James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “Quantum of Solace”

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“Quantum of Solace”

2008

Bond: Daniel Craig

Classic, Cheese or Crap?: CLASSIC

In all honesty, this is one of the movies that challenges my classifications. In terms of Bond movies, I still rank it amongst the legitimately good ones. It doesn’t suck, so it’s not “crap”. And it certainly isn’t “cheesy” by any means. The movie takes itself completely seriously – almost to a fault. Yet categorizing it in with the classics needs a bit of clarification. While I think it’s in the upper tier of Bond movies, by no means do I think it’s a classic movie in general.

It tempts me to create a new category. James Bond: Classic, Cheese, Crap or Pretty Good?

“Quantum of Solace” is the first true sequel in the history of the Bond franchise. Thus, while there were common characters and some strands of plots you could trace from film to film prior to this, QoS was the first one intended to continue the story of the last movie directly. I think that that’s one of the biggest problems with the film, actually. Bond fans are accustomed to completely stand alone movies. But this movie relies SO much on its predecessor – both for Bond’s motivation and for the emotional weight – that it winds up feeling lacking on its own.

The other major complaint is the shaky cam style of action sequences employed by director Marc Forster. It features quick cut editing and camera work that is not steadied, in order to emphasize the action. It was a style popularized in the Bourne trilogy. The criticism wasn’t just that it was unappealing, it was also that it broke with tradition (the Bond series is famous for its stunt work, which has traditionally been showcased with long, steady looks) and was derided for being derivative as opposed to innovative.

Neither issue bothered me much. Casino Royale was still fresh in my memory, and I still felt Bond’s pain over Eva. I knew what was driving him to be such a coldhearted killer. I also wasn’t bothered by the action style. I thought Olga Korylenko and Gemma Arterton were both strong, attractive Bond girls. I liked the villains well enough, and the plot was workable.

As I said. I think this is a good Bond movie, but I did qualify calling it “Classic”. While the two major complaints didn’t phase me much, I thought a couple of the action sequences were overly implausible (a major offense in the “realistic Bonds”) and the fiery finale in the hydrogen hotel was completely overboard. But it has Craig (very believable as a 00 agent) as Bond, Dench as M, two strong Bond Girls and several action sequences I DO like, including the opening car chase and the boat battle sequence. Plus I enjoyed the suspense of whether or not Bond had completely lost his pity and was going to kill Eva’s beau in cold blood at the end.

Within the Bond catalogue, there are far worse movies than this. I just hope Bond 23 returns a little more joy to Bond – a little more “Bon Vivant Bond” than we got here.

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32 thoughts on “James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “Quantum of Solace”

  1. Yeah, this is a tough one. I think you touched on it’s main problem — it feels more like a “generic” action movie than a Bond movie. This very much could have been Bourne #4. It’s a good movie, but the bar was set high with Casino Royale, and I feel that QoS missed it by a good bit.

    • That IS definitely an issue with this one… The high bar Casino Royale set. People had HIGH expectations.

      That’s so big in these. I KNOW it’s one of the reasons I overrate The Living Daylights… After years of Moore, getting a new Bond felt great.

  2. This just reminds me how much I want to see Bond 23. I hope they get rid of the shakey cam, and just go back to basics. Plus, throwing in a little humor (Craig’s tenure so far has been awfully serious) could go a long way.

  3. I liked Quantum of Solace and was surprised by the numerous negative reactions. To be honest, I think Casino Royale is a bit overrated if anything. In any case, not a great movie by any means but certainly solid albeit maybe a bit too generic.

  4. I loved the concept as usual, lots of action and awesome locations. Honestly these movies are about: Locations, The Bad Guy, Girls and Gadgets. Nothing more and I love it just the way it is.

    • Now THERE’S a good point that I’ve been forgetting. The LOCATIONS!!

      Yeah, right, right, right…. these movies are travelogues to an extent, too. You’re definitely right.

      That’s one thing the Craig era has done very well so far. Is go to some gorgeous locations to shoot. EXCELLENT point.

  5. If you don’t see me posting on these Bond reviews, it’s because I agree with you :)

    Having said that, I’m hereeeeeeeee!!!

    To me, they should have just called this film Casino Royale Part 2. Not sure why they planned to link these films together, but I didn’t like it much. Bond has had recurring villains like Blofeld and Jaws (Which I didn’t like that they continued those characters much either), but it might be just my personal preference to have a fresh film each time. This film just felt so “Let’s make a Bond film just because we can.”

