Quantum of Solace (Movie Review)

Remember in the last minutes of Casino Royale when Bond pegged Mr. White in the leg with his assault rifle, walked up to him nonchalantly as he attempted to crawl away, and announced himself for the first time ever as "Bond... James Bond" before David Arnold let the iconic Bond theme christen the saviour of the aging franchise? Remember how legendary it all felt? Enjoy that feeling while it lasts, because Quantum of Solace certainly doesn't come anywhere close to adequately reproducing it.

I have a theory that an early indicator as to the quality of any given James Bond film lies in the theme song. Madonna destroyed Die Another Day as if it was something to be proud of, and Shirley Bassey made damn sure that Gold-FINGAAHH was something special. Jack White and Alicia Keys collaborated to give Quantum of Solace an unbalanced mishmash of themes to trumpet Daniel Craig's second shot with the Walther PPK, and not surprisingly, Quantum of Solace is an unbalanced mishmash.

Quantum of Solace picks up where Casino Royale left off, which was apparently in a heated car chase. Bond lays waste to a few henchmen en route to dropping off Mr. White for interrogation, and M be damned, there's a mysterious global terrorist organization on the loose that no one has even heard of. Cue exotic locales, beautiful women, and improbably awesome action sequences.

This Bond film is action packed to the degree that you might be mistaken for thinking you were watching a spliced-up Bourne trilogy. While this wouldn't be a problem if the man behind the camera was Paul Greengrass (or Martin Campbell who rebooted the Bond franchise twice with Goldeneye in 1995 and again in 2006 with Casino Royale), unfortunately for us Marc Forster decided that the hotly anticipated 22nd entry in the Bond canon would be the ideal action flick for him to cut his teeth with. While Forster does lend an amiable panache to moments of emotional weight between Bond and either Camille (Olga Kurylenko) M (Judie Dench) or Felix Leiter (Jeffery Wright), high octane action sequences are often incoherent and disorienting. You need look no further than the boat chase in the film's first act for proof of this. In a moment of ingenuity, Bond tosses a grappling hook/anchor into an enemy boat to inflict some damage. The logic behind this move escapes me, but apparently the action was enough to flip the boat upside down and Bond was able to be on his merry way without much consequence.

Far be it for me to tell Eon Productions how to make Bond movies after having been doing it for 46 years, but you generally want to have action director's direct action movies. Granted that Bond is more about sleuthing around chemical facilities and elegant dinner parties than running into to the evil bad guy lair guns blazing, but the emphasis on Quantum of Solace is fixed squarely on rough and tumble action without much subtlety, and it would be nice if the director could at least convey this betrayal to the franchise coherently. Bond spends a great deal of time getting his tuxedo stained with blood and grit, and while I have no problem with the direction the films are taking, the camera isn't quite able to keep the same pace.

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Even in a white knuckle quest for revenge, Bond still finds time to get lucky.

The finer details of the plot are mostly lost. Who needs a Deus Ex Machina when you have an invisible multinational axis of evil to conveniently cover up every betrayal and incongruency? Camille is cut from the same cloth as Agent XXX from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and there's one very obvious Goldfinger (1964) inspired dead body in a hotel room, albeit not quite as symbolic. There are a few nods to the long and illustrious history of the venerable super agent that coat the film in a smidgen of fan service.

Quantum of Solace almost feels like James Bond as directed by Michael Bay (Transformers [2007], The Island [2005]). At its core, the movie is entirely adequate, but not nearly as polished as it should've been. The criticisms levelled due to the inordinate amount of action could easily be resolved if it were focused. The allure of the series remains; it's just clouded by shrapnel.

(I wasn't able to squeeze this into the review, but there is one truly authentic and inspired scene where Bond covertly disrupts a bad guy meeting during an opera. I'll try to work it in somewhere later on)

I found that you were a bit too detailed in your analysis of the fight scenes that you did not level much criticism at other parts of the movies.
Was this intentional?

i think it was justified by the fact he said the movie was all action, but i agree a plot analysis would be helpful

A plot analysis of any James Bond film is really unnecessary because they're always more or less exactly the same:

1) Someone dies/someone gets betrayed/something gets stolen (usually in the pre-credit sequence)
2) Bond is put on the job
3) Exotic locales/beautiful women/gadgets and action
4) Showdown between Bond and the Baddie in one last climactic battle
5) Falling action usually involving a moral/lesson/discovery

Quantum of Solace stumbles a bit because instead of a crazy evil megalomaniac, we get a boring eco-freak who turns out to not even be worth the time and effort (in retrospect, this might actually be significant because the "Quantum" agency might pan out to be this generation's "Spectre") I understand that the producers are drifting towards the more real and contemporary aspects in order to make the cold war hero fit in with the modern world, but you could at least make the bad guy cry blood or something.

