US Release Date: 11-14-2008
Directed by: Marc Forster
- Daniel Craig, as
- James Bond
- Olga Kurylenko, as
- Mathieu Amalric, as
- Dominic Greene
- Judi Dench, as
- Giancarlo Giannini, as
- Gemma Arterton, as
- Strawberry Fields
- Jeffrey Wright, as
- Felix Leiter
- David Harbour, as
- Gregg Beam
- Jesper Christensen, as
- Mr. White
- Anatole Taubman, as
- Rory Kinnear, as
- Jesus Ochoa as
- Lt. Orso
There's really only one Bondsian moment in all of Quantum of Solace. Bond flies into Bolivia where he is met by a beautiful British Agent who takes him to a rundown hotel for him to stay at during his time in the country. Bond takes one look at the place and immediately decides that there's no way he can stay there. The female agent tells him that the quality of the hotel fits their cover, which is that of two teachers on sabbatical. When Bond takes her to a five-star hotel instead, he tells the desk clerk, "We're teachers on sabbatical who just won the lottery." Then Bond proceeds to immediately seduce and sleep with the agent. Apart from that one moment this movie more closely resembles a Jason Bourne movie than it does a James Bond one.
Quantum of Solace, Danial Craig's sophomore turn as Ian Fleming's super-spy, picks up immediately where Casino Royale left off. Bond is seeking to find out about the organization behind Vesper Lynd's betrayal. This journey takes him from country to country where fight after fight takes place all of them filmed in the shaky-cam style of the Jason Bourne films. There's even a rooftop chase that is almost a direct rip-off of the rooftop chase in the last Bourne film. Bond is truly a blunt instrument in this movie. He seems only capable of killing. He exhibits very little charm or intelligence.
Remember when a Bond villain's goal was truly earth-shattering? It was usually about world-domination or at least making lots of money off of some over-the-top scheme. This time around the villain's scheme is to steal the water-rights of an area of desert in a South American country. Yep, you read that right. There's not even a super-human henchman for Bond to fight. In the end he has to fight the guy who was paralyzed in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. That's like Superman facing Lex Luthor in a fistfight without Luthor having anything to help him.
There are a couple of Bond babes. Olga Kurylenko is the main one as Camille. She's definitely hot and she fits the mold of your average Bond girl. Like Elektra in For Your Eyes Only, she's out for some revenge that happens to coincide with Bond's mission and they manage to help each other out. Gemma Arterton plays Strawberry Fields, the British Agent mentioned in the first paragraph. Without giving too much away, her portrayal is a very close to Jill Masterson from Goldfinger, only not nearly as good.
And of course Judi Dench is back as M and this time around her part is bigger than ever. She not only visits crime scenes, she personally attends a prisoner's interrogation and she's the brains behind Bond's investigation. I mean, c'mon, you're telling me that the head of the British Secret Service, the person whose identity is such a secret that she goes by a letter instead of a name, goes out in public to investigate the apartment of a traitor in the service?
If it sounds like I'm disappointed in Quantum of Solace it's because I am. If they want to keep making movies like this with Daniel Craig as a British secret agent, I think they should at least change his name to something besides Bond. Perhaps then I wouldn't be expecting to see a Bond film when I go and see it.
Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko
Daniel Craig is muscular, yet ugly. His nose belongs on a rugby player. His James Bond is deadly, yet sentimental. He kept Vespers necklace. He has little charm or savior faire. Judging by the amount of money the revamped Bond movies are making, this is not an issue with audiences. I however, miss the old school Bond. The one who knew what was in his mixed drink without having to ask the bartender.
This new Bond is supposedly more tense and realistic. He gets hurt and bleeds. So what? This movie, like Casino Royale is so full of coincidences that realism is rather moot. In Casino Royale, Bond discovers a bad guy because he just happened to answer his cell phone as he was entering the Ocean Club and was caught on film by security cameras. In Quantum of Solace, there just happens to be a motor boat waiting for him to rescue Camille with. Later a red truck is conveniently parked, with the drivers door opened no less, for him to steal and use. After Bond sneaks into a black tie affair he just happens to find a suit in a locker that fits him perfectly. One of the things the new Bond movie are avoiding is the use of the Bond one-liner. However, if you employ ridiculous coincidences, you might as well make light of them.
The action scenes are nearly non-stop. Most are quite tense even though we know Bond will never die. The one thing missing from the action scenes is the James Bond theme song. When it was finally played at the end credits I realized that it no longer fit these movies. The original theme is bombastic and over the top. It was meant to be. That is who James Bond was in those movies, now he is just an brooding facsimile.
Not your fathers 007. Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton.
By mistake I watched this movie before Casino Royale so I am reviewing it without the hindsight and back story of the first Daniel Craig outing as 007. I agree with Scott, up to a point, about this not being much like a Bond movie. There are quite a few differences but there are also many familiar ingredients as well. The fast-paced action sequences, the Bond Babes (although he seems to have less sex than the Bonds of old) and the exotic locales are all here. And I don’t think Jason Bourne ever dressed as nice as Bond does in this movie. Sure he is less polished but isn’t that supposed to be because this Bond is younger and not as worldly as he is in the other movies?
Eric, you hit it right on the head when you wrote, “One of the things the new Bond movies are avoiding is the use of the Bond one-liner. However, if you employ ridiculous coincidences, you might as well make light of them.” The only thing close to a classic Bond quip that I heard in the entire movie was after Bond meets Camille and she shoots at him in the car. After he gets out he says, “That wasn’t very nice.”
This movie needed more humor. I understand they are going for a more gritty look and serious tone, but as Eric pointed out they have kept the outlandish coincidences and the over-the-top action sequences. They don’t have to go to the extreme of the old Roger Moore Bond, but Sean Connery was able to balance the serious kick-ass Bond with the witty/sophisticated Bond. I guess that is why he will always be the “Real” 007.
And M seemed extremely out of place. I understand that she’s Judi Dench but she gets way too much screen time and plot importance. This James Bond doesn’t drink vodka martinis, there was no funny ending with Bond and a babe caught in a clinch, and his boss mothers him. OY! Scott, I guess you were right after all.
Photos © Copyright MGM (2008)