Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Quantum - [kwon-tuhm] -(physics) the smallest discrete quantity of some
physical property that a system can possess.

Quantum of Solace is the latest James Bond film, and once you watch it, the title becomes quite apt.

Daniel Craig stars for the second time as the man with a license to kill. Craig's portrayal of Bond is more in line with the model put forward by previous actors Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Craig's Bond is a killer for his country. Gone are the quips and one liners of the campier Bonds. Personally, I like it this way.

Judi Dench comes back as M, Bond's supervisor. As always, she does a sharp job at this.

Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton play Bond Girls Camille Montes and Strawberry Fields, respectively. Montes is a beautiful Russian Bolivian woman who's on a vendetta against the man who killed her family. Fields is a lovely British redhead working for the British Consulate. Fields exudes the almost prudish form of sex appeal that only the British have mastered.

Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Greene. The main villain of the film. Eco friendly CEO of a major corporation, and member of the secretive criminal syndicate Quantum. Unlike previous villains, Greene lacks an outstanding deformity. He's probably the most normal villain to grace Her Majesty's Silver Screen. He still comes off as a little creepy though.

Quantum of Solace picks up right where Casino Royal left off. Right off, as in Mr. White, the operative for Quantum that Bond captured at the end of the previous film, is still in the trunk of Bond's Aston Martin. The film jumps right into a pitched gunfight on the narrow European highways, and the action never slows up.

After making his escape from the gunmen of Quantum, Bond brings Mr. White to an MI6 safehouse, where M herself prepares to interrogate him, using unscrupulous means if need be. Mr. White laughs her ominous threats off, claiming that Quantum has people everywhere. Usually when someone says that, it's a setup for someone to be a double agent down the road. Apparently, it wasn't very far down the road, because one of the MI6 agents in the room opens fire, killing the guards. Bond gives chase, leaving Mr. White unattended.

In Bond's furious pursuit of the traitor, we begin to get a peak at the reason why the film was given it's name. The betrayal and death of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royal has made him into an inconsolable font of wrath. He has buried himself in his duties with MI6, and walks a perilous line between his duty, and pure vengeance.

As he chases leads regarding the shadow syndicate of Quantum, he is led to Dominic Greene, the CEO of Greene Planet. Mr. Greene has some shady dealings going on that will bring about the downfall of the Bolivian government, and give Greene control of the worlds most valuable resource.

This is an EON Bond film, so it's rather stunning visually. The stunts are jaw dropping. Picture Parkour on roid rage. The score suits the film well. It utilizes the Bond Theme leitmotif, without becoming dependent upon it. The theme song is well done, but a little unremarkable. I liked "You Know My Name" from Casino Royal better. However, Alicia Keys does a good job singing.

The writing has gone far away from the gadget filled camp of the series prior. For the most part, everything they use is plausible. There are not so subtle homages to Goldfinger and Moonraker. Think black gold. The characters are much more filled out in the Craig films than in any previous incarnations.

The film is 106 minutes long, and garnered a 58 on Metacritic. Most critics complained that it didn't seem like Bond was having fun in this one. I agree, but I believe that that was the point of this film. 007 is no longer the quip producing charmer in control of everything. He's human now. He bleeds, he hurts, and he has doubts. I think this is a great move. I give the film an 8/10.

No comments: