Saturday, November 15, 2008

Review of Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace **
Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Daniel Craig

Well, you can’t win them all. That’s the lesson I got from this Bond outing. This isn’t a new problem for the Bond series. Roger Moore had a weak second film with the Man with the Golden Gun. Pierce Brosnan too suffered with a sophomore slump. We are not including Sean Connery since he’s the only Bond with the perfect record, Timothy Dalton since he’s the one who sucked out right, and George Lazenby since he only did one.
Now we have Daniel Craig. When the Bond producers announced that they had chose Craig to replace Brosnan, people scratched their heads. There was also an intense backlash from some Bond fans who (wrongfully) felt the Brosnan was the right man for the job. Film geeks knew Craig from his excellent performance in the outstanding British gangster film Layer Cake, and when looking at the film, we know why the producers chose him; He had the right the amount of British wit, he was a classy actor, and not only that, he was a man’s man. He wasn’t too pretty, but he didn’t mope about it. Casino Royale was probably the best post-Connery debut for any Bond, as Craig fit the role like a glove. Not only that, but Bond’s 21st century rival, Jason Bourne, gave him some tips on how to be awesome. The script was great, and kept you on the edge of the seat because Bond became human. We felt for him. Brosnan’s Bond was stoic and at some times robotic. It was a welcome change.
Now onto to the highly anticipated follow up, Quantum of Solace. Have you seen those posters? It’s pretty badass. What about the film? Not so much. While Casino Royale was an incredibly focused film, Solace is a sordid affair. The action sequences are here at an ad nasuem rate, but they feel rushed and predictable. In fact, most of the sequences are borrowed from other Bond films. The motor boat sequence is a knock-off of the infamous sequence in Bayou Country in Roger Moore’s Live and Let Die. There is the billionth airplane/helicopter/weird flying thingy in Bond History. Thank God they didn’t take the ludicrous moment from the Bond movies. We don’t get to see Daniel Craig in clown suit thankfully.
The film’s plot is all over the place, but it mainly focuses of the evil workings of Dominic Green (Mathieu Amalric) as he tries to do something with Bolivia’s water supply. Oh wait, that’s sort of similar to the last Moore film A View to Kill, where Christopher Walken tries to flood California. Now to those who say I digress, let’s compare the two. A View to Kill is even disliked by Moore himself, got that? Yet the evil plan is more evil than Green’s evil plan. California is not even a country, yet It has more political and economic importance than Bolivia. Not to be mean or anything like that, but does the average person cares about the plight of Bolivia? Green’s evil plan would have more importance if it were a major country. Hell, even destroying Canada would scare some people.
Back to the plot being over the place. The film barely touches on the death of Vesper Lynd in the previous film, and that story is only wrapped up in the last minutes of the film. Not only that, to add to the idea of revenge in this film, they make the Bond Girl here, Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko; a picture perfect Bond girl. An okay performance), with here own revenge saga. This film was supposed to be a continuation of the Bond-Lynd saga, another heartbreaking action film like Royale, yet we get the dispirted Solace. Paul Haggis (Crash) and the other screenwriters have made lots of mistakes with the story, as they try to return to failed formula of the last Brosnan movies. The film also has no memorable scenes. Maybe because we just don’t care about Bolivia. Maybe because of this the climax is rather goofy. Bond struggles to fight Green, which is absurd since this is James Bond fighting a guy who not only is a little environmentalist, but also looks like a cross between Serge Gainsbourg and Roman Polanski. Meanwhile, Camille is struggling to stop a dictator from raping her while the fort they are all fighting in is the process of blowing up. Um… what?
Bond has reverted back to it’s old ways after being progressive with Casino Royale. I still think Daniel Craig a great Bond, and I really like Marc Forster’s direction and staging, but the plot has get with the program. I don’t want to see the talented actors go to waste. So let’s hope that Bond 23 will kick ass. I mean, nobody was confident that Casino Royale was going to be good.

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