James Bond is more than a character in film and literature. James Bond is an icon, a fact that makes it exponentially more difficult for the directors, producers and actors of any given Bond film, who have--in addition to everything else--posterity to face. Bond films endure; Bond films collect on shelves and cases; Bond films are a genre of their own. And so I am sure that it was not without some trepidation that director Sam Mendes set about making Spectre, the 24th Bond film in a 52-year era.
As any Bond fan can tell you, the opening scene from a Bond film sets the stage for the movie--in dramatic fashion--and the opening scene in Spectre sets the stage in classic Bond style, brash and spectacular, leaving your mouth watering for more. The cinematography is consistent and excellent, subtle in places and over the top in the others, another trademark of the genre. The locations are everything you have come to expect; splashy, historic, and exotic.
Action scenes and gadgetry have been a staple of Bond films since Bond was attacked by a flame-throwing tractor in Dr. No, and Spectre continues the evolution of the craft. That said, Producer Barbara Broccoli--daughter of the original producer, Albert Broccoli--does a masterful job not letting the action and the special effects steal the show, incorporating them seamlessly into the movie.
What sets Bond apart, however, is style. No one has style like Bond; style is the reason why Bond is an icon. Anyone can escape an exploding fortress filled with armed mercenaries; Bond does it with his French cuff links still polished. But Bond's style goes way beyond his pressed tuxedo and perfect bow-tie. Bond's style is an amalgam of bravado, hyperbolized English reserve, and his trademark witty ripostes.
Daniel Craig elevates Bond's style to new and dizzying heights. If Bond is the very the essence of cool, then Daniel Craig's Bond is still cooler, and Daniel Craig's Spectre Bond is Bond at his completion. In Spectre, Bond's style reaches a new zenith--and I wish luck to the next actor who tries to match it.
For every Bond, there is a Bond girl, and Léa Seydoux plays the part to perfection. Bond girls are smart, resilient, and--it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway--sexy, and Seydoux hits the trifecta with a fabulous performance. There is also a Bond car for every Bond, and Bond's sleek Aston Martin sets a new standard.
Add to all this a fantastic supporting cast (Ralph Fiennes really shines as M) and you have a Bond classic which will keep my BluRay player busy for a long time.
It's five stars for Spectre.
Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and THE INTERN, a novel loosely based on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons, the literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of two tribes on Triberr, The Big Thrill and Fiction Writers. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at email@example.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at firstname.lastname@example.org.