Coming after Skyfall, which, in my opinion is one of, if not the best Bond movie, Sam Mendes had a hard act to follow, and does it get it right?
Bond is a delicate balance of action, babes, crazy stunts, and he has been doing this whilst looking totally unflustered with nary a strand of hair out of place. Daniel Craig's Bond changes this, and attempts to put together a more raw Bond, which is more Bourne than traditional Bond. But Sam Mendes is also keen to avoid alienating the traditionalist and there in lies the downfall.
I always admire the impossible stunts, filmed in exotic locations with the most beautiful women in the world. There is a certain misogyny, a certain political incorrectness that just adds spice to the show.
Yet, despite an abundance of all of the above, I guess there is a little fatigue or perhaps it is truly due to the high standards set by Skyfall, that leads to the, well, downfall of this outing.
Bear in mind though, it's still very entertaining fair, and I will still recommend it, or even buy the Blu Ray when it becomes less expensive. However the main Bond girl is not really that hot, and despite her age, Monica Belluci is still smoking hot, which does not say a lot about the choice of a young French actress in this coveted role.
Eva Green or even Gemma Atherton were highly impressive, Brit, and sassy, whereas Michelle Yeoh simply kicked ass. So relatively speaking, the girls in this outing are simply not impressive.
There is more humour, and Q does have more screen time, and he does an admirable job with plenty of chemistry with Bond. The new M is not bad, perhaps due to his need to maintain the stiff upper lip, the repertoire of expression and acting is necessarily limited or stunted.
And the villain, in the form of Christopher Waltz, is still sublime, albeit a shade less than the frightful and imposing Javier Badem. Using IT as a villain has been done by Pryce before, but having a physical evil boss always feels more solid.
The gadgets count has gone up, but that is compared to the pathetic numbers used in the last few outings, and pales in comparison to the older Bond movies.
We miss the beautiful cinematography of the previous film director Roger Deakins, and whilst technically the colours are wonderful, the subtle touch is missing and we know that Roger is no longer behind the lens.
There is plenty of surround action, and certainly this will be a demo-worthy BR discs, so do consider it, and I will too when the price is right.