“Quantum of Solace”
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.