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Spectre

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Just a typical day on the slopes, skiing around, gun in hand

Synopsis: Bond zips around the world to uncover the meaning of the acronym SPECTRE

Director Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig as James Bond check all of the expected items on the Bond film franchise list: sexy man, sexy woman, sexy car, villian, henchmen. Now send them careening around the world to: Europe, some godforsaken locale, and somewhere exotic (to Westerners) like Africa or Asia. Then choose a selection of: shootings, stabbings, beatings and stranglings. A variety of chase scenes are necessary: on foot, by boat, by car, by skis etc.  Plot: barely necessary.

The mission is, quite literally, to figure out what SPECTRE means and who runs it. This is a tough mission because those letters could mean anything and the name of the guy who runs it is just a pseudonym, so he could be anyone.

I watch the Bond movies primarily for the travel destinations, so I was excited when 007 had a work assignment in Mexico City. His mission to thwart a terrorist attack takes place during Dio de los Muertos which is a good excuse for him to join a parade whilst looking for the plotter(s). Daniel Craig often has an angry look on his face and I thought that he couldn’t get scarier but he does when he dons a skull mask with an Abraham Lincoln hat and pin stripe suit. He has to weave amongst the throngs in their costumes to follow a bad guy. It’s very exciting but also spooky so I thought of what I would do in Mexico City if I were there. I imagined venturing over to Coyoacan, an historic center full of architecture from hundreds of years ago. I would amble along in the shade of the trees eating a churro while 007 beat the tar out of his target. This is weird: James Bond grabs a ring from the bad guy that features an octopus icon. Like a conspiracy theory nut he immediately decides that it must mean something.

So Bond has the temerity to head to the guy’s funeral –the guy that he killed(!)– in Rome where he asks the attractive widow about the ring. She tells him that her husband belonged to a league of bad guy’s called SPECTRE and that’s their emblem.  Then they sleep together. Normally I would say that’s poor social etiquette but she is age-appropriate, so that is progress in the Bond movie world. While they are enjoying some post-funeral sex, I would find my way to the Forum and wander among the ruins of Imperial Rome in a toga-inspired frock and big movie star sunglasses taking lots of selfies.

James’ next stop in his investigation is a mountain resort area in Austria. He ends up meeting a hot doctor, the daughter of a man who tells him of the mysterious leader of SPECTRE. Unfortunately, a Google search of this bad guy wouldn’t yield any results because he uses a pseudonym. While Bond makes travel arrangements for his next stop on what seems like a wild goose chase, I would take a taxi to the nearest spa and relax in their tepidarium to get warm. (It’s a toasty room where you recline on stone lounges.)

Bond is joined on the next leg of his trip by the hot doctor. They go to Africa to

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Defying villian’s insistence that all must wear Nehru jackets to dinner

find the villian, Cristoph Waltz. No surprise because he’s shown in the trailer hitting all of his Bond villian marks. He enthusiastically welcomes Bond to his lair and reveals the depths of his madness when he starts saying, “Cuckoo” like the same-named bird. I know better than to go to a villian’s lair, invited or not, so I would stay in a luxe hotel with the AC turned up, watching episodes of Friends.

I don’t want to give away the ending, so you will have to see for yourself what happens when the action wraps up in London. I will say I was delighted to be back in the Queen’s stomping ground where I might run into Prince Harry at Nando’s. And don’t worry about James Bond. Daniel Craig seems to be a fit and stern type who wouldn’t let anything bad happen to 007 on his watch.

Movie Overview

Grade:   B

Cut to the Chase: Worth seeing for the great parade in Mexico City and the action in London.

Comedy Highlight: Cristoph Waltz’s turn as a Bond villian.

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