CommanderBond.net
  1. Interview with Quantum of Solace main title designers MK12

    Design company MK12 recently sat down with Creativity Online for a brief interview regarding their work in the motion graphics industry.

    'Quantum of Solace'

    Quantum of Solace

    The group, based out of Kansas City, Missouri, is best known by James Bond fans for creating the main title sequence for last year’s Quantum of Solace. They were also responsible for the title sequences for two of director Marc Forster’s previous films, The Kite Runner and Stranger than Fiction.

    In describing their directorial approach, MK12 stated: ‘To state the obvious first, most of our shoots are fairly technical in nature, so we’re always keeping one eye on that. But we do try to iron out the logistics as best we can before a shoot so that they don’t become issues on set.’

    ‘Once that’s taken care of, we focus our attention on getting the best shots and performances. There is no tried-and-true method for doing this—at least, not that we’ve found. Every shoot is a unique animal, and we adjust accordingly. We’ve been working together for a while now, and we have good professional chemistry, so we’ll often work together on set, divvying up performance, compositional & technical concerns to be sure we get what we want.’

    When asked specifically about what it was like to enter the world of 007, they quipped: ‘Aside from the ride in the Bond Aston Martin, the bikini-clad women, the sets at Pinewood, trips to Panama, Austria and the premiere in London, it’s a pretty dull job.’

    They continued: ‘We’re pretty good at identifying the subtext of a film and finding the right tone and visual aesthetic to best communicate it’s message, and we’ve been very lucky to have worked with directors who have tapped us for that resource.’

    To check out the entire interview with MK12, visit Creativity Online. You can also visit their official website at www.mk12.com.

    Keep turning to the CommanderBond.net main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-08-02
  2. Win Quantum of Solace on DVD

    CommanderBond.net is giving away a free copy of the single-disc DVD (Region 1) of Daniel Craig’s Quantum of Solace, originally released earlier this year.

    'Quantum of Solace'

    Quantum of Solace

    Starting shortly after Casino Royale ends, Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, betrayed by the woman he loved and determined to find those responsible for her death. His pursuit and determination lead him deeper into the criminal organization known as “Quantum” and into the company of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), an environmentalist using his wealth and power to help overthrow a government in exchange for a barren piece of desert land that will allow him to control the country’s water supply. Forced to work without the help of MI6, Bond partners with Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a young woman on her own quest for justice, and together they travel across the globe in order to stop Greene and seek retribution.

    This competition is open to all members of CommanderBond.net (CBn). You must be a registered member of the CBn Forums and answer the following question correctly to be eligible to win. Not yet a member of CBn? Register here now–it is free and only takes a minute!

    How To Enter:

    To enter, fill out the following questionnaire and send a Communiqué/Private Message on the CBn Forums to ‘CBn Competition’ (Subject: CBn July09 Quantum) by Midnight EST on 31 July 2009 (simply click on the link in this paragraph).

    1. All of the following crew members contributed to the making of Quantum of Solace, with the exception of:

    1. Daniel Kleinman – Main Title Designer
    2. David Arnold – Composer
    3. Dennis Gassner – Production Designer
    4. Roberto Schaefer – Director of Photography

    2. What is your CBn Forum Screen Name?
    3. What country/state do you live in?

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-07-12
  3. Bond girl Gemma Arterton engaged to 007 double

    Bond girl Gemma Arterton has gone public with her engagement to Stefano, who acted as a body double for 007 star Daniel Craig in last year’s Quantum of Solace.

    Gemma Arterton

    Gemma Arterton

    According to the Daily Mail, Arterton and her fiancé held an engagement party over the weekend at the Sun & 13 Gantons brasserie in Soho along with friends and family.

    It was the 22nd James Bond film that first brought the two together. An unnamed source told Reveal magazine: ‘It’s so cute, they are really loved up and it’s great to see Gemma looking so happy. They met on the set of Quantum of Solace.’

    ‘He was Daniel Craig’s body double and there was clearly chemistry from the start. They’ve been together for a few months now and it’s going really well.’

    Keep turning to the CommanderBond.net main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-07-06
  4. A Quantum Of Complaints

    Today saw the release of a new set of classification guidelines by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in their annual report and it has been revealed that Quantum of Solace accumulated a select few complaints from the public.

    Dame Judi Dench

    Dame Judi Dench

    According to a press release, the latest James Bond film was singled out mostly for the fact that ‘M’, portrayed by Dame Judi Dench, swears in the film.

    Quantum of Solace, which received a 12A rating, prompted only one complaint about violence, the BBFC said in its report, and two from viewers who mistook a shadow on a woman’s leg for her genitalia.

    ‘The remainder were upset by the film’s language,’ the report said, ‘this may be attributed to the “Judi Dench factor”. This beloved actress plays M, Bond’s tough-talking boss. However, it was her tough talking which upset the viewers.

    ‘Even though ‘b*****d’ is comfortably placed at “12A”, it seems that she should not use such language. Almost every time Dame Judi swears in a film, regardless of its category, we can expect a number of complaints.’

    In total, Quantum of Solace received a very moderate six complaints in total—a sum that pales in comparison to the 80+ complaints that Casino Royale received upon its release in 2006 (it was the most complained about film for the entire year).

    For more on the BBFC, visit the official website.

    Keep turning to the CommanderBond.net main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-06-23
  5. 'Quantum of Solace' Is Top-Selling Blu-ray Of 2009

    'Quantum of Solace'

    Quantum of Solace

    Halfway into 2009 and Quantum of Solace has been named the top-selling Blu-ray title of the year so far.

    Blu-ray.com reports that Daniel Craig’s second James Bond film was listed as the number one title after sales figures were published today by Home Media Magazine.

    Quantum of Solace was followed by The Dark Knight , Twilight, Eagle Eye and Taken.

    In the overall sales category, Christopher Nolan’s phenomenally successful The Dark Knight (a 2008 release) took the top spot.

    Quantum of Solace Blu-ray/DVD Overview
    Complete CommanderBond.net Coverage

    Latest news, cover artwork, ordering details, worldwide release dates, special features, original announcements, exclusives and promotional deals and more.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-06-22
  6. 'Quantum of Solace' Screening In Franklin, North Carolina

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in 'Quantum of Solace'

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in Quantum of Solace

    The latest entry in the cinematic James Bond franchise, 2008’s Quantum of Solace, is set to be screened in Franklin, North Carolina next week.

    Daniel Craig’s second 007 film has been chosen as the Wednesday Movies at the Library selection for 10 June at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin, North Carolina.

    Quantum of Solace will be screened at both 4:30 and 7:00pm. English subtitles are included and popcorn will be served. Attendees are free to bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. There is no charge to attend the screenings, however donations are welcome.

    The Macon County Public Library is located at 819 Siler Rd., Franklin, North Carolina 28734. For more information, phone the library at 828-524-3600 or visit their official website.

    Keep turning to the CBn main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-06-04
  7. David Arnold's 'Quantum' Score Misses Out On Ivor Novello Award

    One month ago exactly, CommanderBond.net reported that composer David Arnold’s score for Quantum of Solace had been nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.

    Today, the winners were announced at the ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel and James Bond unfortunately didn’t come out on top. The Quantum score lost to Jonny Greenwood’s effort for There Will Be Blood in the Best Original Film Score category.

    'Quantum of Solace' Soundtrack

    Quantum of Solace Soundtrack

    In related news, longtime Bond lyricist Don Black was honoured with this year’s Academy Fellowship award. Working alongside both Arnold and John Barry, Black’s song credits within the 007 series include: Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man With The Golden Gun, Surrender, The World Is Not Enough and Only Myself To Blame.

    For the complete list of winners at the 54th Ivor Novello Awards, visit the official website.

    Keep turning to the CBn main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-05-21
  8. 'Quantum of Solace' Is #2 Overall For Europe Admissions In 2008

    James Bond and ABBA led the pack for film admissions throughout Europe in 2008.

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in 'Quantum of Solace'

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in Quantum of Solace

    Variety reports that cinema attendance in Europe held steady last year, according to figures released Monday by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

    Admissions rose 0.5% compared to 2007, totaling 924 million across the 27 states of the European Union.

    In second place overall was Quantum of Solace with 27.5 million admissions. Mamma Mia! took the top spot with 33.7 million admissions.

    As earlier reported on CommanderBond.net, Daniel Craig’s second 007 adventure was Germany’s top box office earner in 2008 and also contributed to a record year in the UK.

    Keep turning to the CBn main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-05-14
  9. CBn Reviews 'Quantum of Solace' (2)

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in 'Quantum of Solace'

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in Quantum of Solace

    As with the 24 previous (official and unofficial) James Bond films, CommanderBond.net once again asked our forum members for their verdict on the latest cinematic 007 adventure: Daniel Craig’s Quantum of Solace.

    If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register–it’s free and only takes a minute. In addition to those reviews, forum members can post their own reviews of Quantum of Solace in the Members Reviews forum.

    What follows is a selection of the reviews…

    CBn Reviews
    QUANTUM OF SOLACE
    (Part 2 | Click Here For Part 1)


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… 001carus

    Quantum of Solace is, as many have cited, a very different Bond film. On the surface, it appears to follow more of the Bond formula than its big brother, Casino Royale – but delving deeper there’s quite a chance Solace is every bit as different. The film is a short, punchy, 106 minute adventure, which leaves audience members behind if they’re not paying attention in its race to the finish line. Never does Quantum of Solace hold the hand of the viewer, but nor does it move so fast as to blind a faithful viewer who has seen Casino Royale. Yes, Casino Royale is almost required homework (not that Royale is ever as tireseome as homework) before Solace, because for the first time in Bond canon, we have a direct sequel. But this isn’t a bad thing – nor should it be for any sequel. Instead, this new film enhances Casino Royale‘s use, and what is even more exciting, enhances the entire film’s history. But more on that later.