I agree with this one. not the worst Bond ever, nowhere near the best. It really didn't feel like it was a bond movie, just another generic action film, passable but disappointing.

I'd say your review is pretty accurate. The action scenes weren't done all that well, leaving me to wonder what the hell was going on as the camera shook and left my brain trying to put together the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle without a picture of what it's meant to look like. The plot was sort of strange...

I was also pretty sad that they managed to destroy my dream car within the first five minutes of the movie, and that that was the only time it was seen. The lack of gadgets was a little lame but as Q hasn't yet been introduced into this new Bond era you can't really blame them too much for that.

Despite all this I very much enjoyed the new Bond movie. Perhaps it's just a nostalgia for the series that made me love it. Then again, that nostalgia couldn't save Die Another Day, but let's face it, that was a pile of horse manure. And I have a theory about why it was so lame...Halle Berry screws up everything she's in somehow (Monster's Ball being the exception).

Jobz:
Halle Berry screws up everything she's in somehow (Monster's Ball being the exception).

And Monster's Ball was directed by Marc Forster...

Perhaps everyone involved in Monster's Ball should stay away from the Bond universe?

Maet:

Jobz:
Halle Berry screws up everything she's in somehow (Monster's Ball being the exception).

And Monster's Ball was directed by Marc Forster...

Perhaps everyone involved in Monster's Ball should stay away from the Bond universe?

Interesting...I never knew he directed Monster's Ball. Interesting theory though. I'm not too sure why they didn't use the same director that they did for Casino Royale. If anyone does know, care to enlighten me?

Really enjoyed the movie except i was sort of disappointed at how the villain wasn't really a Bond kind of villain and it seemed just to be bridging a gap between casino royale and the next one..if that will be a direct sequel like this one. Does anyone know if the next film will continue this storyline?

I thinks it might continue the storline otherwise where onto Dr No as far as I know.

It wasn't perfect, and not as good as Casino Royale, but it was a good Bond film, and overall, I found it very enjoyable

EcksTeaSea:
Does anyone know if the next film will continue this storyline?

Bond 23 in 2010, as far as I know. From what I've heard, they're going for a three movie arc revolving around the Quantum agency and a new characterization for Bond. Sort of like another Blofeld trilogy (You Only Live Twice/OHMSS/Diamonds Are Forever).

In my opinion, Bond is now interchangeable with Bourne.

Maet:
You need look no further than the boat chase in the film's first act for proof of this. In a moment of ingenuity, Bond tosses a grappling hook/anchor into an enemy boat to inflict some damage. The logic behind this move escapes me, but apparently the action was enough to flip the boat upside down and Bond was able to be on his merry way without much consequence.

I think what happened there is as you may remember the henchmen's boat was propped on top of Bond's boat. So when the boat shook itself off it didn't have the speed of Bond's boat thus being flipped. Now if you want to complain about an action scene being shred-fucked into an incomprehensible mess you should mention the parachute thing because from the way that was cut it looks like Bond bits should have been decorating the ground.

ButtonedDownParadox:
Now if you want to complain about an action scene being shred-fucked into an incomprehensible mess you should mention the parachute thing because from the way that was cut it looks like Bond bits should have been decorating the ground.

I didn't bother mentioning because Bond surviving that impact is impossible. No spine could survive that impact. The boat scene was incomprehensible, the parachute scene was just impossible.

Maet:

ButtonedDownParadox:
Now if you want to complain about an action scene being shred-fucked into an incomprehensible mess you should mention the parachute thing because from the way that was cut it looks like Bond bits should have been decorating the ground.

I didn't bother mentioning because Bond surviving that impact is impossible. No spine could survive that impact. The boat scene was incomprehensible, the parachute scene was just impossible.

Touche.

From a series rife with implausible stunts I still had my arms up in this, "What the fuck?!" gesture at seeing that. And hopefully CGI replacing the stunt work won't be a trend continued in the next Bond movie. Cause that was just horrible.

 

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