Re-Watch: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royale
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, David Harbour, Rory Kinnear, [and for about 5 seconds Stana Katic]
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Set directly after the events in Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is out for revenge and to understand exactly what happened with Vesper. To that end he kidnaps Mr White (Jesper Christensen) and he and M (Judi Dench) interrogate him. But before White can reveal much more than that he is working for a mysterious organisation, things go south. In the end Bond is left only with one lead that brings him to seemingly squeaky-clean environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). But things are far from being clean.

Watching Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back just makes one thing even clearer: Quantum of Solace really and definitely and fully sucks.

[SPOILERS]

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Answering Questions Asked Through Google XXII

People, tell me what’s up with Luca Toni? These days I get more hits by people looking for him than I do by people looking for Christian Bale or Ryan Reynolds. Which is a pretty new development.
And anyway, how come I get most hits for (pictures of) the hot guys? I write about so many things… like this:

“was paul dano in tropic thunder on the p”?

On the p-what, I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter: I’m pretty sure that the answer to all the questions that could come from this beginning is no. As far as I know, Paul Dano had nothing to do with Tropic Thunder at all.

“how do you say quantum of solace in span[ish]”?

Seems like it goes untranslated in Spanish, but it depends on where you live. What it means is “cuanto de consolación”. [And I translated this with a dictionary, I don’t speak Spanish. I’m not responsible for any mistakes. :)]

But I tell you, be happy about that. In German, they translated it to “Ein Quantum Trost”, notwithstanding that in German, the word Quantum doesn’t actually exist. [If you want to translate it scientifically, it would be Quant and if you want to translate it for the meaning, the best version would have been Quäntchen, imo.]

Translations suck.

Arrogant? Who? Me?

Says the director of the Bregenz Opera Festival:

An extended sequence in the film [Quantum of Solace, ed.] takes place during a performance of Philip Himmelmann’s 2007 production of Tosca, on Bregenz’s spectacular floating stage on Lake Constance – with lots of exciting spying and chasing to the sound of the famous Te Deum. And the really brilliant part? Unlike commercial product placements, Bregenz got paid. “We charged what it cost and a little bit more,” said Pountney. “This is fantastic publicity, immeasurable. What comes from this is recognition on an unbelievable scale. Some of the nicest sequences in the film are the chase through our building. Of course, it’s not a very good film otherwise.”

*rofl*

You gotta admit the cheek of this guy… wholly unimpressed that he’s probably the first person to be paid for making somebody else advertise his product, he goes on and slights the film. Now that’s a business practice to make a lot of friends, I’m sure.

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.