Let me preface this review by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but there is no doubt that I enjoyed Casino Royale much better. Casino Royale managed to change the entire Bond series for the better. It took the campy and corny old Bonds and brought them into the real world. 007 became a realistic action/drama movie, and for the most part Quantum sticks to the rules that Casino Royale set for it.
Quantum of Solace is the story of James Bond finding a large quantity (quantum) of comfort (solace) in the avenging of a person he loved. In order to do so he must cross paths with a personal extremist named Dominic Greene who happens to control a company called Quantum that is trying to own the world’s must precious material. A different direction was took with this movie. It was extremely fast-paced and the running time was cut to the point of extreme. I loved the fast-paced direction it was going in, but it felt at times that the movie was rushing to its end instead of telling all the juicy details.
Every action sequence was Bondish, but at the same time being very creative and intense. The dialogue was well-thought out and so were the character developments. Daniel Craig is great and I hope he does more with his career, but right now there is no one I would rather see playing this character. I loved the movie, but there are one large complaint I have with it. The greatest gimmick in film history ended because of this movie. In every single one of the 21 bond movies before this one, the line “the name’s bond, james bond” is uttered somewhere, but this movie just ended that tradition. And the question I ask is why?
For that reason, I was very mad walking out of the theater, but I can’t look past the fact that this was an extremely entertaining and well-thought out action movie that was at times even epic. The movie could’ve been better if it just changed a few simple details. I look back at my viewing and I see that I did just watch a very good movie that made one big mistake. Overall, Quantum of Solace was an extremely good movie and would have without question gotten an A+ from yours truly if it just said one more line.
OK. Perhaps my last comments were really a review of Casino not having seen QoS. Now I have seen it and there are so many problems with it I do not know where to begin. All the chases are herkey, jerky, shaky stuccato film clips. You can never really see what is going on. This is contrary to the taditional Bond flick replete with detail. And if Craig is gritty, moody, mean & vindictive one can still see a path by which he becomes a cooler if not cold uber-professional agent with a dry, sardonic sense of humor. This Bond clearly appeals to a feminine perspective that escapes me. I understood him not becoming ‘involved’ with the other women in the 2 flicks as having high standards and was at least relieved to see his response to Fields as, what we would term a normal orientation! (The women seem to love that Bond does NOT ‘hook up’ with the main girl). Even the opening chase, usually one of the best, is almost visually incomprehensible. Car chase, rooftop chase, sewer chase, apartment knife fight, certainly they were purloined from the Bourne genre but somehow Bourne’s were more believable.
The opening graphics were not as bad as I feared, but were definitely not 007 quality. Far too much of Craig shooting his Walther PPK .380; (don’t make me go into why that is a problem). We have grown accustomed to the sultry, sexual/sensual and awesome graphical intro to the Bond films. This one was not of the same caliber. Ditto on the theme song. I was fearing worse and it was actually passable relating somewhat to the general theme of the film. The barrel scene was placed at the end of the film. I prefer the beginning but in either case it should be presented with high quality graphics and punctuated with 007 theme song riffs. It was not.
Lots of chases. Most are barely watchable. I actually liked the reference to the traditional 13th century Italian Palio horse race in which the riders can use their longer wooden canes to encourage their steeds or discourage their oponents; and the actual event was supposed to be occuring outside of the chase area.
The knife fight was lame. How did the baddie die anyhow? Please tell me not with the little pair of cuticle scissors Bond had. And if the death blow was to the only wounded area shown, the left jugular, where did all the blood go as Bond let him ‘bleed out’. Not worry the details because we are soon introduced to THE BOND GIRL. Well, a little anti-climatic because she is not quite as attractive as we are used to although she has very pretty lips. The rest of her seems strangely disporportionate for some reason. It’s also strange that she would return to the baddie who just tried to have her whacked. That has little probability for success for someone who we later learn is “Bolivian Secret Service”. Oh well, not to worry, we are off on another chase, this time with boats. It is perhaps the best done but for the last scene in which the grappling hook is somehow thrown onto the rubber speed boat and flips it from the front of Bond’s boat over the top to the rear…… can’t quite figure the physics out on that one. Not to worry, we’ve docked and Bond mysteriously hands the unconscious maiden who he has just rescued over to a dock attendent…what?
