Saturday, 10 November 2012

Quantum of Solace (2008) - ★★★★

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis
Stars: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini

I must be one of the only people to think that this installment of the James Bond franchise is better than its predecessor Casino Royale. I loved it. It was absolutely riveting, and whether you like it or not, Craig's bond is tough. He isn't suave, he isn't kind, but he is human. For me, he has made the character evolve into an interestingly different man. A no-nonsense man out for revenge.

This film's story picks up where Casino Royale left off, with Bond (Daniel Craig) still bitter and angry about the death of his love interest Vespa. When his boss, "M" (Judi Dench), is almost assassinated, he learns that Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) is responsible. Greene is intent on securing a desert area of Bolivia in exchange for assisting a dictator overthrow the government there. Only Bond, with help from a beautiful and retired spy named Camille (Olga Kurylenko), can stop Greene. The problem is that "M" doesn't know if she can trust Bond, for the vengeance that possesses him has made him reckless.

I will admit that this is not the most original (or interesting) plot to a James Bond film. However, I love the fact that this film continues from the plot of Casino Royale. You never see a Bond film where he remembers old flames. Over the years, particularly during the Roger Moore era, James Bond made women fall in love with him, then in the next film they disappeared and you never heard from them again. It is hard to get into a story when you know that the romance means nothing, for it is almost always discarded by the time the next film comes around. That is why I loved Quantum of Solace, for the highly likable Vespa of the previous film is still remembered, not forgotten. Now every time I see Casino Royale, I will know that his feelings for Vespa were real. That is a big plus-side for me.

The action in this film kept me on the edge of my seat a number of times. I loved the opening scene. It was a huge step-up from Casino Royale's, which I found rather disinteresting. However, the opening credits didn't exactly sound right. I'm a huge fan of Jack White and Alicia Keys' music, but their song and their voices did not suit the James Bond franchise. I did like that they brought back the silhouettes of naked women, bringing back a taste of the old days.

I found the Bond girl Camille was one of the better characters from the franchise. She was strong, witty, and for the first time did not sleep with James Bond! I was shocked to say the least. Judi Dench is absolutely brilliant as "M". She really lights up the screen. I look forward to scenes with her in it, for she really is one of the most entertaining characters of the series. Mainly because she won't take crap from Bond and doesn't care much for his recklessness. Amalric played one of my favorite Bond villains in this installment as Greene, who was intelligent, sly, and evil. He was a more modern villain, not one of those typical ones with scars on the face, or patting a cat on their lap. Most importantly, I really liked Daniel Craig's vengeful Bond in this film. I guess everyone has different expectations when they come to see the character, and I expected him to be angry for the loss of his love Vespa. 

Many people didn't enjoy this film for these reasons: There is too much action, the story is weak, Bond isn't funny enough, Bond should be suave, and there's too much emotional baggage from the last film.

I liked this film much better than Casino Royale because: there were great action sequences, an interesting story, Bond was rough and serious, and he actually had human emotions. I think it's crazy that people don't like that the story followed on from the previous film. I think it's even worse that people don't like Bond being rough and ungentlemanly. This is the way the character is in Daniel Craig's series. Take Bond as he is, not as he was.

Quantum of Solace is a great film that has been subjected to unfair critiquing based on past films. This is how Bond is now. Some may not like it, but I certainly hope he doesn't change his attitude anytime soon.

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