A few days before I headed off to Germany, I had a chance to see the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Now, before I get too crazy in this review, I have to say that Casino Royale back in 2006 did something no Bond movie had ever done (including the original Dr. No, which is still one of my favorite Bond movies ever)… It made me consider James Bond more as a human being than a super hero. Did he still do amazing things that no sane man would ever consider? Definitely. But there was also an emotional core that made the story that much more powerful.
Quantum of Solace (QoS) picks up a couple of hours after Casino Royale (CR) ends. At the end of CR, Bond is hunting down Mr. White (Jesper Christensen). Mr. White was of course instrumental in the death of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), Bond’s love interest in the first movie. QoS takes this a step further by showing where Bond took Mr. White after he shot him…
Unfortunately, QoS wasn’t as powerful a movie as CR for me. Daniel Craig as Bond is still an amazing choice. However, the emotional aspect of CR was missing. I’m unable to tell if it was director Marc Forster‘s fault or that of screenwriters Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis. Either way, it just never got beyond the James Bond movie style into real substance like CR did.
I found myself drifting during the movie, checking off all the various bits and pieces that needed to be in a James Bond movie…
- Classic opening title sequence with lots of silhouettes of naked women… [check]
- Car chase… [check]
- Boat chase… [check]
- Rooftop chase… [check]
- Airplane chase… [check]
- Gun fights… [check]
- Scantily clad beautiful women with amusing names… (Strawberry Fields is great!) [check]
- Witty banter… [check]
But it never got beyond the action aspects of the movie. The relationship between James Bond and Camille (played by the stunning Olga Kurylenko) was close, but only in one scene near the end of the movie.
Bond and Strawberry Fields was more like the Bond of old who would get into interesting relationships with ladies like Pussy Galore, Xenia Onatopp, and Octopussy… Strawberry Fields (I keep wanting to add “Forever”) fits right into the list!
There were a number of things that worked… Daniel Craig again was amazing as Bond. Judi Dench as “M” is still a masterful choice. The “death by oil” scene was a throwback to Goldfinger, which I thought was nice. The amazing technology in MI6 such as the touch screen table was very cool, especially knowing that some of the Microsoft Surface technology was probably involved.
But there were many other things that kept me from really diving into this one. The theme song “Another Way to Die” by Alicia Keyes and Jack White was still a bunch of noise to me. The labels that were floated over buildings and locations to indicate where Bond was seemed very amateurish to me. I love the TV show Fringe, which does it extremely well, but it seemed just slapped onto the screen in QoS in a few cases.
Overall, I thought Quantum of Solace was ok, but definitely not a great follow-up to Casino Royale. Maybe if you watch the two of them back to back, the emotional buildup from CR will carry you through QoS, but I honestly don’t know. I’ll have to pick it up on DVD when it comes out next year and see if it works that way.
I can only give Quantum of Solace 2.5 out of 4 stars. It should have been much better. But even a merely OK Bond flick is better than no Bond flick in my book, so I’ll let it slide. 🙂