    Quantum of Solace picks up about a half hour after the final “Bond, James Bond,” heard in Casino Royale, and after the first breathtaking shot of a Sienna lake, there is little breath allowed to be taken. The car chase is, as many have cited negatively, convoluted, hard to see and messy, but this is, infact, part of what makes the scene so intense and so unique. The sequence feels so raw and real with a hint of style to it all. This reflects the manner for the rest of the film – A heartpounding, realistic, but not without a sense of slick style and fantasy adventure, with its intent partly misunderstood by audiences.

    The Bond character is in the best point in his 50 year on-screen career. Bond can owe this largely to the actor who portrays him, Daniel Craig, who once again, delivers a magnificent performance. Daniel Craig represents Ian Fleming’s Bond like no other – Suave and rugged, gentleman but not afraid to get his hands dirty, and above all – vulnerable. Quantum of Solace represents Bond when he’s at his most vulnerable infact, really ever. Coming off the death of his lover, we’ve never seen Bond with such a rage. He walks around the film with his certain swagger, but always with purpose, always scheming in his head. If people get in his way, they die. This is in no way Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan, killing a man with a clever trick, a twinkle in the eye and a quick line attached. This is a man you could believed was a hired assassin.

    The two storylines that run parallel in Solace are as follows. The first being the larger picture and affecting more in the rise of Quantum – a terrorist organization not unlike SPECTRE. Bond is trying to uncover the mystery of Quantum throughout, as well as stop, seemingly, one of its biggest players – the villain Dominic Greene. A lot of complaints are directed at the film for failing to develop the Quantum storyline, but, like a lot of backdrop settings in films, not a lot can be done in this short space of time. The film’s second storyline is by far the more prominent, which makes it all the more unfortunate, the a lot didn’t understand it. That is, Bond trying to find his Quantum of Solace. This is the real aim of the narrative, and the film tells it beautifully. We have Bond who is torn and angry over his loss, and using his mission against Quantum as a punching bag. Punching with him is Camille, a Bond girl who is “Bond’s equal” but also works, which is quite possibly the first time this has ever happened.

    Camille represents Bond further down the path of revenge and thus, helps Bond through his stage of life. This is so perfect, as we don’t just have a Bond girl for the sake of a Bond girl, which is apparent in most of the Brosnan films. Here, like Casino Royale‘s Vesper, she means something. She pushes along Bond’s character arc and helps shape him for the future. And it’s in this character arc that enhances the entire Bond canon in its own little way. When we see Bond lose Vesper – the only woman he’s loved, then instantly go into a fit of rage, sadness, loneliness, we see a depressed man, whose only method of survival is to kill. Then he loses Agent Fields – his fault, because of his rage and inability to look out for anyone else. And finally, he sees what happens when revenge is taken (By Camille) which isn’t a happy sight, nor does it lead to any kind of solace. These three points represent three traits of Bond that is set in stone for the future: 1. He never gets too close to women anymore, or anyone for that matter, which leads to his sleeping around persona. 2. He does, however, care for others and keeps an eye out for those friendly with him, and doesn’t allow harm to come to them (or at least tries). And 3. He realizes revenge isn’t the answer.

    The locations and atmosphere in Bond films have always been one of the most important elements, even in the books. Of course, many are quick to jump on Solace for its lack of aesthetic beauty, I can easily hold the atmosphere levels up with the likes of Dr. No, Thunderball, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Casino Royale. Each location looks stunning and the slightly unsaturated look, once again, backs up the realistic, but always stylized film. During moments of interest, Marc Forster, the film’s director, often cuts away from the action to a brief piece of the scenery to mostly irrelevant things, if only to suck us up into the atmosphere that bit more.

    The action set pieces are enthralling, but are sometimes, one of the letdowns in the film. The car chase is brilliant by all accounts, and is an awesome way to throw audiences into the screen. The rooftop chase feels unnecessary coming off the car chase, with very, very little in the way of breathing room in between. It’s still thrilling, but this is the first time in the film the editing and shaky cam work against the moment. This also brings about another problem with the film. The first half is very top heavy on action, and can become disruptive by the Boat chase. It would have been wise to cut some of these out or down to let the pacing flow more. Not the Slate fight though – that was awesome. When we do get halfway through however, the film slows down, and this is really where Bond’s character is allowed to shine a tad more.

    The film’s weaknesses are surprisingly small. By all rights, with a runtime of 106 minutes, one would expect little development for Camille, Greene, and maybe even Bond. There shouldn’t have been enough style or atmosphere, and if there was, enough time to soak in it all. The film should have felt rushed but it didn’t. None of this happened and the film felt like a complete, albeit very short and slick, addon to Casino Royale. It worked brilliantly.

    Quantum of Solace, along with Casino Royale, has cranked Bond into the best position he’s been in 40 years. For future endeavors I would hope for a longer, broader, less rushed film, but always pushing Bond’s character and creating something new for him, otherwise, there is little reason for the film to be made. Solace has done this wonderfully, which is why I currently rank it as my second favorite Bond film, right behind Casino Royale. Daniel Craig has done an impeccable job with the character, and all those working on the past two installments have done well to truly reboot the series into something meaningful, real, stylish and breathtaking. Bond is cool once again.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… marktmurphy

    It’s not very good. It feels like the producers had no idea where to take Bond; he learns less about revenge than in Licence to Kill. It’s incredibly short because there’s no plot; the villain is decent but his plan isn’t interesting at all: the whole film climaxes when Greene tells Bond where to find Vesper’s boyfriend (a plotline which had been mentioned once at the beginning but immediately dropped: even though this is supposed to be a sequel) so that we’re left thinking ‘the whole film was all for that? For Bond to get a guy’s address and arrest him?’. There’s no massive change for Bond; he’s not a significantly different character at the end than he was at the start. The whole thing feels like a waste because they couldn’t think of a good plot or emotional journey for Bond. He looks for revenge; finds the baddies; stops them, stops short of killing one of them because he learns ‘dead people don’t care about revenge’. Big wow. There’s just no meat here.

    Even the action is uninspired (when it’s not completely insulting to the audience: this is supposed to be realistic and yet Bond’s hugely powerful sportscar can’t get away from a saloon car? We’re not supposed to be pissed off that we have no idea why the boat chase suddenly stops?), derivative and occasionally hard to see: the Bourne films handled shakey cam perfectly so we had enough to see what was happening – here’s it’s just not done well enough.

    Casino Royale somehow still felt like a Bond film but with an added injection of life: this just doesn’t. There’s something missing, and there’s not as much drama in it as it tries to convince us of to make it something beyond a Bond film. It’s just a badly made Bond film: an attempt to retread Casino Royale but without the masterstroke. At no point was I given any impression other than they were just making it up as they went along.

    Casino Royale used the Bournes as inspiration and took the feel somewhere different: made it Bond. Quantum is sadly just derivative of the Bourne films but lacks the imagination, verve, tension and emotional punch of Bourne.

    Even the title doesn’t make sense: why does it reference the name of the bad guys? Fleming’s use of it makes sense; by calling the baddies Quantum it destroys the meaning.

    A poorly thought-out film that just isn’t Bond.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… Otis Fairplay

    This review is from November 2008.

    “You needn’t worry. The second is…”

    In more than one way, Quantum of Solace seemed pretty unsinkable during its production. For starters, Casino Royale turned out to be the best Bond film in some twenty years with Ian Fleming’s focused if slightly bizarre storyline at its heart, some much needed reintroduced grit and genuine attempts to allow screen-time for proper development of character. A direct follow-up presumably in the same vein sounded promising enough in itself. Having Mathieu Amalric to join Daniel Craig added further gravitas to the cast, and the peculiar choice of a Jack White and Alicia Keys duo for the main title song signalled an unorthodox, open-minded approach. But perhaps most of all, there was Marc Forster, an exciting, daring selection for the director’s chair who when announced seemed to be the oddball logical man to pick up the finer, character-spun threads tantalizingly left dangling at the end of Casino Royale. Even the title might be the best in many years; mysterious, elegant and evocative in equal measures.

    And yet. There was the nagging knowledge that in more recent years noted directors like Michael Apted and Lee Tamahori – whose Once Were Warriors I found to one of the most violently gripping films of the 90’s – seemingly were crushed creatively under the weight of the Bond Franchise Machinery™, drowning in perceived script requisites and second-unit spectaculars or, quite frankly, going off the rails altogether. There was also the knowledge that Bond’s last Big Comeback in the public eye was followed by the action-dense, tide surfing but in retrospect quite overwhelmingly undistinguished Tomorrow Never Dies. And there was ‘Another Way To Die’, where the pooled creative talent involved ingloriously turned out to be decidedly less than the sum of its parts. If this was to be seen as a harbinger of things to come, the horizon was starting to betray troubling streaks indeed.

    So when the end credits rolled, I was happy to find my darkest premonitions unfounded. Forster’s stated ambition to provide an art-house sensibility to an action film with the impact of a bullet does seem a bit lofty at times, but occasionally pays off handsomely. The juxtaposition of events like the aqueduct chase and the Palio di Siena or the performance of Tosca and the confrontation at the Opera House may not strictly spoken be a terribly original technique, but the likes of which have seldom been seen in the Bond series. There are also a good amount of jarring cuts and framings to show Forster was not chosen for his good name alone, and I find the retro, stylish location captions to be a tasty little treat as well. Admittedly there are also instances of symbolic, dripping taps and disembodied echoing sobs that seem rather misplaced if not slightly silly in the context of a Bond film, but I think Quantum of Solace in the details at least stands out as one of the series most distinct entries so far from a directional point of view.

    Yet, the stylized aesthetics come with a price. This is most obvious in the action sequences. Whereas some scenes of Casino Royale – the stairwell fight and the killing of Dryden’s contact particularly leaps to mind – packed some gut-wrenching, gruelling physical realness hardly seen since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Forster’s approach takes a more disengaged stance. The viewer is offered the chance to enjoy the blows – and rest assured there are plentiful – on a visual rather than visceral level. To be a bit obvious, Quantum of Solace does not quite make you feel the violence and I can not help but think there is something lost in the trade.

