Quantum of Solace

Filed under: Quantum of Solace on Nov 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm

As a rule these days, I don’t generally talk about the films on this site. I leave that to my big brother CommanderBond.net, but last night I saw a Bond movie that I feel compelled to discuss here.

For 2 to 3 weeks now, I’ve been hearing how Quantum of Solace wasn’t that good. These reports from some friends, others from critics around the world. I think I bought into that. My expectations for this movie dropped like a rock. But after finally seeing this movie for myself last night, I gotta admit: I’m confused as to what everyone is talking about. I thought it was terrific.

We call this a revenge film, and I’ve said as much to others, but it’s also not a revenge film. That’s really the interesting aspect of the movie for me. Probably more so than most if not all the Bond films, this was all Bond (i.e., Daniel Craig). He drove the entire movie. The plot was about him, not some take over the world scheme where Bond jumps in to brave danger and save the world and get the girl, though it had a touch of that. That sort of standard Bond film plot took a back seat to what was going on with Bond. I actually liked that. Of course that route has consequences, some apparently very severe to some reviewers. It makes the villains not as big of a deal as past villains or Bond girls as significant as others, but that wasn’t really the heart of the story. Not to me anyway.

The only major problem with the movie in this respect is that it struggles to stand on its own without the help of Casino Royale. Bond films tend to always stand on their own. You can watch Goldfinger before or after Thunderball, it doesn’t matter. Quantum of Solace requires Casino Royale, heavily. I suppose you can say it comes off as sort of an interlude or closing chapter before whatever comes next, which again could have a major impact on how people view this movie. As surprised as I am about some of the negativity for this film, I suspect Bond 23 could redeem it for some of those depending on its direction. Maybe not.

What scares me the most is that I’m worried that with all the critics, the producers will approach the next film without pushing anything. It’ll go right back to the safety of the old Bond formula and that’d be a terrible waste. Once again the critics will pile on and talk about how it’s all a cliche and typical and how they want something different.

I never expected everyone to like Quantum of Solace (hell would freeze over) so I can understand it not being viewed as the greatest thing since slice bread or even Casino Royale and I can understand some fans being miffed over some missing Bond staples, but I don’t get all the negative reviews.

Whatever though. I had a good experience. I liked it. That’s all that matters to me. This was as I said, sort of an interlude chapter. A piece that unfortunately appears to struggle to stand on its own. I’m okay with that, personally.

Bond will always be back and so will I.

Thoughts, changes, and ideas for the future:

  • Daniel Kleinman needs to return. While the credit sequence was nifty, it lacked… heart. Say what you will about the themes, but Kleinman was 5 for 5.
  • I don’t ever judge a Bond movie with the theme in mind. If it’s a bad theme then.. no big deal. If it’s a great Bond theme then that’s just a bonus. That said, next time lets try hard for a really good theme song. Deal?
  • Less shaky cam or no shaky cam. Casino Royale had an intense and very awesome foot chase and I don’t recall them shaking the camera around.
  • Don’t borrow from other Bond films. Keep it original. In fact lets just not borrow from any films at all. No homages.
  • A new direction. Bond’s Live and Let Die (the novel) moment is over. The Vesper chapter is largely closed. Time for something new. Don’t fall into the same ol formula we’ve been exposed to for years. Give us something fresh, but of course keep it Bond. Throw the old, don’t-want-to-see-‘change’-fans a bone if need be. Introduce Villier’s replacement. Keep Q hidden or at most subtlely reveal him as merely the armourer a la From Russia with Love.
  • The villain. Two ways to go here. It’s either time for the Goldfinger-like villain to enter the picture with a scheme so brilliant that even Connery’s Bond sits back in amazement and calls it brilliant or the Scaramanga-like villain. I vote the latter at the moment. Bond is definitely on Quantum’s radar. One of the things SPECTRE always did was ignore Bond. Stupid mistake. They set out with a grandiose scheme of world domination, in popped Bond and then they lost. Quantum should be smarter. They send a villain to kill Bond. Not some lackey assassin who Bond disposes of in 30 seconds. Scaramanga-like. He’s great at what he does. He’s the anti-Bond. Forget the grand scheme or maybe the scheme is to get Bond. It’s very From Russia with Love in that respect. No double agents though.
  • Stop changing MI6. There was something really great about how the early Bond films all pretty much had the same set. Bond walks in, tosses his hat, says hello to Moneypenny, gets the green light above the door and then walks through the double doors into the familiar room where M manages the entirety of the secret service. Lets see.. Dame Judi Dench has had modern, post-modern, ultra-glass-modern-with-Microsoft-Surface and a few more in-between. Reuse the Casino Royale set please. Somethings just don’t need to change.
  • Years and years of saying Sean Connery was the best James Bond has led to a very difficult conflict within my brain as to whether I should acknowledge that Daniel Craig is actually the best. He’s close, but I haven’t acknowledged it yet. I’ll say this though to the producers that are obviously reading this post, don’t blow your opportunity to make something really great by retreating to the formula because of a few bad reviews. Use Daniel Crag to the fullest.


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Comment by Patrick

Made Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Quantum of Solace is entertaining at least… a lot of high quality visuals, but the movie as a whole could stand to lose six or seven fewer chase scenes