Two years ago, the ailing Bond franchise, held down by ludicrous plots and over-the-top gadgets, was revived in a big way with “Casino Royale.” “Casino Royale” held back on the gadgets, created a more believable story, and most importantly, brought audiences a darker, vulnerable Bond.
“Quantum of Solace” manages to bring back all of these fantastic new qualities of Bond for a satisfying new movie.
While most 007 movies started from the beginning at each movie, “Quantum of Solace” is the first one to pick up from directly where its predecessor left off. Last we saw, James Bond (Daniel Craig) was torn apart by the death of his love, Vesper (Eva Green) and is now swearing a quest of vengeance.
While tracking down some enemies and conspirators in Vesper’s death, Bond finds out that his enemies go far beyond Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). It’s something called Project Greene run by a man named Dominic Greene (“Diving Bell and the Butterfly”‘s Mathieu Amalric) who acts like a giving philanthropist but is really sucking the earth dry of many of its resources. The rest of the plot (without giving too much away and showing what I comprehend) has to do with oil. But despite the intimidating Greene, Bond’s greatest challenges are M (Judi Dench) and his own recklessness.
Once again, Craig steals the show and proves himself a Bond almost as good as Connery. His comic timing allows him to deliver great one liners and sarcastic remarks perfectly, making him the funniest Bond without making him corny. Beyond the comedy, Craig helps show Bond beyond a man who simply defeats the bad guy and gets the girl at the end. Here is a man who is now seen as human. He can fall in love. He can be hurt. His mission is not always about saving the world, sometimes it’s about fixing his broken heart.
Just like “Casino Royale,” “Solace” contains no high-tech gadgets or giant rays that can harness the sun’s power and melt the earth (or whatever happened in “Die Another Day”) but instead contains a plot about a man exploiting all of South America’s unstable governments and using them as a way to harness control of all of the world’s oil. Sounds more like something ripped from a CNN headline than a Hollywood action movie.
“Quantum of Solace” like its strange title, can sometimes be a little odd and extremely confusing. Viewers looking for a typical simple Bond plot should instead wait for the next Michael Bay movie, because this one won’t be for them.
“Solace” doesn’t live up to “Casino Royale” for several reasons. Despite its more realistic plot and attention to character like its predecessor, “Solace” lacks the breathtaking action sequences that made up “Royale.” The beginning sequence of “Royale” was crazed and everywhere, but it was filmed at a pace so the viewer could take it all in and follow every single movement. That is what made the scene one of the greatest chase sequences ever filmed.
“Solace” contains some great action sequences, but they aren’t filmed with the same carefulness and grace as those in “Royale”. Instead, the camera jerks too much and everything happens way too quickly. The viewer can barely appreciate any action going on and therefore the movie is nowhere near as thrilling as previous Bond chapters. A big reason for this was the fact that “Royale” was directed by a man who had directed several big Hollywood blockbusters while “Solace was directed by Marc Forster, whose known for directing dramas like “Finding Neverland” and “Monster’s Ball.” Forster does excellent on the drama and character parts of the movie, but he still needs experience in directing action sequences. If he sticks on for a few more movies, Forster should be able to improve in his action sequences.
“Quantum of Solace” is the next part in not only the revival but transformation of James Bond. And it does well on that. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the grittiness and brilliance that made “Royale” an instant classic but it’s an extremely sufficient and even thought provoking two hours of entertainment.
In a world of brain dead action movies filled with explosions, “Quantum of Solace” gives the world a blockbuster not only with a brain, but also a big, cold heart. If only the action was bette done, “Quantum of Solace” could’ve been “Dark Knight” of the holiday season.