Quantum of Solace (2008)

This weekend brought deadra and me to the movies to watch Quantum of Solace. Actually, we made a double feature of it and watched Casino Royale before that at home. Which might have been a mistake…

Where Casino Royale has everything – the thrill, the charm, the romance and the (half) naked Daniel Craig, Quantum of Solace is sadly lacking.

quantumofsolace_poster_02

I’m not the one to cry after the old Bond movies – I never got them anyway, not really. But I loved Casino Royale – it was exactly the right development of Bond for my taste. Therefore, I had very high expectations regarding QoS. Especially, since Marc Forster was directing it. That is to say, I liked Casino Royale because it worked very well as a movie with a very interesting main character and very solid action and *sigh* beautiful romance. For QoS, unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing. [And this is not about the whole “is it a good Bond movie or not”, it’s about whether this is a good movie or not.] It doesn’t work as a thriller, especially because of the plot holes. Like:

[SPOILERS FOLLOWING]

They didn’t bother to close the whole Vesper story ark – why did she have to kill herself, exactly (other than being fridged, that is)? Why would they have got Bond if she hadn’t? Did she know about the boyfriend being a decoy? And, most importantly, what the fuck happens to Mr. White? Nothing? Is he still in Bregenz, watching the opera? Are they still looking for him?

Unfortunately, these were not the only plot holes. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that there was more hole than plot (I’d say the ratio was about 3:1): Why would somebody build a hotel in the middle of a desert? Especially such a huge and ugly one, filled with hydrogen tanks? Did they plan on Bond blowing it up? Will the Quantum come back again and again to haunt us? What’s with all the people who were said to be a part of it? How could they find Greene in the desert? Did Bond really use Mathis as a human shield, even though he was still alive, or was he just not thinking when he got him out of the car the way he did?

[END SPOILERS]

quantum-of-solace-04

Something else I wondered about – did you get subtitles? I mean, the people talked French, Spanish and German additionally to English and we didn’t get a single subtitle. I mean, I was fine with most of it, I understand French and German, I was able to follow the Spanish, but I’m pretty sure that most people in the audience couldn’t. Wouldn’t subtitles have been nice?

Another thing that bothered me, but it’s admittedly not a single Bond-related occurrence: I want to see what’s going on in the action scenes. I don’t want to get nauseous, I don’t want to feel confused [Who just got the axe into his foot?], I want to follow what’s happening. I want to be able to see it. Yes, I’m sick like that.

Other than that I liked Marc Forster’s directing. Like, right in the first scene, the car chase, he’s got this brief moment were he shows the pursuing cars in the reflection of another car – a beautiful shot. I also liked

[SPOILER]

when Camille is trapped in the hotel and fire blazing about and Bond comes to rescue her, and she kind of buries herself in his arms – thanks to the camera work and the close-ups she really looks like a child again. Wonderfully done. [Even if the whole scene was unnecessary and kind of destroys her image as a grown, independent woman…]

[END SPOILER]

It definitely had some chuckles (especially “I can’t seem to find the stationary”), but give me more of that, will you?

quarktaken from here
While it’s not exactly my opinion about the movie, it’s still funny. :)

Speaking of more: there could have been more M, because Judi Dench Rocks [yes, with a capital R]. And there could have been more naked Daniel Craig, because that’s always good. But most of all, there should have been more plot which makes sense.

Summarising, I got mixed feelings about this one. While it’s definitely not as strong as Casino Royale, it’s not as abysmal as many reviews want to make you think. It does have a lot of problems, some of which could be resolved with Bond 23. But it also has it’s strengths. So, I guess I’ll stay with an undecided “more on the positive side, but just because I’m a nice person” grade for this one.

12 thoughts on “Quantum of Solace (2008)

  1. My thoughts exactly. It wasn’t as good as Casino Royale. Having said that – Ebert, in his review for QoS said that he never thought that James Bond was an action hero. And I subscribe to that view. Bond is someone women fall in love with and me want to be like. And for me, James Bond has been this man of impeccable tastes and refined, sauve mannerisms. QoS’s Bond wasn’t that at all.

