A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Spectre, the 24th entry in the James Bond franchise (and the fourth starring Daniel Craig), continues in its recent predecessors' bloody tradition, high on both violence/thrills and excitement. Expect plenty of the adrenaline-fueled action sequences (shoot-outs, chases, explosions, etc.) that signify a Bond film, as well as some cringe-inducing moments (a man's eyes are gouged, someone drills into another's brain) and a suicide by gunshot. The movie touches on the topic of adoption/foster families (references to Bond's foster brother being angry about Bond's relationship with the other boy's biological dad). There's also some swearing (including "s--t"), though nothing too over-the-top, as well as plenty of innuendo, kissing, and groping, as is always the case with Bond. And, of course, there's the classic martini (shaken, not stirred), and the requisite product placement for everything from Aston Martin cars to Omega watches.
What's the story?
In SPECTRE -- the 24th installment of the James Bond franchise, Daniel Craig reprises his role as Agent 007. This time, Bond is seeking to avenge the death of his mentor, the former M (Judi Dench), whose death Bond still can't shake. His nemesis (Christoph Waltz) this time around appears to be the head of a criminal organization called Spectre, with whom Bond shares a past. Meanwhile, the new M (Ralph Fiennes) is fighting against an MI6 top gun who wants to scrape the entire double-0 enterprise. To get to his enemies, Bond decides to reach out to the daughter (Lea Seydoux) of another baddie -- but she may actually wind up having more of an influence on him.
Is it any good?
Time and again, the folks behind the Bond franchise prove they can put together a fine cast and (to crib from another franchise) fast and furious action. This time, Seydoux and the brilliant Waltz are added to a proven mix that includes Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris (as quartermaster Q and Moneypenny, respectively). And the many action sequences offer plenty of thrills, which almost justify the movie's overlong run time. (The opening sequence is vintage brilliant Bond.) Seydoux and Craig have great chemistry, and she gets a little bit, though not much, more to do here than Bond women of yore. Is Spectre as good as its immediate predecessor, Skyfall, which was much more emotional in many ways? Not quite, but it's still plenty of fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
What makes James Bond "cool"? Is it his skills? His attitude? Do you consider him a role model? What makes him so appealing (and enduring) in general? How different is he from the villains in his movies? How similar?
Is the Bond franchise still relevant for today's sensibilities? How has it changed to keep up with the times?
- In theaters: November 6, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: February 9, 2016
- Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes
- Director: Sam Mendes
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 150 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award
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