Old 11-18-2008, 11:34 AM
Quantum of Solace Review (no spoilers)

Quantum of Solace is the title of a short story written by Ian Fleming in 1960. In the story, James Bond is only a minor character, being entertained after a boring dinner party by a certain political official. Bond makes a remark about his desire to marry a stuartist, just to start conversation. The Governor of the Bahamas then begins to tell James a sad tale of love and relationships. In his brief story about the marriage between a man and an air hostess, the Governor coins and defines the term "quantum of solace." It's here that Marc Foster, Paul Haggis, and Neal Purvis borrow the title and premise of the 22nd Bond film. It's also the same place where Bond bridges his first trilogy. So does it live up to the high standard that Casino Royal set for the franchise, or is not even worth a quantum of your time?

INTRO: Completely uninteresting and annoying. Not to mention, it was entirely impersonal with no dialogue from Bond or his pursuers. I was so emotionally and psychologically detached from the scene that I didn't care if he made it or not. I just wanted them to explain/end this madness, and get on with the film. A 007 story has NEVER picked up where the last left off, so in order to highlight this innovation, they shove us in the middle of a scene that we don't know or care about. THIS IS MEANINGLESS (simple exposition), GET ON WITH IT ALREADY. Immediately after, we're graced with the laser-studded opening montage. The song and reel were passable, but boring. It definitely flows with the premise of the movie, but I have to say, I've seen better (even from Brosnan's days). Casino Royal's "You Know My Name", littered with deadly poker cards and Bond style animations remains the best Bond opening to date.

PLOT/PACING: A guy like myself doesn't get to travel abroad much, I can assume the same for a few others in this close-minded country. When a film is able to bring the rest of this world to us and work it into the script, I'm grateful. This director shot ALL OVER. The barren Atacama deserts and provinces in South America, all over the gorgeous landscapes of Italy, touring Sienna and Tuscany to name a couple, London, Austria, and even Madrid. This jumping around act only lends to the scope and depth of this plot, appropriately explaining a lot from Casino Royal with a few surprises along the way. The same pacing style is used. Quick exposition, fast accented dialogue (which is too quiet and hard to understand at times), clever characters and villains that you're never quite on to, and action sequences that keep you one step behind the twisting story-line. It'll be interesting to see how the public and media take to the bold ideas expressed in this film. A blockbuster movie that flirts with global political and government corruption, even the harboring and illegal control of natural resources (oil is referenced), Americans portrayed as villains, and British intelligence being the only organization in the world willing to stand up against a international coup of crooked politicians and authorities. What a courageous film in the unstable political and economic times we live...

ACTION: There is considerably more action in this than in the previous 007. CONSIDERABLY. Whenever a clever plot line was being interwoven in the story, there was a long fireworks sequence to compliment it. Some a bit too long. But I must give Quantum its credit, these scenes were some of the most innovative I've seen in a long time. From the beginning chase that dangerously overlooks the beautiful Talamone villas (mirrors the first chase in Casino Royal), to a water-raft gun fight and rescue, to a dogfight in the desert mountains with full-blown vintage aircraft. Impressive stuff, that took a lot of imagination and coordination. The sheer creativity and architecture that went into making these scenes deserve high praise. Albeit, Some of Bond's close-encounters will spark a little deja vu, with a very Bourne-esque style. They even borrowed the "shaky camera" method as well...if you can't tell the villain from the hero in a fight, ZOOM OUT.

CHARACTERS: There's a line from Mathis that makes me wish I had seen more of him. "When you're young, it seems easy to distinguish the good guys from the bad. But as you get older, the line gets grey and you can't quite tell the super-heros from the villains." This is a recurring theme in Quantum, in which agent 007 finds himself in the middle. But he's gotten smarter in this one, figuring things out. And M gives him all the space he needs to do so. Look out for the scene where she has to answer to her superior, it was absolutely fascinating to watch her on the other side of authority. Camille is the new girl and she plays her part well, constantly surprising you and giving a spark to the film that it otherwise wouldn't have without her character. Our bad guy (one of 'em) is standard - money and power. Is that all these guys want these days?

CONCLUSION: Isn't very climactic. And I will admit, when the ending credits stole the show, I actually threw up my arms in classic disbelief. No smooth Bond-style one-liners, or the complete cap on the plot and missing characters that may have been wanted. My trilogy theory serves me right. But after I thought about the overall tone and idea behind this Bond iteration, this ending is QUITE appropriate. Keep in mind that Bond is looking for his "quantum of solace" the whole film. That's what drives him, what makes him the way he is. This character in a story of lost love and revenge MUST leave a bitter-sweet taste with you as you walk out. The writers achieve this, borrowing a lot of themes from classic literature in the last scene. There is a sense of closure with it, but if you can't see the open-ended nature of this type of conclusion, they've duped you again.

SYNOPSIS: Competition is great for consumers. This battle between competitors only means better products for those of us spending our money. In the long history of Bond actors, competition among them has given audiences a wide range of varying performances and takes on the 007 character. In Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig continues to mesmerize in this story, looking to squash the competition and take his place as the best Bond ever. I give this movie a GOOD rating.

One question remains that I've left unanswered: Does Bond get his quantum of solace in the end? Well, check it out, and see for yourself...
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:13 AM
Quantum of Solace has a lot to live up to since many consider Casino Royale to be one of, if not the, best Bond movie ever made. While it's definitely not as good as its predecessor, QoS is a fun movie to sit through and is still one of the better Bond movies made since the series started with Dr. No.

The action is the biggest thing that Quantum of Solace has going for it: it starts out with a pretty cool car chase, followed by a rooftop chase (not unlike the construction site scene in Royale, or the chase in Bourne Ultimatum). There are several chases or fight sequences that keep the movie interesting and fun to watch. But where the action scenes are awesome, the story nor the Bond character is as developed or interesting as they were in Casino Royale. It's a good story, but it's basically Bond going from country to country trying to find out more about this new secret evil organization, and evading his own organization who thinks he's a loose cannon. You still see more of the Bond character than you did before Casino Royale; here you see how he's reacting to the death of a loved one.

It just seemed that everything paled in comparison to Casino Royale . . . the villain, the direction, the flow, and the story and the character of Bond - whose development seems to be a focal point of the Bond reboot. I'm not saying that these things are bad, they're just not as good. I did like the villain of Dominic Greene though; while he probably won't be one of the more memorable Bond villains, he did come off as a slimy, creepy person whose motives, like Le Chiffre, are more personal or political than just the goal of world domination. And like the villain, the Bond girls probably won't be remembered much either. They're only two, and barely serve much purpose other than to be female and sexy . . . which they were pretty good at doing.

Being the Bond nut that I am, I enjoyed the movie. It's not as good Casino Royale, but it continues what the franchise reboot was trying to do - get away from the effects driven and gadget-friendly storylines and focus more on realism and the Bond character. And it does it well with several mentions of Vesper Lynde, a few of le Chiffre, Felix Leiter pops up once more, and we even see what's become of Mathis. And I can't write this review without mentioning the awesome homage to Goldfinger, probably my favorite Bond movie. I think there's still plenty to explore in this new storyline the producers are going with, and I can't wait to see where Bond goes next.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:59 AM
To be honest, the movie was well shot and acted...but it dissapointed me in a lot of ways. The ending was too abrupt, you feel as if the story was left unfinished, and there was no "big finale". The ending was so flat. It just ends and your left feeling like you were cheated. When the credits starts to roll I honestly thought the movie was just getting started. I didnt see the big finale so I thought, okay, this hotel in the middle of the dessert thing is just your typical action sequences that comes right before the big bang finale. Never came. Never happened and the rest of the audience along with me, where left feeling like "what the fuck?" Its over???

I did enjoy the acting, Bond getting his ass kicked, but the villain is not very memorable at all, the actor playing the villain was great, I was expecting him to blow up into full villain mode at any given moment, but this never happened, and it felt to me like a chance was wasted to make a memorable Bond Villain. The final fight between Bond and villain, not impressive either. And one action sequence was taken straight out of Golden Eye. If it was a homage or not I dont know, maybe they just wanted to show they could pull off the same action sequence in a more credible way, I dont know.

What is it with this "realism" thing? I remember when movies where about the great escape, seeing outlandish things happening. Bond without the gadgets, whats up with that? I mean I get it, if they dont want to turn him into a cartoon anymore, thats fine, but why suck away the fun from it? I dont want to see Jason Bourne, I want to see James Bond. You dont have to make him lifeless in order to make him different or better. Okay, leave out the cliches, the tired and worn one liners...but dont completely destroy who bond is and expect people to like it.

This was one of the most dissapointing Bond films Ive seen in a while. Not technically, cause technically, its flawless, but wheres the soul? Bonds a cold hearted killer, and on top of that, his like Batman, brooding and sad all the time. This doesnt surprise me since everything is copying Bourne films and Batman films now...so everything is "realistic" documentary style, which means lots of shaky cam and quick cuts that dont let you really see the action, and everybody is dark, serious, sad and brooding. When was Bond such a depressive sad bastard? He was always self assured, he knows what he wants..I get it, their trying to make a more vulnerable Bond, guess what, thats not what Bonds about. At least not in my opinion.

Last edited by spacemonkey; 11-20-2008 at 11:14 AM..
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:37 AM
You're right Space,

Many films now are going the same direction. Dark, realistic, brooding. That's what society is honoring right now, so the films that highlight these the best will gravitate to the top. The joker was repeatedly refered to as a "terrorist." It's all about the situation that society is in. 30 years ago, a Dark Knight wouldn't be nearly as successful as it is in today's gloomy world. In fact, it would have been shunned and destroyed as grotesque and contemptible. That's why Speed Racer was commercially unsuccessful. In today's doom and gloom society, a light-hearted, beautiful, colorful piece of art is out of place. Despite how good it is. There's no doom, there's no over-the-top violence, there's no "realism", so it's rejected.

So, Bond has entered this realistic phase with all other art mediums. That's the only way to keep your vision acceptable. Infuse it with whatever society is going through at the time.
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