By Isaac Rosso Klakovich
The last James Bond film, “Skyfall,” was one of the most praised of the series thanks to impressive action sequences, great performances, and a complex look at an aging Bond. But with the latest Bond collaboration between director Sam Mendes and star Daniel Craig, the series is starting to feel tired. It seems as though we might have reached the end of the Daniel Craig Bond era.
In “Spectre,” Craig seems uninterested and even bored with his role. While he may still carry himself with the confidence and charisma that has made him such an iconic Bond, Craig has none of the trademark smooth talking charm that the Bond character is so well known for. Some of Craig’s struggles can be attributed to the script forcing him to deliver deadpan humor. While it might seem that deadpan humor is nothing more than saying funny things with a straight face, it is still necessary to have the right comedic timing for it to work. This entire issue could have been averted if Craig’s lack of ability in this area had been have been taken into account in the writing process.
The other problem with Craig’s performance in “Spectre” is that he never acknowledges his age. Craig is playing the role as if he were in his twenties, making everything about how he carries himself seem contrived. This is especially jarring considering the skill and sensitivity with which “Skyfall” portrayed an older Bond.
Two of the aspects most synonymous with Bond films are the Bond villain and Bond girl. In “Spectre” Christoph Waltz plays the Bond villain, and the nicest thing about his presence in the film is that he allows Craig not to deliver the worst performance. In trying too hard to replicate the great performance given by Javier Bardem in “Skyfall,” Waltz comes off as far too earnest. The key difference between his performance and Bardem’s is that Waltz is unable to embrace the informality that Bardem’s character lived and breathed. Without this there is nothing drawing the audience to him, making his character little more than a one-dimensional evil face.
Léa Seydoux plays the Bond girl in “Spectre,” and gives by far the best performance of the film. Her scenes are some of the most emotionally charged of the film. Unlike most of the easily forgotten Bond girls, Seydoux gives a strong enough performance to be considered for next Bond film as well. She fills the void left by Judi Dench and gives a series that has been dominated by men another strong female character.
People come to a James Bond film for the fun and heart pounding set pieces, and for the most part “Spectre” delivers on this front. The first scene, which takes place in Mexico City during Day of the Dead, is comprised of one extremely long take and throws the audience into the film right off the bat. Even though this is the best scene of the film, the rest of the action is still enjoyable and exciting, although it might overstay its welcome. Still, “Spectre” is another fun entry into the Bond franchise. While audiences, may not leave the theater with the same exuberance they did with other of Craig’s Bond films they will still leave with smiles on their faces.
Photos Courtesy of: esquire.co.uk, people.com, and borg.com