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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Quantum of Solace - Mini Review


WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS

Last night I finally got to see the new Bond movie "Quantum of Solace". After hearing a whole plethora of varying reviews from TV, radio and UK newspapers, some saying it was rubbish and some saying it was awesome, I was intent on giving it the benefit of doubt and decided to sit back and enjoy it.


The only problem is that I didn't enjoy it, not as much as I should have at least... Being the huge Bond fanatic that I am I was sure I was going to love this film as much as Casino Royale (which ends up being the far superior Daniel Craig outing) but it just didn't hit the spot, both as a Bond film, and an enjoyable, exciting, action movie. It's clear for any movie aficionado (and anyone who knows anything about Quantum's filming) that the Bourne Identity stunt co-ordinator was brought on board for this movie. The fight sequences are almost identical to the Bourne trilogy and some stunt sequences such as the opening car chase and the motorbike stunt again had that Bourne signature to them in the way they were set up and filmed. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but the whole film was so close up and erratic in how many camera angles per minute it used it gave you a headache to try and keep focused and see what was going on.

Bond looking a bit worse for wear

Characters like Gemma Arterton's MI6 agent "Fields" (first name "Strawberry" if you didn't know), Giancarlo Giannini's "Renee Mathis" and Jeffrey Wright's "Felix Lighter" (both latter actors reprising their Casino Royale roles) seemed to be thrown in to the film for no good reason, maybe just to keep some continuity between Casino and Quantum, but they just didn't seem to belong and had no major impact on the story, they could have just been left out and it wouldn't have harmed the film. Poor old Gemma was highly underused, being introduced to the audience dressed in a hat can only be described as a "flasher coat" and boots that made me think she was about to whip'em off at any second just for the sake of her being another dumb notch on Bond's bed post (reminding me of Julia Roberts character in Pretty Woman for some reason) and in reality she seems to have only been included as cannon fodder for the "how many girls die after meeting Bond" list which is part of the film's side story. I almost cringed at the scene where Bond is drinking his first signature drink, the Dry Martini, as the barman describes exactly how one is made while Bond finishes his eighth glass... It was a poor addition to the movie to add something like that in in my opinion.

Craig and Arterton doing the suave thing

Daniel Craig and Judie Dench put in fine performances as always and they had no faults at all and Mathieu Amalric (main villain Dominic Greene) was OK but I feel new girl Olga Kurylenko was maybe a poor choice for "Camille". There was little wrong with her performance that I can put my finger on but again she didn't seem to bring anything interesting to the role, nor may I say did she register on any Bond Girl hotty level for me. There's word that she'll return in Bond 23... I hope she doesn't. Maybe that's a little harsh but hey I was sat there waiting to see a great movie and I just kept sitting there until the credits rolled still waiting... It was a "meh, I'm looking forward to getting home now" reaction while leaving the cinema and that's always a disappointment. A case of the trailer was better than the actual film maybe?

Olga Kurylenko as Camille

It's very obvious that the studio and it's producers are wanting to make the new Bond movies into a continuing story where one films leads straight into the next (running away from the old Bond film blue print where each one was utterly separated from one another and a previous film was never mentioned) but what they seem to be doing in the process is losing the essence of what the classic Bond's had. Yes Daniel Craig's 007 is a far more realistic MI6 agent, he gets hurt, both physically and emotionally, he makes mistakes, his humour is dry and suits him, he's visceral in his actions etc, and we love that kind of direction change with a lot of movies from the last few years, but if this is the way Bond is heading I'm a little worried.

All in all it's not a terrible film that you shouldn't go and see, it's really not. BUT, and it's a big but, it's definitely of a lower grade that I hope the next movie recovers from. I'm sure this'll make a packet at the box office regardless and in reality everyone who's anyone goes to watch a new Bond movie when it gets released so there's a whole lotta life in the old dog yet.

Bond is back, but not at his best.
5/10

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