Quantum of Solace – the review
I enjoyed Casino Royale. The reboot of the James Bond franchise was a long time coming and I for one appreciated it. Daniel Craig asserted himself as a more “edgy” Bond and the pace was spot on. Quantum of Solace continues the story soon after the first (supposedly minutes after the end of the last film). It worried me that they did this. Somehow the passing of time between one Bond and the other (in story) seems necessary for wounds to heal. Indeed, we left Bond at the end of Casino Royale in a bit of an emotional state.
With the vast amounts of hype surrounding Quantum of Solace (QoS) it makes you wonder if it is a last desperate attempt at saving a dog. What with Coke Zero advertisements and Sony High Definition television advertisements and the plethora of competitions out there, I imagine that most of us are sick of QoS long before we get to see it. That being said, how did it hold up against Casino Royale? Was it a dog or another imaginative and commanding film?
Quantum of Solace continues the high octane adventures of James Bond in Casino Royale. Betrayed by Vesper, 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.
First things first: in Casino Royale they threw away the rule book (along with Q, most of the gadgets, the Walther PPK) and toned down the wise cracks. Despite this though, they kept a few fundamentals. The infamous gun-barrel scene was kept along with M. This reliable scene, which finds itself at the beginning of every other Bond, is missing from this one (It is placed unceremoniously at the end). This is a great shame because it would have started you out on the right note. There is certainly a place where it could (and should) have been, but for some reason the editing suite decided against this.
A big concern I had is that QoS is a movie that follows James Bond as he broods over the (now dead) Vesper Lynd for two-and-a-half hours. I was wrong about this. James Bond spends an hour-and-three-quarters brooding over Vesper. We didn’t need to see this. It is annoying and dull.
A shaky-cam car chase begins the film with the bad guys chasing Bond in identical black cars in a “Condorman” fashion. Unfortunately though, the cars are very uninteresting Alfa Romeo models and not Porsches. It makes me wonder how slow Aston Martins actually are if they can’t outrun a family saloon. Following this shaky-cam car sequence, follows the obligatory shaky-cam rooftop chase sequence which we have all had too much of. What with Bourne, the Incredible Hulk and now Quantum of Solace, it just doesn’t feel fresh. With all this shaky-cam I felt a bit ill.
Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Green (the villain of the piece) and he comes across as a frog in a suit. I don’t mean that he looks like a Frenchman; just that he actually looks like a frog! He is followed by a man with a very bad haircut and resembles lurch from the Addams family. When casting for Greene, the director simply didn’t find a person menacing enough. He represents a very large and very mean organisation but comes across as if you could introduce him to your grandmother and offer him a bit of cake (or crumpets).
Olga (Unpronounceable) Kurylenko has a side story that is as dull as dishwater and I had wished her dead about five minutes into her dialogue. Gemma Arterton plays “Fields” and shows once again that she is incapable of acting any emotion at all. Her wooden dialogue is embarrassing to the ears and you wonder who was responsible for casting this St. Tinian’s girl. Whoever cast her deserves (IMO) to have the same treatment that Old Yeller had....They should be put out of their misery!
In a scene with Daniel Craig and Giancarlo Giannini (Mathis) a bad cut is visible during a scene and this is the first time when you realize that QoS just isn’t polished enough to be a Bond film. Indeed, I am convinced that in another scene, when M goes to see her superior he says the word “hunch” but seems to mouth a completely different word.
The product placement in the movie was getting on my nerves pretty quickly with strategically place Coke Zero bottles everywhere and the Virgin logo conveniently behind Bond. Are there not laws against this? If I wanted to watch a nearly 2 hour advertisement, I would turn on the shopping channels at home!
So why have the vast amounts of hype to already promote a popular movie? Because it is rubbish (to the nth degree). I hated saying that...I really did, but it really was. It didn’t feel like a James Bond film and Marc Foster was clearly not the man for the job as director. Perhaps he should return to more thoughtful films in the future (his Stranger than Fiction and The Kite Runner were excellent). The blame for this movie lies mainly in the editing suite. It is slow-paced, badly cut and dull. You can’t help but think that before it gets shipped to the States it should be re-cut and redistributed. I for one would give it another chance as long as it had been reshuffled and re-edited.
Quantum of Solace felt rushed all the way through. It was rushed with its casting, rushed with its editing and rushed out to the cinemas before a better final cut was made. The likelihood though is that QoS will not return to the editing suite and it will stay just how it is. If this is the case, then I urge you not to see it. You’ll be tempted with all that advertising but if you value Casino Royale, then don’t bother.
Rating: 2 out of 5
N.B. Incidentally if you do get to see it, could someone confirm (or deny) to me that I witnessed a wardrobe malfunction (Basic Instinct style) of a hostess in a desert hotel as she gets off the bed? I sat there in disbelief that a Bond film would stoop that low. Although I may have imagined it I’m convinced I saw what an Englishman shouldn’t!