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Pod's review: SPECTRE

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Postby pod on 05 Nov 2015 16:00

Pod's review: SPECTRE

Ms Pod and I saw SPECTRE last night. It doesn't come out to Friday, but she works for a real media company (rather than a fake one like I do) so she scored some press passes to the preview last night. It was on South Beach, but it was free so I dealt with it.

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SPECTRE is the last of the 007 films Daniel Craig is contracted to do. Though on the Late Show last night, he did say (maybe in jest) that he'll "think about" doing another one.

The story picks up a few months after Skyfall left off.

<spoilers ahead>

With the death of M at the end of Skyfall, 007 has gone rogue, as it were. He's in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead pursuing the trail of the people who are ultimately responsible for her death. After a rousting pursuit of one of the top men in the organization (Sciarra), involving a collapsing building and a vertigo-inducing helicopter flight, Bond takes care of business and picks up a clue:

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Oooh SPECTRE.

After the mess, Bond is called onto the carpet back in London where the new M, (Ralph Fiennes) subsequently grounds him, and introduces him to his new boss, Max Denbigh, codenamed "C" (because Bond thinks "C" is a fitting codename for a mincing bureaucrat), who doesn't value human intelligence and wishes to shut down the 00 program.

007 is 007 of course, and calmly acknowledges his "grounding", and promptly darts off to his old pal Q's lab.

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After grabbing the Aston-Martin meant for 009, Bond's off to Rome to question Sciarra's widow, aptly played by Monica Bellucci. At 51 she still can slay any 20-something screen bimbo.

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She was a bit under-utilized in this film, maybe getting 10 minutes of screen time total. This does reflect where the producers were going with this film, in that they spent less time dwelling on 007's tour of internal misery, and more on just driving fast, fighting, and blowing things up.

While there, he also gains access to a secret meeting of a shady global cooperative, presided over with calmly lethal authority by the mysterious Franz Oberhauser.
Of course, a car chase through Rome ensues.

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With the assistance of MI6 underlings Moneypenny and Q, and via a brief catch-up with “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” antagonist White (the Pale King), Bond ultimately makes contact in Austria with Madeleine Swann, a young doctor with a dark past who identifies Oberhauser’s operation as SPECTRE. That confirms the title’s promised resurrection of the terror collective that has featured in several classic 007 romps, though none since 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever.”

Any further discussion of the film would defeat the purpose of going to see it. And see it, you must. Unlike other Bond films though, this one doesn't exactly exist in a little mini-universe of it's own. More than any other Bond actor, Craig's 007 films made a large story arc, which all ties together in SPECTRE. At the least, watch (in order), Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall before watching SPECTRE. One can watch SPECTRE "unassisted" of course, but important plot points are lost on the viewer if they don't have a passing familiarity with the Bond universe.

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Pod Rating: * * * * out of 5.

Pros: Action-packed. No time for emotion or Bond grieving about dead girlfriends. It's 2.5 hours long, but it doesn't have much in the way of musing and maudlin sequences.

Cons: You have to know the Bond universe to really understand this film. While one can enter the film unfamiliar with 007, you will miss certain things critical to the plot.

Major con: The theme song. God, the theme song. Sam Smith's "Writing's On The Wall" is horrible. Even the kick-ass opening tile graphics couldn't make up for it. And who the hell is Sam Smith? Danjaq couldn't get say, Hozier or someone?

Suspension of disbelief: Not much really. This could take place in the real world.

Gadgetry count: Other than the DB10 and the Omega watch, this was light on the exotic Q Branch toys. Which makes sense if you watch the movie in context. Most of the stuff Bond uses is just off-the-shelf in this one.

Cars: Aston-Martin DB10 with all the usual refinements (some still in beta). Jaguar C-X75, some identikit Range Rovers, a Fiat 500, and some G-Wagens in Austria.

Firearms: Walther PPK/S, H&K VP9 (for some reason that made me happy), GLOCK 17 (bare and FAB carbine kit), Steyr AUG, Czech vz. 58, H&K G36C.

Product placement: Sony, Aston-Martin, Jaguar, Omega, Daimler.

Thanks to: Road & Track. IMFDB. I can't spot every little knick-knack by memory.
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Postby Kamen on 05 Nov 2015 19:11

Re: Pod's review: SPECTRE

she works for a real media company (rather than a fake one like I do)

Whadda ya mean fake? TNL breaks just as much news as the MNT. MNT is 95% ads and advertorial.
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Postby pod on 06 Nov 2015 09:18

Re: Pod's review: SPECTRE

Shit, she posts and reads TNL. I'm gonna hear about that one.
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Postby Michael^Heaven on 07 Nov 2015 08:48

Re:

Going to see it Sunday. Can't wait! I purposely skipped most of your review for that very reason, BTW.
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Postby pod on 09 Nov 2015 13:48

Re: Re:

Michael^Heaven wrote:Going to see it Sunday. Can't wait! I purposely skipped most of your review for that very reason, BTW.


What'd you think?
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Postby JMT on 12 Jan 2016 12:04

Re: Pod's review: SPECTRE

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