November 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm #1497
A lot of people think On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a bad Bond movie. That’s an opinion I don’t share. It’s one of my favorites. It’s the film that made Bond vulnerable, not to bullets or bald men who strokes cats, but to his heart. If Connery had starred in the film it would have been one of the most acclaimed of the series but of course Connery had moved on (though not for long) and Lazenby was blamed for the the film.
Then a few years ago the people behind Bond decided to strip the gadgets away and go back to the beginning. The result was Casino Royale, a well crafted, if bloated, re-introduction to the character with an actor who didn’t look suave and sophisticated, but that was the point. Casino Royale was the story of how "James became Bond" to quote the TV Spots.
Quantum of Solace is also the story of how the James Bond we know came to be…and that’s the problem. This guy isn’t James Bond. He’s James Bland. I wasn’t a big fan of Casino Royale but that last scene with Bond standing over his target saying "Bond, James Bond" gave me chills and like everyone else, I was looking forward to what would happen next…unfortunately, after all the trouble they went to in creating the icon in Casino Royale, they’ve gone backwards and removed any sense of fun and excitement from the character. There is no chemistry with either of the Bond girls whatsoever and Bond’s charm seems to deserted him.
And I suppose that’s kind of the point. This is a movie that picks up right after Casino Royale. Bond is hurting. The death of Vesper has put a rage inside him that anyone who stands against him feels the full force of. I get it…but it doesn’t work.
Bond movies had gone over the top and needed to be stripped back. Unfortunately they stripped all the fun out of it as well. Bonds one liners are few and far between and that’s a good thing. Not because there used to be too many but because the lines he does utter simply aren’t funny. There is a recurring joke in the film about Bond killing everyone and I suppose it kind of works but the majority of the jokes are flat or just plain awful.
I must be exaggerating…Right? Well one of the jokes is an old woman…in Italy…saying…Mamma Mia…I kid you not.
But jokes aren’t why people go to see Bond movies…so let’s talk about the action. It’s Bourne without the shakycam. It’s up close, frantic, lots of cuts…and kinda boring. There’s more action than plot in the film and it suffers for it. The great villainous plot is an afterthought and the central focus is on Bond’s search for revenge but it doesn’t really matter. It’s all just underdeveloped exposition that serves to break up the action.
Quantum of Solace…or Casino Royale Part II, centers around Bond trying to track down a secret organisation called SPECTRE..I mean QUANTUM, who topple governments, fund terrorists and go to the Opera. The problem is, they made a big deal about a secret organisation being behind events in the first film but while they continue it in this film, it’s half hearted and pretty pointless. I assume the group will be explored in greater detail in future films but there’s absolutely no suspense, no tension.
Which brings up another issue. At no point in the film is Bond in any danger. He’s always on top, always has the upper hand…sure, he’s James Bond, he should have the upper hand, but not so easily.
Ultimately it’s a pretty forgettable movie, which is a shame after a promising start to this reboot with Casino Royale. I could talk about Daniel Craig and Judi Dench and the Bond girl who’s name I don’t even remember who has a cliche’d subplot of her own but frankly it’s all just….meh.
This is not a James Bond movie. It’s James Bland. I’m not just talking about Craig either, who took a step backwards in this film, but the movie as a whole.
Maybe now that this whole "how James became Bond" story is done, maybe the next film can be an actual James Bond movie, because this one was Bond in name only. In fact there are a few scenes in it, especially one near the end, that are straight out of Bourne. And Bourne did it better.
What is this? Monkey see monkey do? A huge disappointment.
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