Author Topic: Quantum of Solace ****  (Read 3605 times)

Najemikon

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Quantum of Solace ****
« on: November 23, 2008, 06:10:04 PM »
Quantum of Solace
4 out of 5


Picking up from the end of Casino Royale, Bond has captured White and is looking for the next step in a mysterious organisation. But can he put aside his own thirst for revenge?

I’d been looking forward to Quantum of Solace for some time, but word of mouth hadn’t been fantastic. Indeed the first quarter or so is a Bourne sequel, that simple. We start with a shaky cam car chase, a foot chase, then a motorbike, and later, a knife-fight in a supposedly deserted apartment. It’s too much and too violent for a series that should be more elegant and not concerned with fitting in. They’ve been caught aping other films before in an ill-judged attempt to fit in (Moonraker’s laser battle in space when everyone was going mad for Star Wars). This 40-year old is no virgin and is perfectly capable of moulding the audience, not the other way around. The Bourne Ultimatum set the bar for action films, but Bond should be more than that.

Maybe I’m being optimistic, but perhaps the Bourne style was done on purpose to show how after the events of Casino Royale, Bond is more like Bourne; a single-minded killing machine in danger of losing his humanity. If so it was a bad method, but an excellent reason. For the first time ever, we have a true sequel, a part 2 even, which should be welcomed, considering how they used to squander such material (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). There’s room for a gear shift or two during a 22 movie run. Daniel Craig is brilliant, developing the character from rookie agent making mistakes to an all too efficient killer, driven by revenge. He has to learn quickly that this can be used against him. Tellingly, he hasn’t earned the theme yet which would surely herald the fully rounded Bond. I don’t think I heard the motif played until the end credits. Connery got it just by walking through an airport!

This is a true Bond film though and not enough credit has been given to Marc Forster. Because he normally does dramas, I did think this would be more of a thinking man’s Bond. While I was definitely wrong and it is if anything more action than normal, he frequently brings something special and unexpected, from the inventive subtitles heralding another country to fresh ideas in set-pieces like the escape from the opera. In many ways, this is a more satisfying production than Casino Royale, if only the plot was as strong. Or the girls for that matter. Gemma Arterton makes small impact except for giving Craig room to be a more classic show-off Bond, and Olga Kurylenko is saddled with an old plot last seen as recently as Kill Bill. Mathieu Amalric is a great villain though considering he is just another minion of something bigger. I liked that the final showdown took place in fire, compared with water in the first film. Are we seeing a trilogy with the final part to end underground perhaps? :P

The story does have some fresh takes on an old idea. Quantum is (probably) the new SPECTRE, a notion fans of classic Bond should relish, but there’s a twist in that both British and American governments are seen to be considering dealing with them and arresting Bond instead. Edgy! There’s also a nod to Goldfinger, updating a classic scene. There are no gadgets aside from a really good phone and I might upset some purists here, but is there really a place for them? We all have cool gadgets now anyway and when they tried to stay ahead of the game in the Brosnan era, we had logic defying invisible cars and villains that used the same tailor as Robocop. Much as I enjoyed Roger Moore driving out of the sea, it’s hardly practical and even as a kid I questioned how he always seemed to have the right gadget for the job, but never used it more than once. It’s a huge weight of a plot device. That said there was a brief appearance from a slightly nerdy character in MI6. Q maybe? Anyway this is definitely a Bond for this generation, an audience less convinced by the romantic exploits of old.

Despite not having enough quiet moments, Quantum of Solace is as much a Bond film as Casino Royale and far more of one than Die Another Day. Marc Forster has crafted a film far better than it had any right to be.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 06:15:08 PM by Jon »

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 11:43:08 PM »
I did think that Bond being more violent was part of his grief process or way of dealing with everything that had happened with Casino Royale.  That aspect was ok with me..I just wish the shaky camera hadn't been used.  That car chase passed in a blur and the fight wasn't any better.  I don't mind some changes with Bond, but I will never like the shaky camera work in the movies.  I don't like that in any movie.  But at least it wasn't so bad that it gave me a headache like happened with Cloverfield.  Bond has been a bit of an elegant character, and that was missing, but I'm thinking that will be coming in future movies since the character is still developing and growing. 

I had forgotten how Casino Royale ended with all the water and this one with fire.  Interesting idea there.  I do think that Quantum is a new SPECTRE and I think that has the potential to be interesting in the future.  It does make me wonder when there will be any references to the person in charge. 
Even though some of the gadgets were corny, I did usually like them.  The movie doesn't have to be loaded down with them, but I did miss Q being around to demonstrate things, even if it was just showing how the GPS stuff on the fancy cell phone worked.  I did like the scene that referenced Goldfinger. I really wasn't expecting that to happen.  I do like Craig in the part overall.

Najemikon

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2008, 12:58:49 AM »
I bet Craig's first three films will form a trilogy, building the character into the classic arrogant, womanising bastard we all like!  ;) Craig has already said that the next one will be "sexier", but bedding loads of women at this stage wouldn't be true to the character they currently have. I really like that approach.

Maybe if he's cockier and more playful in the next film, he'll have room for a few toys. It's just they have to make sense. I did enjoy the old Bonds, but especially since Austin Powers, audiences won't let him get away with the old style. Invisible cars, no, but surely there will be room for cans of shaving foam doubling as a flame thrower? Plus, if I'm right and we've had water, then fire and due an underground lair... maybe with sharks? With frickin' laser beams on their heads?  :laugh: Bond will definitely be back then!


Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2008, 03:08:20 AM »
It does sort of seem like the movies are moving in that direction.  Laying a ...deeper foundation for the character than was done when the series first started.  No it wouldn't fit the current character for him to jump into bed with every women he looks at.  As it was, I thought it was a bit out of place for him to jump into bed with Miss Fields - did you notice her first name in the credits? - since he was still dealing with his feelings for Vesper.  Though maybe that was his way of starting to move on while not getting emotional involved with another woman.

Oh I agree that the gadgets would have to work for the story and make sense.  It would be interesting to see them come up with a cool lair for a bad guy..especially if they decide to share who is the main person in charge of Quantum.  Of course, if that villain got sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads, Dr. Evil would be so jealous.  :laugh:

Najemikon

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 09:45:32 AM »
Yeah, they didn't linger on Fields, did they? I saw her name on IMDb after forgetting to look out for it! :laugh:

I forgot to mention, I didn't like the song when I first heard it, but once I saw it in its proper place with the credit sequence... I hated it even more! What an absolute load of crap. It didn't even fit the credits to my mind.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 09:29:54 PM »
I saw her name in the credits.  Why bother to give her that first name if it wasn't going to be used even once?  Such a waste.   :laugh:

I forgot about that too...I think I was trying to block it out.  I didn't like the song either.  The lyrics were ok, but the...arrangement and whatever just sucked.  Of course I've never cared for that Jack guy..White I think his last name is.  I'm not that fond of Alicia Keys either and them together....yuck.  I hated that song.

Najemikon

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2008, 09:51:36 PM »
I quite like Jack White's stuff as part of The White Stripes (Seven Nation Army, etc), but a Bond song is a different thing altogether. I like Sheryl Crow and would buy her album if it was just her singing the phone book, but Tomorrow Never Dies was weak too.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2008, 10:17:42 PM »
I never really liked any of The White Stripes stuff.  Thought to be fair, I've only heard a few things that I didn't care for. 
I do like Sheryl Crow, but you're right..that song wasn't that great either..but it was better than this one.  I wasn't overly fond of the song for Casino Royale either, though I liked it better than this one.

Najemikon

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2008, 12:28:21 AM »
I preferred the song "Surrender" by K. D. Lang that played over the end credits of Tomorrow Never Dies. I really liked the last one though, from the moment I first heard it. Then when I saw it in the credits sequence, I knew I was watching a proper Bond film. I know a lot of the themes are dismissed as that most insulting of musical genres, MOR, but I like them because they blend in so well with the theme. This was an ugly, messy affair.

Interestingly, there's a British band called Arctic Monkeys you may have heard of. The lead singer is currently working with a spin-off act called The Last Shadow Puppets and despite him having a very strong Northern accent in his singing, their single is far more suitable for Bond. It wouldn't take much arrangement to make it fit. It already has a orchestral sound to it.

Age of the Understatement

A few people love Jack White and therefore won't hear anything said against him, but they also aren't huge Bond fans and fail to understand when I say that you don't have to like the artist for the song to make sense. If anything, the opposite is true. Sheryl Crow is one of my favourite singers, but failed, whereas "All Time High" is one of my favourite songs, but no way could I listen to a Rita Coolidge album. In fact I think I heard she disowned it!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 12:31:02 AM by Jon »

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2008, 08:04:08 AM »
I can't remember that song..but it has been a while since I saw Tomorrow Never Dies.  I didn't hate the one for Casino Royale..I just didn't love it.  It did fit with the movie.  Most of the songs for the Bond movies have fit in well for the movies. 

I've never heard of that group.  You're right, that does sound more like a Bond song than the one used for Quantum. 

Offline Achim

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2008, 01:00:50 PM »
Thanks for this thread, guys! Exellent read for me, being a rather casual Bond fan (mainly the Connery bits and then also the Lazenby outing). Great review in the first post.

Unfortunately I missed Quantum in the cinema and will now have to wait for the Blu-ray. It appears I will have to watch not only Casino Royale but also Goldfinger before watching Quantum...

Also thanks for recommending The Last Shadow Puppets. If anything else, at least the song you linked to is definetly worth an iTunes purchase. FWIW, I have heard the theme song twice (stand-alone) and enjoyed it both times.

Najemikon

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2008, 03:31:50 PM »
Goldfinger is always worth a watch! The reference in Quantum is minimal though. But you certainly can't watch it without Casino Royale!

Alex Turner of The Last Shadow Puppets is better know for his main project, The Arctic Monkeys, which you may like. Bit rougher. Have a look on YouTube for You Look Good On The Dancefloor... ;D

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2008, 03:14:11 AM »
Thanks for this thread, guys! Exellent read for me, being a rather casual Bond fan (mainly the Connery bits and then also the Lazenby outing). Great review in the first post.

Unfortunately I missed Quantum in the cinema and will now have to wait for the Blu-ray. It appears I will have to watch not only Casino Royale but also Goldfinger before watching Quantum...

Also thanks for recommending The Last Shadow Puppets. If anything else, at least the song you linked to is definetly worth an iTunes purchase. FWIW, I have heard the theme song twice (stand-alone) and enjoyed it both times.

I think you could still enjoy Quantum without watching Goldfinger first since it was such a small reference.  I just thought it was cool that it was done.  It is definitely a good idea to watch Casino Royale first though.

Offline Achim

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Re: Quantum of Solace ****
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2008, 03:00:38 PM »
I understood that Goldfinger is not a must to be seen before Quantum. It's just been very long since I have seen it so I am not sure I'd see the reference. ...and since it's on my unwatched pile anyway...

Alex Turner of The Last Shadow Puppets is better know for his main project, The Arctic Monkeys, which you may like. Bit rougher. Have a look on YouTube for You Look Good On The Dancefloor... ;D
I had a quick listen to a few more songs on YouTube and must say I prefer Shadow over Arctic... I will see if I can get their CD when shopping in Hong Kong on Tuesday.