Movie Review: Quantum of Solace

I went to see Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond movie, with Daniel Craig as Bond.
The Good, the Bad, the Verdict…

The Good:
Character development. The movie is, a first for the Bond movies, a direct sequel, following directly on the events of Casino Royale, and featuring a couple of characters and actors from that movie. As a result, I think this is the first time that Felix Leiter has been played by the same actor in multiple JB movies. So we see Bond continue the path that leads from the death of Vesper in the first movie. And M and Bond continue to develop their relationship
Hints of a metaplot and another evil Agency: This movie makes it clear that there is another secret agency out there, a la SPECTRE. Its equally clear to me that the agency is going to be around for multiple movies, since Bond only stops one plot of theirs in this movie.
I liked the shootout during Tosca sequence. It reminded me of the “Opera and fight” sequence in The Fifth Element.
The Bad:
The cinematography is too Bournish. I felt like I was watching a JB, Jason Bourne Movie, rather than a James Bond movie. Part of the point of Bond films is seeing the action in beautiful places. Here, there is a car chaser along a beautiful road near Siena, Italy…and we never really get a sense of space or the beauty of the landscape. Its all lost in jump, ragged cuts of two-second shots.
A lot of what makes Bond movies Bond movies are missing. I don’t expect a paint-by-numbers, but there are distinctive things you want, and expect. No Moneypenny. No “Bond, James Bond.”. Heck, even the bedding of the Bond girl seems very off tone and perfunctory. The movie is short, never lets up and never lets Bond have “time off”. Every Bond movie that I have seen has let us see “Bond at rest” or “at play” (often with a Bond girl). Here? Nada. The movie is never fun. Never.
Bond is too thuggish. Sure, Connery’s Bond could be rough and tumble, but he had a veneer of civilization to him. This Bond? Thug, Thug and Thug. Worst of all, there is a moment where the character breaks for me. An incident occurs and as I watched the movie, I said to myself. “Bond never would have done that. Never.”
The Verdict:
If this wasn’t JB and a JB movie, it would be a perfectly reasonable and acceptable action hero movie. As it is, it doesn’t *feel* like a Bond picture. If I watch most of the older movies, and that includes (by the end anyway) Casino Royale, I can feel that I am in Bond’s universe.
This movie? No. It never feels like Bond. Its not just because this is Brooding Bond, its the entire tone the series has taken. Jason Bourne could have done this movie with minimal changes and that is just wrong.
I may be a novice at James Bond as compared to many of my friends, but I was disappointed. For a JB experience, I’d rather rewatch From Russia With Love, For Your Eyes Only, or Tomorrow Never Dies.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Quantum of Solace”

  1. In the movies….
    Felix Leiter has been played by
    Jack Lord (1962): Dr. No
    Cec Linder (1964): Goldfinger
    Rik Van Nutter (1965): Thunderball
    Norman Burton (1971): Diamonds Are Forever
    David Hedison (1973 & 1989): Live and Let Die (1973), Licence to Kill(1989)
    Bernie Casey (1983): Never Say Never Again
    John Terry (1987): The Living Daylights
    Jeffrey Wright (2006 & 2008): Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008)
    So no, David Hedison was the first to repeat the role.

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