Quantum of Solace: The Discussion

OK, I won’t call this a review. More of a discussion. I’ll not put any spoilers in here but I’d lay good odds as the discussions in the comments get going there will be a few.

Here’s my thoughts:

First it’s good. Better than most of the Roger Moore or his successors. It is, however, nowhere near as good as Casino Royale. There are several reasons for this.

The first is editing. There were some pretty fantastic action scenes. Too bad nobody could follow them. It was so choppy it made a meth addict seem like a Philip Glass devote. This was most apparent in the escape from the opera. It’s unfortunate since they brought in the guy who did most of the Bourne stuff. But this really is unlike Bourne. The director appears to want to let you know Bond is having these harrowing events but not really empathize with them. One might defend the decision by suggesting he’s trying to communicate how chaotic violence is. But if that were so why not go for the effect used in war movies like Saving Private Ryan. Here the action seems almost muddled and dream like. Fine in an art film. Not so fine in an action film. (This is most noticeable in the escape from the Opera)

That said I really like how they are introducing the SPECTRE like Quantum. And the movie stayed true to its roots.

There were a few other scenes I felt should have been expanded. For instance the seduction of the Fields character who was supposed to be minding Bond. In Casino Royale we see his charm. Here we’re just supposed to take it for granted.

I think it would have been a much better movie had there been more long shots and had there been more explanation for some events. It’s a film an extra 15 minutes would have benefited.

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23 thoughts on “Quantum of Solace: The Discussion

  1. I agree, Clark. I really like Daniel Craig as Bond. But the editing of the action scenes was very fast and choppy. I liked it ok, but it was no Casino Royale.

  2. After seeing it, I felt the reviews I had read previously were too lukewarm and negative. It was a solid film and a fun film to watch. I like the Bourne-qualities that it takes on and these last two Bond films were a vast improvement on all the Bond films that came previously. Yes, Casino Royale was better. But this one is still well worth seeing. Since Vesper died and this is a revenge film, it was necessary that there be a bit less humor, a more somber tone.

  3. The criticisms about plot and tone I really disagreed with. And I do think the director captured Bond’s mood well. Also I kind of like how some details he skipped over because the movie was about Bond and not ultimately about Quantum.

    As I said I think had they edited the action sequences differently and added in 5 minutes more of Bond being seductive it would have been the equal of Casino Royal. But those actions sequences really were annoying. (Especially the initial car chase and the boat chase)

  4. I’m also curious as to how they keep the revenge element going. In the book Casino Royal Smersh (a Russian counter-intelligence organization) carves their first letter into Bond’s hand leaving a permanent scar. In the new films Smersh is now Quantum. In Live and Let Die, the second Bond book, Bond couldn’t care less about Mr. Big until he discovers he works for Smersh. Then it’s more personal. I suspect that we’ll see something similar in the third Bond film.

    Juan Cole has up an interesting interpretation of Bond as anti-American. I don’t think that accurate. For one both the British and American are looking out for their own best interests and are being played by Quantum. I can understand to problem of overextension but it seems to me the issue of oil is one that is quite relevant albeit more complex than Cole lets on. I did find it interesting they used a real country and a attempted coup. I’m not sure that suggests much about American imperialism than it does the chaos that Quantum is playing on. The analogy is less the current situation than the old cold war conspiracies about bankers. (Interestingly there was an other movie previewed at our theatre about banking conspiracies)

  5. I thought they went overboard with the CGI in the action scenes to the point where they seemed fantastical and as a result you didn’t feel the character’s pain like you did in Casino Royale. The fact that he was able to walk away from what should’ve been lethal accidents with only scrapes and bruises didn’t help in this regard either.

    Also, the plot was pretty much gibberish. Would it have hurt to cut one of the many action scenes out to develop a plot that makes at least a grain of sense?

    A final minor complaint, but why does Jeffrey Wright keep taking these little penny-ante roles? Is he that desperate for work? He’s an amazing actor so it’s strange to see him in such a minor role – like seeing DeNiro playing a porter or something.

  6. I felt Quantum was more a conclusion of Casino Royale than its own movie. It closes some of the gaps left by its predecessor and leads to a bigger plot for future films. I think it was kind of the opposite of Casino Royale. That was mostly character development and very few action sequences, here the characters are already developed, and we get a lot of action and a very light story.

    I can’t say I didn’t like it, ’cause I enjoyed it a lot and plan to see it again, but then again, I wasn’t expecting another Casino Royale after all those negative reviews.

  7. I liked the movie, but it wasn’t the action sequences that bugged me. The problem is that it’s not really Bond anymore. Bond is a sourpuss, there are no (good) gadgets, there’s a total absence of sexual inuendo and the villains are vanilla. And come on, it takes two movies to get over his girl? Please.

