Quantum of Solace Directed by: Marc Forster Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Judi Dench, Mathieu Amalric, Jeffrey Wright Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: PG-13
Plot: James Bond (Daniel Craig) picks up right where he left off … kicking arse. Still seeking revenge for the death of his true love Vesper (who betrayed him), Bond encounters Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), an environmentalist who has sinister motives.
Who’s It For? Action fans will flock. No romance this time ... and if all you care about is gadgets and villains ... take a deep breath, you aren't getting your fill here.
Expectations: I am one of the few who thought Casino Royale was just average. I have unusually high expectations for Bond films. But Casino was just simply too long on a romance I never believed in and dumbed down Texas Hold'em to an obscene level. Plus, the ending was the beginning. I was looking forward to who Mr. White truly is and the fact that this is the shortest James Bond film in the franchise doesn't hurt either.
Actors: Daniel Craig as James Bond: I believe Craig has the chance to be the greatest Bond. Those insanely intense eyes don't hurt and he looks fantastic in a dirty suit. Right now stories are stuck on the less is more approach. With how little talking and humor Craig has been handed, I am still thirsty for more ... but they're going to have to give me more the third time around. Score: 7
Olga Kurylenko as Camille: You'll never guess Camille's main motivation ... revenge! She has a tragic story to tell and the film comes to a screeching halt about an hour in so we can understand her sober tale. That said, scars are sweet and she shows them off well. Score: 6
Judi Dench as M: M's the mother more than ever. It's like Bond is her son ... he's full of potential, yet she's the only one who can truly appreciate him. No clue why we have her getting ready for a bath. Just doesn't seem to be a necessary addition. Does this make an audience understand she's able to relax from her tough job? (this is called nit-picking ... it happens when I am not truly sold on the overall purpose of a film). Score: 5
Mathieu Amalric as Dominic Greene: Forget getting to know Mr. White ... we eventually come to understand he is pointless. Dominic is the real villain here. But really, it just seems like he's a business man bent on huge profits. And you know someone out there will now decide sustainable industry tycoons are actually trying to destroy instead of help save our planet. But the one highlight for Dominic is the final fight when suddenly he can't stop screeching like a girl. It's the funniest part of the film, and I don't think it was done on purpose. Score: 4
Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter: Felix continues to work for the CIA, and it's clear it gives him nothing but constipation. Just look at his face, that man needs a restroom stat! Once again Wright is wasted in this role. Score: 3
Talking: There is maybe three minutes of dialogue the first half hour. And there's almost no humor in Quantum of Solace at all. Though I believe the word quantum is said twice, so CLEARLY it was well worth having a title that would confuse the majority of Americans. In fact, we don't even get to know the entire plan that Dominic is plotting. There is one line at the end where he tells Bond ... "I told you what you wanted to know about Quantum." Um, you forgot to tell us. Score: 4
Sights: The car chase sequence is a complete failure. It suffers from SCS (shakey camera syndrome). There is no way to tell if Bond or the bad guys are in trouble. After that though, the action is pretty slick. And the film could simply be explained like this ... Bond in car chase. Bond in foot race. Bond in boat. Bond in elevator. Bond in plane. Bond in glass house. Not very deep, but we are taken to Italy twice, London, Haiti, Austria, Bolivia and Russia ... and an opera scene that should have been the signature, but was cut too short. Score: 6
Sounds: The James Bond theme song is alive and well throughout the film but more importantly ... thank you Jack White. The thunderous licks from his guitar and repetitive piano in the opening song "Another Way to Die" were fantastic. It took a second to get used to Alicia Keys singing by his side, but it's easily one of my favorite Bond songs. Score: 8
Best Scene: The foot chase ... which seems right out of The Bourne Ultimatum is great, especially the climax of that scene which ends with ropes dangling and glass breaking. We quickly realize the bad guy doesn't matter, but the visuals are spectacular and unlike the car chase that opens the film, you can actually see what's going on.
Ending: Yes. The ending works. Mainly because it appears Bond can get back to the character we recognize (with Craig's added toughness). Though I didn't find it particularly clever that someone drank some oil in a desert.
Questions: With a plot about country and corporate takeovers ... can one man really kill the competition to save the day? And how many of you are still sad for Bond with the loss of Vesper? And there's a reason I didn't mention Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) or Ms. Fields (Gemma Arterton) ... they aren't around long enough to care about.
Rewatchability: Only to make sure I am correct that this Bond has managed once again to underwhelm.
How can we care? Heavy on action, but still light on what made the Bond films truly tick. There are no memorable gadgets, no super villains and just a bunch of nameless henchmen for Bond to beat up. It's a better action movie than most, but it's a poor man's Bourne. Craig wears the numbers, yet shows his current disinterest as to what eventually makes our 007 shaken, not stirred. If George Lucas was in charge it would simply have been called James Bond: Revenge of an Agent. It's Bond, hell bent on revenge, and denying it every step of the way. Every conversation with M. has him explaining it's not personal, and her never believing. And a plot twist revolving around sink holes ... there's a metaphor in there somewhere, I'm sure. Thanks to some beautiful action sequences, Craig's insanely ice blue eyes and Jack White this film goes a hint beyond average. With all that said, I can't wait for the next, because it appears they have finally shed the revenge and we can see what else our Blond Bond can do with the famous role.
Final Score: 6/10