Movie Reviews, Commentary & More

Quantum of Solace

Going to a Bond cinema is like going to a magic show. I don't look at the magician's unused hand or his benignly silent assistant or the floorboard which might open up and gobble. I just look at the beautiful girl who's been pulled from the audience who's going to be toyed with. Nothing overwhelming, exhilarating or pulse-pounding but plain old entertainment value. When I step into the cinema hall, I'm allowing myself to be tricked into believing that even if a nuclear missile landed on Bond's back head he would some how survive it, dust off his clothes, adjust his shirt crease and walk away with his super sexy girl friend. But with the advent of Daniel Craig as James Bond, the equation has altered.

'Casino Royale' gave birth to Craig's Bond. He kills a couple of people, gets a double-O status, falls for a clerk from treasury, runs high on emotions and cries at the loss of his love. Well, for someone who's fed the franchise as a cool guy with an attitude, who hates to kill but does so because of his sense of duty, who enjoys bedding and then betraying the villain's foxy assistant, who quips gracious one-liners that make teen-girls want Bond and teen-boys want to be Bond, Daniel Craig sure quakes the earth. It has become a problem of expectations for me: Daniel Craig as a man who's lost his identity, savagely searching and destroying with ruthless efficiency, as observed by a couple of others, is proximate to Jason Bourne than James Bond.

Not just the characterization, but the narration and visual style seems heavily borrowed from the Bourne series. Super-small shots, intense chases, hand-and-leg street fighting, a plot that's not fully comprehensible, a villain whose motives and actions aren't fully explained … when I walked out of the theater I was as exhausted as Bond, at least he had a girl standing next to him. I just hope that when the character matures in the next two outings, Bond will be what one has known him to be. If there isn't a revival, for the magnificent job Craig does he deserves credit; but we'll call him something else, like John Doe and start restoring James Bond with the hunt for a new face.

The leading girl here, Olga Kurylenko isn't smooth skinned, (has a fire scar on her back) is unnaturally tanned for the movie (to look Bolivian where most of the story unfolds) and she doesn't bond with Bond. In other words, the sexy juice usually associated with Bond girls is sucked out in order to fit into a weak screenplay - an atrocious insult to the series. There's no Q, which means no high-tech gadgets that Bond gets to use. M, played by the immaculate Judi Dench is as good as she has been. I've always sensed an inexplicable sexual energy between Bond & M where M has always had an upper hand. Had she been 30 years younger, she would have ravaged Bond. And the wonderful French actor Amalric who plays the villain has been asked to put his acting gifts into a safe until post-production.

The less said about the story, the better. Either I didn't understand it or the writers/director have intentionally kept it that way in order to develop it in the next installment. Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a celebrated environmentalist, seeks power by destabilizing destabilizable countries, replacing their governments with friendlies and taking control of their water resources. Why that? The movie didn't answer or I didn't get it. Bond, who's on a top gear pursuit of the men who killed Vesper, (rather caused her death because she killed herself) through a series of jumbled links is led to Greene and from there through a series of rushed and chopped story-telling to a secret organization of top-class villains called Quantum. What does Quantum do? Somebody please throw some light.

If the producers wanted a super-hero who would bleed when pricked they should create one instead of redefining one of the most successful secret agents in movie history.

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Oh boy, I don't where TNR hunts their cinema critics. Christopher Orr *imagine a teenage Tarzan breast-beating* totally rocks.

I'm hoping this long break from ScreenArt helps me not only refine but also restructure my skills not only as a writer but also as a viewer.

Will be back soon. Thanks for hanging in there.