THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a massive James Bond fan. Last week I put work first so had to wait till today to watch the latest in the Bond franchise and what a wait it's been.
This morning I didn't have the usual excitement I normally have and as I sat in the seat of the IMAX cinema I felt like I might be coming to the end of my 007 obsession. How prophetic that thought was...
If you're expecting to watch a traditional Bond film this may not be for you.
After the obligatory gun barrel opener the film started like no other with a child on screen. I cannot remember any other Bond film that featured a child speaking and it threw me a little. If it hadn't been for the gun barrel you could be mistaken for thinking you were watching any other film.
The first action sequence which led to the famous title sequence did not disappoint and I felt like Bond was back. Craig's acting style had noticeably changed as a softer 'non work Bond' which suited the character and plot.
The title sequence included a lovely nod to 'Dr No' with the coloured dots and also references to OHMSS. It was beautifully put together and the films title theme was very fitting.
This does not feel like a traditional Bond film at all. Whilst there are Bond elements it feels like something that would happen behind the scenes and in-between missions. Craig's input has developed Bond from a single mission per film to an ongoing and developing story which was only ever going to end one way really.
What do I love about Bond films? What ingredients need to go into a film to make it a winner for me?
I was very pleased to see three Aston Martin's in the film and the DB5 did not disappoint but I would have liked to have seen some more modern gadgets on it.
Gadgets in the film are few and far between and from memory there was just a watch which was a real shame but I assume they felt this film wasn't about that.
Matera in southern Italy steals the show at the start and for me its the nicest of all the locations in the film.
The score is another really important part of the film for me and I had really enjoyed Thomas Newman's work after David Arnold. This score by Hans Zimmer seemed flat and lacked all the musical characteristics I love about the score harping back to the days of John Barry. The lack of strings and brass was really evident but the inclusion of the OHMSS score and "We have all the time in the world" was a nice touch.
The set design at the important times in the plot was splendid and the return of a submarine theme was nice.
The constant nod to Ken Adam's original and iconic design was evident and made me feel at home.
For me this is Craig's best performance as Bond. It's outstanding and his intensity really draws you in. I struggled with Rami Malek. I still see him as Freddie Mercury and whilst his acting was faultless he still didn't draw me in like Silver and other more recent Bond villains. I could watch Christoph Waltz and the other lead cast all day long. The female cast were also excellent with Lashana Lynch playing 007 for a lot of the film.
EON Productions have confirmed that James Bond will return but the ending of the film seems very final. I am not sure how we're meant to believe that he survives the final scene.
More importantly is there a future for a character like him anymore without changing Fleming's Bond so much that he is is a shadow of his written self?
At this point I have to comment briefly on what I loved about Bond and how and why I don't think he has a future on the silver screen.
I fell in love with Ian Fleming's Bond as a teenager in the mid 90's. When I was discovering girls he was the role model in a way but in 2021 he is a dinosaur. His views on women for one are out dated and terrible and no financial backer could ever allow that to continue in a progressive and inclusive modern society. So where does that leave the character? Can he still be Fleming's Bond letting the women drive the cars? Can he still be Bond being equal to women, not smoking and gambling? Flying all over the world when we're trying to reduce carbon emissions?
I don't think so....and for that reason I don't see a future for him and maybe the Producers feel the same?
The ending of James Bond would be devastating for me but its also important to me that the films still capture Fleming's original character.
What are your thoughts?