  8. Choppy action bugs me. I have found it’s not just the Bourne-style films. I noticed it in LOTR, where the action seemed “zoomed in” too far and became too blurry. I noticed it in Speed Racer, where it was just a blurry mess the whole time. I guess I’m old school and like to see well-choreographed stage fighting from a view. Maybe the kids these days like their actions scenes on speed (I have read that the Bourne action sequences were filmed so that they were 25% faster than reality – did they employ the same filming method in Quantum? I couldn’t tell).

    I’m with Marco – the two films work well together, and the transition between the two was (virtually) seamless to me.

    I felt the film was too short, however. 1 hr 45 minutes maybe? Let’s add 20 minutes see some more character development or intricacies in the plot.

    All in all the new Bond is refreshingly human, methinks.

  9. The problem is that it’s not really Bond anymore. Bond is a sourpuss, there are no (good) gadgets, there’s a total absence of sexual inuendo and the villains are vanilla. And come on, it takes two movies to get over his girl? Please.

    Have you read any of the novels, Rusty? Daniel Craig’s Bond is much closer to the Bond of Fleming’s books that any of the previous cinematic portrayals.

    (BTW, I thought Le Chiffre was a good villain).

  10. I agree Brian. I’ve read all the Fleming I can get my hands on, and the re-born Bond, although not a perfect fit, is much closer than the previous ones.

    And yes, Le Chiffre is great.

  11. Yes, I’m glad they’ve got away from the silliness of gadgets and over the top double entendre.

    I believe they are also injecting Bond with a bit of the real life of Flemming.

  12. Brian, I didn’t see much CGI at all. Could you be more specific? Most of those were stunts although maybe they didn’t seem as real as in Casino Royal due to the rapid edit?

    Also, what didn’t make sense in the plot? The plot was that they’ve discovered a secret organization involved in banking and control over governments that does a lot via manipulation of natural resources. They were going to install a dictator in Bolivia partially for the money they were getting paid but more to corner the market on water by convincing the dictator they were really after oil.

  13. I just saw it in digital – and the action scenes weren’t blurry, but still choppy. That’s how I felt the whole movie was though.

    Problems – Development of Fields? What was that all about.

    Distraction with the General

    Fuel cells providing a convienent excuse to destroy the hotel? I could buy hokey in a pierce brosnan 007 flick. That’s what the whole thing was.

    I admit I like the direction the films are going, but this just didn’t seem pulled together. I liked the way it started, with the quarry chase scene and the city chase/construction fight, but after that it just left me a little empty.

    Too many subplots I guess.

  14. Most of the CGI I spotted (or thought I did) was during falling moments – Bond and the woman (already forgot her name) falling out of the plane or one of the fights where Bond and another guy were falling and fighting in mid-air. Sorry I can’t be more specific but I just saw it on Friday and already everything is blurring together, which I suppose is not a good sign.

  15. The scene with the two guys falling was real. It’s the innovation the Bourne guy brought. He rigs up these cameras on ropes and stuff and has them follow falling actors. It’s pretty innovative and that’s partially why I was pissed off at the editing. The stunt work was probably the best ever done and the camera work some of the most innovative in years. That you thought it was CGI shows how great it was. Then the editor and director ruin it with crappy editing style. Ugh!

  16. The development of the fields was a false ruse to get the dictator to sell them to Quantum. The dictator thought they were oil fields when really they were secretly setting things up to control the water. That sort of thing actually happens.

    The General wasn’t a distraction but was fairly key to the whole plot.

    The fuel cell bit was interesting. Although in reality they have more safeguards than that. I didn’t think it a plot problem. And in a third world country? I can see alternative fuels not exactly being put together in a safe way.

  17. Maybe I am getting too old, but the car chase at the beginning was too spliced for me to be able to follow. By the time I was able to focus the image changed again.

    And I noticed in the credits that the Ms. Fields character’s first name was Strawberry. Did I not notice it or did they never actually say it out loud in the movie?

  18. They never said it, which was either because they thought it was too much of a silly “Pussy Galore” type of joke, or because they thought it was funnier if you found out later. She was a redhead too, remember?

  19. Ok, we finally saw it and you are too condemning. This was a funny adreniline pounding movie. I definitely liked it more that the Dark Knight. Craig is an amazingly complex and interesting bond.

    I will say I thought it odd that he could knock out three british agents in an elevator in 2 seconds, but it took a minute for him to take out a green peace guy…

    And I really liked that the main female of the main female of the movie was not a bond sex toy.

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