Friday, November 21, 2008

Quantum Of Solace Review (spoilers for Cas. Royale)

"Bond, James Bond."

A classic line by a hero of page and screen. Unfortunately, this piece of nostalgia has been omitted from the most recent installation in the series, Quantum of Solace. The movie derives it's title from that of a short story starring the same character. The two plots, while actually having some similarities are, for argument's sake, different. What results is a film that was good, but could have been much better.

For those of you who've seen Casino Royale, you'll know that James' first love, Vesper. The movie, and the novel, for that matter, ended in much the same way, with Bond telling his superiors that "the bitch is dead". In my view, this leaves them with two options for the next movie, Bond's heart can be hardened by her death and he begins another stand alone adventure, or that he seeks revenge against Le Chiffre and his associates. In what was by my opinion a bad move, the producers decided on the latter. This movie begins with a Bond hungry for vengeance, yet somehow already half way down his list of souls to render from their bodies.

The movie starts in an action sequence, as most in the series do. This is a car chase, which is fairly well directed. When those villains are slain and James emerges with not a scratch, he immediately meets with M and discusses his "next move". It turns out that he's already killed his previous aggressors and is now moving deeper down the rabbit hole, for seemingly no reason. This is a major flaw with the movie, it has a real lack of plot, while I understood the bad guy's evil plot, I failed to realize who they were exactly and if they had found justice. Bond kills a few, but it is apparently a massive company, surely with more heads than a hydra.

As the movie progresses,we see some people from the previous Bond flick, as well as seeing the new "Bond Girl". I was really impressed by this girl. No offence to the actress, but she is not jaw droppingly gorgeous, yet she has depth. She has a strong back story is well fleshed out, as much as a Bond Girl can be, that is. She fought villains for her own purposes and actually fought, instead of having sex with Bond and getting him to do it. The film's connection to it's predecessor is a double edged sword, on the one hand, it was like meeting old friends. On the other, I was like, "who is that again? Am I supposed to care?".

Action is a staple of the James Bond series and I expected it to be well used in this movie. My hopes were unfounded, unfortunately. The director, Marc Forster, seems to think the action lies purely in the chase. That's what most of the movie is, chases. Some plot, then some running. Plot, run, plot, run, run, run, plot. These chases are well done as far as chases though, but with all your characters in suits, it's hard to tell what's going on. Use of computer generated content is horrible, it looks all too fake, it almost made me sick to be perfectly honest. The editing of the film is also a weakness, I remember in one scene, Bond is running for the woman, Camille, one moment he is twenty metres away, the next he is holding her in his arms.

Despite all these let downs, the film is bolstered by the great performance of Judy Dench as M, and of course Daniel Craig's Bond is a great character. The production of this film was, for the most part, money well spent, and for that reason it's a good film, albeit a weak Bond film.


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