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Quantum of Solace (2008)

Fifty Years of 007! Josh Reviews Quantum of Solace (2008)

With Skyfall almost upon us, I’ve re-watched Daniel Craig’s two previous James Bond installments: 2006’s Casino Royale (click here for my review), and now Quantum of Solace. (You can click here to read my original review of the film from when it was released back in 2008.  You can also click here to read my friend Josh Lawrence’s advance review of Quantum of Solace, which I referred to several times in my own original review.)

The film: Quantum of Solace remains a somewhat perplexing film to me.  On the one hand, there’s a lot that is great about the film.  On the other hand, it’s a clear disappointment as a follow-up to the terrific Casino Royale. I’ve now seen the film several times, and in my mind it comes down to the following schism. Quantum of Solace is great in that, like Casino Royale did, it treats Bond seriously, crafting a tale that — while filled with high adventure — feels gritty and “real.”  Most importantly, there is a serious and compelling emotional arc for the character of Bond, as he wrestles with dealing with the emotional fallout of Vesper’s betrayal and death from the end of Casino Royale. That emotional story-line was absent from pretty much every single previous Bond film (let’s not kid ourselves, you know I’m right), and that basically the whole purpose of the film Quantum of Solace is to explore the consequences of the previous film’s ending continues to delight me at every turn.

The problem is that, on the other hand, the action-adventure/spy story (basically, all of the events that occupy Bond while he is dealing with these heavy emotional issues) is extremely thin, and falls back on one hoary, weak Bond-movie cliche after another.  After the breath-of-fresh-air that was Casino Royale, it’s a disappointing relapse.

The good: First of all, Quantum of Solace looks dynamite.  It’s a gorgeously filmed movie, filled with exotic locations from around the globe that were beautifully photographed by the cinematography team.  (And I LOVE the playful, differently-styled text graphics on-screen for each different location in the film!  It’s a really nice touch.)

After the rather-talky Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace really ups the action.  The film is packed with action, particularly in the first half, with one inventive set-piece after the next.  There’s the car chase that opens the movie; Bond’s foot-chase of the MI6 traitor in and around the streets and rooftops of Sienna, Italy that culminates in their fight tangled amongst construction scaffolding; the boat chase after Bond rescues Camille (Olga Kurylenko) from General Medrano’s men; the shoot-out at the opera where Quantum’s leaders are meeting; the plane fight over the desert … [continued]

 

Quantum of Solace, Watchmen, and Star Trek!

November 17th, 2008
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So Steph and I caught Quantum of Solace on Friday — What a fun time in a theatre!

The showing started off with several exciting trailers for some of the big blockbusters that will be arriving in the spring.  Quite a few of them didn’t interest me, such as Angels & Demons, the Da Vinci Code sequel (or is it a prequel?).  But there were two that sure as heck did.

 

That was the new trailer for Watchmen.  (See a larger version here.)  Watchmen is the beloved graphic novel (called by Time Magazine one of the 100 greatest novels of all time) that was published by DC Comics in 1986.  The first trailer was just imagery, whereas in this trailer we get to see some plot and a goodly amount of dialogue, giving us a slightly better idea about how these characters are being brought to life.  And so far, so good.  The trailer sells the movie on its simplest level — that of a murder mystery.  (Costumed “heroes” are being picked off, one by one — but by whom??)  That’s probably a wise choice, but I do hope that there winds up being a lot more to the movie than just that — I want the film to capture some of the complexity of the graphic novel.  

(Much more than just a whodunnit, Watchmen is a fascinating deconstruction of our modern superhero myths, asking how the modern world would be changed if superheroes really existed, and what would the people who chose to put on garish costumes and go out and fight crime really be like?  The plot is intricate, and the character arcs consist of brutal psychological realism.  Visually it is a tour-de-force, utilizing symbolism, recurring visual motifs & parallel structure to connect disparate scenes and ideas.  I could go on and on about Watchmen…. and I’m sure I will in a future post as the movie approaches!  Suffice to say, I am a bit nervous and VERY excited to see the finished film in March.)

Then there was this:

[UPDATED — Click HERE to view a crystal clear official version of the trailer that just became available, or check out the shaky bootleg below.]

First of all, props to the Paramount marketing department because they totally fooled me.  I had read on-line that the first full trailer (there was a teaser released last Spring) would be shown with Quantum of Solace, and so I was watching carefully for it.  But when this trailer came up, starting with a kid racing a car through a desert, I thought “oh well, that’s not it, maybe the next one.”  It wasn’t until the kid said … [continued]