    In addition to this, the occasionally furious, rapid-fire editing often conveys the sense of action rather than the action itself, which to put it mildly is hardly unheard of in this day and age. Regrettably, this reinforces the cartoonish or, perhaps more aptly put, video game like quality that to a large degree has permeated the action sequences of the Bond series since its comeback in the mid 90’s. Though the eye candy may be spectacular, I think it harms any film’s ability to deliver a good bite in the long run. Since Quantum of Solace likely stands as the most action-packed Bond film so far, I do find this a matter of concern. The finale with wielded axes, attempted rapes, nasty stabbings with shards of glass, suggested murder-suicide pacts and explosions and yet more explosions aplenty still seems curiously detached, and I am sorry to note I fail to find it particularly more engaging than for example the final plane ride in Die Another Day.

    While I think the direction and editing of the film is something of a mixed bag, I find the cast excellent for the most part. Though Dominic Greene seems unlikely to go down in Bond history as one of the more illustrious villains, Amalric’s gleeful sense of Sarkozy sleaze breathes some Blair-ish, lizard like life into the character. Likewise, there may be some corny aspects of Camille but I think Olga Kurylenko by large brings a fine, low-key intensity and it is nice to imagine a nod to Gala Brand at the end. Meanwhile, Judi Dench and Giancarlo Giannini are solid as always, though the latter’s talent seems rather underused in the film. Among the main actors only Gemma Arlington seems a bit out of her depth. On the other hand, her character is not particularly convincing to begin with, though the film wrings a nice Goldfinger homage out of it.

    And there is of course Daniel Craig, who put an unmistakable mark on his Bond the first time around and is no less distinct in his second outing. Looking at his body of work, among the leading Bond men I think Timothy Dalton alone rivals him as an actor. Craig projects an arresting, coldly commanding presence in physical as well as more subdued moments like the sequence at the harbour of Port-au-Prince. There is a certain grace to Craig’s movements and he slowly seems to perfect his steely, blue-eyed stare. Granted, Quantum of Solace does not call for a terribly varied palette of emotions, but like in Casino Royale I think Craig’s performance stands as one of the film’s strongest points.

    Still, I think the film’s portrayal of Bond leaves some question marks. At times the film seems anxious to underline a lack of sophistication in rather an obvious manner. The wish to distance Bond from the character’s earlier cinematic incarnations while slyly winking knowingly at them at the same time is apparent enough. However, contrary to the filmmakers’ supposed intentions I think a case could be made that the character seems increasingly distanced from verbal, sensual and refined figure of Fleming’s writings as well. This of course begs the question of just who Craig is supposed to portray. Quantum of Solace offers little in the way of clues, as Bond is largely kept quietly in the background. Craig evokes a cold blooded, ruthless efficiency as well as gloomy streaks but I find the script’s eagerness to have other characters reminding the audience of his motivations quite telling and a tad awkward. However imposing Craig’s performance may be, I find James Bond to be less nuanced and in due course a bit less interesting this time around.

    And I think it would fair to say my biggest problem with Quantum of Solace lies in the script. It certainly calls for a more streamlined action film than its predecessor, which some may welcome. Personally though, I find that the pace needed to squeeze its action sequences in leaves minute time for more quiet moments, giving little opportunities to let characters, sceneries and locations sink in. More than a few times, the film’s pacing brings back memories of decidedly less appealing aspects of the latter day Bond franchise. I also think the basic storyline – a fair amount of smoke and mirrors notwithstanding – is rather trite and often seems mainly designed to string the set pieces together. The script’s preoccupation with shady dealings of intelligence agencies and flirts with conspiracy theories is a little explored alley in the Bond series. Unfortunately, the eager attempts to create a Bond against the World scenario comes across as rather laboured in the end and certainly does invite the very comparisons with that other film series starring an agent with the initials J.B. that many ardent Bond fans loathe to hear about.

    On the whole, the script comes across as rather undercooked. To me, it does not seem totally comfortable with its status as a sequel. It repeatedly acknowledges the importance of the events of Casino Royale but fails to build on them in any significant manner. The numerous invocations of Vesper merely seem a bit lazy in the end. If Bond indeed was damaged goods at the end of the last film, Quantum of Solace offers little in the way of hints. For most parts, it seems to be hard-hitting business as usual with a few, rather obvious attempts to scratch below the surface like the final scene and the conversation in the bar. Regrettably, all in all I think Bond’s Big Emotional Journey comes across as a rather pedestrian charter tour and given the film’s director, I find this a bit disappointing.

    On the other hand, while I do harbour more than a few reservations I will not deny it is for most parts an effective, well-crafted film. The narrative unsentimentally drops the excessive weight of Casino Royale and tells the story in a lean manner. The sparse cinematographic approach further underlines this route, and the action sequences pack plenty of punch to the senses. David Arnold also offers some of his strongest contributions to the series, particularly with some melancholic, pensive moments and the suspenseful build-up at the Bregenz Opera.

    So: what to make of it all? While Forster does not really seem to be playing to his strengths, it is good to see he left his fingerprints in the film. Still, I would be highly surprised to see Quantum of Solace rank among his more distinguished efforts in the years to come, just as I hardly think the film will be looked back upon as a cornerstone in the Bond series. There is a fair share of outstanding moments, it certainly ranks among the better Bond films of the last twenty years and I think it will stand out as a memorable if rather deviant entry to the series. Still, to me the cast and the stronger aspects of the film itself seem to hint at possibilities beyond that. It would have been interesting to see how Forster could handle a slower, more reflective Bond film, but obviously that was not what he was going for and I think you will have to admire his courage.

    There is also the dilemma that the series really has had joined to its hip since its very inception. Given the character of James Bond, his pleasures, his foes, his world and his adventures; just how seriously should the films be taking themselves? There have been times in the series’ history where its dalliance with self-deprecating, knowing blinks at its audience has taken rather unpleasantly farcical turns. But while I usually prefer the more serious entries, there is a balance that needs to be struck in any film. Where ambitions transcend the qualities of the story actually told, there inevitably lurks the danger of the downright pretentious. I do think Quantum of Solace occasionally treads these waters, particularly in Mathis’ last scene where Craig and Gianinni’s fine acting seems to starkly underline the rather banal lines of dialogue and the discrepancy comes off as rather uncomfortable to me. Mind you, as far as problems go this is quite an uplifting one that seldom if ever has popped up in the Bond series before and though I do not think it the film really pulls all its ambitions off I commend it for trying.

    Still, one might wonder where the series will go after Quantum of Solace. By mainly picking up on the dark textures, action elements and the occasional stale, serious sense of Casino Royale and refining these aspects, I think the creative team has not really expanded on the premise of the reboot but rather narrowed it down. Though the eventual Box Office returns more than likely will play the deciding factor, I find it hard to believe the series will press on much further in this direction. Personally, I think it might be wise to broaden the creative horizon a bit. I do find Craig’s Bond less invigorating this time, and it would be a shame should he turn into a comic book character too swiftly. Of course, if the series pulls back from the frontline of Quantum of Solace, the question is where it will go. Will it fall back in old patterns or find alternative ways to move forward?

    So ultimately, despite obvious virtues I think Quantum of Solace is somewhat brought down by its narration and pacing. Possibly, the crux of the matter is that the Bond films by and large have been struggling script-wise since the days of Richard Maibaum. In Casino Royale, the solid core of Fleming’s novel made the far sketchier narrative of the lead up and coda less of a problem. Stripped of such a foundation, familiar shadows of the not too distant past regrettably come looming in. There is, of course, also the possibility that the bottom line is more troubling than that. The thought that the Bond franchise these days does not quite seem to bring out the best in the talent involved has crossed my mind before, and while I think Marc Forster comes out of his Bond adventure in far better condition than Apted and Tamahori I do notice the reflection lingering in my mind as I try to pinpoint my thoughts on his film.

    Either way: Quantum of Solace leaves little doubt that the Bond franchise has been rather radically reinvented since Die Another Day, had anyone missed the point. As for the question whether the series truly has seen any lasting creative rebirth as well, I think its 23rd film will have some answering to do.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… Harmsway

    Quantum of Solace remains an oddity in the Bond canon, largely for its tonal and stylistic choices. Never before have we seen Bond try to be so terribly “arty” (though admittedly there’s no true artiness on display; even its artiest section – the Tosca sequence – plays like New Wave cinema as captured by a TV commercial director), and never before have we seen Bond played quite so grimly. Quantum of Solace isn’t so much the Bond of the films, or really the Bond of the books. This is Bond filtered through the lens of the early 1970s thrillers, with all the moral ambiguity and glumness those flicks brought to the table.

    That approach offers a kind of novelty in a franchise that has, by and large, played by the same rules for most of its life. That said, the approach comes at a real cost: the flick isn’t much fun. Casino Royale was so popular because it mixed character with a great deal of humor and other sources of entertainment value. Quantum of Solace, on the other hand, is merely hard-edged and morose, save for a few moments here and there that are meant to remind us of the 1960s Bond hey-day, but only serve to remind us of how little of that 1960s-style fun is there.

    Now, of course, Bond’s in a dark emotional place in this one after losing his great love in the last flick. But even then, the film strikes me as overly sullen. Ian Fleming dealt with dark material in his original books, too, but he also had a delightfully relaxed sensibility to his novels. Even at the books’ darkest hours, Fleming was good enough to keep the affair none too grim, playing up atmosphere, elegance, and exoticism whenever he was given the chance.

    Forster, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have much time for things like glamor and elegance. Sure, Quantum of Solace is the first film in a while to seriously devote itself to location shooting, but Forster glosses over scenes so quick that atmosphere rarely sinks in. He himself said he wanted the film to be like “a bullet,” and it’s a shame. So much of the wonderful travelogue element of the Bond franchise is lost in the process.

    Now, this might be excused if the characterization and drama in place was really satisfying, but it isn’t. Most of the character scenes comprise of pompous dialogue exchanges that don’t have enough of the in-between “down time” to make them matter; Quantum of Solace is all skeleton, no tissue, expecting us to be moved and engaged just because the lines uttered are straining for significance. It’s a shame, too, since Quantum of Solace has one of the finest casts ever assembled for a Bond flick, and they’re clearly up for more than they’re given.

