It’s been a while since we sat in an uncomprehending stupor for more than two hours.
The first such coma was occasioned by French I our first semester of college. Word order, conjugations, passé composé, pronunciation and être washed over and around as we stared, head to one side, at the instructor like an infant gazing at a shiny object.
More recently (the day before yesterday) the trigger was “Spectre,” the latest James Bond movie. Even if you offered us $1 million we could not tell you who was shooting whom, why we were in Mexico, Rome, Austria and Tangier and what the heck had happened to Christoph Waltz’s acting ability.
Oh, come on: it couldn’t be that bad.
No. It’s worse. Here’s the story: There’s a new M, but Bond (Daniel Craig) receives a posthumous secret message from the old M (Judi Dench) that causes him to go to Mexico City, blow up a building with people in it and risk the lives of several hundred people in the plaza, which gets him in trouble with the new M (Ralph Fiennes), who happens to be in a power struggle with C (Andrew Scott), who wants to close down the 00 Section and create a global surveillance and intelligence uber agency. Meanwhile, Bond is sent for a briefing by Q, who introduces 007 to his new rigged out car, which he uses to chase down Mr. White, who is a former member of Quantum, which is a subsidiary of Spectre, which is overseen by Oberhauser (Waltz), who has taken the name Blofeld (still Waltz) and has negative feelings toward Bond because a) Bond is trying to disrupt Blofeld/Oberhauser’s plan to take over the world with the able assistance of C and b) Blofeld/Oberhauser’s father, Hannes, took Bond in decades ago when Bond was an orphan, thus supplanting Blofeld/Oberhauser who took the rather questionable step of killing his own dad.
Got all that?
On the bright side, the women are gorgeous — especially Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci — and the special effects are stupendous.
On the dark side, the opening number is stupid and the theme song, “Writing’s on the Wall,” is the worst in the history of Bondage.
Bring back “Goldfinger.”