After reading a lot of bad comments and reviews, I went in with some pretty low expectations. It's Bond, so of course I'm there, but still, I went in expecting Men in Black 1.5
. Remember that? Anyway, having seen Quantum of Solace
, I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. It was a lot better than I expected, though I don't think it's the best that the Bond franchise has to offer. It also didn't feel like the direct sequel to Casino Royale
I was expecting. To me it felt like a separate movie as opposed to "part 2" of anything.
Here's my rundown of the movie along with how I think it compares to previous Bond movies...
A Bond movie needs a compelling story, especially with its long history where it's especially important to keep things fresh and exciting. I believe that Quantum of Solace
delivers on that, but with some problems in the execution. Bond's mission to go after a secret organization that can stage coups and control water supplies is pretty compelling to me. That along with Bond wanting revenge for the death of a former love makes this movie among the best story-wise. Unfortunalety, the movie falls short because a lot of those good setups are poorly fleshed out and take a back seat to all the action. I also didn't get a strong sense that Bond was seriously out for revenge. Basically, we got a good set of ideas that could have been better explored.
A Bond movie needs action and Quantum of Solace
has it. A lot of it. Car chases, plane chases, chases on foot, hand-to-hand fights, you name it. Very little of it was as impressive or as memorable as what I've seen in other action movies like the Bourne franchise for example, but all of it was watchable. One action sequence was pretty impressive though. It involved Bond relentlessly chasing after a member of this secret Quantum organization over rooftops and through buildings with scaffolding. It was very reminiscent of the chase at the beginning of Casino Royale
A Bond movie needs to take us to some exotic locales and Quantum of Solace
delivers big time. We get a touch of old Europe with Italy, the warmth and third-worldliness of the Caribbean and of course, the cold loneliness of a hot desert in South America. All of that was interspersed with shots of MI6, "spy central", which looked pretty advanced. We also got our Villain's Complex. It wasn't an underwater base or a hollowed out volcano, it was a high-tech building out in the desert, but served its purpose well as an isolated and secret base of operations. The trend of not being over the top like Die Another Day
The Bond Girl:
A Bond movie needs a great Bond Girl. We got that with someone named Camille who is played by Ukranian model and actress Olga Kurylenko. I wouldn't put Camille up there with some of my other favorites such as Pussy Galore or Melina Havelock, but she was a worthy Bond Girl who is much closer to the top of the list than the bottom. She was a strong woman who was out for revenge and came off as pretty good alongside Bond. There was no fooling around or much of anything sexual between them, but I'm not disappointed. Their relationship worked quite well as it was. We also got a secondary girl and fellow operative known as "Fields" who was played by Gemma Arterton, and as mentioned a few posts up, she got limited screen time. She was basically the "Teri Hatcher" of Quantum of Solace
A Bond movie needs a good villain and topping the iconic ones in past films can't be an easy task. I can't say they accomplished that but this movie does give us a pretty decent bad guy with Dominic Greene. He won't go down as one of the best or most memorable, but as a member of a secret organization who is posing as an environmentalist and who has vast resources at his disposal to overthrow governments and dictators, he was a very interesting character. Somehow he reminds me of a bad, wealthy Julian Bashir.
A Bond movie usually has a lot of cool gadgets. This movie didn't have any, but I didn't feel shortchanged. All the other Bond staples more than made up for it. The movie did have computer graphics-on-a-transparent wall though. They were at MI6 and looked pretty scifi-ish without totally feeling that way. A number of movies like this feature high-tech of this sort and we're close to having stuff like this anyway. That's why I found them acceptable.
I'm giving Quantum of Solace
an 'above average' grade.
Now for a few more nitpicks...
- I still think it was a bad idea to have Judy Dench back as M, but I wasn't distracted by her presence.
- There was a scene where Bond and Camille climbed out of the sink hole and saw a reservoir of water. They were supposed to be outside, but it sounded like they were on a small enclosed set.
- Until the end, I thought this was going to be the first Bond movie without the signature gun barrel shot. I wonder why they put it at the end anyway.
- I hope to see Q and Miss Moneypenny in the next movie.