A Not So Brit Late: Quantum Of Solace

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Film came out: 31st October 2008

How late: 12 days (Gibbo), 5 days (Gandysampras)

I can’t say I’m a James Bond fan but Casino Royale was a pretty awesome film. It had an easy to follow story, some good action sequences and was an overall entertaining film. So the expectations were high when it was announced that the 22nd Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, would be coming out in November 2008. Since it is a British franchise, we lucky sods got to see the film before America, but the question is, is it good? Can it really deliver a good experience after Casino Royale? Hit the jump for a double whammy of me and Gandysampras’s impressions on the film.

Gibbo:

I will say this. Don’t go into Quantum Of Solace expecting a film just as good as Casino Royale because you’ll be disappointed. Quantum Of Solace isn’t as good as Casino Royale. That may sound like a bad thing but it isn’t. The impression I got from seeing Quantum Of Solace was that it wasn’t out to beat Casino Royale but was here to provide a fun, action-packed ride, although lacking in substance.

The film kicks off only about an hour after the cliffhanger of Casino Royale and shows James Bond trying to escape from some generic henchmen in a trademark Aston Martin. Yes, the film has only just started and we already have a car chase, something that was kinda of in Casino Royale but wasn’t at the same time. On that topic, if there is one thing that Quantum Of Solace does better than Casino Royale, it’s the action scenes. Not only do you have a car chase scene, but you also get a boat chase, a bike/car chase, a human action sequence and even a plane chase. They weren’t great but I wasn’t exactly complaining.

The story really suffers though. It just doesn’t grab you in the same way that Casino Royale did. It focuses on Bond trying to get revenge for the death of Vesper but it really doesn’t go anywhere until the final third. The villain Dominic Greene is really forgettable and doesn’t hold a candle to Le Chiffre. As for the Bond girls, they’re also disappointing. First off you have the M16 agent played by Gemma Arteton but she just comes off as really bland and she gets killed off pretty quickly. As for the main attraction, who is a Bolivian agent played by Olga Kurylenko, she isn’t too great either. She won’t be very memorable and Bond doesn’t even do what he is famous for to her. I mean she’s not amazing but you wouldn’t refuse and yet he only gives her one kiss. Hell even Max Payne didn’t bang her if Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear is telling the truth.

Since the films on yet another cliffhanger, I hope that the next Bond film finishes it off, as people who go into the cinema having missed out on Casino Royale will be confused. As Gandy says below though, star performances go out to Dame Judi Dench and Daniel Craig, who pull off two great performances throughout the film and it only proves further that Daniel Craig is a great Bond. For final words, It’s an entertaining film which I think is worth watching, but it’s no must see like Casino Royale was.

Gandysampras:

After only recently seeing the first of the Daniel Craig Bond movies very recently I have been waiting for the next in the series with baited breath. However after I left the movie theater I could not help but feel a tad disappointed, in one word the film was ‘meh’. Not bad, but it just didn’t feel like James Bond to me. Quantum of Solace is both the shortest Bond film to date and also the only one marketed as a direct sequel to a previous film. I feel it may be this shortness combined with the way the film was shot that gives it a cramped and rushed feel.

It seems to me that the inexperienced director (of action orientated movies anyway) Marc Forster had little to no idea of how to shoot an action sequence, this becomes painfully evident right from the offset with the now standard car chase. There’s no urgency, the cinematography just does not seem to complement the action whatsoever. The whole film seems to copy the quick cuts and jerky scene changes of the Bourne series which is not a good idea. Not to shit on the Bourne movies, I mean that style of camera work is suited to them, it’s just not right for Bond which has always placed just as much emphasis on it’s charm as it does on the action. One of the best parts of the series is the fact that the story between action sequences matters, it’s not just filler until the next explosion or shoot-out. This is missing from Quantum, it feels to me like Forster is attempting to overcompensate for his art house background by jumping from action-scene to action-scene and glossing over the underlying story.

The story follows 007 as he tries to take down Quantum, an organization headed by Dominic Greene, a criminal businessman seeking to further his own twisted goals through the exploitation of unstable countries. Greene is almost immediately forgettable as a character, he has no memorable lines, characteristics or traits unlike Le Chiffre in the previous outing. The female companion Camille (Ukrainian supermodel Olga Kurylenko) is as boring a Bond girl as one could wish to meet, she and Bond have no on-screen chemistry and the way she is portrayed leaves her feeling empty and flat. It’s a shame that the abysmally named Strawberry Fields was killed off so quickly, she and Bond had more interesting relationship in their short time onscreen than Camille and Bond did throughout the entire film.

The only sections of the film that really appealed to me were the witty, but also exciting scenes involving M and Bond in a sort of Student vs Teacher battle. Their relationship seems to have progressed since the previous movie in that she obviously feels a protective, possibly motherly instinct towards him. M is really given life by Judy Dench, and Craig compliments her perfectly. It’s just a shame that the rest of the cast seemed so lifeless.

Quantum of Solace was never going to be as good as Casino Royale, but I hoped for at least a passable Bond movie. What I saw though seemed like yet another addition to the mountains of samey action movies that come out year on year. It’s a good thing there was nothing memorable in the movie, the sooner it is forgotten, the sooner we can move onto the next in the series, and hopefully the second true Bond film starring Daniel Craig.

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