    But surely the action delivers? Well, no, not quite. We get a few good sequences, but then the rest are of the mediocre sort that might have appeared in Mission: Impossible III or some other watchable but none too interesting blockbuster. Given that they’re the most-developed and dwelt-upon sequences in the flick (Forster never takes his time with anything else), it’s a severe problem.

    But I’m probably seeming significantly more “down” on Quantum of Solace than I actually am. In a lot of ways, I really enjoy it, and I hardly think it’s deserves to be dragged through the mud. But Quantum of Solace is more of a curiosity than a success, and we can only hope that EON gets back on track for the next installment.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… byline

    When I went to see Quantum of Solace in the theatre, on first viewing, I admit that I felt very underwhelmed (especially given my heightened expectations after Casino Royale). However, on second viewing, my opinion did a complete 180 and I was amazed at how much I loved it. It was as if I was seeing two different films, but I think the reality is that I just caught a lot more the second time around, and it all came together for me. Subsequent viewings have just given me a greater appreciation of the film. Daniel Craig is absolutely amazing.

    My only complaint is with some of the flash-editing, and that some camera angles could’ve been held a beat or two longer to sustain the emotional resonance of a scene. But other than that, I enjoy Quantum of Solace and basically consider it an extension of Casino Royale; in my mind, they’re two acts of a single play.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… Tybre

    Quantum of Solace begins somewhere almost immediately after the end of Casino Royale, the first film of Craig’s tenure as Bond. Exactly how long after Royale is not made explicitly clear. Some sources say five minutes, other say ten minutes, some say one hour. Regardless of how much time has passed, it isn’t a substantial amount. Already we run into an issue here. For someone who has not seen Casino Royale (my girlfriend was part of this crowd back in November), the film as a whole can get confusing, but especially at the beginning. Later into the film, you can sort of piece things together; but at this point, it’s just sort of ‘what the hell’? Why is Bond driving around like a madman dodging bullets?’

    This leads into another problem with Quantum of Solace. The editing is, for the most part, horrendous. Director Mark Forster and his editing team seem obsessed with flash cutting and, at least for me personally, the first time I saw the opening chase, I had a hard time following which car was which until it was nearly over. The other problems are few and fairly minor.

    In spite of it’s flaws, Solace is a great film. So much so that it makes my top ten of the twenty-two films to date. Okay, okay, a lot of criticism has been given to the action sequences for being…too action-y and generally unnecessary. But the action isn’t the point of Quantum of Solace.

    One of people’s major complaints is that it sort of gives the finger to Casino Royale. The end of Casino Royale implies Bond has become the agent we know and love, and when we return in Solace, we find he still has a lot of growing up to do. A part of that growing up is a perceived “Bond started out as a rogue in Casino Royale, cleaned up his act, and then they were like ‘screw it, let’s make him go rogue again because we can’t think of anything else’ for Quantum of Solace“. But that’s not it at all. If one pays attention to Quantum of Solace, yes, we know Bond is acting outside orders, so he can be perceived as a “rogue agent” in that sense. We know Bond is struggling with personal vendetta against Quantum vs get the job done right.

    Quite a few times Bond kills people M would rather have him leave alive for questioning. Most of these deaths are accidental, but the CIA manipulates the flow of information to make it seem as if Bond has gone rogue. They make M and everyone involved in the British Government believe Bond’s relapsed and he’s just a homicidal lunatic that needs to be shut down immediately.
    And, going back to my earlier statement, note the words ‘pay attention’. That’s the key with Quantum of Solace. Solace forces you to pay absolute attention at every turn. Flicker out for even a moment, and you might miss something that is vital for giving you the proper mentality; you might miss the sort of thing that says “Hey, guess what, Bond hasn’t gone rogue”.

    Another beautiful piece of the plot is the continuation of Bond’s character. At the end of Casino Royale, we see Vesper dead and Bond is quite visibly upset by this, but then when he goes to raid Mr White, it almost seems like he’s forgotten his vendetta. In Quantum of Solace, not only do we find Bond struggling with whether or not to finally get his revenge against Quantum or do the right thing from the standpoint of MI6 and bring agents of Quantum in for interrogation, but we see Bond’s heartache over the loss of Vesper grow beyond a few sad scenes on a boat in Venice. When Bond goes to meet Rene Mathis at his villa and Mathis tells Bond she loved him, his only response is “Right up until the moment she betrayed me”. When M mentions Vesper loved him, Bond shrugs it off. Bond doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t want to bring himself to think that the woman he fell in love with and wound up betraying him really did love him. To him, she’s “the bitch”. Her death awakens something in Bond, something that is more than likely responsible for a lot of his “senseless killing”. If Vesper, who seemingly loved him, betrayed him, doesn’t that mean everyone is capable of the same? Then what’s the point in living, if at any point what seems like the most beautiful experience of your life can be ruined, all because of the unpredictability of human nature?

    Bond’s emotional response to the death of Vesper, however, I feel is no better portrayed than when Bond and Mathis are on the plane to Bolivia. Mathis wakes up in the middle of the night to find Bond drinking, unable to sleep. Bond is drinking his drink of choice, a vodka martini named after the woman he loved. When Mathis asks him what he’s drinking, there’s a very brief pause. Bond can’t bring himself to say the name “Vesper”. And so he turns to the barkeep and says “I don’t know, what am I drinking?” This leads into a quick dialogue between Mathis and Bond, one which I feel is one of the strongest scenes in the film.

    The finale of the film, however, really is the crown jewel of this film. I know a lot of people have problems with it, but I think it works perfectly. Bond’s actions and his final line of dialogue confirm to M what we the audience have known all along; and it brings to an end his emotional turmoil over Vesper and his perceived darkness of the world.

    Quantum of Solace is far from perfect, I will admit. But it is, all in all, still very beautiful. It does not, however, surpass it’s predecessor (which is admittedly a pretty hard feat, in my opinion).

    I give it 3 stars out of 5.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… 00Twelve

    You know that feeling after you step off of a rollercoaster? Minus the inability to walk a straight line, I’m there right now. And I want another ride. Quantum of Solace is unapologetically intense and mature and I feel I’ve been rewarded for waiting to see if they could do it again after Casino Royale.

    Much as I’d heard about how fast the pre-title sequence gets into gear, it still took me by surprise. And it’s furious. Tazmanian devil furious. But there’s method to this madness. Metaphor abounds in the film and it starts with the reflection of Bond’s state of mind in this chase. Oh, and it’s amazing how much better a car chase can be when there’s no stinger missiles behind the headlights.

    The title sequence was delectable. The retro vibe may not be for everyone, but it sure works for me. Loved the title sequence. The song’s never sounded better (as always, the film edit works best) and there were visual homages to everything from the Robert Brownjohn days to Moore-era Maurice Binder to even Daniel Kleinman circa 2006. Seriously, when’s the last time we’ve seen Bond suspended in air, falling from nowhere to nowhere? Come to think of it, when’s the last time the font’s been something other than Arial? [Hint: not since the days that this movie hearkens back to.] The round 70s-ish typography was awesomely stylish and immediately told me that EON’s finally embracing a bit of the modern take on the 60s/70s aesthetic that I’ve fantasized they someday would.

    A more beautifully shot spy movie may never have been made. Colors, cultures, textures, timbres… this film sets itself apart in a delicious way from the rest of the franchise and from all that’s come before it. From the first shots of Garda to Siena’s Palio straight to the “Bolivian” desert, I can’t think of a Bond film that displays a more unique and sensual aesthetic–not even You Only Live Twice. Marc Forster is the textbook definition of a director: a photographer capturing pictures in motion. I’m always in awe of people who have such an eye for angles and textures.

    The script is, on one hand, economic; on the other hand, it’s more than enough. Any more and I’d have felt spoonfed. Any less and I’d have felt starved. In the hands of weaker actors, it would have been bad. BAD. In these actors’ hands, however, it was good. GOOD. Especially in the latter half, I really felt like I was seeing a Fleming novel. I found myself seeing everything that was happening and thinking about how I wouldn’t be surprised to have read about all of it in one Fleming novel or another. I feel justified—Quantum of Solace indeed carries some of the spirit of Live and Let Die and the other early SMERSH-led stories.

    Allow me to make observations on the acting from my point of view as an actor [after your eyes have made a full arc]. Now, I wouldn’t pretend that I’m some kind of RADA grad or that I’ve been doing this for decades. I’m only a couple of years out of college and a fledgling in the professional world, but I will venture to say with confidence that I understand what I’ve studied and know how to create characters, and I know intention when I see it. Every choice that each actor in this movie made was 100% deliberate. Every moment in which we saw them had intent and thought behind it. In Bond, I saw a man who was hungry for satisfaction from the deaths of men who conspired with those that caused Vesper’s death. That hunger was there, but so was the emptiness that lingered after each kill, the growing realization that killing Quantum members one at a time wouldn’t offer a quantum of solace. Reading all this into it, am I? Not by a long shot. These are professionals, and I can promise that professionals consider every possible aspect of their characters that they can conceive of. No moment is neglected. One may not like some of these choices, but every nonverbal moment communicated something that was just as deliberate as every scripted word. I, for one, am very thankful not to have been treated as if I needed everything verbally spelled out for me. And it’s beyond denial—Daniel Craig is James Bond. No one’s taken the character on such a compelling journey and I can’t imagine anyone could do it as well as what I’ve seen in these last two movies.

    Arnold has delivered a score that I can finally call “cool.” It’s something that ventures to sound like something more than a Barry homage—it’s his most original score to date. Sure, Barry’s in there [Night At The Opera recalls tip-top-form Barry], but so are sounds that Arnold can proudly call his own. The first transition to London is a great example. And for the first time, Arnold even pays homage to greats like Lalo Schifrin [Field Trip is as close to a Schifrin-inspired track as I’ve ever heard]. The eventual full Bond theme is satisfying as well—every bit as much as in Casino Royale.

