>> 007: Quantum of Solace (7/10)

007 Quantum of SolaceLast night, almost directly after seeing the new James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, I posted the following on a message board that I frequent:  “Well, it’s definitely a James Bond movie, but it feels like a minor step back from the emotional gravitas of Casino Royale to the almost nonsensical high-octane of the Brosnan Bonds.”  It’s a wordy way of trying to get a whole review down to one single sentence, but it’s true.  Quantum of Solace is disappointing, despite delivering all of the action you’d expect from a Bond film, because it lacks the things Casino Royale had going for it, and never replaces the loss of those elements with anything new.

Craig returns, but the fiery-eyed thug of Casino Royale seems almost lifeless here.  He’s still a killing machine, slightly more bulletproof and unstoppable than Casino Royale, which frankly strips him of the haunted humanity we saw in that film.  He’s a much more generic character here.  When M (Dame Judi Dench) tells him at one point that he is fueled by rage, you just don’t see it in him, not like you did in Casino.  Judging from the screenplay, it’s obvious that he’s written to be the Casino Royale Bond, but director Marc Forster directs Craig as if he’s in any other Bond film.  He’s just a guy in a tux with a cool phone that is really good at beating the ever-living crap out of people.

Why am I griping about characterization in a James Bond movie?  Because Casino Royale had it.  I just assumed it was going to be part of the new and improved James Bond films, and I was apparently wrong.  It’s back to the simple thrills of bouncing bullets, globe-trotting espionage, and big explosions.  For most hardcore James Bond fans, that will probably be enough to satisfy.

In Quantum of Solace, Bond goes rogue (seemingly a standby plot for James Bond films), driven to discover exactly what led to Vesper Lynde’s death.  He basically stumbles across Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a greedy environmentalist (MR. GREENE!  I get it!  LOLZ!) with connections to a worldwide shadow agency called QUANTUM.  Bond allies himself with Greene’s rebellious ex-lover Camille (Olga Kurylenko, the most petulant and annoying Bond girl in recent memory), and the two work together to uncover the true reason behind Greene’s large-scale land purchases in Bolivia.

Let me take a second to talk about the secret behind those large-scale land purchases without spoiling the movie.  It is probably the wimpiest, least evil act of villainy ever committed by a James Bond antagonist.  When the moment happens in which Greene puts his plan into effect, all I could do was repeat to myself, “Really?  REALLY?”  It’s not completely unbelievable; it’s completely mundane.  It’s almost literally like a villain telling you your cell phone bill is going to double.  It sucks, I guess, but was it really worth a trail of dead bodies?

Okay, so I realize I sound harshly critical concerning this film, but that’s really only based on how jazzed I was to see Bond take a new, more mature direction in Casino Royale.  I wanted a continuation of the things that set that film apart, and I didn’t really get it here.  Really, If you want to see a better-than-average action movie, Quantum of Solace works very well.  But, if Casino Royale was a great steak, then Quantum of Solace is a cheeseburger.  To Quantum‘s credit, it’s a cheeseburger made from that great steak, and served on fine china in a fancy restaurant, but, still, it’s a cheeseburger and not a steak.

7 on a 1 to 10 scale

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2 Comments

  1. Well said. Though I don’t really mind Bond being a bit cold and “unstoppable” in this one, because I think it’s interesting to see Bond as a guy in denial. (This is what sets QoS apart from old-school Bond films for me – old-school Bond is simply carefree, while Craig’s Bond is shaping up to be horribly, dangerously repressed…which lends a kind of self-destructive credence to the type of womanizing character who jets around the world, throwing himself off cliffs all the time.) Maybe I’m seeing what they wanted for me to see, here, as opposed to what actually ended up on the screen…so I simply would have liked to see a handful of moments in which this grief we keep hearing about bubbles up and almost gets the best of him, and he almost cracks, and then he stuffs it down again and kills twenty people. So that when he becomes the cold-eyed, heartless assassin we see at the end, it’s genuinely tragic.

    Also, re: Olga Kurylenko. *Blarg.* Famke Janssen would eat her for lunch.

  2. well, i agree with you, i hated olga, but i still think is better than all of the bond movies except from casino royale, wich i believe was too great, this one just couldnt beat it…if we hadnt seen casino royale we would probably think much more of this one


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