    For me, this film is in the CRAP bucket. It could be that I loved Casino Royale so much that it just couldn’t measure up IMO. Hopefully Bond 23 will be better. Excited they are filming as I write this!!!!

    • Yeah, Jason, that’s a great plan. Only pipe up when you think I’m WRONG.

      Way to have my back bro, that’s it. Nice.

      LOL!!

      I like this one. I know it’s like 85% action sequences, and a lot of people hate the action style. And I know that Bond is completely ice cold in this, but… its SUPPOSED to be CR part 2. It was the first direct sequel. It was supposed to be a continuation of the story. And I like that about it. I like the girls. I like Craig as Bond.

      Lets not get carried away, I did hedge the whole “classic” thing for clarification… but I do like it.

      • LOL. Didn’t mean to come off like I’m only posting when I don’t agree with you…meant mainly on these Bond reviews because I didn’t feel like posting to all 15 reviews!

        LOL!

        Anyway, I don’t think I could ever say “I wish they wouldn’t have made that Bond film.” I mean, it’s Bond. I’ll take anything I can get. Just hope there are no more “sequels”…

      • Heh heh heh.

        I know man, its cool I know.

        I couldnt pass up THAT chance to bust balls though. Right out there, you know? Had to do it.

        Anyways, as always, feel free to comment or not as you please. Love seeing people rummaging through the older posts. It’s cool.

  6. When I first saw the film, coming out of the cinema I didn’t know what to think. It felt like my brain had got pummeled with action sequence after action sequence with very little plot in between.

    BUT having rewatched the film a fair few times I really love it. It takes time to absorb all the classic-ness of it. The action sequences are breath taking and so stylish. Bond’s never been so cold and hard. But it’s all a journey. And I’m really looking forward to Skyfall :D

    CLASSIC!

    • OH SHIT!!

      See Jason? You reopened an old wound, but then BAM! Jaina’s got my BACK!
      :D

      Unexpected, and happy to hear. I was just tweeting back and forth a bit with Joel Burman on this one J, and I think he’d vote “Crap”. So I was feeling a bit like the only fan of this film in the world. LOL.

      I cant wait for Skyfall, either, obviously. I think we’ll have to go a little Bond crazy leading up to it. I’ll figure something out.

      • Whole heartedly got your back on this one, Fogs!

        Thing is, had I read this immediately after I saw the film, I probably would have said crap too. Casino Royale was a hard act to follow. I hated the theme song to QoS and the opening titles were just lame! (I was so excited to hear Jack White was doing the song and then heart broken to hear Alicia Keys’ name added to the list!)

        QoS is a grower. It reflected Bond’s state of mind and where he was at after all of the events in Casino Royale. That needed to be addressed and think they did it with flair in QoS.

        Looking forward to the Bond mania before Skyfall! Is it too early for a countdown? ;)

      • Yes. LOL.

        A little too early, I think, yeah.

        But this series will wind up finishing prior to then, so there will be room to do something Bond related. There’s a bunch of time, but trust me, I’ll think of something special to get everyone all psyched up.

        I’m just hoping Skyfall winds up being something completely and obviously exceptional… like Casino Royale… so that I can throw a big ol party for it like I did for the Muppets this weekend. LOL! :D

      • Exactly what I want. And I need a kick ass theme tune too. I would LOVE for Muse to do the song. They’re a British band. Well loved and i LOVE their music. They could easily do a Bond theme – they’ve done scoring duties before on films too!

      • I’d give it another chance. Think “Casino Royale” part II… it does pick up RIGHT after that one. Helped me.

        Not that it’s great or anything, but I liked it well enough. Lot of good stuff within.

  7. I see I answered my own question and found your review on this haha.

    I like this film as well, but it certainly doesn’t have the impact of Royale. The plane action sequence was the one that I kind of groaned at, when their parachute opens at the last possible second, yet they’re somehow unharmed.

    Loved the sequence on the scaffolding though.

    This one’s a bit hit and miss, but I like that they were willing to extend the storyline from Casino Royale. Not typical Bond, but I appreciate that they’re doing something different and you can understand why the character acts the way he does. I’ll be curious to see what they do with the next film.

    • “The plane action sequence was the one that I kind of groaned at, when their parachute opens at the last possible second, yet they’re somehow unharmed.”

      Absolutely. I felt the exact same way. I hate that moment. They’re just fine…. LOL

      Yeah, aside from that though I liked it well enough too. There’s a lot of people who dont, but… I can totally see why they did what they did with the character too.