    Quantum of Solace takes Bond through the understandable turmoil after Vesper and brings him through to the other side with maturity and style. How does it rank with me? [Always the ultimate question for whatever reason.] It’s somewhere in my top 5, probably top 3 at least. I can’t say that it’s better than Casino Royale. But it’s not far off. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it again in hopes that I can give a more coherent and detailed reaction next time. My sympathies for those that disliked it; I fail to understand that, but that’s Bond for you. We all find different parts of him that we love.

    I really hope that EON is confident about moving forward with this level of maturity and individuality. Bring on the new franchise, I’m waiting with arms open wide.


    Keep turning to the CommanderBond.net main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-05-06
  10. CBn Reviews 'Quantum of Solace' (1)

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in 'Quantum of Solace'

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in Quantum of Solace

    As with the 24 previous (official and unofficial) James Bond films, CommanderBond.net once again asked our forum members for their verdict on the latest cinematic 007 adventure: Daniel Craig’s Quantum of Solace.

    If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register–it’s free and only takes a minute. In addition to those reviews, forum members can post their own reviews of Quantum of Solace in the Members Reviews forum.

    What follows is a selection of the reviews…

    CBn Reviews
    QUANTUM OF SOLACE
    (Part 1 | Click Here For Part 2)


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… Zorin Industries

    To paraphrase Mr. White, “we have people everywhere” ready to criticise Quantum of Solace. Some of the critics have already ended their Royale inspired affair with Commander James Bond and abandoned him overnight like a bored double agent. But when the dust has settled on Quantum of Solace, some deserters may ultimately reassess their allegiances as the 22nd Bond film is a masterful entry in the series and the one that really puts the Persian cat amongst the pigeons.

    It is no longer Casino Royale that rebooted James Bond 007 in the cinema. Quantum of Solace is the real groundbreaking episode in Bond’s illustrious filmic career. Granted, Royale paved a path, but Solace allows Bond to strut down it and finally stretch his wings once clipped by Vesper Lynd.

    Accelerating through a genuinely menacing overture, this Bond launches proceedings with a u–turn spin on the traditional car chase. Multiple cameras and aerial master shots are literally shunted aside for a new and breathtakingly visceral depiction on the car pursuit – one that creates its danger with astute quickfire editing and dirty choices of shots. Knowing that Bond has reinvented the car chase on screen many times over, Marc Forster does exactly that again by getting us and his camera right in the heart of the chase via the fundamentals of cinema – namely editing.

    A genuine jeopardy is created as the cars pile up and the Aston almost cries out in pain as it screeches this pre–title sequence to a cool freeze frame and Jack White and Alicia Keys dirty, superfunk grenade of a title song kicks in like a slap in the face. MK12’s parched title graphics are old school Turkish Delight ad with Daniel Craig’s silhouette blasting feisty crumpet off spinning zoetropes and sand dunes aplenty. And whilst this is brilliantly familiar and recognisable, Quantum of Solace soon takes no prisoners in the audience as Bond loses and gains his own prisoners and allies as quickly as it does to fire a bullet.

    There is genuinely no time to breathe when watching Quantum of Solace (the freefall moment is full–on terrifying). The audience has to think as quickly as Bond does. Some may criticise the speed of the first half of the narrative. But in the real world, secret agents probably don’t have enough time to pull a gun on someone let alone stay at their pad for the weekend and overhear villainous schemes in every detail.

    The early investigative nature of Bond’s journey is as quick and stylish as it is intriguing and – yet still – oddly familiar. Solace is not reinventing the wheel. It just remembers that characters stories – like wheels – need to go full circle to be most effective. All the main characters – M, Leiter, Camille, Dominic Greene, Mr. White and of course Bond himself – have their own emotional arcs running concurrently or at odds to each other. Rarely have the characters in a Bond film been so rounded and narratively intertwined. And because of that, Quantum of Solace emerges as a very mature 007 picture. Bond is perhaps less vulnerable in this film but you can see the bruises of Casino Royale still sting – they are just beautifully underplayed. More importantly, they are not relied on to fuel the story. Quantum of Solace is not a wake for Vesper. It is about moving on. The question Bond has to ask himself is when does that happen?

    Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli often claim to set out to make the new From Russia with Love but end up crafting a new Thunderball. Quantum of Solace is very much in the From Russia camp. Like the other actors sophomore Bond films (The Man with the Golden Gun, Licence to Kill and even Tomorrow Never Dies), Solace is a lean novella of a 007 film. It unfurls itself without the usual bombastic fanfare and bravado that was still evident and perhaps necessary in Casino Royale. Like its second–round cousin From Russia with Love, Solace is not an overblown story, it doesn’t globe trot for the sake of it and its characters imbue the film with a sort of mournful sadism.

    The floating Tosca scenes are indeed the film’s triumph. But they do so without stalling the narrative. Forster and his editors editing choices are stunning as Bond lures his prey out into the open whilst Puccini’s characters do the same on stage. Like Sienna’s Palio paralleled with a glorious and balletic fight on ropes in a disused art gallery, Forster intercuts the tension and finality of Tosca with Bond unearthing Quantum’s big plan via gift–bag earpieces. Characters soon flee but meet in a corridor. Unable to pull their guns on each other, we cut to Tosca’s bullies doing that instead as Puccini’s librettos punctuate Bond on the run and a chillingly effective use of the greatest sound effect of all – silence.

    Quantum of Solace finally sees a 007 film get away from Bond–As–Icon. The 1990’s did not always allow the character to breathe amidst all the paraphernalia of James Bond plc. Even Casino Royale had to (rightly so) blatantly present the tuxedo, the Aston, the Martinis, guns and girls. Solace has these elements in place. It just chooses to not showboat them or at least not use them to tick boxes that don’t further the story or our insight into Bond. The traditional Vodka Martini moment now becomes something that lays Bond’s character wide open. Defeatedly necking multiple Vodka Martinis in a series first for 007 (Craig does bitter drunk very well), the character now claims to not be able to name a drink he once – in happier times – christened a ‘Vesper’.

    The cast is a savvy one. Olga Kurylenko’s Camille continues the elegance and sadness of Vesper but is more of an alley cat than a trapped bird. Resourceful and feisty without “being a match for Bond”, there is almost a brother and sister vibe between the two. Camille’s early scenes are perhaps clumsily handled (the first shared scene between her and Greene is very unclear and the film’s only narrative glitch) but the character soon grows from being a defeatist avenger to someone much more emotionally practical for Bond. If 007 is in need of emotional closure, Camille is his gadget of this film.

    Gemma Arterton’s Fields is sadly underused, but then a temp secretary who is nearly played as a non–Eton Essex girl might well be. Her demise serves a stark lesson for Bond and M’s anger at him sees Fields brief cameo become more influential to his journey than first imagined. The death by oil moment is thankfully not as homage–y as first reported – especially when seen in the context of what happens next.

    Judi Dench’s M is less sneering and overly ballsy in this film. She is a constant and reassuring presence for the audience and Bond, but does so without the hammy Purvis and Wade “Cold War” isms. I’m not sure I want to see her act as scolded child infront of Tim Piggot Smith’s brief Foreign Secretary (Geoffrey Keen would never have done that – but then he was always a friendlier face in the office always stalling time before he has to see the “PM”) but Solace is all about working within parameters you sometimes wish were not there.

    Mathieu Almaric does well in the deliberately vague role of Dominic Greene. Le Chiffre and Quantum’s villains do not need to make themselves clear to the audience. They are batons that Bond just has to stop being successfully handed on. Almaric plays Greene like a reptilian Roman Polanski. There is obviously a greater plan here with Quantum. But we don’t have to know about it all now. Greene is an impatient adversary but – again – a very familiar antagonist to the Bond series. Like Bond, Felix Leiter and even M herself, there is a sense that Dominic Greene too has to prove himself to his bosses – superiors we never see though their tentacles are stretching wide and deep. Only Giancarlo Giannini’s Mathis is at one with his lot. It is not ideal for his character, but there is a peace to his role in this film rather than blatant exposition. His departure scene sees Bond struggle with his demons all over again – just as he thinks he has got them tamed. Daniel Craig balances loss with anger and fortitude stunningly well. Never has such an astute actor inhabited the role. He is still Bond as hero. We do not have Bond as flawed human like the rest of us. He is still a cinematic hero. A marked and repeated vibe when the film ended was the shared belief throughout a lot of people in the audience that Craig is already the most effective James Bond 007 we have seen. Phrases like “best” are always regressive, but they are definitely discussions people will have in the pub afterwards.

    Solace does not emerge as a short Bond film at all. It is not devoid of exposition. It just makes the audience work a bit harder – not something we’re necessarily used to with James Bond films. Casino Royale naturally ended with Bond recuperating in Italy and that was around the 105 minute mark. The set pieces do not outstay their welcome. A tiny flaw of the African Rundown and Miami Airport scenes of Royale was that they were slightly overdrawn. In Solace, a car chase, a foot chase, a boat chase and a dog fight are played out as long as they might do in reality. The locations are indeed characters in themselves with Bolivia and its people (because of Greene’s schemes) adding poignancy to a Bond film we don’t always see. Solace also feels like it escaped the necessary but sometimes obvious backdrop of Pinewood Studios. There is no sense of the second unit running away from the first in this. Bolivia and Haiti / Panama are beautifully barren, making way for the obvious parallels between the landscape and the characters mindsets.

    Some savvy filmic feng–shui sees the gunbarrel cleverly moved, replacing the over–designed tics of the Brosnan motif with a 1970’s simplicity and giving the usually ignored end credits a Bansky–style bloody wall motif on which to scroll the titles. David Arnold’s score is a tad over–egged earlier on (and Mickey Mouses the action shamelessly) but eventually becomes a very dignified project of his. Ignoring the obvious shopping mall pan–pipes he gives Chile and Bolivia a genuine ethnic soul and the likes of Camille’s theme mirrors the dignity afforded Royale with Vesper’s theme. Arnold’s work on the Bregenz scenes soar with a driving theme that echoes Richard Robbins’ quintessentially English work on The Remains of the Day. The rest of the score is at its best when it occasionally tips a hat to the early 80’s synth drama of The Long Good Friday and even The Sweeny.

