Saturday, 3 November 2012

Quantum of Solace | Review

Quantum of Solace is disliked by a lot of people, and most of the reviews or comments I've read on it have said how it just didn't work. When I saw it in 2008, it seemed fine, quite enjoyable (probably more so, then, than Casino Royale). Watching it again - I still really enjoyed it. I'm not with the group saying it was rubbish, and nor am I going to stick up for it even though I know deep down it is rubbish. I truly believe it's actually good.

There are criticisms - and one of these is the direction of the chases. Though it's nice to see them after their lack of presence in Casino Royale, the car chase at the start is way too confusing and it just made me switch off. Then you have the boat chase, which is edited a bit madly but better, and then the plane chase. It feels like a typical Bond movie, sticking chases in wherever it can. Though the plane chase feels a bit like overkill, I can see why it's there. The boat chase is by far the best, as it's actually exciting. Though for the car chase, I've no idea what the director was thinking. Another criticism is Agent Fields. She's pointless. She serves no purpose in there, and while she's good, she just feels like a copycat Vesper. Her very brief fling with Bond is utterly pointless and seems to be nothing more than something for the trailers. It is good to see Bond getting a bit more character, as it seems to be missing for most of Quantum, and the scenes with Fields evoke the kind of dialogue he had with Vesper. But it's not quite the same.

The rest of the film is great. I honestly don't have a problem with it, and to me it feels like a proper Bond film. Craig's performance as an emotional, revenge-driven Bond (though not particularly original) is perfectly fitting with Casino Royale, and Craig performs it really well. The script's a bit iffy in places, and the dialogue isn't as sharp as it is in Casino Royale (though you could argue that's because he doesn't have Vesper to bounce off), but Craig manages to portray Bond realistically and consistently. He continues to be a very good James Bond indeed - though perhaps, yet again, not as good as in his previous film. This is purely down to the fact that he's a bit less charismatic as he was in Casino Royale, and this fits with the film but just seems a bit disappointing. Strangely, he's given more one-liners than he was, which despite perhaps being out of place, is nice to see. Craig is a brilliant Bond, and he works best when he mixes being serious with being flippant and funny. A completely focused Craig would be in danger of being too boring.

The supporting characters are also good. Olyga Kurylenko is Camile - and she's brilliant. There are two different types of a 'good' Bond girl. Both types have to be stong-willed and determined, but one type is falling in love with Bond and the other is just driven by herself. Vesper would fit into both. Camile fits into the second - and her kiss with Bond at the end is also utterly pointless. But avoiding that, she is a very strong character. She's well played, her scenes with Bond are excellent, and her character is perfect to accompany Bond on his revenge mission. Dominic Greene is an interesting villain. He's a weird choice for a film like Quantum of Solace, yet there's something about him that means he's absolutely awesome. When he's on screen you can only watch him, he is brilliant. He looks (and no disrespect to the actor) like one of the more pathetic Bond villains, yet he has the power and he has a menace that make him a good villain. Perhaps, just for this film, it would've been better to have Mr White as the villain. He would work, and he would tie in better to Casino Royale. To set up an organisation like Quantum for one film that's a sequel and never use them again (so far) is quite strange - but they do strangely work. Their presence makes the film more like a proper Bond film.

The meeting at Tosca is fantastic, by far the best scene in any Bond film for a long time. When I watched it in 2008, it stuck in my head, and it's the main scene from the film that's remained in my head. I've wanted to watch it again because I was struck by how awesome it was. Watching it back, I realise it's a little underwhelming to how my head had made it, but it still works well. The silence as the shots are fired through the restaurant is brilliant, the set for the opera is brilliant, and it just works so well. This is the kind of scene that should be in all Bond films.

So just a few more notes. The film works as a sequel and it flows on really well from Casino Royale. Craig's Bond works well in it, and the balance of humour and seriousness, though rightfully smaller, is still there in part. The supporting characters work well, it has action and emotion throughout, rather than shoved at different ends like in Casino Royale, and I really enjoyed the film. Perhaps a more... dynamic plot, and a slightly more dynamic villain was needed to make it appeal to the majority of the public, but it really did work for me.

Though - the title sequence-y bit and the theme song doesn't fit at all. It's a relatively good song but completely out of place with the theme of the film.

Next Review: Skyfall......

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