Rapid Review: Spectre (2015)

spectre poster

“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond.”
– Mr White

SYNOPSIS: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. – via IMDB

SPECTRE DAY OF THE DEAD

GRADE 7After all this time I finally got to see Spectre over the weekend. I know, I am like the last person in the world to have watched this and to churn out a review for it, but so what? I have been looking forward to this movie for far too long. Right off the bat, I think people are being way too harsh on this movie. Granted, it is not like the other Craig Bond films we have come to expect, it wasn’t as serious or as gritty as the others, which is something that I missed, but it did not mean that there was nothing to love. Spectre was shot well, and looks great, and is carried by some solid performances. Craig is, of course, a phenomenal Bond and my favourite (though that is well known by now, I am sure), and Ben Whishaw makes for a wonderful Q, I still think that he represents a modernised Q perfectly. After I realised that this Bond might have more campier moments to it, I could even embrace the silly comments, and Q being a lot, uhm, more ridiculous than previously. He used to take things seriously, and next thing I know he is complaining about his cats and sniggering at his terribly awkward Aston jokes. Ralph Fiennes’s M started quite rocky here, as I definitely expected more backbone from his character. I have been itching to see Christoph Waltz take on Bond, and I was not disappointed. He was fantastic every moment he was on screen, which is nothing less than I expected. The man is such a phenomenal actor and excels at any role he decides to take on. I am totally looking forward to seeing more of his character in the upcoming Bond films, no ways did they bring him in just for this one. The scene with Madeleine and Bond in the traincar felt like a throwback to Casino Royale, but just didn’t sit right. In actual fact, there were tons of throwbacks to the older Bond films, and some worked better than others. I do enjoy how the last few Bond films (the Craig era) have all linked up nicely. Spectre also featured so much… well, Bond banging the world again, which was really disappointing, as the Craig Bonds have not really featured that aspect much, which was something I always appreciated. Monica Bellucci was case in point… she served no real purpose but to look beautiful. Léa Seydoux’s Dr Madeleine Swann was a really good Bond girl, she is a strong woman who can hold her own, so definitely a solid addition. Also, while Bautista may have been a villain of few words, I really liked him, and a throwback to the quieter henchman that just did their thing. I could not buy into South Africa being the holdouts on the whole Nine Eyes intelligence thing because, well, have you been reading anything smart about South Africa in the papers? Didn’t think so. Our government and intelligence agencies are a joke. Not even being nasty, but really, there is nothing there anymore, it’s embarrassing. I also really disliked that Sam Smith song Writing’s on the Wall (I have no idea who he is, I don’t listen to the radio, but he is not someone I will be listening to anytime soon – totally not my cup of tea), and I was no fan of the opening credits. I cringed. What a pity, too, because the whole octopus thing would have been fine, but instead was bordering on some extreme Hentai crap, and Daniel Craig could not have looked more awkward. Well, I am glad we got that out of the way. I was a huge fan of the opening sequence with the Day of the Dead parade, it was just gorgeous, but I do wish there had been some more to it. The action was top notch here, as always, and I liked little things in the movie that highlighted, once again, how emotionally damaged Craig’s Bond is (his flat that is bare, his drinking, how he can still not bare to deal with anything that touches on Vesper). Yes, Spectre has some drawbacks and shortcomings, and no, it was not quite the film I was expecting, but it is well worth a watch and it is fun, and it does go back to older Bond roots. It is totally not the disaster it has been painted.

Rapid Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

guardians of the galaxy poster

“So here we are: a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac. But we’re not going to stand by as evil wipes out the galaxy. I guess we’re stuck together, partners.”
– Peter Quill

SYNOPSIS: After discovering a mysterious orb in another part of the galaxy, Peter Quill from Earth, is now the main target of a manhunt led by the genocidal villain Ronan the Accuser. Being hunted across the galaxy, Quill gets lumped together with a group of misfits that need to learn how to get along before they can become the “Guardians of the Galaxy”. – via IMDB

guardians of the galaxy

I definitely liked this far more than I thought I would. The soundtrack was great (which is how this was bumped up .5), the characters were entertaining, there was cheese, there were some seriously odd moments, there was plenty humour, and it was just a fun flick overall. I don’t think it is deserving of the hype surrounding it but I liked it more than anticipated, which is something. I went in expecting something like The Avengers, which, as you all know, was not my favourite movie or anything. I didn’t know too much about this, which I am sure counted in the film’s favour, so it was all new to me. I thought the cast was fantastic, each bringing their bit to the table and  having fun while doing it, which shows on screen. Rocket Raccoon really had me laughing at the best of times, especially with his penchant for prosthetics, as well as how he could laugh about it (that giggling!). Seriously. Chris Pratt does a very good job in the leading role, and I liked him. I thought the villain, Ronan, was absolutely freaking ridiculous and not creepy at all (and I was told he was pretty cool). He was not. He looked like a giant blue, muddy nun, and sounded silly. You know I like a good villain… The movie itself was decently paced, didn’t feel as long as it was, and it was shot quite well. The effects were pretty good, though here and there it was a little dodgy. Guardians of the Galaxy has a very different feel from all the other Marvel movies we have been getting over the last few years, and it worked wonders here, like a breath of fresh air. I still don’t quite understand why the world has gone ballistic over this, but it was fun and worth the watch, if nothing more than just to see this band of misfits together. I enjoyed the way the movie was presented, and the plot progression. I don’t actually have an awful lot to say about this one, so I will stop waffling on about it.

Poster credit.