Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quantum of Solace

On its own, Quantum of Solace is a solid action movie, but it works much better when viewed as the second part of the story started in Casino Royale. In a way, they're very different films, but their differences make the arc of Bond's character much stronger. Royale was fairly long, and not full of the goofy villains and over-the-top action scenes that characterized Bond movies for a long time. It had some pretty good action, but the focus was on the spy thriller stuff. By comparison, Solace is significantly shorter and pretty consistently violent, with a new chase or brawl seeming to occur every fifteen minutes or so. You see some of the shaky-camera treatment in these segments that has plagued Hollywood action for too long now, and it can hinder comprehension of some really complex and entertaining scenes, but Marc Forster didn't go overboard with it. Still, you get the feeling that if the old filmmakers from the medium's begining who were apprehensive to do any jump cutting at all saw one of these movies, their heads would probably explode.

Daniel Craig's Bond is the most interesting treatment of the character that I've seen, and he's a big part of why I've been enjoying this reboot so much. He still has moments of humor and suaveness, but he really hasn't reacted too well to the events of the last movie and the coldness he treats the world with fuels the shift towards more action than we saw before. There's a lot of running time spent showing Bond fight people, but everything that happens makes sense with the character and what he's trying to do, so it's better justified than a lot of the big budget summer movies that come and go every year. The movie starts to introduce a shady evil organization that has its fingers in everything, and you can see how it's all leading to something a bit closer to older Bond movies, but Forster and the producers still make a good effort to keep it more grounded in reality and a bit darker. There's nobody with iron teeth or a bullet lodged in their brain, and the bad guys are controlling the world more subtly than SPECTRE ever did. It's a new James Bond for a more modern age, and Craig is apparently closer to Ian Fleming's original character than guys like Roger Moore ever were. I look forward to where they take the series from here.

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