Let’s clear this up right away – James Bond movies aren’t aimed at kids. But with a collection of Young James Bond novels introducing the world’s most famous fictional spy to a new generation, chances are there are quite a few pre-teens and teens who are as excited about 007’s latest outing as others are about the latest Avengers extravaganza (plus, James looks much better in a suit than those guys).
And while S.P.E.C.T.R.E does contain plenty of nods to previous Bond adventures (it’s a direct sequel to 2012’s Skyfall but also references the other Daniel-Craig-as-Bond movies Quantum Of Solace and Casino Royale), it is also the most accessible of the recent movies for younger audiences – it’s not as dark as Skyfall, nor as ‘adult’ as Casino Royale – and makes for a terrific introduction to the British spy (there is a little caveat to that, however – see the ‘Scary Moments’ note below).
Beginning with a dazzling sequence in Mexico City during the Day Of The Dead that involves explosions, impressive helicopter action and a stunning shot of Craig as Bond walking along the rooftops, the adventure then takes in London, Rome, Austria and Tangiers as Bond investigates a sinister terrorist and spying consortium that has links to his previous foes. He also has to dodge his bosses in London who are now under the control of a new, slick politician (Andrew Scott, annoyingly chewing the scenery) who thinks using technology to spy on everyone is the way forward and that James Bond and his fellow ‘double-0s’ are obsolete.
As you’d expect, Craig gives another sterling performance as James and in this instalment gets some juicier, wittier dialogue to play with. Even better, spy boss M (Fiennes) and gadget guru Q (Whishaw) get much more to do than in previous outings – Fiennes even getting an action sequence that makes you hope for a ‘M’ spin-off film. Of course, for their roles to be beefed up, others have to suffer, and Monica Bellucci’s turn as an Italian bed partner for James is all too brief and rather pointless, while henchman Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista) only gets a moment to shine (a great sequence on a train) before being relegated to silent thug in the background.
Seydoux, as the main damsel in distress, has more to do, but once Craig shares the screen with the movie’s main baddie (Waltz, managing amusing and nasty in the same breath) she just becomes a pretty but forgettable part of the surroundings as well.
With a slightly slow start (after our foray to Mexico), a rather bizarre opening credits sequence (sexy octopus anyone?) and one of the worst Bond theme songs ever (sorry Sam Smith, but it makes A-Ha’s ‘The Living Daylights’ sound like a blooming masterpiece), this isn’t a perfect slice of Bond. But with wit, action, stunning locations and terrific performances from Craig, Fiennes and Whishaw, it’s nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable adventure that should delight ‘classic Bond’ fans and enchant a whole new generation of cinemagoers.
Is SPECTRE suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is rated a 12A certificate for ‘moderate violence, threat’ so may not be suitable for children under the age of 10.
The brief sex scenes do not involve nudity and are not explicit. There is some mild bad language.
Parents should note that James is often in peril and there are fights, action sequences and weapons throughout the movie.
Younger viewers may be upset when a character is tortured towards the end of the movie as the method involves a sharp needle aimed at the face.
A character shoots himself in the head but it is not shown directly on screen.
**There is also a scene in which a character’s eyes are gouged out. The assailant presses his thumbs into the victim’s eyes and blood is seen. This is probably the most upsetting scene in the film – it occurs during the meeting at a villa in Italy (just in case you want to tell a child to close their eyes and not look!)