    Quantum of Solace probably ends with its best scene. Bond tracks someone down and confronts them. But they are not alone and it is the dialogue Daniel Craig has with that person that underlines the stunning economy and narrative care that went into Quantum of Solace. Like this film and the Craig tenure itself, the samey “Oh James” moment is replaced with a harsh attack on the job and the betrayals at play. Bond has his own metaphorical Funeral In Moscow, gives a complete stranger their own quantum of solace and – in doing so – finds his.

    James Bond is still in a state of repair – underlined by Solace continuing Royale‘s maybe / maybe not device of citing set pieces within unfinished and renovated Venetian houses, quarries, art galleries and scaffolding. There will be criticism at how Bond “sort of” leaves Greene to his own devices at the end, but not when you remember M’s mantra throughout the film of “we need them alive” has finally seeped into Bond’s consciousness. ‘Repair’ and ‘renovation’ are key themes both in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Watching them together is much advised. They are sister films cut from the same cloth. But Solace actually represents a bolder leap forward for James Bond than Royale (which for good or bad now seems very familiar when alongside Solace). The 2008 film takes the baton afforded to Bond in 2006 and not so much lets him run with it in the way he wants to, but allows Eon Productions to do likewise. Marc Forster is one of the best directors Bond has had. There is an economy and verve to Quantum of Solace. It does not short change the audience at any point. And oddly, the film tips a hat to The Spy Who Loved Me more than Goldfinger. Who would have thought that eh? But a rooftop push, a dressed up couple stranded in the desert, enough hotel receptionists to give Valerie Leon a run for her money, a nod to Moore’s pseudonymn “Robert Sterling” and a gunbarrel that is very Roger Moore echoes 1977 just as much as it does Goldfinger 1964.

    James Bond would be a fool to not take Marc Forster along for the ride next time round as – apparently – “James Bond Will Return”. Fancy that?


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… The Dove

    Well, after purchasing the DVD yesterday and watching Quantum last night I can say with 100% confidence that my initial thoughts and feelings about the movie have not changed! I still think it’s a bloody great Bond film and still rank it 9.5 out of 10!

    I am now in the process of ranking it amongst the other 21 Bond films and while I’m still making a final decision on exactly where to place it, it’s definitely in my top 3 favorites (have yet to decide if it’s going to be #2 or #3)…

    I still rank Casino Royale above it, but only by a very slim margin, as Quantum of Solace comes very close.

    The only tidbits which again lower Quantum‘s ranking with me are as follows, and these are not major flaws such as the ones in films like The Man With The Golden Gun, The World Is Not Enough, A View To A Kill or Die Another Day.

    Elvis: Again, underdeveloped as a character… I never understood what’s up with his wig?

    MK12’s titles: Very ho-hum for a Bond film title sequence… Daniel Kleinman’s titles are much better… Granted these titles that MK12 came up with would have worked better for a 007 video game.

    Greg Beam character: Perhaps the most annoying CIA character we’ve seen in a Bond film since Michael Madsen’s Falco in Die Another Day!

    The Boat Chase: It’s not nearly as bad as many here are making it out to be, but still it could have been developed more… I find the boat chase in The World is not Enough to be much more thrilling.

    Apart from these little nitpicks, the film is perfect!


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… Mr. Blofeld

    I can remember the feeling I had, sitting in the darkened theatre, waiting for the opening frames of Quantum of Solace to come onscreen; it was… exhilaration.

    At first, it was odd to hear the muted MGM lion and Columbia logo, but it instantly clicked into place when the first scene kicked on. That beautiful, ominous pull-in to the highway at the edge of the coast: My stomach damn-near flipped over. The quick cuts to a wheel, men driving a car, a flash of ammunition, Bond eyes watching the road… then turning…

    BAM! We’re into the action, and in for a fantastic ride.

    I loved what Marc Forster did with this film. I had my fears before release that he would be another Irvin Kershner (Never Say Never Again) or Michael Apted (The World is not Enough), but the film more than won me over; it’s easily one of his best.

    Daniel Craig shines once again in the lead role of James Bond, the blunt instrument wielded by a government paralyzed with fear. His seemingly innate ability to express the subtlest of emotions (the best example involves a scene where one of Bond’s allies lies dying) really brings the character to life; it’s a damned shame he hasn’t been nominated by the Academy for acting yet.

    Olga Kurylenko aquitted herself well in both the action and emotional scenes; in particular, I was floored by her incredibly authentic-seeming reaction to a blazing wall of fire during the climax, as she suddenly flashes back to a childhood nightmare and backs away into a fetal position, eyes glazed open in a sort of shell-shock. I hope she gets more (and better) roles following this film.

    Mathieu Amalric really gives off an aura of wormy evil, attempting to eyeball his way out of one tough situation after another until he finally cracks and goes after Bond with a fire axe in a burning building. His main henchman Elvis (portrayed by Anatole Taubman, an actor I’d never heard of before seeing him in this film) seems little more than a lightweight on first viewing, but on repeat showings turns into an amusing sideshow to the main plot; he serves (more often than not) as the anti-henchman, and I was simply delighted at the actor’s heretofore undiscovered comic talents (right down to the heart-shaped belt buckle he wears to a black-tie opera). Taubman is the gem of the film.

    The man set to profit from the main villainous scheme of the film, General Medrano, is played by a Mexican actor named Joaquín Cosio, who, though his role is small, brings a sizable amount of menace to the film. Jesper Christiansen, returning as the mysterious Mr. White, makes the most of his limited screen time; his face was mostly blank and inexpressive in Casino Royale, so it was a little creepy to see him giggling like a schoolboy at the sight of the clueless MI6 operatives attempting to interrogate him at the beginning of the film.

    Gemma Arterton is very nice in the small role of Agent Fields; I think her most effective scene comes when Bond tells her, while kissing her back, that they’ve been invited to a party, and she rather honestly says that she’s got nothing to wear. It’s not the line itself, but the way she says it that seals the deal for me. Judi Dench, once again, is simply wonderful as M, even if she does admit in interviews that, yes, she is doing the Bond films only for the paychecks. Jeffrey Wright, back as Felix Leiter again, doesn’t get much of a reintroducion, but he uses the lines and time given him to put forth to the audience the honest truth that Leiter is the coolest cat this side of Jack Lord.

    Finally, a round of applause to Giancarlo Giannini; his Mathis character seemed a little forced during the poker scenes of Casino Royale, but his touching portrayal in this film stood out for me; specifically, the scene on the airplane and his final scene. It’s not often I cry during a film, but this proved the exception to the rule in a big way.

    Now, for the rest of the film? Top notch. The action was clearly visible for me in both the cinema and the sitting room, including the fisticuffs and chase scenes, which is more than I can say for similar scenes in the last two Bourne films (I’m assuming Forster restrained second-unit director Dan Bradley from going hog-wild with the shakey-cam). The colour palette was gorgeous, bringing out the vibrancy of the locations without the aid of digital grading and enhancement (as Casino Royale had done to its stock in post-production).

    The score by David Arnold was phenomenal, providing a fantastic grounding to all the action and emotional scenes, as well as seeming bringing out tenor in darker moments. I noticed that, besides quoting the James Bond theme and the film’s theme song, there were also quotes from You Know My Name, the theme song from Casino Royale, as well as a recurring action motif that could well be dubbed the Quantum Theme.

    As for the main titles song, Another Way to Die by Jack White and Alicia Keys; I was initially baffled by it when it first leaked out, but over the months I grew to really like it, and (despite the bizarre shouting towards the end of the finished track) it works perfectly with the titles. I was surprised at how many fans hated MK12’s titles; I thought they came quite naturally from the end of the Casino Royale titles: Bond walks toward the camera shooting his gun at the end of that one, where, in the beginning of these titles, Bond walks away from the camera shooting his gun.

    I also loved the fantastic imagery of the titles (being a hell of a lot more imaginative than anything Maurice Binder ever came up with!), including Bond confronting the figure of an enormous woman, the array of women in the zoetrope (or women in the Sun, if you prefer a Biblical reference), and, most strikingly of all, to my eyes, the thousands of Bonds falling into the depths of a sinkhole (or is it an eyeball?), a clear reference to René Magritte’s classic work Golgconda, which features a similar image of endless men falling across a landscape.

    This brings us to some of the interesting bridges throughout the film, most specifically, the gunbarrel at the end and the freeze frame at the end of the pre-titles sequence. The gunbarrel had not been used (before Quantum of Solace) as a segue into the end credits since Dr. No, which featured the black silhouette of Bond set against the red of the gunbarrel “eye” as the Bond theme played across the credits. I liked this usage of it, in that it seemed to signify an end of the events spawning from Casino Royale, which (as you may remember) began with a gunbarrel into the opening titles; in this way, it is similar to Dr. No, in that the gunbarrel is used to bookend the entire picture.

    Finally, the freeze frame at the end of the pre-titles sequence seems to harken back to the older, classic fades of the James Bond films into titles (such as Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Octopussy), whereby a genuinely pithy quote would be uttered by Bond, and then, on to the credits!

    And, with that… “It’s time to get out!”


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… danielcraigisjamesbond007

    From the beginning: I was kind of disappointed that the gunbarrel wasn’t put at the beginning of the movie. I would have loved to see that happen, but I’ll talk more about the gunbarrel at the end of this review.

    “It’s time to get out.” (Car chase): I liked the opening scenes where the camera is moving in across the lake. I think that that location is very beautiful. But as soon as the car chase happened, I said to myself, “Uh–oh.” The rapid fast editing and the shaky camera made it almost impossible to watch the car chase. Sadly, there were a lot of cool things going on during that chase (Like when Bond loses his door), but it’s shot so fast that there’s no time to enjoy it. With that being said, I do like the angle of the car being hit by the truck. I actually felt the impact! But all of a sudden, the car chase ends and it’s almost too fast. (Also, as a final thought, the car chase doesn’t really work for me after having seen Casino Royale, because I have no idea where those Quantum members came from.)

