I eagerly await the arrival of a new James Bond movie every couple of years or so. I’ve been a fan of 007 as long as I can remember, and I’m a fan of all of the movies…except pretty much every one of the 80’s films, especially the Timothy Dalton ones…
That said, I had reasons to be wary of Quantum Of Solace. First of all, there’s that awkward title (it has nothing to do with the movie, but it was the title of an Ian Fleming short story…). Then, there’s that theme song (seriously, Jack White and Alicia Keys? More on that later…). Finally, I was concerned about the fact that the plot follows Casino Royale sequentially, taking place literally immediately after Casino Royale ends.
Here’s what happens, without giving away any spoilers… Still reeling from the death of his love, James Bond embarks on a crusade of venegance, trying to find and kill those responsible for Vesper’s death. Bond has to set his personal vendetta aside, as he and M soon discover that the organization responsible, known as Quantum, is embroiled in a coup in Bolivia. The man directly responsible for this coup is an environmentalist named Dominic Greene. Greene’s goal is to take control of a vital natural resource in South America. Of course, it’s up to Bond and a beautiful Bolivian agent to stop Greene in his tracks.
What did I like about Quantum Of Solace? First of all, Daniel Craig is finally coming into his own as 007; I’d say he’s the best Bond since Sean Connery. The script crackles with intensity and wit, and M has some of the best lines that Judi Dench has had to work with. In fact, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench have a great chemistry that is markedly better than that between Dench and Pierce Brosnan. The characterization of Greene as sort of a Eurotrash hipster baddie is inspired. Much of the cinematography made good use of the scenery and often felt like a loving nod to the classic 007 films of the 1960’s.
On a side note, when I first heard the theme song, I was a little underwhelmed. It’s a great song, but I wasn’t sure of how it would work as a Bond theme. Once the credits began, and I heard the first notes, it worked. I guess all it took was the context of the opening credits of a James Bond film…
Here’s what I didn’t like. Many of the action sequences were filmed and edited with extremely quick cuts; these sequences were often disorienting and hard to follow. At times, there was very little plot movement between action scenes, and sometimes it just felt like Bond magically moved from one location to the next. I felt like Fields, the British paper pusher played by the very beautiful Gemma Arterton, was sorely underused; I would have loved to have seen her in future Bond outings. The character of Felix Leiter was underutilized as well.
All in all, Quantum Of Solace is a fine addition to the James Bond canon. It may not win him many new fans, but I think 007 purists will be satisfied.