Quantum of Solace

Posted by batman on Nov 22nd, 2008
2008
Nov 22

Quantum of Solace.jpgThe movie

Quantum of Solace begins where Casino Royale left off, with Bond delivering Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to M (Judi Dench) for interrogation about the mysterious organization that blackmailed Vesper Lynd into betraying Bond, resulting in her death. A mole inside MI6 effects Mr. White’s escape, and the rest of the film follows 007’s attempts to find a thread that will reveal Mr. White’s organization. This leads to another villain, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who is engineering a coup in Bolivia for reasons that will benefit the organization.

Betrayed by Vesper Lynd, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr. White who reveals the organisation which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.

Forensic intelligence links an Mi6 traitor to a bank account in Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who has her own vendetta. Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless business man and major force within the mysterious organisation.

Quantum of Solace.jpgOn a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio). Using his associates in the organisation, and manipulating his powerful contacts within the CIA and the British government, Greene promises to overthrow the existing regime in a Latin American country, giving the General control of the country in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of land.

The film suffers from a few gaffs so obvious it’s hard to understand how they survived into the final cut. One pretty (and of course disposable) female agent shows up wearing a raincoat that reveals no visible signs of any kind of clothing underneath; she literally looks like a set-up for a bad sight gag that never appears. (On the plus side, her demise deliberately evokes a similar image in Goldfinger, although this time the beautiful body is covered in “black gold” – i.e., oil.) There is also an unbelievably bad moment where Bond disposes of the body of a friend by callously tossing him in a trash dumpster and insisting that the dead man wouldn’t have cared.

Kurylenko, as the new Bond girl, is properly exotic, and her revenge sub-plot dovetails nicely with Bond’s mission. However, her back story is a bit of a stretch: she’s half Russian and half Bolivian, the screenplays way of retaining the exotic European feel of the Bond world while tying her into the South American plot. Alas, try as she might, she cannot hope to compete with Vesper Lynd, but then – who could?

Almalric’s Mr. Greene follows in the footsteps of Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, offering up another effectively evil Euro-villain – this one more laid back than most, with more than a faint wiff of sleaze underlying the charm. (For some reason, he reminds one vaguely of Roman Polanski, for whatever that’s worth.)



My opinionQuantum of Solace.jpg

To be quite frank – I was disappointed. I missed seeing the exploding chairs in Q-Branch, or the umbrellas’ with laser beams, or the parachute neatly concealed in a pen. The Aston Martin DBS is without doubt one of 007’s greatest cars, but it’s a bit of a letdown to see it destroyed within the first three minutes of the movie. Thereafter we have to be satisfied with rundown Bolivian buses and rusty Volkswagen Beetles. 007 also needs ‘gadgets & gizmos’ – that’s just kind of a given – and in this installment it fails to deliver. Admittedly in the past they have taken it a bit far (even for 007) for instance kite-surfing on a tidal wave, but still – surely there can be a bit of a balance?

I liked Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, but now I’m not so sure. I like a James Bond who can still have a crooked smile, a sense of humour, and a twinkle in his eye. I liked the bit about – “she’s seasick”, but 007 moments like that were unfortunately very few and far between.

In this version it’s as if they were trying to squeeze in three hours of Transformers into two hours. It’s all too fast, too noisy, too much. There’s just not enough time for sensible dialogue, or even for much of a plot for that matter. Three-quarters (I think) of the movie I found myself wondering – “why is he going there”, or “who is that guy that he has just eliminated”, or even – “who is the REAL villain”? If I hadn’t have read a bit about the plot prior to viewing the movie, reading about Quantum (the modern day version of SMERSH), about Mr White, and about the secret organisation – I doubt whether I would have got it from the movie.

At the end of the day this James Bond was just too impersonal, too cold and single-minded (yes, even for 007) – it might literally have been yet another installment in the Jason Bourne series (Bourne Ultimatum, Supremacy, etc..)

I will see the movie again, because primarily I am a die-hard fan of 007, but more so in an attempt to try and get what I feel I’ve missed out the first time round.

Bring back the “old” James Bond – in the casino’s, looking elegant and dashing, with some “slightly far fetched gadgets” – I miss him…

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One Response

  1. Isaac roman Isaac roman Says:

    very important:
    i know this has nothing to do with james bond, but i can’t find a way to contact you bruce!! so i have to comment:
    We need to start a viral campaign to get NATALIE PORTMAN to be the next catwoman. just think about it. its almost too perfect. cute, great actress (starwars doesn’t count) and she can reinvent the role as heath did with the joker. SPREAD THE WORD AND SPECULATE!

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