Quantum of Solace

    James Bond has returned! Wait, no, I’m sorry that’s not Bond. It seems that director Marc Forster believes the best direction to take the Bond series is down the Jason Bourne route, (I know you all are probably tired of all the Bourne Bond comparisons, but they’re there for a reason so you’ll have to suffer through another one), which I don’t think is the best way for the series to go, and I know I’m not alone here.

Quantum of Solace is the sequel to the incredible franchise reboot Casino Royale (Which I liked better than superhero reboot Batman Begins), which I see as one of the best in the series, and brings back Daniel Craig as the suave, clean cut, drinking spy we all know and love… Wait, go back, what I meant to say was brings back Daniel Craig as the sometimes suave, beaten, drinking action star that emerged in the last film. QoS also brings forth a new bond girl in the form of Olga Kurylenko, and favorite returning character M played by Judi Dench.

The movie starts off almost immediately where Royale left off with Bond racing down a mountainside with a criminal in his trunk ready to be interrogated. This starts off the first action sequence as cars go flying off cliffs and running into very large trucks. When he finally sits down alongside M to interrogate Mr. White, as he is known, he finds out that White is a part of a secret organization and finds it incredible that MI6 knows nothing about them. He laughs telling them that they have people EVERYWHERE, at which point a traitor emerges and sets Mr. White free to run away which starts off another chase scene.

The whole movie is pretty much one big long chase with Bond going after… something. In the beginning he is looking for Vesper’s (The bond girl from Royale who drowned, after betraying Bond) boyfriend to get some answers, but he gets sidetracked to a plot concerning a girl called Camille (Kurylenko) trying to kill him, and then a man called Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric) trying to kill her by sending her onto a boat where there is a General who killed Camille’s family, who she is now intending to avenge. Now that’s a long way to say that pretty much everyone wants to kill everyone, but wait, there’s more. It turns out that Dominic Greene has a secret plan to possibly control oil in South America, and he’s even getting help from those damn American CIA agents.

You can tell from that small plot summary that this movie is going to have it’s themes spread throughout revenge and trust, and while that’s true it’s not exactly a point Forster focuses on too much. Sure you get Bond sulking for a couple of scenes, and trying to do anything to get what he wants, but it never truly feels real. This is not a movie trying to explain what revenge does to the human soul, or how trust can sometimes be manipulated. No, this is a movie about visually active action scenes put down on a mat with a thin plot wire holding them together. It is seen as a thin wire because by the end of the movie you don’t really care about Greene’s evil plan (which is much smaller in scale than what is first assumed). The whole movie you’re just waiting for the next action scene to start. There are a couple of sentimental moments, and even a few true Bond moments spread throughout the scene, but overall this is just your standard Hollywood explosion film with a just an extra small hint of  style and dignity.
Now there are some things that Quantum of Solace gets right, one of which is Daniel Craig. Craig is by far one of the best Bonds (beaten only by Connery) and this performance is great, even though he doesn’t have much to work with. When he’s given the chance he shines, and that’s all we can ask for from him.  The movie is also fast paced for the most part so you never really feel bored, but honestly there just feels like there’s too much missing from this film. To start off they bring in way too many characters. At the end you don’t care about any of the new ones introduced, or the ones brought back. They bring in so many characters that the new “Bond Girl” only gets around fifteen to twenty minutes of screen time. (That is of course a guess, but I can tell you that she wasn’t there long.) My biggest gripe though, is of course what I mentioned in the beginning. People need to realize that this is not an action film, Bond is a spy. He kills when he has too, but he does not enjoy doing it. Violence is an itch that James Bond hates to scratch. He sneaks, he listens, he saves the girl, he has one liners for everything, and he wears suits 99% of the time. He also uses gadgets Forster! Bond has watch lasers, and cell phone grappling hooks, he started that trend, and in over two hours of watching Solace I never caught a glimpse of the slightest bit of technology being used by Bond.

Overall the movie itself isn’t bad. The acting is as good as you can accept it to be with Craig giving his all and everyone else doing the best they can with what they have, especially Judi Dench, but that’s practically a given. The direction is going to get points off from me, possibly unfairly, but the blame for this new Bond will fall on Forster and his screenwriters from me. I do not like where they are taking this new Bond and hopefully they will remedy this and bring us a third movie that’s on par with Royale. The screenwriting is just like above, but they get even more points taken off for the fact that I hardly cared for any of the new characters introduced, and for a main villain who I despised because in my mind seemed too weak and had a plan that turned out to be the equivalent of a cat trying to control all the rats in a motel. The visuals, while a little fast and hard to follow at times, are great so no demerits in that area. The movie is quick paced and generally leaves you with a satisfied feeling. Though nowhere near what it could have been, Quantum of Solace succeeds as an action movie but as a Bond film falls a little short of what I had hoped for. 3/5

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