      And, uh, yeah. I’m a little excited for Skyfall, too!! :D

      • I don’t know if it’s harder for hardcore Bond fans to like because it deviates so much from the norm?

        I’m not well versed in the Bond universe, so maybe I’m a bit more open to having them carry story lines from one film to the next. Don’t think they’ll be doing that for Skyfall though from anything I’ve heard…

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  10. I so wanted this movie to be great, and I was so disappointed when I first saw it, that I was ready to put it down with “The Man with the Golden Gun” and “Die Another Day” as the worst Bond films ever. Because I am a Bond fanatic and hopelessly romantic, I gave it a second chance in cinemas and I stopped hating it. I still can’t say I like it. The Jack White/Alicia Keys tune, I can’t even remember a note or any of the words. That opening car chase made no sense from the way it was shot. You can’t tell what the hell is going on. The rundown and shootout right after that ends with a great image of Bond shooting skyward but it was confusing what point of view we had throughout most of that scene.

    What the hell is the story about? Water rights and international business tied in with government corruption? Boring as hell. The revenge story is much better and should have stayed the focus of the movie. I did like the scene at the Opera where all the members of Quantum just get up and leave, giving away their identities so that Bond could later follow up. Mathis is a good character from the novels who was underused in the film series. I liked his story arc in the two films, but he needed a better death.

    My daughter and I went to an event at her University and listened to stories and Q and A with Barbra Broccoli and Michael Wilson, and Marc Foster the director of QOS was there as well. It was pretty clear that he did the best he could but this large scale movie was not his forte and the Bourne copycat routine seemed to be his way of putting the action on the screen as he could. Two of the screen writers were also there and they seemed to be at as much of a loss at what the movie was trying to be about as any of the viewers. There were also several questions about how long the series could continue if there were not a few light moments to go with the grim visage of Craig frowning through two hours of a new adventure.

    Casino Royale was such a fabulous introduction of Daniel Craig, this one suffered quite a bit by comparison. Still, Skyfall is coming and I am looking forward to all the hoopla that the 50th anniversary brings.

    Here is a link to a poll ranking the themes on the 50th anniversary of the series. You will appreciate Carly is high on the list, but where the hell are Tom and Matt?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2203370/Look-away-Shirley-Live-Let-Die-named-best-Bond-theme-time-Basseys-Goldfinger-makes-place.html

    • Wow. Thats a bold list! (Not the top three, which are typically shuffled about in one order or another) The QoS theme? I love it, but rarely mentioned. I also love the “Garbage” sone from TWINE. Few people do, though.

      I like their ranking. Not mine, of course, but kudos to them!

      As to QoS, I like it, but then again, I’m tolerant of the “Shaky Cam” Bourne style action, and I like (well, tolerate) the Villain plot well enough. I can also see how, for the first time, they were trying to do a direct sequel, with Bond becoming a total cold hearted wreck after the loss of Vesper in CR.

      Its hard to defend though, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for better with Skyfall. I’m also (like you hinted at) hoping for a return of a little fun to the series. You know? QoS was SO joyless. Especially the cold hearted disposal of Mathis… ouch!

      I’m with you though! Let the Bond 50 Commence! Hope you’ll be taking part in all the celebratory posts here! :D Its been fun talking Bond!

  11. CRAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaaaaap!

    Wait, I understated the crappiness of it.

    CRAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAP!

    No, wait. It’s actually crappier than that.

    Looking back, and reading that review, dont you cringe inside? Doesn’t some small part of you that wrote the words “I still rank it amongst the legitimately good ones. It doesn’t suck,” laugh crazily and pound your head against the padded walls until the blood smears against the straight jacket? Does the mental lithium even still work?

    CRAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAP!

    I’m reminded of the famed TV host Mr. Leonard Plinth Garnel, who said, “There now, that wasn’t very good now, was it?”

    CRAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAP!

    So, to sum up… no it is too much crappiness.

    • What drew you back to this? The Bond Blog-A-Thon? You’re like a crazy person driving by the scene of a crime, you’d think you’d just know enough to stay away… even if you dont get caught, you KNOW its going to bring out all those bad impulses in you again!! LOL

      • Of course it was the Blog-a-Thon… but also I realized I’d never read your review of this… and I just knew there would be something juicy for me in there. :lol:

        “It doesn’t suck”….

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA …….breathe….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
        *passes out from lack of oxygen*

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