Sunday, 28 December 2008

Quantum of Solace (my belated thoughts)

A few years back I was a reader and occasional contributor to the James Bond newsgroup. (Anyone remember newsgroups?) Anyway, when a new Bond movie came out I would put up my initial thoughts. I've not done that for many years so I thought I would do something similar here.

To be honest I was not getting my hopes up about Quantum of Solace. Casino Royale was the best Bond movie in many years and I couldn't not see how the next one could match it. plus all the talk of it being action-packed the whole way thorough didn't bode well.

However, on balance, I was pleasantly surprised. While it is nowhere near as good as Casino Royale it is nowhere near as poor as it might have been. At the very least it is superior to the Brosnan era's entries.

The opening car chase appears to be exciting. If only the makers had opted for less frenetic editing so I could actually see what was happening! When I see clips of it on TV it looks a bit clearer what is going on, so hopefully I'll enjoy that more on DVD.

I didn't like the song when I first heard it and I've not changed my mind since. At least it's not as bad as Madonna's.

The chase through the tunnels and rooftops was fine. There was some nice arty inter-cutting with the horse race.

I enjoyed the scene where M surmises that Dominic Greene is indeed a "person of interest".

Bond's fight with the "geologist" was good but seemed very... well, Bourne. The meeting with Camille was good. Olga Kurylenko really grew on me as the movie progressed. (Put it this way, I'm probably going to track down her other DVDs.) The following boat chase was unnecessary.

My favourite sequence of the movie was the opera segment. Bond's method of identifying the members of Quantum was ingenious and amusing. The following gun battle was inter-cut with the opera in a very arty and entertaining way.

After that there was more action, some action and a bit of action. It was nice to see Mathis again and Bond's drinking binge on the plane.
I did think that Gemma Arterton was very good value as agent Fields. As expected she didn't last for too much of the movie's running time, but she made an impression when she did.

After the emotionally devastating ending of Casino Royale it was a pity that QoS ended up with traditional explosions. At least Bond's farewell "gift" to Greene (the can of oil in the desert) gave a glimpse of his cruelty. Daniel Craig continues to play the role perfectly.

Lots of M in this movie. I would have liked to see more of Felix.

Finally I liked how the location names came up in unusual but suitable "fonts". Also the choice of locations provided some of the most visually stunning seen in a Bond movie for a long time. The deserts were particularly memorable.

In summary the movie is disappointing when compared to the excellence of Casino Royale but still far better than a lot of the post-1960s entries.