By Ryan Kim ’19 and Jack Safir ’19
Ryan’s Review of Spectre:
Fifty years and 23 films ago, James Bond was only a literary character in one of Ian Fleming’s many novels about a British spy. Earlier this month, the 24th installment of the lucrative espionage franchise hit theaters. “Spectre” is the sequel to “Skyfall” (2012), the most profitable Bond film in franchise history with a final box office pull of $1.1 billion. Director Sam Mendes was brought back to direct this new chapter in the franchise after his enormous success with “Skyfall”. “Spectre”, with a budget of $250 million dollars, is the most expensive Bond film to date and also is the longest at 148 minutes.
The first hour is incredibly action packed, having scenes full of stupefying fight scenes, new character reveals and mind-bending twists and turns. However, the final act doesn’t deliver as much strength, with an underwhelming payoff of the villain’s master plan leaving something to be desired.
The film is set in several different locations throughout Europe and North Africa with Daniel Craig as James Bond tracking down the evil Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), the leader of a despicable organization seeking world domination. The sinister organization known as “Spectre” mysteriously links the villains of all the recent Bond films. “Spectre” is essentially the plot of the latest “Mission Impossible” film, “Rogue Nation”, which details the rise of a mysterious criminal syndicate with unlimited resources whose goal is to take down the American spy network.
Dedicated Bond aficionados may remember characters such as Ernst Blofeld, head of Spectre, and Oddjob, a scarily big henchmen with a deadly Frisbee hat from the day of Sean Connery’s portrayal of Bond. Elements of both Blofeld and Oddjob can be seen in the villains Oberhauser (Waltz) and the silent Mr. Hinx (David Bautista). From the jagged scar inflicted on Oberhauser to his strange pet cat, the makers of “Spectre” clearly inserted these Easter eggs for the committed fans of 007.
Overall, “Spectre” incorporates well shot action and chase sequences with a very solid script. Be sure to catch Daniel Craig in one of his last appearances as the timeless 007.
Jack’s Review of Mockingjay: Part 2
After almost four years, the “Hunger Games” saga finally comes to a close with its last installment: “Mockingjay Part 2”. The franchise has captivated international audiences ever since the first book was released in 2008. Millions of fans have been waiting to see how the story of Katniss Everdeen would come to a close. Jennifer Lawrence returns to her starring role as Katniss, along with many other beloved characters like Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Julianne Moore as Alma Coin and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee. There has been a lot of anticipation and concern for this movie, following the disappointing “Mockingjay Part 1”.
I will put your worries to rest by letting you know that this film does not disappoint. From start to finish, the film is an intense, action-packed journey that will leave fans of the books and films satisfied. As a reader of the books, I was impressed by how faithful the adaptation was to the text.
The movie starts right where Part 1 ended. Katniss and her fellow rebel’s journey to the Capitol to finally take down President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Things are more complicated now that Peeta has been rescued and brainwashed by the Capitol to believe that Katniss is his enemy. With the Capitol beginning to crumble, the Rebel group must strike while they still have a chance.
There are certain aspects of the film, however, that I felt were better in the movie than in the book. After reading the book, I didn’t feel satisfied with the ending and I wanted more out of the book. But when I walked out of the theater, I felt that the story came to an overall rewarding conclusion. The performances in this movie were great, as they always are, but I thought that Hutcherson’s performance stuck out as being great, maybe even better than the performance given by Lawrence.
“Mockingjay Part 2”’s sometimes uninteresting plot and dry scenes could have taken away from the overall quality of the movie, but its strong cast and faithfulness to the book make it extremely entertaining, and a worthy finale to the “Hunger Games” saga.