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Old November 14 2008, 07:59 PM   #58
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Re: Quantum of Solace - Grading & Discussion

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I absolutely loved Quantum of Solace. I even dug the title song (the credits were fantastic, btw). From first frame to finish, this is a gorgeous-looking film, tense from minute one, with great performances and a real driving plot. It's more compact and succinct than Casino Royale, however right now I'm can't quite determine which of the two is the better movie.

That's probably because both feel like one movie. I've heard comparisons to Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 and I agree: Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace feel like two halves of one whole. The fact that QoS is the first real Bond sequel makes it fresh from the start. I really liked the little flairs of director Marc Forster, from the inventive use of the titles announcing each location, to the very modern yet stylish cinematography, to the intercutting...I think I enjoyed all of his directorial choices that were undeniably his own. I feel bad he won't return for another installment.

Daniel Craig continues to impress as James Bond. He slipped right back into this role like he was putting on an old, familiar tuxedo. I was actually surprised. I had surmised that because it was his sophmore effort, it would take him a little while to feel comfortable in the role, but the same type of confidence that he exuded in Casino Royale is equally (if not more) present here. I enjoyed his ability to juggle a witty sense of humor, a cold-hearted intensity and a gentle vulnerability and roll it all into one, seamless performance. I actually liked his performance better here than in Casino Royale. I think he's going to improve as he goes along -- just as gradually, step-by-step, Bond evolves into the Bond, James Bond we all know and love.

In regards to people's complaints, I don't see them. Yes, the film is at times jarringly edited (thanks no doubt to the contribution of Bourne series editor Richard Pearson) but I had no immediate problem with the action sequences...they were intense and up-close, but I think it provides you with a sense of immediacy, of placing you right where James Bond is, and that's in the thick of the action. So I didn't mind. I will admit that the film does give off some serious Bourne vibes, almost the moment Bond pursues a target in a rooftop chase that feels like it came out of The Bourne Ultimatum (it doesn't even top that chase, even with the help of Bourne second unit director Dan Bradley).

I will say that a beginning car chase and foot chase do feel short, and while the short running time didn't bother me, I would have if anything liked those two action sequences fleshed out more. Regardless, the film gets to a rollicking start, and my only real complaint (besides a trivial one I'll reveal in a bit) is that the first half of the film is fantastically paced -- action scene, people talking, action scene, people talking -- that the much slower second and third halves of the film feel almost lethargic in comparison, but there is plenty of strong characterization (especially between Bond and Camille, a strong-willed character that has her own quest for vengeance in the film that greatly mirror Bond's). In fact, I loved the little character moments in this: Bond and M's relationship is given great detail and attention, and I am really appreciating the growing dynamic between the two here. The little subtle touches ("You sound stressed") clearly mark the most original take on Bond and M's "working relationship" in Bond's 40 year history. It's exciting stuff.

In fact, to summarize, Quantum of Solace feels like nothing I've ever seen in a James Bond film. It just feels different, so on that note I can understand some fans' hesitation. I just don't see it. After twenty films of the same boring routine, I'm looking for something new, and Casino Royale jump-started that, and Quantum of Solace takes it one step further.
"Please... We need you to hope again... " - Professor Charles Xavier, X-Men: Days of Future Past
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