After “Skyfall” was released in 2012, Metro-Golden-Meyer (MGM for short) began development of a fourth installment of the James Bond reboot series with Daniel Craig reprising his role as Bond. This time MGM finally gets the rights back to an evil organization known as “Spectre” led by Bond’s archenemy Ernest Starvo Blofeld. Why was Spectre legally removed in the Bond series? MGM had copyright issues with Ian Fleming producing “Thunderball.” It’s a long story, you can look it up on Google. It’s a very complicated legal battle. In 1971, “Diamonds Are Forever” was the last appearance involving the organization’s role. Blofeld’s last appearance was “For Your Eyes Only,” not “Never Say Never Again,” which is considered non-canon and MGM wasn’t involved in production.
In 2013, MGM finally retained the rights to Spectre gaining full access to members from the past books/films. Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road To Perdition, Jarhead) returns to direct the fourth film, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris & Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from the third film. Christoph Waltz portrays the antagonist. After two years of filming, editing, post-production etc. Spectre was officially distributed worldwide.
Spectre was released in 2015. (same year Mad Max: Fury Road came out) It received mixed to positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. Despite mixed reception, it managed to make enough revenue at the box office. Spectre won an Oscar for “Best Original Song.” (Sam Smith)
Daniel Craig will portray Bond one last time in “No Time To Die” scheduled to come out in April 2020. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was recruited by Daniel to write the script, because he’s a fan of “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve.” By the way, “Knives Out” is currently released in theaters.
Note from 2020: No Time To Die is pushed back to April 2nd, 2021.
Today’s review does not contain any crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. If you’re not up to date with all James Bond films, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Daniel Craig did amazing job for his performance as James Bond. In addition to portraying the character, he also co-produced the film.
Other Cast Members such as Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris & Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from the last film. They did a great job for their respective performances.
Newcomers to the series including Christoph Waltz, Lèa Seydoux & Dave Bautista all did a great job for their respective performances.
Sam Mendes did an ok job directing the fourth entry.
Action Sequences were legitimately decent. My favorite part is the snow chase scene.
Practical Effects were heavily used to bring action scenes to life. No conspicuous C.G.I. spotted.
Thomas Newman (American Beauty, Finding Nemo, WALL-E) orchestrated music for the fourth installment.
Cinematography never had a bad case of technical issues.
A vehicle did a barrel roll. A reference to “Star Fox.”
An octopus symbol plays a recurring motif linked to the titular organization.
A familiar face makes a small cameo appearance.
This is the last Bond film Sony co-distributed when their international contract expired. Universal currently owns international rights to co-distribute outside The UK.
Madeleine Swan factors in a pivotal role.
Like Skyfall, Bond’s backstory is further explored adding more depth.
Spectre is set after the events of Skyfall.
Opening Scene felt strong setting up what’s yet to come.
An uninterrupted take mirrors a similar camera technique from “Birdman.” Sam Mendes must’ve taken notes studying Alejandro González Iñárritu’s filmmaking.
Christoph Waltz’ character Franz Oberhauser, has an interring backstory. Can’t tell you all about it. You’re gonna have to see for yourself.
Plot elements from the Bond franchise are retained in a subtle way. They don’t shove all of it in your face. MGM is pragmatic to craft a unique storyline without rehashing all clichés.
Spectre retcons previous Bond movies (excluding films from 1962-2002) interconnected as a story arc.
A henchman from “Casino Royale” comes back in an important role. You probably know who he is if you’ve seen all Bond films to date.
A character said “cuckoo.” Probably a “Shallow Hal” reference with Jack Black saying cuckoo.
Unlike “Quantum Of Solace” & Skyfall, The Gun Barrel Sequence is shown in the very beginning.
Without giving too much away. A Plot Twist reveals a person’s true identity.
Sam Smith contributed to the theme song titled, “Writing’s On The Wall.” It became the second song in the James Bond series to win an Oscar.
Negative: The Final Battle felt anti-climatic. After building up a story arc since Casino Royale. It really felt underwhelming.
The Final Verdict: A-
Spectre is another decent installment in the rebooted James Bond series. Daniel Craig did an amazing job as Bond alongside every cast members, Sam Mendes made sure to he didn’t rehash plot elements from old Bond films & all the things I’ve listed on the positive section. If you’re planning to see Daniel’s last hurrah as Bond in No Time To Die, go ahead and watch all four films starting with Casino Royale to Spectre.