Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
|Featuring:||Daniel Craig … James Bond
Monica Bellucci … Lucia Sciarra
Léa Seydoux … Madeleine Swann
Christoph Waltz … Franz Oberhauser
Ralph Fiennes … M
Dave Bautista … Mr. Hinx
Ben Whishaw … Q
Stephanie Sigman … Estrella
Naomie Harris … Eve Moneypenny
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|Director:||Sam Mendes—“American Beauty” (1999), “Road to Perdition” (2002), “Revolutionary Road” (2008)|
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|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures|
“The name is Bond. James Bond.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is back in the latest installment of the hit franchise with “Spectre.” On unofficial business in Mexico, Bond gets himself in trouble right away after he narrowly escapes with his life and kills two assassins. However, “M” (Ralph Fiennes) suspends him for acting without explicit orders. After collecting a clue, Bond knows that the two assassins he killed had much planned for the future… but what?
Bond receives a cryptic message from his past which leads him on the trail to unveiling a secret organization. Of course, Bond cannot go without a female cohort, named Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who also has a form of connection to both sides of the story. Thrills, chills, action, and loads of suspense fill this near 2½ hour film as Bond once again risks his life to prevent evil from overcoming the world.
“Spectre” is a fun, but flawed film. It struggles with a weak script and some of the casting choices are questionable, as the characters slowly developed. Sam Mendes proves to be a solid director and the action sequences are nothing short of suspenseful. The cinematography is the highlight of the film, as Hoyte van Hoytema guides us through the great peril Bond faces bringing us right into the action. The action sequences are well-done, and the art direction and props are well organized, adding much more realism to the film. Daniel Craig delivers a solid performance, but “Spectre” lacks originality and relies much too heavily on previous Bond material. It is a good film, but is definitely a step or two below “Skyfall” in terms of production quality.
Surprisingly enough, though, the objective content is not as bad as I expected and even bit lighter than the content contained within “Skyfall.” But this does not mean that this film is family-friendly. As expected, there is some sexual content on display with the opening title sequence being the most sensual, as lots of skin is on display, women are seen caressing a shirtless Bond, and private areas are obscured by shadows. Bond is seen shirtless a few times, and it is implied that he has sex with two different women. However, the scenes cut short once they begin to disrobe each other. A woman is seen wearing stockings and a negligee, and other women wear low cut, form-fitting dresses. There are a few moments of passionate kissing, and Bond nearly has sex with a third woman, but stops short after they begin to kiss. A man is seen in an unmarried woman’s bed.
The language is not as harsh as one may expect, as there are only three S-words, and a handful of other milder obscenities including h*ll, a**, and b**tard. There is one crude term used for the male anatomy and God’s and Jesus’ names are abused twice each.
Of course, there is plenty of action violence, as there are multiple, brutal hand to hand combat scenes including broken bones and characters being nearly strangled to death. We see loads of characters go flying (literally)—sometimes with disastrous results. There is tons of gun play which includes some blood and some gruesome wounds. One character has a bloody scar on one half of his face after an explosion. The most brutal and disturbing moments come when an assassin gouges out a man’s eyes and another has small needles drilled into his head as he screams and writhes in pain. Characters get tossed out of cars and trains, car chases (including a helicopter and plane) and explosions happen frequently, and we see multiple characters fall to their death. ***SPOILER*** A character commits suicide (off-screen), and it is later replayed on video. ***END SPOILER***
Some wine and champagne are consumed on screen, including the consumption of some hard liquor. A character gets drunk.
So, James Bond once again has to save the day. Sure, he cares about the safety of his friends and loved ones, but he also disrespects and disobeys authority. Hebrews 13:17 (ESV) says “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Although Bond may be the hero, he still appears to be a bit arrogant and prideful in this fourth outing. Bond nearly dies on a number of occasions, yet does not seem to see anything wrong with his corrupt and immoral lifestyle. As the franchise is known for, it is not a Bond film unless there is lust and sexual immorality.
“Spectre” may be one of the “safer” Bond choices out there, but I must stress that I do not recommend this film for any audience due to its harsh violence and displays of sexual content. For a PG-13 rating, the language is not very harsh. But sadly, the writers had to throw in some Biblical profanity. This is definitely not the best installment in the Bond franchise, but it is still an enticing action flick that should please any action/adventure film fan. The sexual content may be more mild than previous films, as well, but that still does not mean that those moments of sensuality on display are not problematic. I strongly encourage you to keep younger audiences away from this film, as they should not be exposed to such mature and harsh content. Things may turn out well for Bond… or maybe not… but in the long run “Spectre” is just another day in the life of agent 007. A day full of violence, sex, and rebellion.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” —Romans 12:19
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.