Manero

Fun, Great Fun

By: José Manuel Simián

"You're a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond," retorts a character during a key scene in Spectre, the latest 007 film. And the quote encapsulates both everything that's great about the film, as well as everything we've come to expect from the franchise: more hurricane, more impossible and stylish dancing in defiance of it. 

The style of Spectre comes from the capable hands of Sam Mendes, who has become the first director since the Timothy Dalton days to be in charge of two consecutive films of the franchise. And if in Skyfall Mendes focused on the darkness of the Bond character, favoring dimly lit scenes and psychoanalyzing 007 with a trip to his childhood home and making him fight for the love of his not-so-symbolic mommy (M, played by Judi Dench) with prodigal-son-turned-super-villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), everything in Spectre goes the opposite direction. There is more light in the cinematography, more air between the scenes and even during the fight scenes. And while some of the plot is still guided by psychoanalytic drama (mommy issues become daddy ones here, hilariously suggesting that the whole Bond saga is nothing more than a dysfunctional family tale seasoned with Martinis and chase scenes), the whole mix is more effective and true to the Bond DNA than the last time around.

Not that there was anything wrong with the Freudian overtones and Bond-gadget fetishism of Skyfall: it was an interesting pit stop for the franchise, but Spectre focuses on the fun and diversion of what it means to be Bond, without turning into that guy at a cocktail party who tries to list every book he's ever read before you can go grab another beer. Some of the best scenes in Spectre are nothing but visual joy, from the exciting opening chase in Mexico City to the all-white, almost surreal cemetery scene with Monica Bellucci and the consequent seduction of the newly-minted widow. And even when the shots veer into National Geographic territory, as when we see the train that carries Bond and his sidekick-cum-love-interest with a Proustian name (was that necessary?) Dr. Madeline Swann (Léa Seydoux) slowly curving through the Northern African desert, it reminds us that Bond is more about the trip than the destination.


What? You want to hear about the plot, too? Sure: MI-6 is under attack from the British government and they want to kill the double-0 program (again). Bond is going rogue and breaking all the rules but you have the sneaking suspicion that he may be proven right all along (again). He drives his Aston Martin DB5 (again). He's fighting evil organization Spectre and white-cat-stroking super-villain Blofeld (again). Bond may fall in love and may consider quitting his profession (again). He travels through different countries and sleeps with more than one woman (again). He destroys cars, helicopters, planes and buildings (again). He introduces himself and orders his vodka Martini in his signature style (again). And most of the other bits of plot make very little sense (again), but it's all so much fun that once you're done with it, you might want to watch it all over, again.

LOGISTICS: Spectre, in theaters November 6

José Manuel Simián is the Executive Editor of Manero. He used to be a lawyer and is probably listening to Bob Dylan as you read this.