Cinematography unshaken, storyline absurd

“Spectre,” the 24th Eon Productions Bond film earned $73 million during its opening weekend.

After more than 40 years, James Bond’s greatest foe Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion returns to the big screen in “Spectre.” The film doesn’t have the strongest narrative, but it’s a fun action-adventure worthy of the James Bond name.    

“Spectre” is the 24th film of the Eon Productions Bond franchise and the fourth to star Daniel Craig. In addition, Ben Whishaw (Q), Naomie Harris (Miss Moneypenny) and Ralph Fiennes (M) return as well. Newcomers include Dave Batista as the chief henchman Mr. Hinxand Andrew Scott as the mole Max Denbigh. Lea Seydoux plays the latest Bond girl, Madeline Swann.

Director of the last Bond movie, “Skyfall,” Sam Mendes, returns once again with this film. The film follows Bond as he tracks down a mysterious organization from his past.

This film marks the return of both the organization SPECTRE and its leader Blofeld, played in this film by Christoph Waltz. Blofeld and SPECTRE were major threats to Bond during the Sean Connery era, and became a key part of the James Bond mythos.

Unfortunately, due to complicated legal issues, both Blofeld and SPECTRE were not allowed to be in any Bond films and haven’t since 1971’s “Diamonds are Forever.” However, Eon Productions finally got the rights to the characters again; and thank goodness for it, since Blofeld is the best aspect of this movie.

Waltz plays Blofeld with an odd mix of giddiness and cold detachment. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It paints a picture of this guy who one can believe he can actually rule the world. Waltz’s natural charisma pulls it off nicely.

The other actors are good as well. Fiennes is great as M. He does a good job of playing a very hands-on leader who is frustrated with Bond’s “take things on his own” attitude. Batista is frighteningly intimidatingas a SPECTRE assassin.        

The film’s cinematography is gorgeous. Each shot is crafted with detailed care. Mendes blends shadow and light into the sets to help create a powerful environment. He plays with the camera focus to mess with the audience’s expectations and creates interesting scenes. Mendes uses the camera to show off large and impressive sets. The action scenes are framed and planned so well that it’s like watching a carefully choreographed ballet. Still, the scenes never lose their sense of suspense and danger.

The film’s major fault is its weak script. The events never feel personal as they are meant to. In one scene, Bond meets an old nemesis, Mr. White and the film doesn’t convey the history of the characters. The setting jumps around too often and too quickly. Globetrotting was always a part of the James Bond franchise, but it’s distracting when every other scene takes place on a different continent.

“Spectre” tries to tie the other three Craig films together with mixed success. The evil group Quantum from the movies “Casino Royale” and “Quantum,” tries to be part of SPECTRE but never explains how. Was it a front for SPECTRE? Was it a branch of SPECTRE? Did SPECTRE contract them out? The film touches on the spy groundwork relevance in an age of internet surveillance and droids which would be fine if “Skyfall” didn’t emphasizethe exact same theme.

The relationship between Bond and Dr. Swann is good, if not a little cliché; Craig and Seydoux do have appropriate chemistry. The only problem is that it doesn’t give the relationship time to develop.

“Spectre” could’ve used some work on the storyline but makes up for it with beautiful cinematography and strong performances. Bond once again proves why he has a license to kill.