Well were off to track this baddie and somehow reconnected with the GIRL in Bolvia where we eventually learn that the baddie, Mr. Greene of the evil Greene corporation in conjunction with the even eviler Quantum Criminal Consortiuum LLC has concocted a plot wreaking with the venom of true corporate greed, evil captialism and nefarious financier-ship; to wit, steal all the fresh water in where? Why Bolivia of course and sell it back to them Bolivans at double the price! MUAHHAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh). We learn at a big party that times are tough in Bolvia because it is costing a weeks wages for an average Bolvian to buy a gallon of clean water! As I remember, the average Bolvian earns about $0.25 per day making the water cost about $1.75 a gallon; pretty much on par with market values in Cleveland. Perhaps this is not the best country for our get richer quicker scheme.
No matter, we are off to the evil opera where the evil baddies are meeting to plan, well, evil. This is where we reference a modernistic version of the Tosca operatic bloodshed whilst Bond dabbles in the real thing dispatching the body guards of the evil biggies who, now discovered, are making a hasty retreat for the exits faster than attendees at an Al Gore speech.
No matter, while in Bolivia we are matroned by the closest thing to a real Bond girl, agent Fields. Unfortunately we never really figure out what is beneath that trenchcoat although it appears that Bond does. Also unfortunately for Fields and us, she is quickly eliminated by the baddies in what can only be termed as a ‘crude’ theft of the Goldfinger movie. I would have expected more of a mess but why waste camera time on the slickened Fields when you can spend it on bathroom scenes with….who else….M. Perhaps the most difficult what seemed like 15 minutes of the film was watching M in her bathrobe apply & remove cold creme. The threat itself would have sent Mr. Greene into pro bono philanthropy. Not finished with us yet, M draws her bath and the tension in the theater built noticably as we all began to fear that we would be greeted with an au natural scene of her slipping out of the robe into the tub. Fortunately we were spared that experience (wait for the unedited version coming to DVD soon!). However, it just calls into question what fob with a mommy complex of some sort is calling the shots in these films.
M continues to demostrate why she should not be “M” vacillating from suspecting Bond to needing him back in 00 some 4-5 times during the movie. We did get a glimpse into the possible personality of M’s hubby when he meekly announced, “the calls for you dear on your private line”. Whatever.
M may welcome Bond back with open arms or have him captured or killed, no matter, the BOND GIRL is rescuing Bond in her getaway car, a 1964 VW Beetle. I guess the Bolivian Secret Service does not get to roll like the 00’s in MI6. At least it was a 40HP!
No matter. We are now off to a hotel in the middle of a high plains Bolvian desert. Time to charter a plane…no, not the little Beachcraft Bonanza. Choose the DC-3 with a load of cargo on board. Watch out though, you’ll get shot down by the Bolvian Air Force in a single engine Cessna. I guess the BAF doesn’t get to roll like the 00’s at MI6 either.
No matter because we are both jumping out of this crate with the only parachute. Somehow everything turns out ok because the chute opens about 20 feet off of our LZ, a nice big soft slab of granite.
Its off the the hotel to find the baddies. The hotel, located in the high plains desert of Bolvia, is called the Plaza del Sol. It is completely self-sufficient and powered by…solar….no you idiot, hydrogen fuel cells. In fact, each room appears to have its own hydrogen fuel cell and its accompanying hydrogen supply tank. The maids must make your bed and refill your hydrogen tank when they replace the shampoo in the bath, I guess. Naturally the hotel, located in the high plains Bolvian desert is made substantially of steel & stone. Unfortunately, the steel & stone in Bolvia is not quite as durable as the steel & stone you and I have grown to love as we discover when Bond causes a baddie car to crash through a wall igniting a hydrogen tank. The rest of the hydrogen tanks ignite sequentially. Darn it, I hate when that happens, you just can’t get good hydrogen tanks anymore. Again, unfortunately, the Bolvian steel & stone burns more like paper mache. Bond battles the Greene baddie but aborts to rescue the BOND GIRL who is caught up in her own subplot vendetta too trite to be explained here.
You would be better off waiting for this to hit DVD. At least then you can slo-mo or replay the chase scenes making sense of them, spend more time with the slick Agent Fields and most importantly, FFW or skip over M’s bathroom escapades. You have been warned.