Bond returns to critical acclaim

IF LOOKS COULD KILL: Italian actress Bellucci (left), British actor Craig and French actress Seydoux at a photocall to promote the new James Bond film, Spectre, in London on Thursday. The 24th Bond movie premiered yesterday and received five stars from Britain's Guardian and Telegraph newspapers.


    Oct 27, 2015

    Bond returns to critical acclaim


    JAMES Bond returned to the silver screen in Spectre, at a glittering premiere yesterday in London.

    Widely praised by critics, the 24th outing of the Martini-quaffing British agent is directed by Sam Mendes and sees Daniel Craig play suave MI6 spy 007 for the fourth time.

    "I love making these films and the chance to come and make a movie after Skyfall was a huge challenge," said Craig, 47, referring to the last Bond film released in 2012 and the franchise's highest-grossing instalment.

    "You just want to move on and make a bigger and better version of the movie."

    The film's title is the acronym for the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion - a shadowy organisation bent on world domination which last made an appearance in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever.

    The organisation's members include classic Bond villains Dr No and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but the group disappeared from the films for decades due to a legal-rights dispute that was resolved only two years ago.

    "One of the most exciting parts of this movie is that we've got the chance to use that organisation and all that that brings with it," Craig told film website ScreenSlam.

    Britain's Guardian and Telegraph newspapers gave Spectre a maximum five stars, the latter praising the film's "swaggering show of confidence".

    However, the Financial Times gave it only two stars and said the film was attempting to alter the winning formula of Skyfall while "clearly being thrown into panic at the thought".

    Spectre was filmed in England, Italy, Austria, Mexico and Morocco and includes the usual Bond ingredients: high-speed chase scenes, a suave villain, sultry female leads, exciting gadgets and witty one-liners.

    The film opens with 1,500 extras dressed in carnival outfits recreating Mexico's Day Of The Dead festival, the biggest opening scene for a Bond film, long-time franchise producer Michael Wilson told Empire magazine.

    British actor Ralph Fiennes plays Bond handler and MI6 chief M and fellow Briton Naomie Harris reprises her Skyfall role as M's secretary, Eve Moneypenny.

    Italian actress and model Monica Bellucci plays Lucia Sciarra, "the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal", according to the official synopsis.

    At 51, Bellucci is reportedly the oldest "Bond Girl" - a term used to describe the attractive women featured as love interests or sidekicks in Bond films.

    France's Lea Seydoux is the main Bond Girl, Madeleine Swann, a psychologist and daughter of a former Bond villain.

    "We have the same sense of humour. There was a real complicity. Even when filming serious scenes we joked and had fun," Seydoux told British newspaper The Mail On Sunday, referring to Craig.

    "It was always that 'wink, wink' feeling between us. The chemistry was strong. I hope the audience can feel that."

    There has been speculation over Craig's future as the sixth actor to play Bond, however, after he voiced unhappiness at the prospect of doing another film - despite being contracted to do so.

    He told Time Out magazine he would rather "slash (his) wrists" than play the famous spy again, adding: "If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money."


    Spectre opens in Singapore on Nov 5.