MOVIE REVIEW | ***BOND WEEK*** Quantum of Solace (2008)

UK Final Quad

“You shot him at point blank and threw him off a roof. I would hardly call that showing restraint!”

In his three at bats in the role of James Bond, Daniel Craig has a pretty good record. Casino Royale gave the character a new life and energy that it desperately needed if it was ever going to survive in the post-Jason Bourne world. With Skyfall, he made the most financially and critically successful entry the series has ever known. Then there’s the other one, Quantum of Solace, proving they can’t all be zingers. But since I’ve half watched his two successes, and since I try to only write about movies I’m seeing for the first time, I couldn’t watch the series reinvigorator, or the series box office and critical opinion record breaker. No, I had to watch the other one. I had to watch Quantum of Solace.

There’s some old bull shit about a bad guy with a dastardly scheme. Bond thwarts it while knocking off a couple of dolly birds along the way. That’s about as distinct from the rest of the Bond movies as the screenwriters decided to be with Quantum of Solace. So that’s about as distinct as I’ll be with my plot synopsis.

Picking up directly where the new millennium version of Casino Royale ended is the first mistake. One of the beauties of the Bond series is that they’re not canonical. You don’t really need any prior knowledge or experience with what came previously to enjoy the latest offering. Technically there are references to the older movies and story lines, but they’re purely for the book and film geeks, who really study this stuff. The majority of the James Bond film world is made for people checking in for the first time, which is why it has lasted so long. Very few people in 2014 would jump into the series for the first time if they felt like they needed to catch up on 50 years and 25 odd movies first.

In the case of Quantum of Solace, I think the Bond movie brains trust may have been a little too confident after the success of Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. They thought we would want to see that specific James Bonds story continue, instead of concentrating on the formula that has kept this series alive for over half a century. Standalone stories built on some basic, commonly known character and story traits There’s a definite pattern present in the James Bond series.

From Sean Connery’s ruggedness, to Roger Moore’s suave approach, to Timothy Dalton’s gritty take, to Pierce Brosnan’s class act, to Daniel Craig’s hard as nails interpretation. I’m sure Craig has a few Bond movies in him. But if history is anything to go by, whoever replaces him is going to be a lot less about toughness and a whole lot more about how good he looks in a suit, and how well he sips a martini. So, after 10 movies, am I fan of the James Bond franchise. Short answer, no. Long answer, nooooooooo. I didn’t hate them, I just never found myself reaching an interest level above neutral. So, there are worse movies, I guess.

Quantum of Solace
Directed By – Marc Forster
Written By – Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis

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