Monday, October 29, 2012

50th Anniversary Bond Rewatch "Quantum of Solace" (2008)

As a fan of the popcorn, guilty pleasure, mindless entertainment aspect of the Bond series of films, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the films with the company of my brain. Maybe there is more to be found than escapism. Maybe some of the culture and thinking of the past 50 years has left its imprint…

Continuing the themes and story from the last film, this is the first true sequel in the Bond series. Unfortunately two things make this film a lesser effort.

First is the challenge that this film was effectively filmed without a script. The story and dialogue here make this fact more than evident, but at the same time, the story is less important than the overall character story-arch. One hopes the evolution of this new Bond will continue in “Skyfall.” Here, Bond goes from disillusioned cynic out for revenge, back to a man with a purpose that has learned to trust select people.

The other problem here is the visual style. Just as “Casino Royale” was heavily influenced by “The Bourne Identity” to good effect, this film takes its action cues from the Bourne sequels. Thos films were key in setting the “shaky-cam” tone of the decade, something that is annoying, bad filmmaking and, at times, unwatchable. Compare the opening action scene from “Quantum” to that of “Casino.” This opening car chase scene is nonsensical and has no visual syntax whatsoever. When will directors rediscover that a good action scene is not simply done by confusing the audience?

With all of the negative that can be discussed here, there is still the joy of watching Craig’s Bond grow and develop as the film plays out. “Casino Royale” taught him that he was not really into the whole “soulless” spy business, until anger compelled him to continue for the sake of revenge. By the end of this story, he has satisfied that urge, but also gained a new perspective on the potential good that his calling can accomplish.

The question is where will “Skyfall” take him?

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