I’ll keep it brief: The newest Bond movie was better than most of those produced over the past 30 years, but not as as good as 2006’s “Casino Royale”. This gadget free Bond was packed with action but a thin story, a boring villain and “not enough Bond” left me a little flat. As another review aptly cited, the close quarter fight scenes and frenetic car chases were more James Bourne, than Bond.
I suspect Daniel Craig was able to easily memorize his lines as I’d estimate he spoke no more than 10 pages of script in a film bursting with action but short on compelling plot lines. Gone are the witty and smart exchanges between him and Casino’s “Vesper” and it its place we find the shiny new, but whiny and forgettable Bond girl “Camile”. Let’s put it this way–I had to look up her name on the 007 website. After two hours in the theater, her name escaped me.
Likewise as bland was the new Bond nemesis who’s name I again failed to remember and is frankly not worthy of a simple Google search. It’s no secret that you’re only as good as your “bad guy” (see: Darth Vader). Limp-wristed and sleepy. ‘Nuff said.
Finally, let’s not offer any free passes to what was clearly the most horrific and disturbing moment of the film. The opening theme song by Jack White and Alicia Keyes. I find it perfect justice that two of the most over-rated “talents” in pop music have joined forces to create what is a dreadful, forgettable Bond theme. It’s hard to say what I hated most about this song. I suspect Jack White’s oh-so-hip, “stripped down” production is mostly at fault here as the music sounded like a rough draft in need of a final mastering. But this is a Bond movie after all–we expect and want high gloss production. And when compared to Chris Cornell’s Bond masterpiece “You Know My Name,” White’s “Another Way To Die” track was doomed from the get-go. But beyond simply being a train wreck, the song actually made me angry it was so bad.
Review: a frustrating 6.5 Stars Out Of 10. I liked the film but after one viewing, I’m simply done with it. But perhaps more telling–I just finished watching Steve Carell in “Get Smart” and while I admit it’s apples and oranges, I simply enjoyed that ride more.
03/24/15 and a compelling update: Six years later, I stumbled across Jack and Alicia’s performance late one night while channel surfing. Shocking as it may seem, the song and more specifically–Jack’s sloppy production–was seemingly worse than I recalled.
Jack: “OK, one more time Alicia and this time let’s try it in the same key. No? Meh. We’ll just use the take we have in the can. Lunchtime. I’m buying!”