Spectral (2016): 8 out of 10: Spectral is about American special forces fighting the remnants of government troops during a civil war in Moldova. During the battle, the special forces are attacked by what appears to be ghosts and call on a DARPA scientist (James Badge Dale) to come investigate and help the US Army counteract this new threat.
The Good: Spectral pulls off a neat trick. It is a movie about science and technology and the hard-working scientists behind it. Despite all the hoo-rah action scenes, it is the thinking men that will get them out of this mess. The movie sets this tone well and keeps it throughout the film.
That Spectral does this without talking down to the audience too much is an amazing feat. It matches the solid acting across the board and a solid science fiction foundation with a good pace and good action scenes.
The film manages some very nice set pieces with good practical effects mixed with the CGI.
The Bad: If one goes a looking there might be a plot hole or two. (You need a hundred laser cannons using brand new tech? I am going to need half an hour and some duct tape).In addition, while the film certainly uses science throughout, I wouldn’t exactly quote some of those theories on Friday’s physics exam.
Actual citizens of Moldova can also feel free to criticize the wrong city, wrong language, and ridiculous description of your government.
In Conclusion: Though marketed as a Netflix original; Netflix actually picked Spectral up on the cheap from Universal/Legendary who was unhappy with all the science stuff and possibly realized too late that Emily Mortimer is not going to open a summer blockbuster.
That said, one can certainly see the not inconsiderable budget on the screen. How Universal shelved this film and opened The Mummy is a mystery for another day. Solid Sci-fi actioner with an elevator script sounding like a cross between Black Hawk Down and Aliens. A fun film that is better than one might suspect.