  2. As I said, Bond, for me, works better as an action hero than the shagging spy he was before. But that’s my view… :)

    But you have to remember that we’re working with the beginning of Bond here – the early stages, he’s still developing to be this “this man of impeccable tastes and refined, s[ua]ve mannerisms”. I can see that coming, it may just take a while yet.

  3. Well, I hope it comes. I felt like screaming “Get your act together Man!” at the end when he left poor Olga without a customary shag. He just kisses her and drives away. You know, if they can bring Olga back, in the next film, that will be awesome, and a first for James Bond franchise.

  4. I don’t know… I think it’s okay for Bond having one woman, besides M, he met and didn’t shag… Bringing Olga back just for that would be weird. But if she has some actual function in the story, why not?

  5. Watching “Casino Royale” just before watching “Quantum of Solace” may have been a good idea. At the end of Quantum, I was left completely befuddled. As you said, too many plot holes, and even the end is so open-ended it’s hardly satisfying. Who shot Dominic Greene, for instance? And the “you were right about Vesper” made no sense because I’ve long forgotten vesper. I have a dim recollection of Casino Royale and really not much of the story.

    I mean, who remembers Bond movie stories for months or years? I would have forgotten Quantum’s story by next week. They shouldn’t try to make sequels out of Bond movies.

  6. Well, my problem with watching Casino Royale before Quantum of Solace was that a) I saw this immensly superior movie and had to be disappointed by QoS and b) I noticed the plot holes even more…

    But you’re right, I wouldn’t have known the exact plot anymore as well. And I completely agree that making the movies sequels doesn’t work out that well.

  7. I agree with most of what you said, although my opinion of the movie seems to be a little lower than yours.
    There was just no POINT to it all. I have put up with super villains who tried to destroy the global financial system by laser-thingy-ing the Bank of England. But I’m not going to suspend my disbelief for an organisation that “has people everywhere” (like florists), but doesn’t work towards anything.

    I actually want to have my cake and eat it too. I like action hero-Bond, but I want him the way he was in the old movies, where his shirt was still white and his trousers still pressed at the end of every action sequence (or he just has time to change and make it look as if nothing ever happened – see CR). That, to me, is Bond.

    I also never cared for the whole “They meet – Bond smiles – they tumble onto conveniently placed bed/haystack/space pod thingy/submarine/…”-routine. (Although I’m willing to admit that Daniel Craig is the first Bond where I see the temptation…)

    Geek note:
    Bond also met (repeatedly) and flirted with Moneypenny without ever sleeping with her, before she was sadly disappeared from the franchise. But they could fix that with the next movie…just have M hire her, preferably in a 2-for-1 package deal with Q.

  8. True, it was rather pointless… But don’t the SPECTRE uhm Quantum work for absolute power and a lot of money or something?

    It’s clear that your opinion would be a bit lower – you kind of have more at stake, seeing as you liked the old Bond movies. ;)

    And Daniel Craig’s temptation can’t only be seen, he is temptation, imo.

    Okay, I include Moneypenny in my statement. And I’m sure that she and Q will be back, someday. :)

  9. Hmm. Just watched QoS.Even though it was a pretty decent film, it paled in comparison to Royale. The villain was too tame, the editing was far too frantic and there were a couple of really pointless cut scenes.

    That said, I LOVED Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields. Quintessential Bond girl…and she gets to die in style too.

  10. No doubt that CR was better. (And you’re right about the editing esprecially.)

    And Strawberry Fields does get to die in style. She looks really cool covered in oil like that… But honestly, there wasn’t enough screen time for her so that I could actually say much about her performance. Or if I loved especially her or if anybody else would have done.

  11. Pingback: Pride and Glory (2008) « Stuff

  12. Pingback: Re-Watch: Quantum of Solace (2008) « Stuff

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