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‘Spectre’: What parents should know

I was able to catch a special screening of the new James Bond movie, “Spectre,” earlier this week at Regal Hollywood Stadium 20 and RPX in Greenville along with a packed theater.

The 24th Bond film could be the last to star Daniel Craig in the role—rumor has it, he wants out after his fourth turn as the character—and “Spectre” very much seems like a finale, but more on that later.

“Spectre” opens in Mexico City, where it turns out Bond is unofficially doing his own investigation outside of the double-O program. After spectacularly stopping a tourist attack and surviving a collapsing building and edge-of-your-seat helicopter ride, he’s suspended by his boss, M (Ralph Fiennes). Of course that doesn’t stop Bond from being Bond and going rogue with a little help from his comrades Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw).  What follows is a plot that ties together villains from at least the past three Bond films, who it turns out are part of a syndicate controlled by an unknown villain named Spectre. Along the way Bond has encounters with lots of characters, including a comely widow (Monica Bellucci), a mysterious man from Bond’s past (Christoph Waltz), a hulking assassin (Dave Bautista) and another assassin’s beautiful daughter, Madeleine Swann (French actress Lea Seydoux).

“Spectre” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language. It’s probably more of a mom and dad date-night kind of film than a family outing, but if your kids have seen any of the previous recent Bond films starring Craig and you were OK with it, you won’t have a problem with them watching this one, either.

There’s a lot of the same here — the same spectacular action sequences of buildings blowing up, cars chasing each other for much longer than necessary, and shootouts between spies and assassins. While Bond is known as a ladies’ man, those scenes mainly persist of passionate kissing and the screen fading to the morning after. I don't remember much, if any at all, profanity.

While I’ve been a fan of Craig in this role since “Casino Royale,” I personally didn’t think “Spectre” was his best effort playing the part. Like I said, there’s a lot of the same here, and after a point, that caused the movie to drag for me. Since it is actually 2 hours and 28 minutes long, I found myself wondering more than once when the story was going to become obvious and wishing it would hurry up already. Basically, there's plenty of action and violence, but not a lot of substance beyond that. Of course, lots of people left the theater commenting how “awesome” the movie was, so I could be in the minority in my opinion.

The only thing that seemed different here from the last three Bond movies was the ending of this one. It just didn’t feel right to me, but I won’t give anything away.

“Spectre” is now playing in theaters nationwide.