    Title sequence: Before I talk about the title sequence, I wanted to talk about the “meeting” with Mr. White. I love that line that Bond has when he opens the trunk and says, “It’s time to get out.”

    Okay. Now the title sequence was okay for me. I wasn’t mad with MK12’s job, but I really wanted Daniel Kleinman to do the title sequence again. But again, I think that the title sequence is too rushed and that there’s no real time to “look” at these images (Like the girls circling the sun, the gun being “absorbed” by the sand, etc.) And I really like “Another Way To Die.” At first, I hated the song, but it’s really grown on me.

    “We have people everywhere.” (Interrogation/Palio): As soon as the titles were over, it was interesting to see the exterior shots of Palio. However, as soon as Bond walks into that room, M is magically standing in the room with him. I thought to myself, where did M come from? If Quantum is a sequel, then she was in England just a matter of hours ago… Then, there came the interrogation scene. It was interesting to get a “tease” about Quantum from Mr. White and how they “have people everywhere.” But, for some odd reason, there’re the shots of Palio during the interrogation. I found that to be distracting and unnecessary. Finally, we learn that Mitchell is a member of Quantum, and again, there’s more of the shaky camera and the quick editing. From what I saw, it looked as though M got shot (maybe it’s just me, though).

    But my real problem with Palio is when Bond and Mitchell are running through that crowd. Not only can I still not see what happens, but Mitchell has to shoot some random woman in the crowd. Oh, boy. That scene doesn’t work for me, and it’s just terrible. I hate it when some random person is killed. Not only that, but Bond just runs off and does nothing to help her.

    Then, we come to that bell tower and the rooftop chase (with more bad editing) and a quick shot back to that woman that Mitchell killed. I don’t even know why that was added, but it’s very poorly done.

    Finally, we come to the bell tower. When Bond comes to the top and looks for Mitchell, I wondered where he was standing. Was he at the very edge on the outside of the tower? Then, when the two of them fell over and into that gallery (or whatever it was) the whole scene just got boring for me. Whereas in Casino Royale (during Parkour, especially) there was a sense of danger in the scene, I didn’t have that reaction here.

    Then, when Bond goes back to the interrogation room, Mr. White is gone all of a sudden. I thought, Where did he go? He’s been shot, but somehow he was able to get out of the room?

    M’s office: When Bond returns to M’s office, and we see those people in white suits and face masks, I wondered, “What are the CSI people doing in M’s office?” I didn’t know if those were people from Q branch, or who they were.

    Then, there’s that whole dialogue about Le Chiffre and Mitchell and Slate. But somehow, Bond is going to Port–au–Prince.

    Gray Matter (Slate): When Bond enters into Slate’s hotel room, the inevitable fight occurs. Again, I didn’t feel the danger in the fight (like I did with the stairwell fight in Casino Royale). And again, with the shaky camera and rapid editing, I can’t see what happens or where Slate got hit (arm/leg/neck?).

    Camille: Then, for some reason, Bond picks up some kind of briefcase and suddenly (more like magically) meets Camille. She’s an interesting character, but she’s not introduced well. She just “shows up.” And why did she pick up Bond, who she’s never even met before? Did she think that he was the geologist that she called? But how did she know who to look for?

    Then, when we see what’s inside the briefcase (a gun and a photo of Camille), I thought “Was Slate supposed to kill her?” I didn’t even know.

    But there is one thing in that scene that I did like: how Bond got his motorcycle. That was kind of cool to watch!

    “Sitting at the dock of the bay”- Finally, we meet Dominic Greene (Amalric). Now, before I go too far, I want to say this about the actors. I think that the actors did a fine job with their characters, but the characters themselves are poorly written and not fully developed.
    Now, back on topic. I understand why the subtitles were used (maybe to make the movie more authentic) but there came a point when it just bothered me. I think that Forster over used those subtitles. Finally, we meet Greene. He’s an interesting character, but he’s not that menacing/evil, and he’s not introduced well, either.

    During Camille and Greene’s dialogue scene, for some reason there’s a quick shot of Bond who’s just sitting there waiting. That scene really bothered me because Bond’s not doing anything.

    Then, I realize that the plot is explained in a matter of seconds. Arrgh! It just angers me that we learn what the plot is that early. I would have preferred to piece things together, myself, but we get the “Let’s change the Bolivian government,” repeated over and over and over again until I get sick of hearing it. I felt that that line of dialogue between Greene and Medrano was totally unnecessary. With that being said, I do like the idea that Greene is deceiving people into thinking that there’s oil in the desert, when actually it’s water. I kind of like how he plays on the Americans.

    “She’s seasick.” (Boat chase): Here’s where things start to go wrong for me. That boat chase completely doesn’t work for me. It feels written in (“Well of course it was written in!) What I mean is, it feels like someone said, “Put a boat chase here and make it work.” Well, it doesn’t work for me. But, as with all of the other action scenes, the chase is edited way too close, and the camera is moving all over the place and I can’t see what’s happening… Plus, on top of that, they dare to add a dialogue scene in the boat chase and suddenly Bond knows who Dominic Greene is…

    Plus, at the very end of the chase, that boat moves from the back of Bond’s boat, to the front, and flies over to the other side without any kind of explanation. My last complaint is that Bond went through a lot of trouble to save Camille, but when he reaches land, he just hands her off to some random man. Why did he even bother saving her, if he was just going to leave her there?

    “We have no interest in Mr. Greene”– I like the scene where we learn a little more about Dominic Greene, but one question is left in my mind: What’s the connection between Greene Planet and Quantum? Is it a front in order to garner funds for Quantum? Then, however, there’s more plot explanation with Beam and Greene. I found Beam to be very annoying (just listen to his laugh), and we again hear about the coup d’état in Bolivia at least about 3 times. I was thinking “Shut up!

    One other thing that I noticed was Amalric’s eyes. Believe me, there was waaay too much staring going on. I read that Forster only wanted to use his eyes to portray villainy, but it got distracting and kind of funny at times to see Greene’s stares.

    “Tosca isn’t for everyone”– One of my favorite scenes in the whole movie is Tosca. I like the scene when Bond listens in on the conversation, and we learn about the whole plot and just how powerful and influential Quantum really is (Guy Haines, for example). The floating stage is beautiful. But all of a sudden, when the Quantum members get up to leave, we see Mr. White at Tosca. How did he get there? Not to mention, he looked perfectly healthy too! Two last things I’d say about Tosca are: What were the men with guns doing on the stage? Are they Quantum members? Actors? I didn’t know. Finally, when Bond escapes from Tosca, that whole scene is littered with scenes from Tosca. Perhaps they have some kind of symbolic meaning, but I found it distracting because they cut away from the action so we could see the play.

    “Restrict Bond’s movements”– When M gets the photos from Tosca, I thought, “M has shown up way too many times already.” I do like Dench’s character. I think that she’s great. But they over–used her in this movie. But it was kind of cool to learn that one of these Quantum members is an assistant (?) to the British Prime Minister.

    Then, Bond goes to see Mathis. I really liked his character, but they never fully explained why he got a house in Talamone. How did he get a house when he was being tortured a matter of hours ago?

    “My name is Fields”: Here’s where the Quantum bashing really begins. I couldn’t stand the character of Fields. I found her to be a useless character, whose only purpose was to sleep with Bond. Again, I think that Arterton did a fine job with her character, but Fields could have been better.

    Then, in that taxi, there’re more subtitles. I could tell which one I was supposed to read! Mathis? The taxi driver? Both?

    I love it when Bond walks into the Grand Hotel and says “We’re teachers on sabbatical and we’ve just won the lottery.” I love that line!

    “You want to go to a party?”– I was listening to the Being James Bond podcast review of Quantum and one of the reviewers asked an interesting question. What do you think the producers’ opinion on environmentalism? He said something like, Greene is an environmentalist, but he’s also the villain. I thought that that would be an interesting topic for discussion.

    Then, after the party, we deal with one of the most shocking moments in a Bond movie: the death of Mathis. I was appalled when I saw what happened when Mathis died. Bond just dropped him into the dumpster when two seconds ago, he was talking to him very casually. That was just stupid! Why the dumpster of all places? They could have just set him in the alley, but no. It had to be the dumpster. Plus, I didn’t know what Bond took out of Mathis’ wallet. And all of a sudden, Bond and Camille are driving in the desert. I thought, “Where are they going?” I understand that they went to get a plane, but why? Did that note in Mathis’ wallet tell them where to get a plane?

    “He’s coming fast!”–Before the plane chase, we get more plot explanation, with a little foreshadowing about the sinkholes. Then, all of a sudden, the plane is shot by another plane that just shows up out of nowhere. I thought, where did these planes come from? Bond and Camille are in the middle of a desert, and all of a sudden a plane shows up to shoot them down? That is the worst action scene in the whole movie. Plus, there’s more subtitles that just slow down the action, and rapid editing and bad camera work.

    Then, we get the CGI parachute jump, which is terrible! I thought, “Isn’t this the reason why they fired Brosnan? For too much CGI?” Plus, that parachute just happens to open up at the very bottom of the pit, and Bond and Camille are perfectly unharmed.

    “Bond is running wild”: After the the parachute thing, we come to a very interesting discussion between M and the Foreign secretary about who to trust (He says something about doing deals with villains). I thought, this could be a very interesting concept, and a lot of interesting questions are being raised.

    “They’ll do anything for you, won’t they?”–Finally, we come upon a very visually stunning scene: Strawberry Fields covered in oil. I really like that scene as an homage to Goldfinger, but that scene is done too fast and there’s no time to let that image sink in (for the audience to realize just how horrible this Quantum group really is).

    But M has a sudden change of mind. One minute she tells Bond that he’s off the case, but then all of a sudden she’s like, “Never mind.” What! She is easily swayed by Bond, apparently.

