh deary me. That scene of driving his wingless aeroplane down a ski slope would have even embarrassed Roger Moore ! And the ending, utterly cringe worthy. I want to see it again just in the hope it wasn’t as bad as I first thought. But the fear of realising it was is just too much.

  • Cobbett

    It’s called ”escapism” – nobody is supposed to take it seriously…I like Craig’s Bond. Also liked Quantum Of Solace.

    • Wookie

      It was “escapism”, in that I wanted to escape the theatre…this movie was so boring and so long and so pointless, the worst Bond perhaps ever. There was no evil plot, and no serious bad guys to beat. Batista was pretty cool as the henchman, but that was for like 5 minutes. They need new writers, John Logan is a joke, man he is crap.

      • Cobbett

        OK…I can’t really comment on the film as I haven’t seen it yet…but can it really be that bad?

        • FumigatedBraincells

          you owe it to yourself to see it.. but let me say… I can’t say I hate ANY Bond film too much and I’m going to have a hard time sitting through this one again. I mean the quality is there.. but at the very least I’m going to say the screenplay or the editing or both really dropped the ball here.

      • FumigatedBraincells

        You had NOTHING but good actors in here… Bautista, Walz, Scott and several other fantastic actors all did the best they could. as you said.. the screenwriters!!!!! NO shortage of money can be blamed here!!!! Call Martin Campbell!!!

    • FumigatedBraincells

      If Quantum was the worst film of the Craig Bonds it just moved up one notch with the release of SPECTRE! $240,000,000 and the services of Cristoph Walz, Andrew Scott, AND Ralph Fiennes? SIX SCRIPTWRITERS… focus your blame there.

  • Anthony Papagallo

    I’ve just returned from the cinema after sitting through two and half hours of a gay man trying hard to come to terms with his gayness without admitting it to himself and beating up others out of frustration.
    If you have any Gaydar, turn it off before you watch this or it will do your head in.

    • FumigatedBraincells

      C’mon.. you watched a BRITISH FILM with Ralph Fiennes and the openly gay Andrew Scott and yet you’re pointing the finger at someone ELSE being gay. Give it up… when you have more than 3 brits onscreen at once your gaydar is going to get more false positives than a Nigerian blood testing center after a heatwave!

  • So this villain is the biggest baddest bad guy that all the other super scary bad guys in the global hierarchy of bad guys feared and reported to. He knows everything. He’s inside everything. But he hasnt seen Austin Powers apparently because he still invites James Bond into his super important secret hideout, tells him his evil plan and doesnt search him for secret gadgets.

    • Wookie

      Exactly…very disappointing movie, perhaps the worst 007 film ever and I’m not joking…it was super dull and boring. I actually wanted Austin Powers to show up and bring some life and intelligence to the flick.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Now hang on a minute! The WORST Bond film ever? Surely not as bad as that ghastly clunker (whose name I’ve even forgotten! OHMSS?) which even the delectable Diana Rigg couldn’t rescue from panto-land! I mean, Telly Savalas as a Bond villain? I couldn’t take him seriously as Kojak, and don’t get me started on George Lazenby! Next worst has to be the one with the preposterous Christopher Walken and the ludicrous Grace Jones as parodies of double-villainy!

        • Richard Houlton

          I think OHMSS has stood up to be one of the very of the series. Pretty faithful to the book too. And it had the best soundtrack of the series as well.

          • ArchiePonsonby

            No. Sorry. It was, by chance, on the telly the other night, so I watched it again and to be honest I couldn’t stop laughing! i suppose we’ll have to beg to differ.

        • Martin Zandstra

          OHMSS is regarded by many as the best Bondfilm……

  • Marketthinker

    It’s like Skyfall, a series of 25 minute ‘episodes’. Each one – Mexico, Rome, Austria, Tunisia, London has a beginning, middle and end like a good TV miniseries, but there is no thread running through them, so tension builds, then collapses. Mendes has no sense of sustaining tension or ‘thrills’, apparently Craig wanted him back, cant think why. They are also a bit self referential – Mexico= live and let die, Austria = OHMSS, Tunisia = from Russia with love etc which post Casino Royal is getting a bit of a cliché. As exec Producer, DC awarded himself even less contact with the ladies than poor old Timothy Dalton used to get (Ms Weiss influence perhaps?) and clearly was thinking more about the money he made from Skyfall rather than bothering to turn up and act. Shame really.

  • Precambrian

    We all know the real bad guys work for Spectretator.

  • ventolin63

    I wept….only for the 2h30m wasted on this crap! I think that resumes it perfectly 🙂

  • Tsatalia

    What a terrible Bond movie. This was worst than the Rodger Moore bonds of the 1980’s.

  • Pudker

    Actually I liked the movie. I have see all of the 007 movies all the way back to Dr. No. I saw the original 1961 Casino Royal on TV. I realize that these are fiction and just a movie. So I don’t seek reality or even factual situations. I go for the fun of it. If you can’t do that, just give up because there is no help for you.

  • Richard Houlton

    Spectre was a stinker. Who was responsible for approving that rotten storyline/screenplay?

  • A-Train

    Thank you for mentioning how bad that chemistry was between Craig and Seydoux. I thought that was an absolutely exhausting romance to try and watch, forced in where it really didn’t work

  • Johnny

    Thank you for the only honest and accurate review I have read of this film.

  • Gillian Montgomery

    Not only was the movie waayyyy too long, but the fact that the sole reason Christopher Waltz wanted to ruin Bond’s live and murder everyone he loved, was because he had to “share 2 winters and his daddy with a blue eyed orphan” made this the most ridiculous, pointless movie ever. And they had so many chances to add layers, especially when they kept panning to that weird picture with the two boys, one with the creepy adult Waltz face, but never mentioned the extra boy or some back story that would give the ridiculous premise weight. And how did he know there was a net at the bottom of the shaft? Ridiculous and pointless.

