Jesse Valencia

Film Review: Spectre

Monica Bellucci in Spectre (Sony Pictures)

Why the world needs one more Daniel Craig Bond film after Spectre.

 

Whether you love it or hate it, Spectre is a decent James Bond movie. Picking up where Skyfall left off, with its themes of government infiltration and surveillance, the 24th film in the long-lived spy-fi franchise does something the others could not: it gives Daniel Craig’s Bond a much-needed continuity, giving all involved with the just-released latest installment breathing room with not only the characters, but the story as well, for what could later be an explosive finale to Craig’s run as the iconic British spy in, hopefully, Bond’s 25th film.

 

BE WARNED: SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

The most significant thing that happens in Spectre is that Blofeld does not die. Also keep in mind that after Bond escapes with Swann, Blofeld self-destructs the Spectre base, but both this and the fact that Spectre’s leader has now been captured will affect Spectre’s operations little. The worldwide terrorist organization will meet at the same table Blofeld once presided over and elect a new leader. Its symbol is the Octopus, after all, which can regenerate its limbs once one has been severed.

That’s why Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich is dead wrong about Spectre’s somewhat baffling ending. As someone who claims to know Bond inside and out, he should know that Blofeld isn’t finished yet. After all, he’s been behind everything since Casino Royale, and if Bond couldn’t smoke his archenemy out then, all we can deduce is that Blofeld still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and as the “author of his pain” I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next installment, Spectre breaks Blofeld free and captures Swann in a fit of revenge.

The biggest mistake that Spectre makes is that the movie itself doesn’t make us excited enough for that possibility. The pacing is slow. The chase scenes are lackluster. The fight and escape scenes are not so much unimaginative as they are lazily planned. All of this is forgivable until we come to realize the film’s second biggest mistake …

… that there isn’t enough Monica Bellucci.

Shifting gears, it is upsetting that so much attention has been spent by the press obsessing over Bellucci’s age, and how she’s “the oldest ever Bond girl.” To their credit, many have praised Bellucci’s performance and endless sex appeal, but it does reveal how shallow and superficial our celebrity culture has become.

Measuring beauty with age might have made more sense in Ian Fleming’s time, but now it’s just plain gross. In a new interview with The Red Bulletin, Craig exploded when the interviewer referred to Bellucci’s inherent sultriness as “the charms of an older woman.”

“I think you mean the charms of a woman his own age,” Craig corrected. Bellucci is 51, a mere four years older than Craig. Hardly a cradle robber, but it reveals the media’s double standard.

Another big story surrounding the film is Daniel Craig’s apparently being “over” Bond. “I’m not in discussion with anybody about [another film],” he said recently during a promotional tour for the film. “If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.” Others have reported that Craig has said he would rather kill himself than make another Bond.

Only time will tell, but you can’t change course with the franchise with a new Bond at this point, because it simply cannot end this way. Spectre is Act IV in a 5-act Shakespearean arc. For Bond’s 25th film, please let there be nuclear bomb threats, psycho megalomaniacs, sharks, and laser-powered gadgets. I personally want to see a return of the jetpack.

You have to come back for 25, Mr. Craig. You just have to.

 

 

Spectre is in movie theaters now.

 

Jesse Valencia

Jesse Valencia is an actor, musician, writer, and filmmaker from Northern Arizona whose writing has appeared in Phoenix New Times, Flagstaff Live!, and The Big Smoke. He first appeared onscreen opposite Tom Sizemore in the indie crime drama Durant’s Never Closes, and is currently studying screenwriting at the David Lynch Graduate School for Cinematic Arts at the Maharishi University of Management. He plays music with the band, Gorky, who've put out the records The Gork…And How To Get It!, More Electric Music, and Mathemagician. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature from Northern Arizona University, is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and is currently at work on his first feature film.

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