What’s wrong with Spectre (2015)? By A Korean called Prof. AKIA

Thinking about Spectre (2015) from Korea by a Korean. Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Léa Seydoux.

Hello. This is Prof. AKIA coming to you from Korea where the new James Bond movie “Spectre” (2015) just opened. Since Korea is about a week late to get this movie compared to the US and several weeks later than the UK, most things that should be said about “Spectre” (2015) have already been said via text, audio, and video. So, I’ll make this will be short.

While there are dissenting opinions, the general consensus seems to be that “Spectre” (2015) is disappointing and not as good as “Skyfall” (2012). And I agree with both although I was not on the hype train for “Skyfall” (2012) as others were. First, I do not really like the so called more “realistic” approach to Bond Movies. Second, “Skyfall” (2012) has some serious issues it was able to hind well enough by some good sleight of hand and pandering to the Fans’ nostalgia. And, considering it was a Bond movie that was good enough.

However, these issues with “Skyfall” (2012) are connected with the problems with “Spectre” (2015) which share the same creative team. “Spectre” (2015) is basically “Skyfall” (2012) without the magician's assistant distracting you. And I’m not talking about the Bond girls although I would have to say what is with Monica Bellucci in “Spectre” (2015)? I know “Skyfall” (2012) also miss used Bérénice Marlohe as the second tier Bond girl but she at least got more screen time than Monica Bellucci who was in the movie for 5 minutes.

I will not go over the details here since many have voiced them already. I want to talk about the fundamental reasons behind them. I do not think the director Sam Mendes really wants to make a Bond movie. This should not come as a surprise looking over the filmography the director of “American Beauty” (1999). Even with “Skyfall” (2012), Sam Mendes seems conflicted between the fundamentals of what the James Bond movie franchise is and what he wanted to do. That is why the first 60% of “Skyfall” (2012) is more of a bond movie while the latter 40% feels like a different movie.

Another thing that shows this conflict is the way Sam Mendes gets Bond from plot point A to plot point Z. In a Bond movie, one uses the gadgets, villain, and Bond girls to get Bond through these plot points and to the conclusion of the movie in an exciting, simple and clear cut manner. As a director of dramas, Sam Mendes seems to chafe under these restrictions. Even in “Skyfall” (2012), Sam Mendes had issues with simplicity as the narrative became either overly convoluted or too silly at points. This issue is manifested in “Spectre” (2015) more pronouncedly because the movie seems to have been conceived more as a traditional campy Bond movie. It is really like the best hits of Sean Connery era Bond movie as it borrows heavily from movies such as “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977).

There is certain deft hand required to pull off “Camp.” You also need a certain degree of humor also. It seems Sam Mendes doesn’t really have that “Camp” bone in him. The script of “Spectre” (2015) has several points especially in the early parts when the movie stops for what is definitely a joke. However, Sam Mendes just marches on playing it basically straight. As a result, the movie feels awkward at points.

This is also seen in the Daniel Craig’s performance in the movie. Some say that he looked less interested in this movie. However, I would counter by saying that Daniel Craig’s performance hasn’t changed from “Skyfall” (2012). That is his Bond. It is just that, when you put him in a movie that is written to be camp and humorous while giving him directions to play it straight, his portrayal doesn’t come off as well as when the words on the page is actually more serious. Don’t ask Daniel Craig to do camp. He cannot do humorous. This is why a lot of the character interactions which are not intended to be more dramatic just seem awkward.

So, what I’m trying to say is that “Spectre” (2015) is disappointing because you have a director fighting against a script which is not really what interests him and not suited for him. This really shows! The fact that the movie turned out as well as it did is a testament to the professionalism of the cast and crew. However, this professionalism doesn’t make the movie great. It just makes it watchable.

“Spectre” (2015) is awkward at points.
“Spectre” (2015) is too long and gets tedious.
“Spectre” (2015) is not funny when it seems it is meant to be funny.
“Spectre” (2015) is silly when it is meant to be campy.
However, “Spectre” (2015) is still watchable.

As a side note, why is “Spectre” (2015) basically a PG movie in terms of the sex thing? I’ve seen more passion and sex on a ABC Family channel show. 

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Created by AKIA Talking
Email: akoreaninamerica@outlook.com


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