REVIEW: Spectre – Shaken and stirred in all the right ways

Released a few days short of October 31st, and coincidentally the dates of Mexico’s ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, it was only fitting that the jam packed 150 minute action adventure pre-opened with a scene set in the midst of exactly that.

Daniel Craig as James Bond for the final time, jumped into action for his last instalment and gripped the audience instantly to the sound of the festival’s euphoric drum beat.

True to tradition, the scene jumped to the credits and Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s on the wall’, the original theme song created solely for this purpose, before continuing. The record did not fit the film and if it were to be played out of context, the listeners would not have made the connection. Although a chart topper, it is definitely one of the lesser tunes in the Bond sequence, especially in comparison to Adele’s ‘Skyfall’.

Sam Mendes’ second outing at directing had a benchmark to withhold after the success of the latest film. However, his repute continues as box office records were unsurprisingly broken in the films first week of release, with takings of more than £41m.

Mendes went back to basics with the film, ensuring an action packed plot throughout the running time rather than drifting off and confusing viewers like under Marc Forster directing. However, modern twists, including the new Aston Martin DB10 and Monica Bellucci (the oldest Bond girl to date), were incorporated to keep the film up to date despite its traditional elements.

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Despite the marketing hype of the [then] 50 year old revolutionising 007, she only existed within the film for a short 5-10 minute scene and Bond later replaced her with younger, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann. Therefore, Bond romanced an older woman rather than a ‘girl’, purely to appeal to more contemporary viewers, for a short period anyway.

Pleasing the younger generation was Ben Whishaw as cutting edge developer and introvert Q, who took up a larger role than usual in Spectre, by reluctantly joining Bond in the field in an attempt to save the day from villain Christoph Waltz.

Waltz played the most perfect, yet dreaded, Oberhauser, ensuing that Bond’s past came back to haunt him. Joining together the dots from Bonds previous missions, he revealed his role and ensuring gasps from the shockingly enlightened audience.

This is an important lesson to us all, although the audience may not go about creating a solution in the same way.

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Strong action hero Craig has grown into the character of 007 in his humour, flirtatious charm and mannerisms, and will therefore be a tough act to follow. His role came full circle at the end of the film, with him returning to the front seat of DB5.

Like Bond’s iconic vodka martini, the audience were shaken and stirred in all the right ways, making Spectre spectacular, but with a name so close to the description, it was set up to be a success from the beginning.

Rae Coppola

* I do not take credit for any of the images.

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Ant-Man 3D (2015): A Small Superhero for the Small AgesF

IMDb presents a rating of 8/10 stars, a number usually hard to obtain. This means that albeit film critics worrying the masses, Marvel studios is guar-ant-eed to not disappoint.

Before even venturing out the house, I laughed at the concept of a superhero named Ant-Man, and having not seen the trailer, nor read the comics, I assumed it was an ironic title. How I was wrong.

Incorporating humour, action, and drama into a family friendly 117 minutes, the film is a combination to be reckoned with. For children, parents, and young teenagers anyway. Being a student, I found the film predictable and ant-icipated the majority of the plot, proving that it’s intended audience must have been a younger demographic. The film is simplistic and easy to follow – the phrase “Marvel for kids” springs to mind. Regardless, it was still enjoyable, especially when seen at the cinemas using a Meerkat Movies two for one code.

Being short-sighted and the type of person that commonly forgets her glasses because she thinks she only needs them for driving, perhaps seeing Ant-Man in 3D from the very back of the cinema wasn’t the best of ideas. I’m sure I did not get the same experience of things coming out of the screen that everyone else did, without squinting slightly anyway. Even without the latter Ant-Man was a surprising watch.

The films formula differs from the usual Marvel films, with protagonist Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con, partaking in so-called heists in an attempt to save the world from the ant-agonists ant-ics. The cast seem to openly mock the fact that Ant-Man is not quite an Avenger and is in fact just a clever cat-burglar that caught a break, by illuminating that his powers of switching scale but maintaining strength are simply down to a special suit. This no doubt categorises it as one of the more unique superhero films.

The audience connects with the films characters with ease, noting how the suits inventor Dr. Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) was ant-agonised due to knowing the tricks of the trade and therefore being more than capable, but not being able to be the one to wear the costume to bring justice to the world. As well as the storyline of how Lang would do anything, including breaking the law, for daughter Cassie, despite his child support fuelled access issues. After gall-ant efforts Scott emerges a hero to his daughter and Hope is presented with her own shrinking suit, resulting in a pleas-ant ending to the film, all the while leaving enough open-ended questions to suggest a potential sequel.

The number of “ant’s” in this review is 13, just like how the film was unlucky for me. Try it out for yourself in a cinema near you, and let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

Rae Coppola