Sat. Feb 4th, 2023

“Where are the goddamn rabbit ramps around here?”

As fun as James Bond movies can be, they usually suffer from some serious leaps in logic and other half-baked plot setups. The hasty explanation of advanced spy or hacking technology; the random shooting accuracy of various heroes and villains; the supposedly strong-willed women who fall for 007 with a martini. They’re all series staples, what Ghostthe 24th feature film in the series, also adheres to it.

We swallow that stuff in a Bond movie because we expect scenery and action sequences as smooth, sleek and stunning as the actors who bring them to life, and Ghost nails those too. Big buildings pop, sexy cars pop and Daniel Craig’s effortless 007 cool makes hearts swoon.

But we wouldn’t go so far as to call this a series highlight, which is particularly unfortunate given that the film’s conceit – and even its name – recalls an attempt to tie up some of Bond’s loose ends. to tie together. The problem with this Bond film is that it teases big fanboy payouts but falls short.

C and MB plot

The series said goodbye to Dame Judi Dench in 2012 Skyfallbut although she has since handed over her duties as M to actor Ralph Fiennes, her character appears briefly in Ghostearly stages – and as a result sets the rest of the plot in motion.

Dench’s M left a last request for Bond that he discovered upon her passing: kill a mysterious Italian mobster and then attend his funeral. The film opens with Craig’s Bond walking through a busy Dia De Los Muertos parade in Mexico City to do just that, passing beautiful, ancient stone architecture and beautifully costumed dancing crowds as he sets off on foot in search of the mysterious Sciarra.

This opening scene is one of the best in recent action movie memory. It sees director Sam Mendes build tension with beautifully lit and arranged shots of giant, bustling streets that Bond Sciarra chases through before finally boarding – and exchanging fists in a helicopter hurtling over the thousands-strong crowd.

Bond gets what he wants, but he comes home to a hapless M who admonishes Bond for the chaotic scene: “You blew up half a goddamn block!” “Better than an entire stadium,” Bond replies, but is still punished with an indefinite suspension of his service. This confirms the film’s painfully weak premise: that a new, data-hungry initiative led by a man codenamed C (played by Andrew Scott) has been set in motion with the ambition to bring the entire double-O program of MI-6 to replace. with accurate satellite imagery, constant audio surveillance and weapon-powered drones.

The film’s B-plot, which continues as Bond sneaks out of his bedroom window to save the world, is mostly about C and M going head-to-head over the moral implications of an all-out spy state. M calls it “Orwell’s nightmare” and stinks of the human nature required for such world-saving efforts: “You have to look [bad guys] in the eyes and call. A license to kill is also a license not Never mind that in almost every Bond movie, in one way or another, the “good guys” have been given full access to unwarranted, unapproved surveillance and espionage technologies. No, now the whole idea of ​​it is creepy.

It’s a harder detail to laugh off than, say, the flamethrower-powered Aston Martin Bond eventually pilots, because this surveillance argument, and C’s blatantly telegraphed descent into power-hungry madness, wrap the entire movie in a suffocating bear hug. The best break from that problem is that the film’s scenery so often steals the show. That’s certainly the case in the action sequences, including one night chase between Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 and that of a villain Jaguar C-X75 through the cobbled streets of Rome bathed in dim street lights and vast expanses of dark night skies, and a snowy mountain chase between giant jeeps and a propeller plane.

Impressively, Mendes eschews frequent, jarring cuts and edits, the kind used to exaggerate a blow or a sharp turn. In the field of cinematography, Ghost really respects its viewers, either by making room for gigantic landscapes and expansive shots in action sequences, or by slowing down to show viewers beautifully lit architecture, expansive mountain and desert vistas, and immaculately decorated interiors.

“The Author of All Your Pain”

MGM Studios

However, the same cannot be said of the plot. In addition to the stubborn protests against espionage, Ghost also absolutely miscasts Christoph Waltz as the film’s main villain. Waltz’s ability for self-restraint and expressing threats through polite smiles is in full effect here – and if the character had been written differently, we’d absolutely love his performance – but the mean ambitions we eventually learn just don’t match the performance seen. in this movie.

The man who describes himself as “the author of all your pain” comes across as more like an exasperated guidance counselor than the architect of an age-old, sinister conspiracy. Besides, we’ll never really appreciate the plot that eventually unfolds, or at least appreciate it as this long-running cancer in Bond’s past. Thanks to the film’s use of the word Specter – the name of the shadowy organization referenced in the years of the 007 series – it’s no spoiler to say that this film’s evil has obvious ties to previous entries, but this year’s movie passes any attempt to tie the series neatly referenced past moments. Instead, the script just sums up a few old elements during the inevitable “villain tells Bond his evil plan” monologue, as if hearing a single familiar name count as knowledge building or fan service.

We would have preferred the subtle, understated Waltz cast as C. Andrew Scott is intoxicatingly smug, but ends up playing his role as C a little too sharply. I’m full of BS.” Craig, to his credit, holds the show together with an entertaining Bond performance – meaning he comes across as equal parts charming and stone-faced, witty and pained, but you won’t walk away while you something particularly steely or hilarious about his turn. .

We’re not sure the 007 franchise handlers are quite sure what to do with Ralph Fiennes’ M, a character who, as written in Ghost, seems to be mostly bored with having a desk job (and having to pretend he hates technologically charged espionage). Fiennes takes that out on viewers with a performance that’s more fastidious than compelling. Ben Whishaw deserves credit for elevating Q’s character to bona fide sidekick status, at least (though, man, does he underperform in terms of cool gadgets), while lead actress Lea Seydoux gives an emotionally charged, believably preoccupied performance — at least, until she nonsensically changes to “I love you, James” towards the end.

Really, we had a good time with many of them Ghost, even with parts of the drone protests, but we wish we could go back in time and be in the movie for about an hour and a half. The film’s final descent, both plot-wise and into an overwrought “get out before the bomb explodes” climax sequence, is turbulent in all the wrong ways. We recommend that moviegoers drink so much cola at the start of the movie that they have to go to the bathroom by the time. Ghost unravels.

Ghost is in US cinemas from November 6.

By akfire1

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