NOOOOvember 2013: Quantum of Solace

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After taking some time to vent about Prometheus and X-Men: The Last Stand, it’s time to focus NOOOOvember’s lens on an iconic British character. His name is Bond. James Bond. And his 2008 adventure kept this would-be Bond girl disappointed until 2012’s Skyfall happily gave much more than a quantum of solace. But Quantum is still a frustrating misstep.

Having seen all three of Daniel Craig’s Bond films, I think of Quantum of Solace as the spam in an otherwise superb sandwich. You’ve got two nice, fresh pieces of bread with some delicious cheese and your favorite sauce, and then your teeth sink into the middle…and it’s spam. You’re thinking, how did this get into my sandwich? But you just don’t know, and you never will. Casino Royale and Skyfall are among my favorite action films, each with great stories, lethal villains, and a nice blend of character development, action, and sharp dialogue. In comparison, Quantum is kind of lifeless. But the nice thing about that is it makes it easy to forget. Wait, what were we talking about again…? Oh, yeah.

***WARNING: SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW***

 

Quantum of Solace (2008)

'Quantum Of Solace' film - 2008

Synopsis: “James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country’s most valuable resource. All the while, he still tries to seek revenge over the death of his love.” –www.imdb.com

The Excitement:

  • Daniel Craig is reprising his role as James Bond?! I think I just swooned! Everyone doubted the blond-haired, blue-eyed Brit in the role, but he knocked my socks off in Casino Royale. Can’t wait to see those piercing baby blues again…Sorry, did you say something? I was fantasizing preoccupied.
  • Oooh who’s this new villain? Dominic Greene? He has an indistinct European accent and is a brunette—two qualities he shares with Casino Royale’s villainous Le Chiffre. Surely that means he’ll be an equally intriguing bad guy, right?
  • Jeffrey Wright is returning as the CIA’s Agent Felix Leiter? Awesome! He and Bond have a great rapport. It’ll be nice to see them together—maybe for a longer amount of time?
  • Gasp! The mysterious Mr. White is captured! Gasp! Bond’s toting a big ol’ gun! Gasp! He’s riding a motorcycle onto a boat! Gasp! Explosions! Gasp! Gunfire! SO MUCH ACTION! It’s going to be awesome!

The Disappointment:

  • Oh there’s action. So much freaking action that you can hardly figure out what’s going on. There are four—count ‘em—four huge fight scenes crammed into the first 30 minutes. Um, can we slow down and take a breather here? Because you know how much character development we’re getting? Nada.
  • The villain is lame. For God’s sake, we had Le Chiffre playing a mean game of cards, poisoning people, crying blood, and enacting the absolute worst torture method a male could possibly imagine. What does Greene do? Almost pushes someone off a balcony, buys some land, and clumsily swings around an axe. He has an evil agenda, and he does have a chick drowned in oil, which is creepy, but he’s just not the caliber of Bond villain you’d expect.
  • Felix Leiter returns, but he does next to nothing. You could say the same for the return of Bond’s reluctant friend, Mathis, though he has a slightly more significant role to play. If these characters are going to be there, they need more of a purpose.
  • I’m sorry—Camille is no Vesper. Eva Green can act circles around Olga Kurylenko.
  • This film leans so heavily on Casino Royale that it almost feels like a “part two” or something. I’m no Bond expert, but isn’t each film usually kind of independent?
  • Bond’s team turns against him?! Seriously?! That is so ridiculously counterproductive and silly that I have no idea where to begin…so maybe it’s best to end here.

How to Recover: You know what iconic action hero doesn’t have a disappointing sequel? Freaking Batman. The Dark Knight is easily one of the best sequels ever made. So go watch that, my friends, and remember that action sequels don’t always have to leave you feeling blue.

Hope you’ve been enjoying NOOOOvember 2013 so far! Plenty more to vent about, so check back soon for some new posts! 🙂

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23 thoughts on “NOOOOvember 2013: Quantum of Solace

  1. Checked it out again around this time last year, and while I didn’t hate it as much as others may have, I will admit that it was a pretty disappointing Bond flick. Especially coming after something as jacked-up and as thrilling as Casino Royale. Good review.

