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27th November
2008
written by Steph

Tony's Review

(Steph's review will appear after mine later in this post)
Quantum? Like the physics, right?

Quantum? Like the physics, right?

This past Monday night Steph and I went to see Quantum of Solace, the new Bond flick. After the last movie's blazing success (in our opinion), especially in light of the rest of the Bond series, we were prepared for a a treat. As the day came nearer (all this suspense building actually implies we were waiting with baited breath - we were not. We go to a movie about once every two months) early reviews started to trickle out - the critics were not impressed. Having read all of the Bond books (I mean all of them) in a fit of adolescent obsessiveness, I could see where this flick might have its shortcomings.
Real spies don't need books to tell them what to do.

Real spies don't need books to tell them what to do.

In case you're curious, Quantum of Solace was a short story written by Ian Flemming and really wasn't about Bond at all. It was about a relationship between a lower level diplomat and an air hostess in the 60s (paragraph 3). The quantum of solace is the amount of humanity, love and compassion needed between to people for love to survive. So get ready for an esoteric journey through love's complexities, right? The movie opens with a badass car chase in which (improbably) two Alpha Romeos give Bond, in his tuned Aston Martin DB9, a run for his money. The movie is essentially non-stop action from that point on. It is also worth mentioning that it is the shortest Bond installment thus far, which is perhaps the only homage - other than the title - to its short story roots. From here the plot gets a bit confused and character motivation kind of falls flat. Bond remains fairly two dimensional throughout (though he is quite the punching, kicking, running and jumping machine) and his relationships with the other characters essentially follow suit. The creepy French-ish bad guy is played well by Mathieu Almeric, and he seems to be one of the few characters in the story that interacts with his compatriots in any sort of real way. All in all, the action is entertaining, the cinematography is well done and the special effects and stunts are first class. As a pure action flick the movie is entertaining and delivers a steady stream of pulse-pounding moments. As a Bond movie it kind of loses touch with the genre and falls more into the generic category, leaving the welcome panache and style from Casino Royale behind. It's certainly enough to bridge the gap between Casino and the next installment, provided that the next installment is a little more like Casino and a little less like "Shit! We ran out of books, this one has a cool title, just make something up." 3½ out of 5

Steph's Review

First, I love date nights, as Tony & I are afforded far too few opportunities for them (stupid real life being busy and stressful).  Extra-special dates are the ones we actually make time for mid-week.  Generally these involve going to dinner and a movie.  This time it was Mexican food and Quantum of Solace.  Interestingly, both were disappointing (my carnitas were stringy and tough… for discussion of why James failed to impress, keep reading). Don’t get me wrong, Quantum is a totally acceptable action movie, in that there’s plenty of adrenaline and ridiculous stunts, but for me the bottom-line is that very little story gets told in the 1 hour & 45 minute runtime.  It seemed like there were lots of storylines that were supposed to be running parallel or linked, and while they all did come together by the end of the movie (although certain plot points that occur early in the film are never actually resolved, or even, you know, mentioned again), it all felt fairly contrived and superficial.  I’m not saying a James Bond movie needs to be cerebral, but having a somewhat cogent storyline would be nice.  The whole thing felt littered with extraneous characters and everything felt jumbled.  Part of my reticence to say anything specific to the plot is to not spoil it for any of you who intend to see it and haven’t, but certainly part of it has to do with my not really grasping or caring what the BFD the whole movie was on about anyway.  That being said, given the paucity of story, I was never bored and it didn't drag or feel excessively long. I never really got all of the fuss over the casting of Daniel Craig in the last film, having never seen a Bond movie prior to that one (and therefore had no feelings of betrayal or indignation – you will never hear me claim to be a “Sean Connery” gal in this, or any other, respect), but having seen a bit more of the oeuvre since then, I must say that I really felt that my prior concept of Bond was that he was very slick and smooth, whereas I definitely felt like the Bond in Quantum was a total bruiser.  Rather than drinking a martini, you’d think this is the kind of guy to slam back a shot of whiskey or scotch.  Maybe this vibe was symptomatic of the entire film – flashy and bombastic rather than any real finesse. I didn’t care/mind that Bond was broody (hell, I loved the character of Angel on Buffy), but for a movie that seemed to be going for an introspective vibe, I felt there was really very little thinking going on anywhere. Bond doesn’t bomb, but ultimately I found the movie fairly unsatisfying.  While I wouldn’t mind adding Casino to our movie collection (on blu-ray, no less), Quantum won’t get that same courtesy.  Feel free to go see it in the theater if you want something that's disposable – the effects are large and in charge – but also don’t be bummed if you want to save your pennies for a better film that might be lurking around the corner. Rating: 3.25 out 5

2 Comments

  1. taryn
    11/27/2008

    Hah, nice reviews! I ended up seeing it on Sunday with Runa, and our post-film analysis was very similar to yours. In my own personal review system, it rates a “Cheap Tuesdays” showing (possibly helped by the fact that Bond’s action sequences and cinematography are best appreciated on a large screen), which is a cut-above mere rental/download but still left me regretting that i’d paid full price for it 🙁

  2. Simona
    11/29/2008

    Yep, I’d have to agree with everyone. It was your typical Hollywood action flick. Hardly an epic Bond installment.

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