Last night, in an emerging Wingtip tradition, members were treated to a private screening of the latest James Bond film, “Spectre.”
Guests enjoyed a medley of skewers, bruschetta, and cocktails. As expected, outfits ranged from your standard evening wear to classic Bond character renderings, such as Dr. Holly Goodhead and Emilio Largo. (For the record, your humble neighborhood journalist wore a midnight blue evening jacket with peak lapels and blue satin trim, a wing-collar tuxedo shirt, black trousers, a slim black bow tie, and a white pocket square.)
So what about the film itself?
“Spectre” may be Daniel Craig’s last outing in the tux, and the fine people at Eon Productions pulled out all the stops in terms of budget and marketing. The film is relying on non-stop product placement and advertising to recoup the $650 million dollars it needs to refill the pockets of its financial backers.To please investors, it must please film-goers, and, stylistically, “Spectre” is the spy movie you would expect. Director Sam Mendes delivers big explosions, crafty CGI, gritty action, car chases, and tailored clothing. Oddly, Mendes, who delivered a brooding Bond in “Skyfall,” leaves the substance on the floor this time around.
Despite a menacing villain (played by Christoph Waltz) and strong female characters (Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swan and Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra), the plot development feels strange, clunky, and slow. In a franchise full of casual encounters, Bond’s Act One swooning for Ms. Swan is easily one of his most inorganic dalliances. The movie even gets a little whacky in a scene where Bond “Hulks” out and breaks a pair of zip ties. If you are a fan of the spy genre and/or James Bond, then it’s a must to see the potential conclusion of the Craig-era, but if you’re a casual film goer, it won’t hurt to wait for the torrent.
Regardless of the quality of this latest Bond installment, the spirit of the character burns strong. Craig’s portrayal of our favorite double-0 will be missed. He has instilled us with a bit of everyday super agency, and rewrote Bond’s take on fine spirits. A tip of the Vesper’s to you, Craig.