    Perla De Las Dunas–One quick question: Is the hotel owned by Quantum, Greene or Medrano? There’s some dialogue about securing the hotel, but whose hotel is it?

    Anyways, I found the end here very boring. Again, there was more rapid fast editing and shaky camera shots. Plus, when Medrano is fighting with Camille, he suddenly speaks to her in Spanish. More unnecessary use of those subtitles made it almost impossible for me to like that scene.
    Then, Bond finds Camille and is covering her from the fire. But, was he about to shoot her? I thought, “Wow.” That was really bad.

    But I will say this: at the end when Bond confronts Greene in the desert, I initially hated it. But, in retrospect, I kind of like the idea that Bond left him behind in the desert. That was a nice shot of Bond driving away from Greene.

    “This man and I have some unfinished business.”–At the end of the movie, when Bond confronts Yusef in Russia, I really liked that scene. I don’t know why, but it was very nice to see that Bond, in a way, got his “revenge.” I also like the shot when Bond throws Vesper’s necklace into the snow. It sort of reminded me of an older edition of the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service novel where the ring is in the snow. Lastly, the gunbarrel. Please don’t let MK12 ever do the gunbarrel again. They messed up the shape, the color, everything.

    So, what’s my rating? Well, it’s certainly not the worst Bond movie ever made. But, if things could have gone slower, maybe I would have liked it more. So, if Casino Royale is a perfect 10, Quantum is a 5. Not good, but not bad either.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… Safari Suit

    If Casino Royale was like a new band arriving to invigorate a flagging music scene, Quantum of Solace is like the all important second album which will determine whether the band becomes an ongoing source of excitement, or ultimately will be remembered as a star which shone brightly but briefly (e.g. Second Coming, Liverpool, Morning Glory, DogManStar etc.). Often these albums are critical successes but commercial flops, or critical and commercial disappointments which may be re-evaluated in the future, but ultimately that is of little importance. Every so often you get an album surpasses everyone’s expectations in all departments, and tells you that the artist is around to say. Quantum of Solace is on that level. The Craig era hasn’t run out of steam, it’s on full steam ahead.

    Quantum of Solace is, quite simply, a delight. From it’s short sharp shock of a pre-title sequence, to it’s vaguely psychedelic opening titles, through it’s many twists, turns and exciting stunts, right up to it’s almost poetic final shot (minus the gunbarrel), this is the most purely enjoyable Bond movie in years. Not only that, but this is the tightest, most focused and economical Bond movie since… Licence to Kill?… Live and Let Die?… Goldfinger?!? In a long time anyway. I don’t know where the complaints of humourlessness are coming from, this is a far more genially natured film than Royale, and a few other Bond films too. After the unprecedented level of acclaim thrown at Casino Royale, EON could have taken the franchise down a self-important, fanboyish route, but instead they gave us something better and all the rarer; a truly exciting and invigorating action movie. There has been little to compare with this film in terms of thrills and entertainment; the Bond series is back on the top where it belongs.

    Roger Ebert used to talk of the “Bruised Forearm” movie when reviewing films like Temple of Doom, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard 2; films where you would hold on to the arm of your date tightly during intense action scenes in the hope that everything is going to be alright. Quantum of Solace is in that tradition. The action is edited with the rhythm of a heartbeat reacting to heavy sulphate abuse, but the amazing thing is it actually works. You don’t just watch these action scenes passively, you’re right there with Bond. So intense and involving are the action scenes in this film that I was genuinely disoriented when I came out of the cinema. What can I say? I have little time for the modern Bay/Bourne school of shakeycam, but this was some intense action that truly won me over. There is also some variety to the action, with Foster introducing tricks which haven’t been seen in the series before, and giving us an opera scene which recalls DePalma at his mischievous best. Who would have thought he had it in him?

    Now, Quantum of Solace probably isn’t for everyone. If the “armour” line in Royale was the highlight of the film for you and you really, really wanted more of that stuff, you may be disappointed. It is more action film than drama, frankly, but the film embraces that fact and so do I.

    That is not to say that the film is without depth. The last film was the franchise’s biggest stab at a genuine romance; here the film deals with the morality of killing and the grimness of mortality. The confrontation between Bond and Camille in the caves paints images in the mind which are genuinely chilling. And I have never, ever felt a death in the Bond franchise like I felt one of the deaths in this film. Like one of the characters in the film, I was left wondering “why did this have to happen”.

    This film did not draw any quasi-Oscar buzz like Royale did, nor did it ever look like sweeping the BAFTAs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic. Craig is less of an actor in this film, and more of a star. And frankly, I like it that way. He is not only Connery, Moore and Dalton all at once; he is also Marvin, Bronson and Stallone. He is all this and, of course, himself too. Mathieu Amalric is perhaps not one of the most memorable villains of the series, but it is a great performance which at times seems to be channeling, of all people, Klaus Maria Brandauer. Judi Dench has sincerely never been better. And Olga Kurylenko shows a level of talent that certainly wasn’t even hinted at in Hitman. Her character’s relationship with Bond generally feels platonic but heartfelt more than anything; a real sign of development and maturing in this franchise.

    In short, Quantum of Solace is a Bond film which can stand proudly not only next to a great variety of Bond films, but to many classics of the genre too. Easily my most enjoyable experience at the cinema last year.


    Quantum of Solace reviewed by… tdalton

    Quantum of Solace stands alongside Casino Royale as one of the two best films in the James Bond film franchise. It’s a film that manages to be a complete departure from anything that we’ve seen before in the franchise, but also retains enough elements to be immediately recognized as a Bond film.

    Where Quantum of Solace really succeeds is in the performance of Daniel Craig as James Bond. Much like in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig carries the picture in a way that we’ve never seen from a Bond actor. Unlike Casino Royale, however, Craig carries the film on his own, as he does not have Eva Green to share the screen with this time around.

    Craig continues to infuse the Bond character with new life in this film, and it’s greatly appreciated given how stale the franchise had become in the lead-up to Casino Royale. Quantum of Solace features the best acting job by any of the actors who have portrayed Bond up to this point, and will be a performance that will be remembered for years to come as one of the great Bond performances. Little moments, such as Bond being dressed down by M in a hotel room or Bond watching the last breaths escape the mouth of a man he had just fought with in a hotel room, show that Craig’s Bond is a much different character than anything we’ve seen before. Craig’s Bond is a much darker Bond, and one that is actually believable as a government agent. It’s believable that Craig’s Bond could strike fear into the hearts of his enemies just through his presence, something that has been missing from the films up to this point. His Bond is cold, reckless, and unpredictable, something that is a refreshing change from the usual portrayal of Bond and the “witty” one-liners that used to accompany every scene of this franchise.

    Also, much like Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is front-loaded with action. It’s first half is very similar to the first half of Casino Royale in the respect that it’s almost non-stop action. The action in Quantum of Solace, however, works much better than that in Casino Royale because, much like the film, it’s more down to earth than its predecessor. For the first time since The Living Daylights, we’re given a more traditional car chase, and it works very well, and does a great job of opening the film. The other action sequences hold up very well also, with a great foot-chase through Siena, Italy as well as a rousing finale at an eco-friendly hotel.

    Quantum of Solace separates itself from the other entries in the series because of its plot structure. On the surface, it would appear as though the film is a straight-forward “go after the bad-guy” setup. The truth is that the film is much more than that, with Bond having ulterior motives that ultimately lead those around him to become distrustful of him. It’s a great dynamic in this film, although it’s one that we’ve seen many times before in recent Bond entries. The reason it works here is because it’s not done as blatantly as what we’re used to. The Bond franchise has made a living off of the “this time, it’s personal” type of film in recent years, but this is the first time that it’s really worked well. When the viewer sees the events unfolding and how they ultimately conclude at the end of the film, it’s a great moment when it becomes evident how intertwined Bond and M’s efforts actually were in the grand scheme of things.

    In addition to Daniel Craig, the rest of the cast also perform quite well. Mathieu Amalric’s Dominic Greene is one of the slimiest, creepiest villains in the entire franchise, and is refreshingly devoid of any physical trait that would automatically associate him as being a villain. Gone are the usual trappings of the Bond villains, and in its place is a very believable businessman who could very easily exist in today’s world. That’s what makes Greene all the more effective as a villain, he’s a believable one that a real-life James Bond might actually come across in the field. Amalric makes great use of his screen-time, and his showdown with Bond towards the end of the film is an all-time classic.

    Olga Kurylenko stars as the Bond girl Camille this time around. Although a less effective Bond girl than Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd, Kurylenko is fantastic in this film, and finally provides the franchise with a believable “Bond equal” after many failed attempts to do so. It was refreshing to see Bond develop a relationship with the lead Bond girl that didn’t revolve around physical attraction. They’re both individuals looking towards a common goal, which comes across very well on screen.

    Director Marc Forster also shines with Quantum of Solace, one of the best films to date in an impressive resume of work. He takes the Bond universe in this film and turns it on its head, going even further than Casino Royale did in removing some of the more familiar elements of the franchise, such as Bond’s introductory line. These elements are not missed, and their absence makes the film stronger. The visual style that he provides the film with makes it a very distinct entry in the series, and its one that immediately recalls the early Bond films of the 1960s, as they have a great retro-vibe to them but also remain surprisingly current as well. The action is handled very well also, as its much more interesting than the action that we saw in Casino Royale, and unlike in that film, it also serves to drive the plot forward as well.

    Overall, Quantum of Solace is a first-rate Bond film that takes the series in a direction that we haven’t seen before. Daniel Craig, with this film, firmly establishes himself in my mind as the best James Bond of them all, and has the series in the best place its been in several decades. Hopefully the current direction of the franchise continues in the next few films as it’s a very good change of pace from the usual type of Bond film that we’ve seen over and over again for the past 40+ years.

    Keep turning to the CommanderBond.net main page—and our brand new Twitter feed—for continued Quantum of Solace coverage.

    Devin Zydel @ 2009-05-03
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