Thursday, October 13, 2016
James Bond (Daniel Craig) seems to have two adversaries in this outing. One is Ernst Stavros Blofield (Christoph Waltz of Inglorious Basterds [sic]), who is running the organization, SPECTRE, a group that links together previous villains and deaths in 007's sphere. The other is Max Denbigh or "C" (Andrew Scott), the head of the Center of National Security, who thinks M (Ralph Fiennes of Wrath of the Titans) and his methods are hopelessly out of date. M sends Bond out on an assignment that has him infiltrating a SPECTRE meeting, one of the best and most suspenseful scenes in the movie. Other characters include Marco Sciarra (Allesandro Cremona), who engages Bond in Mexico City, and the Bond women include Lucia (Monica Bellucci), the widow of an infamous criminal, and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), the daughter of another criminal named White (Jesper Christensen), who may have secret knowledge of SPECTRE. Craig is terrific as Bond, Waltz makes an effective Blofeld, and the other actors are good, including nice turns by Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as "Q." The cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema is excellent, and there's a good score by Thomas Newman, although the title tune is all but ruined by the dreadful "singing" of Sam Smith. A train fight doesn't compare to the one in From Russia with Love.
Verdict: Sinister, but not as thrilling as it ought to be, although it's not a bad 007 entry. ***.