    • dozingoffnow

      I was disappointed in the movie too, but he passed the net when he entered. It was right above him, so that’s how he knew.

  • laughterjones

    A few comments: It was a decent film, but I was bored. Usual equation was played out here. Meh.

  • Liberal

    On the contrary, you (along with that Broccoli woman) would lead the franchise down the wrong path entirely. What we should have is the old Bond – cool-headed, occasionally ruthless, business-first, quick to quip but always-ready, and in total control of his emotions. What we have been given with Craig is a Bond who seems rather a rookie – an emotional wreck, easily distracted by drama, unable to make he hard decisions, sulky, and often out of his depth. To an extent it might be justified as, given the “reboot” is supposed to begin with the start of his career, it does not beggar belief for him to not quite be the Bond we all know and love yet – but to push for more sap and less hard-core, stone-cold masculinity is to turn the film series from what it should be in to precisely what it shouldn’t be. Bond films are not dramas; they are spy films. That means suspense, action, a bit of humour, and no weakness. That’s Bond.

  • Yorkieeye

    Bonds interior life? Leave it out. Fleming decidedly did not create an interior torment for Bond, that’s a twenty first century conceit and the new clever thing to say. I enjoyed the set pieces and car chases sitting in a very comfy cinema with a dustbin full of popcorn – was I meant to be experiencing something else?

  • Jonny_anonymous

    There have been no good Bond movies since Casino Royale.

  • Chronic Kebab

    To date, Goldeneye has been the only good Bond film not based on one of Ian Flemings novels. That was 20 years ago…

  • I M

    Craig’s Bond has been a dull one. Trying to be dark to the point that the plots have become ridiculous. I love the Bond films, that albeit ridiculous, were naughty, entertaining and full of gadgetry. The very essence on why 007 had become a global success. It doesn’t help either that Bond films of today have to compete with Jason Bourne and MI films. Notice how 007 films sort of borrow scenes of these two other spy franchises, not to mention the actors! LOL!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Saw Spectre yesterday. What a crock.
    And I say this with all due respect.
    Jack, Penang

  • Stephen Crane

    I saw Spectre recently and felt it was a step in the correct direction of how I want my Bonds.

    Three good, three not good things.

    The Good.

    1. Monica Bellucci – I now can officially watch her in anything, though she was not nearly in it enough.

    2. The DB10 not being armed to the teeth was a nice touch.

    3. Ralph Fiennes channeling Bernard Lee, big time.

    The Bad.

    1. The lack of chemistry between Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux. They looked more like acquaintances than lovers bordering on beloved. The fact is that Craig had more chemistry with Monica Bellucci in the Five minutes she was on screen. But that was due to Miss Bellucci’s talent as an actress more than the script.

    2. Christophe Waltz playing Blofeld like Dr. Evil. I half expected him to start talking about shaved testicles and summers in Rangoon getting luge lessons.

    3. The distracting jump cuts with the action sequence at the end, as though a 5 year old kid mainlining red cordial was editing it.

    Still, it was infinitely better than the last three Brosnan Bonds. So that’s a start.

  • Stephen Crane

    If Daniel Craig is that sick of Bond, he can go back to being stalked by Rhys Ifans in a hot air balloon.

  • Eve Campbell

    At least the ending (an inside joke of an inside joke) promises that this will have been Craigs last appearance as bond. Was so glad to see that, I instantly rated it 10/10 just for that!
    Lets hope the new bond will be better looking and more bondy!

    • Nida Ali

      A classic example of the ridiculousness of fan expectation. After 4 movies ranging from adequate to exceptional, this person is hating on Daniel Craig.

      The consensus on his run is that he turned out of be one of the best Bonds ever, your snarky remarks are futile.

      • Eve Campbell

        yeah, consensus in your family of morons maybe. Craig himself is more connected to the real world. thats why he said he wont do Bond anymore. NOW THAT IS BASED ON CONSENSUS!

        • Hamza Khan

          Thanks for letting us know the EXACT motivation behind DC’s decision. Seeing that you are connected to him on a spiritual level, can you let us know how he is doing these days? Is he getting regular BMs? GTFO…

          • Eve Campbell

            the exact motivation is the consensus (which ironically, you brought up first). not sure why I need to be connected to Craig to be able to read a consensus.
            but this board seems to be full of people who cant read, so… keep going, you`re not making a fool of yourself at all.

    • Noah Lach

      Please go rewatch Casino Royale before making stupid statements.

      • Eve Campbell

        Craig said he wont do Bond anymore… so who is the idiot now?

        • Weelious_225

          You, because it’s obvious that I was referring to your comment that Craig was not a god Bond (which he was in Casino), not that he isn’t returning.

          • kiljoy616

            He phoned it in when it comes to this movie, even the actor is bored.

      • Eve Campbell

        why, cause Bond looks better in it and got reverse plastic surgery to make himself look uglier in the latter movies?

  • Inés

    I was let down when she defended 007 with a shot to the big goon’s arm instead of his head. With all the unrealistic weapons handling and fantasy tactics, why not satisfy us women with one successful shot to the head to protect the hot man? Women ain’t blind. Success and satisfaction are great for everyone!! Keeping one’s ally alive is good in any book. C’mon Hollywood, give it to us ladies how we want it!

    I suppose, in addition to my own sentiment, I also agree with the review, but it’s more than rehash. it’s no longer relevant, people are fully conscious of product placement and Marvel Comics style fighting and the constipated character development.