    • I definitely didn’t like DKR as much as Dark Knight, but “completely awful”?! Harsh, sir. Although I did think the complete collapse of Gotham City was a pretty silly idea.

  2. I’ve never seen any of these movies so I can’t agree or disagree – but I’ll take your good word for it!

    NOOOOVember forever!

    • EI, I typically don’t like action movies, just b/c they’re usually so far-fetched and lame, but “Casino Royale” is not only my favorite Bond movie, but it’s in my top 10 favorites of all-time; it’s THAT good! It is one of the few scripts that I would consider flawless! Every scene, every moment, every word of dialogue serves a purpose. It has everything you can ask for in not only an action/spy thriller, but a movie in general. Strong hero. Intriguing villain. Action. Love story. Great dialogue. Twists you don’t see coming.

      So, yeah, you should definitely check this one out.

    • Personally, I don’t think you really need to see Quantum of Solace. I guess it sort of ties up some loose ends from Casino Royale, but the ties are unnecessary. I say skip it.

    • If I’m being completely honest, the Daniel Craig films are the only Bond films I’ve seen all the way through…so really I’m more of a Craig girl than a Bond girl. Lol. But yeah–don’t waste your time on Quantum.

  3. I totally disagree with you about “Skyfall”. That movie took the Bond franchise back to Pierce Brosnan cheesiness. YOu said you hadn’t seen other Bond films, so in case you didn’t know, Pierce Brosnan did a slew of Bond films in the mid 90’s through the early 2000’s and it’s not that he was a bad Bond, but that the scripts were just corny. It’s like you have Nolan’s “Batman” – and then you have the TV show Adam West “Batman” and Pierce Brosnan took the Bond franchise into a cheese factor similarly as Adam West’s Batman show.

    Daniel Craig was the Bond selected to reboot the entire Bond franchise and make the world forget about the awfulness of the Pierce Brosnan films.

    And then “Casino Royale” came out and blew everyone away! It was immaculate! Craig proved the doubters wrong just like Ledger did with his Joker performance. Daniel Craig proved to be born to play Bond. It’s like what God put him on Earth to do.

    So when “Casino Royale” was so well-recieved and loved by many fans when the “Quantam of Solace” film came out it was in a disadvantageous situation b/c unless it was as great as “Casino Royale” it was going to get a ton of unwarranted criticism. Yes, the film paled in comparison to CR, but it was still pretty good overall. It still felt gritty and authentic. And yes, Eva Green is a much better actors than Olga Kurylenko, but Olga is a supermodel who is breaking into acting, and for being so new to the craft did a pretty good job. I think the main reason she was selected for the role is b/c of how stunning she is to look at, and the Bond franchise has prided itself in casting the hottest women on the planet. She wasn’t fantastic, or anything, but she was decent, and she wasn’t bad enough to take away from the film at all.

    Yes, QOS serves as a sequel to CR b/c both of these films together tell Bond’s story of how he found love, lost love, became so cold and eventually found himself which was the purpose of the ending of QOS; therefore, it did stick to the story and them of CR.

    Yes, you and many others may not have loved QOS which is understandable, but I’d hardly call it a bad film. It was well done. Craig was still amazing in the role. And though it was underwhelming compared to CR, it was still fairly plausible.

    Which brings me to the next installment “Skyfall” which brought the franchise down a few notches by becoming cheesy and campy like the Pierce Brosnan films. I cannot express how utterly disappointed I was by this film.

    First, Bond is shot off that high bridge, and not only survives the gunshot, but also survives the fall. What, was there a fisherman directly down below who pulled him from the water into the safety of the boat? And then for him to end up in a foreign land, but yet the news broadcast on the TV is spoken in English. LOL. Okay.

    But I can forgive those 2 things – which were my exact thoughts while initially watching.

    But then it got worse!

    The fight between Bond and that bodyguard where the Bodyguard ends up getting eaten by the komodo dragon? LOL. That was cheesy! Much like the old Adam West “Batman” series.

