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At the end of “Skyfall,” James Bond walks past Eve Moneypenny into his boss’s office and receives a new mission.
If this scene were meant to herald a return to the Bond of old, then “Spectre” fulfills this in theme as well as style.
The film, directed by the man behind “Skyfall,” Sam Mendes, opens with a beautifully shot action sequence involving a helicopter in Mexico City.
Next come the opening credits, which are as lackluster as the Sam Smith song that goes with them.
Daniel Craig’s Bond is still clearly the same character we met in the 2006 Bond film “Casino Royale.”
“Spectre” sees the veteran secret agent haunted by ghosts from every moment in his past.
Craig’s adventures take him to Rome, where he interacts with Monica Bellucci for all of about 10 minutes of screen time; Austria, where Jesper Christensen returns as White; and Morocco, where Lea Sydoux becomes a human daddy-issues trope.
Christoph Waltz, Dave Bautista and Andrew Scott play type-cast versions of their previously well-known characters.
Bautista’s character, Hinx, is never named, but he at least gets a decent car chase and train fight scene to his credit.
Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Roy Kinnear and Naomie Harris return as Bond’s supporting team — Q, M, Bill Tanner, and Moneypenny respectively — and bring the same talent they displayed in “Skyfall.”
With the exception of the opening number, the soundtrack written by Thomas Newman provides more emotion than the screenplay, which, above all, lacks depth and development.
The story was easy to follow, but the characters themselves felt two-dimensional.
Many of the best lines in the film fell flat because they were too wordy.
The film itself felt lifeless compared to its prequels, and more like a parody of itself than anything.
In fact, the scene where Bond seduces Bellucci’s character feels like it came straight out of an episode of the television show “Archer.”
In a later scene, James Bond punches through a wall. What appears to be a stone wall becomes a plywood cover in an instant.
With that in mind, the action sequences were excellent and the direction was on par with “Skyfall.”
“Spectre” felt campy and fun, much like the Bond films with Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton, but like the ’70s films, it leaves much to be desired in the way of storytelling.
I give the film seven out of 10.
It was rumored that Craig was not going to return as Bond, even though he has one more film on his contract.
“Spectre” seemed to wrap things up nicely, but I feel that Craig should not end his run on this note.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a 63 percent, IMDB rates it a 7.3 out of 10, and Roger Ebert’s website rates the film a 2.5 out of 4 stars.