In true James Bond fashion, Spectre, the newest Bond movie starring Daniel Craig, opens with a nail-biting, visually arresting scene. Set in Mexico City on the Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Bond is seen tracking his prey while weaving through streets filled with people dressed as skeletons. A spectacular explosion ends the first scene but not before Bond overhears the name of the man he must spend the rest of the film trying to defeat: the Pale King.
Move to MI6 headquarters and we see Bond being lambasted (as usual) by M (Ralph Fiennes). But it soon becomes apparent that Bond isn’t the only one in trouble: the spy organisation itself is seemingly under threat by a modern merger, headed by a man called Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) – or C – as Bond calls him. Working against his own organisation, but with the reluctant help of Q (Ben Whishaw), Bond draws closer to his enemy, traces a woman he must protect, and, in sinister fashion begins to find connections with his past.
Like Skyfall, Spectre draws from Bond’s past more than I remember previous Bond movies doing. It is these past connections that make the plot ominous and Bond’s final confrontation with his foe personally meaningful. The adversary turns out to be Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) – a sort of reincarnation of earlier Bond villains. These historic links in turn tie in with the opening “Day of the Dead” scene, in which the dead come to life.
The tension remains high throughout the film and Bond’s connection with the female lead, Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), is subtly touching. Daniel Craig makes a credible, tough, yet human Bond. But I felt there was something lacking in Spectre. Too predictable? Too little new action and too much reliance on the past?
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Tell me what you think…
Spectre opens at cinemas in South Africa on Friday 27 November.