Quantum of Solace — Early Review
Dir: Marc Forster
For some reason, some movies come out in Taiwan months after their North American release (like Tropic Thunder, which only opened on Oct. 31); others, though, come out early. Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig’s second celluloid foray as James Bond, happens to be one of those early ones, debuting here an entire week before it drops in the U.S. and Canada. This makes literally no sense to me, but I’ll damn well take it; although, it’s been out for a week in Britain already, which makes me not all that special, but better than you lot, anyway.
So, what can you expect from QoS? A James Bond film. Casino Royale is better, and it never really feels like a Bond flick — it’s a ‘real movie.’ QoS, however, is tried-and-true Bond. You’ve got the title sequence, the action, the girls, the many, many locales, the bad guy who’s got no back-story or depth — he’s just bad for no reason — the scant explanations for things, and the introduction of a shadowy new S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-like organization (though why they just didn’t use S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is a bit of a mystery to me). All-in-all it holds up pretty well, though the morning after it’s striking me as being somewhat convoluted, so I’ll have to see it again to fully digest the story.
Back to the action parts for a minute; a couple of headlines for reviews that I saw (though I did not read those reviews) suggested that QoS was the most action-y Bond so far. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case; however, the action is built into the story much more than usual in a Bond film. Whereas with most of the movies you get plot/exposition/sex which cuts to a giant, choreographed action sequence, here there are smaller sequences built more into the plot — they’re all not just ‘chase the bad guy’ types (although obviously there are one or two of those as well).
It also really feels more like a Bond film than CR because of its look — they’re purposely harkening back to the Sean Connery era, both with the sets (some of which could have come right out of Goldfinger and Thunderball) and with Craig’s wardrobe (which also had a very 60s feel to it). There’s also a direct shout-out to Goldfinger, but I won’t give it away here.
Is it one of the better Bonds? Yes, simply because Daniel Craig portraying Bond and Paul Haggis writing it automatically ensures it’s going to be better than something like The Man With the Golden Gun or The World is Not Enough. How does it truly compare with the classic Bonds, though? Hard to say. I’d say it’s up there, and the more I’m thinking about it while writing this the more I’m liking it, but I think I do truly have to see it again to fully take it all in, as it goes by pretty fast, and any time there was dialogue in Spanish or Italian the subtitles were in Chinese so I didn’t know what they were saying, which means I probably missed a wee bit ‘o plot.
I can say it’s definitely the most stylish Bond ever; Forster certainly puts his own stamp on it in ways directors usually don’t do with Bond films, but then again, there’s never been as high a profile director helm a Bond movie before, so I guess you get what you pay for (in a good way).
Two things I’m curious about:
— Is this the first Bond film where Bond doesn’t sleep with the main Bond-girl?
— A Canadian spy? Yeah, right!