Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig – Lea Seydoux – Christoph Waltz – Ben Wishaw – Ralf Fiennes – Naomie Harris
From even before the opening credits, with the Metro Goldwin Mayer and the Columbia logos appearing in quick succession, you can hear the orchestral strings rise and hint and then transform into the (oh, so familiar) theme. A pavlovian tingle runs down your spine and an involuntary smile broadens across your face: Bond is back!
The fourth instalment of Bond played by Daniel Craig is long but never boring. It has all the usual elements, the blood drenched gun barrel spotlights, the long opening action sequence, the sumptuous title animations with the big ballad (not quite so memorable this time), and then full steam ahead. A seemingly never ending sequence of planes cars boats and trains are destroyed as Bond chases across the World getting beaten half to death by, bigger, nastier, and almost indestructible, henchmen. There is mountain top clinic, and a desert HQ in a crater. There are basements, abandoned buildings and rooftops in at least 5 different countries. There are three or four very different, very beautiful, women. There was so much of everything that I began to lose count. The cinematography still had that golden sepia quality of the previous movies. The plot, although largely incidental, is sufficient to keep the action on track, and culminates in a pulsating finale. All in all ,a pretty good movie.
The film did however, have a sort of end of term quality as it ’tipped it’s hat’ more than once to early movies in the franchise and (not quite as obviously as Casino Royal) was clearly part one of two, to close out the Daniel Craig regime. The biggest problem, however, was probably the 12 certificate. Bond should be at least 15. It needs to be a little more violent, it need to be a little more sexy, than the average 12 year old can handle. Disneyfication to maximise audience is not a winning strategy. They will lose the very audience they crave. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and GTA are all consumed by teenage audiences (even if they should not be). Compare these titles with this Bond. This Bond is very tame.
In Casino Royale Bond was darker, tougher and grittier, than ever before, but has gradually he and the plots have softened. If the trend continues we will end up back at ‘invisible cars’. It is difficult for producers of Cinema as this is the only medium where age certificates are enforced or, indeed, are enforceable, but they need to come up with a solution. This however, is probably a subject for another time as overall this was a spectacular feast of James Bond 007.
Review By : Man in the Black Hat