    Then they captured Javier Bardem’s villain character, and once they had him and had a chance to create some memorable scenes between Bond and villain, much like they did with Bond and Le Chiffre in “CR” at the card table, they dropped the ball and gave them practically nothing to work with.

    The casting of Ben Whishaw as “Q” was quite brilliant – but after seeing Bond in action with “Q” in his ear in an ear-piece and navigating Bond where to go, it felt more like “Mission Impossible” than James Bond. Bond doesn’t need someone directing him in an ear-piece. It became distracting, and it took away from the intimacy and intriguing showdown between Bond and villain. Instead of getting Bond vs. villain, the villain escapes and breaks into a courtroom and shoots the place up? LOLOL!!! That was hilarious!

    And then to top it off, Bond returns to his secluded childhood home where villain finally does attack with a slew of henchmen in helicopters flying over the home…and Bond manages to beat all of them with a shotgun! LOLOL!!! This has gone far beyond implausible; now it is just stupid and idiotic. I was just waiting for Pierce Brosnan to show up! LOL.

    And then the cherry on top….while M is escaping to the safety of that abandoned church to hide from the villain, she turns on her FLASHLIGHT so that Javier Bardem can spot her all the way across the property! WHY would you turn on your flashlight when you’re attempting to hide in the night and escape from a ruthless villain!? On top of this, she is the HEAD of a Secret Service Agency! LOLOLOL!!! How ironic, the head who is to protect the welfare of mostly all of Europe, and the entire world, doesn’t have enough common sense not to turn on a flashlight when trying to blend in with the night and not be spotted by a menacing villain who is hunting you down! That is a huge EPIC FAIL!!!

    And yet people claim “Skyfall” was a great film? lol. It was an insult to “Casino Royale” and a disgrace to the franchise to send it back to the campy cheesiness that it just escaped from with the string of Brosnan films!

    We don’t need “Q” to be active with Bond in the field. We don’t need Moneypenny. “Casino Royale” was so good b/c they didn’t waste time with these unnecessary characters that take away from the film and distract from Bond. Yes, I understand reporting to “M” and the agency b/c they felt necessary, but furthering the development of the story in a concise conversation at headquarters is much different than bringing headquarters into the field and taking away from watching Bond take on the villain himself.

    Skyfall was too busy. It tried to do too much. It tried to be too clever. Which is why the film turned out so poorly. “Quantam of Solace” may have been underwhelming, but at least it remained gritty as “Casino Royale” was instead of campy, Adam West “Batman”, cheesiness like “Skyfall”.

    • Wow. I don’t know who previously held the record for longest comment on my blog, but you, sir, have officially shattered it. Haha.

      Here’s my thing: to me, Quantum of Solace lacks the personality of Casino Royale and Skyfall. It feels like a generic action film with splashes of Bond flavor here and there. Maybe not a bad film, per se, but a massive letdown after the greatness of its awesome predecessor. There’s no real character development, it relies too much on Casino Royale, and the plot is weak–just a bunch of strung together fight/chase scenes with a weak villain.

      I love Skyfall though. I may not be super familiar with the Bond films, but I can tell it’s a throwback, and I appreciated that. Cheesy at times, perhaps, but I was ok with it because the script was great, there was actually some more development this time around (particularly in regards to Bond and M’s relationship), and I LOVED Q and Moneypenny–even if Moneypenny is the most ridiculous name ever. To me, Skyfall had sooo much more depth.

      But hey, agree to disagree. 😉 Long live NOOOOvember!

  4. You make some interesting points, I actually quite liked Quantum of Solace. It has a lot of flaws, but its mostly entertaining. I’m a huge fan of Daniel Craig as Bond.

    “’m sorry—Camille is no Vesper. Eva Green can act circles around Olga Kurylenko”

    I agree. What made Casino Royale so great was the relationship between Bond and Vesper.
    Nice review!

    • Thanks! And yeah, I guess the lack of Bond-Vesper relationship is also a part of why I don’t care for Quantum. I really like that in Casino Royale, and Camille is no substitute. For a while I thought Gemma Arterton’s character was going to fill the void, but…well, she doesn’t really stick around, does she? Haha.

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