08 November, 2008

"Quantum of Solace" Film Review

The theater was packed, and we had to watch this movie sitting on the second row from the front. Consequently, I had a massive headache after 2 hours of closely staring at frenetic action scenes. But was it all worth it?

Simply. Yes.

Quantum of Solace
is the 22nd Bond film and also the first direct sequel to its predecessor, which is Casino Royale. The movie is directed by Marc Foster in 2008. It stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, Gemma Arteron, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Gianinni, and Mathieu Amalric.

(There may be slight spoilers. For a full film synopsis, go to the Quantum of Solace page at Wikipedia.)

First and foremost, the previous Bond films were humorous and bordering on sci-fi comedy. Daniel Craig’s James Bond is definitely gritty and more realistic. More human. He’s a secret agent folks, he’s supposed to be harsh, brutal, and violent. In Quantum of Solace, things are even more brutal, both physically and emotionally. Honestly, I don’t think that Quantum of Solace is better than Casino Royale. Casino Royale was a love story that introduced James Bond’s humanity to the audience. Quantum of Solace depicts Bond’s quest for revenge to those responsible for Vesper’s betrayal and death.

Daniel Craig owns this film. He carries the whole story with every bit of his sexy-cool stoicism intact, with just enough of some handsome sadness in his eyes to remind us that he is not a robot, despite physically impossible occurrences, such as walking away without any broken bones after free-falling from an airplane. But shoving all that in the part of our minds called suspension of disbelief, the action scenes and chases are definitely heart pound worthy. Action fans, even if they’re not James Bond fans (if there are such cases), would be very happy with this flick. I also appreciated the fact that the Bond girls, Camille (Olga Kurylenko) in particular, weren’t completely helpless ingénues. It seems that Bond girls keep progressing into stronger fighters in every Bond film. Also love the complicated relationship between M and Bond.

(Talking about M)
Camille: Your mother?
James: No, but she likes to think she is.
I think that dialogue pretty much sums them up.

I wasn’t impressed with the villain, Dominic Greene. Mathieu Amalric, the actor, was great, but I wasn’t all that worried by him, which could be a worrying thing for a villain. Through the Bond villain history, we’ve seen a martial artist with a different face, a creepy guy who can’t feel pain, a sweaty dude who bleeds from his eye, and some other whoah-worthy bad guys. But what does Greene do? He turns into Maria Sharapova while wielding an axe.

As for that oh-so important theme song opening that everyone is harping about. Well, the dancing women are back, if that matters at all. Although, I am quite disappointed that James Bond didn’t do that "about face and shoot at the camera" thing that he does in every film. But, there is a particular scene in the film that consistent 007 fans would notice, it involves replacing gold with motor oil on a body. That’s all I’ll say.

Ultimately, Quantum of Solace is a gritty action film, that takes another step away from the stereotypical 007 film. Although we don’t get to see invisible cars, laser watches, or machines that harness the sun’s power to reign terror over the world, this 007 movie contains every bit of what was missing in the previous films: James Bond’s character. Camille's character is particularly important, her back story and parallel reflection with James makes their relationship much more meaningful than just another casual Bond fling. It’s easy to throw exotic places, beautiful women, awesome gadgets, wicked villains, and a hunky British secret agent together, but it’s harder to make the story in the film actually matter. So kudos to Quantum of Solace, with some extra praise for Daniel Craig.

Other than that, Quantum of Solace holds 2nd place in my list of favorite 007 movies, 1st place still remains with Casino Royale. I hope the third Craig/Bond movie can do even bigger and better.


Jorn said...

I like that they got back to realism. The invisible cars didn't do it for me. I admit I am not a big Bond fan, but I've seen every one since Tomorrow Never Dies. I've heard from a Bond fan that Quantum Of Solace isn't really Bond, but he enjoyed it anyway.

I'm looking forward seeing this movie. Thanks for the review!

Ken said...

oww!! i'm really curious about this movie! I'm really pissed off about HSM3. I can't believe that it bested The Dark Knight in terms of opening sales. Damn it.

Mrs. M. said...

To be honest I never really liked any of the James Bond movies but the last one I adored! Mostly because of Daniel Craig who I think hands down makes the best Bond. My husband was like "yeah but he takes a beating" and that's why I love him! Bond should be able to take a hit. It makes him badass.

Jizzka said...

jorn - totally agree, invisible cars are way too ott. Hope you have fun watching it! =)

ken - aw haha, HSM3 is so predictable!

Mrs. M. - Absolutely agree! I really like Daniel Craig's version of 007, he's so cool.