Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quantum of Solace Review

Unlike prior Bond films, this movie is a sequel so if you haven't seen Casino Royale yet you may want to watch it first. If you are just looking to be entertained don't worry. It's not like this is a complicated Shakespearean plot that will go over your head. Warning: This review contains spoilers.

007 has become a darker character over the last two movies. Bond could simply be described as a brutal assassin. He now prefers his fists over gadgets. There is definitely a more serious and realistic feel to this movie. You don't see Bond driving a hovercraft through Venice square or sledding on a cello but there is still plenty of fake stuff like the inability of bad guys with machine guns to shoot him at close range. This film is grittier and more violent than prior Bond movies. The previous movies also featured violence and death but they were usually accompanied by the obligatory witty quips and cocky attitude so it wasn't taken as seriously. In Quantum of Solace the corny puns and innuendo are kept to a minimum, however I did find myself laughing at some of the one liners. Since Bond is so hardened and angry in this movie I was surprised and even touched during a seen when he holds a dying friend and comforts him as he passes away, but my hopes were soon dashed when he callously tossed his body into a giant dumpster as soon as he died.

The action and stunts are great and nearly non stop so there isn't a dull moment; however the cinematography is choppier and harder to follow as is the trend these days in many action movies. Most of the fight scenes reminded me of The Bourne Identity. This movie is very entertaining with action sequences and stunts on the ground, air, and sea. The globe trotting covers England, Italy, Austria, and Bolivia. I found it interesting that Bond did not have the usual romp with the lead actress who was played by Olga Kurlyanko. In the past 007 has been much more prolific and promiscuous with the ladies, but here he seemed very focused on revenge. The other Bond girl , Agent Fields had a trivial part and didn't really fit in or contribute much to the movie. At least they used her to pay homage to a scene from Goldfinger.

Judi Dench grows on me more with each movie. She is more complex and effective than any of the men who have previously played the role of M. I think her character is one of the more intriguing and entertaining ones. I miss Q but since Desmond Llewelyn died it has been hard to replace him. There was really no need for a Q in this movie since there was no gadgetry with the exception of the cool computer screens at the MI6 briefing room. The most recent villain didn't have metal teeth, scars, a third nipple, a pet cat, or bleeding eyes, like prior eccentric villains we've seen. He didn't even have an underground lair or secret facility with hundreds of henchmen working for him either. He was just an average guy which made him appear less threatening and even vulnerable, but he seemed more realistic than prior villains. The scariest thing about the villain was his right hand man's horrible haircut.

If you are a long time fan of the Series and enjoyed Connery and Moore for their suave and smooth performances you may not enjoy this movie as much. I have noticed that many of the seasoned 007 fans are not happy that Bond is being re-defined. Some feel he his identify has been hi-jacked and they've been critical of the direction of the last two movies. I can see their point and as a long time Bond fan I can empathize with them, but I think Daniel Craig does a great job and has revived the series for a younger generation. This movie met most of my expectations despite it's departure from many of the traditional Bondisms we've grown accustomed to over the years. I give it 7.1 out of 10.

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