An unofficial mission from his deceased boss, M, finds James Bond embroiled in a conspiracy involving a global criminal organisation called ‘Spectre’, led by a terrifyingly mysterious man. After promising to protect the daughter of a former enemy, Bond discovers that some of the people from his past were either victims or members of Spectre and that he may be their next victim. Knowing that his trust can only lie with a small group of people, he travels the globe to discover the truth of Spectre and put a stop to their evil which seems to infiltrate the whole world.

Spectre (2015) – Director: Sam Mendes

Is Spectre appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 148 mins

Starring: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz

Genre: Action, Thriller

REVIEW

‘Spectre’ serves as Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as the super spy James Bond and the twenty-fourth in the overall series following 007’s exploits. This time, Bond becomes the target of Spectre, the sinister and secretive criminal organisation which seemingly has operatives everywhere. There a plenty of references to previous Bond films and the touches relating to M – the loss the Bond clearly feels and his loyalty to her – are poignant but thankfully not overly emotional but the fact that her death has affected him brings a very welcome and somewhat rare humanity to the otherwise cold and calculating Bond.

Where ‘Spectre’ falls down is its lack of character depth to anyone other than Bond. His dealings with his trusted friends never portray a particularly deep attachment to them and the connections he makes with new characters (both good and bad) are forced and rushed; the audience are told to feel a certain way rather than naturally coming to the realisation themselves. However, the movie is otherwise excellent and the exciting (and sometimes brutal) action scenes alone are worth the price of the cinema ticket.

‘Spectre’ ticks all the boxes for a great spy thriller and continues to bring the character and James Bond’s globetrotting adventures into the 21st Century and although it struggles to actualise its characters, it doesn’t disappoint as both a Bond film or as a movie in its own right.

IS ‘SPECTRE’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The movie opens with a ‘Day of the Dead’ celebration which includes close-ups of fake but realistic skeletons and skulls. Many people are dressed as skeletons and wear masks that could be quite frightening for young children.

The Bond theme is unsurprisingly filled with images of naked or scantily clad women. Nudity is covered with shadow or the tentacles of an octopus. Bond is also shown to be topless while several women stroke his chest.

A woman walks through her house and, as the camera is pointed directly at her, the audience can see that two men are lying in wait for her but she is completely unaware. The two men are there to murder her and, just as they raise their guns, she realises, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes as she waits to be killed.

The strongest moment of violence is during the ‘Spectre’ meeting which Bond sneaks into during the first third of the movie. A man is attacked and has his eyes pushed into his skull by a very calm but aggressive man. The attackers’ thumbs are shown pushing into the man’s closed eyes for around 5 seconds as the victim’s face grimaces and contorts in pain. Although he doesn’t cry out, he does make a few gasping and grunting noises. The camera then switches to behind the victims’ head and as he pulls away, the attackers’ thumbs drip with blood. The man’s face is seen briefly with black holes where his eyes should be. This happens in front of hundreds of onlookers who watch silently and uncaring with no-one stepping in to stop this horrific act of violence. This is likely to be distressing for most kids and, as it is unexpectedly violent, we believe that most parents will not want their children to see this.

A man shoots himself in the head and although the camera doesn’t show anything too graphic, it is a little disturbing; a man nearby who sees what’s happening doesn’t react in any way and clearly doesn’t care. A few minutes later, the man’s body is seen from a distance of several metres in the same position as when he died and large crows peck at his face; again, nothing overly graphic is seen here. A video of this is shown later in the movie in order to upset another character.

A young woman gets drunk and sits on a bed, she makes it clear to a man in the room that she won’t let him take advantage of her and he makes no move to try to persuade her otherwise.

There is a very tense and brutal fight onboard a train. This involves Bond and a very large, violent assailant. Bond is hit hard several times and despite his best efforts, he struggles to get the upper hand; this fight lasts for around five minutes and although it is very exciting, it may be frightening for some children.

One character is strapped to a chair in order to be tortured. He has previously been knocked unconscious and, as he comes to, he hears another character talking about disembowelment. The torture consists of thin drills which enter his skull in various places. He groans and cries out in pain each time, after the first time the drill is seen pulling out of the man’s head, dripping with blood and a small bloody wound is seen on his face.

A character is badly injured and has a large gruesome gash on their face which has blinded them in one eye. The wound is regularly shown in graphic detail although the character does not seem to suffer any pain from it.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Daniel Craig’s Bond has seen some of the best movies in the Bond franchise and ‘Spectre’ is no exception. With lots of exciting action, this movie manages to balance the usual Bond staples as well as being a great stand-alone film, even for those who aren’t die-hard Bond fans. Although the unsuitable content isn’t strong all the way through, there are a few moments which could be disturbing or distressing for a lot of kids. We therefore do not recommend this movie for kids aged under 10 and would recommend caution for those who struggle with realistic and often cruel violence.

  • Violence: 4/5 (a lot of gun violence where unknown henchmen are killed quickly with some non-graphic blood spurts. The scene where the man has his eyes pushed in is the strongest instance of violence)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (a scene in a log cabin is very tense; Bond doesn’t know whether anyone is there and, as there are many places for someone to hide, he is at a disadvantage so could easily be killed. The filming and soundtrack add to the atmosphere in this scene)
  • Sexual Content: 3/5 (as might be expected of any Bond movie, there are several scenes which imply casual physical intimacy although this is not graphic)     
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (some infrequent moderate cursing and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (references to killings, assassins and innuendo)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of trusting and believing in the right people, fighting against evil even if the chance of failure is high, putting one’s life at risk for the greater good, revenge and going against the authorities if needed.

Words by Laura Record

Spectre


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