I saw the latest James Bond film last night; ‘Quantum of Solace’ and I have to say I am disappointed. There was action galore and exotic locations but where was Bond? The James Bond I knew was cunning, using his gadgets and his wit to get out of situations. He would charm, beautiful and often dangerous women into his bed. They have taken away Bond’s charm, sense of humor, gadgets, Q and Moneypenny and left us with kind of a British Dirty Harry heartless assassin. But even Dirty Harry is likable, Bond in this film, not so much. Bond has a line in Casino Royale, when he’s talking to Vesper about his ‘armor’, ‘what ever I am, you’ve stripped it from me.’ I have to say that when I saw Casino Royale, I did enjoy it and thought it was a very Bond film. Well it seems the producers have ‘stripped’ Bond of all the things that made him Bond—even though most of those elements were also missing from Casino Royale. I appreciated the fact that they made Bond more dangerous.
I also liked Casino Royale because it’s one of my favorite Bond books and I’m glad they finally made a serious film version of it. Much of that film followed the book: the card game (although it was Baccarat or Chemin-de-fer in the book-not Texas Hold ‘Em) the car chase, the torture scene and the Vesper cocktail – all of this came out of Ian Fleming’s book. But this new film, Quantum of Solace is entirely new and feels like a made up appendage. The plot, if you can find one in this super fast paced, overly edited, blur of a film, revolves around Bond seeking revenge for the death of Vesper, (who killed herself in Casino Royale to save Bond from the criminal organization Quantum, much like Spectre or Smersh in the early films and books). Quantum of Solace stands alone without any of the flair or panache of characters like Blofeld, Dr. No., Goldfinger or any of the previous mega-criminals that Bond’s had to fight in the past.
The film opens with a fast paced (too fast paced I think) car chase – most of it’s a blur and it’s hard to discern the action throughout this sequence. It feels as though they are trying to copy The Bourne Identity, which is disheartening. In the old days, everyone would try to copy Bond. The entire film feels like a MTV video for people with ADD.
There was nothing spectacular about this film, like the torture scene in Casino Royale or that great fight scene in the stair well. No good relationships, though the acting was solid, when there was time for dialogue. I think Daniel Craig makes a good Bond, but we need to see more of Bond’s colors. This Bond is very one dimensional and uninteresting. There was this new thing about Bond being rogue for much of the film where his own organization didn’t know if he was on their side or not. A bit of throw back to License to Kill, but even in that film, that portion of it didn’t last long thankfully.
Marc Forster directed this film. However, if you didn’t see Casino Royale, you won’t understand what was going on in this film. I feel that the world he created was austere and devoid of the fun one derives from previous Bond films. I know the producers love him and want him to make more Bond films. Which I personally feel would be a mistake for the franchise. I understand he passed on this opportunity because he wants to create his own character.
I think he kind of created his own character in this one, but this one bore little resemblance to the James Bond I know and love. I have to say I think Martin Campbell did a much better job with Golden Eye and Casino Royale. And while the writers of Casino Royale, Paul Haggis, Neal Pervis and Robert Wade did a great job on that Casino Royale, they failed miserably with this one.
I think the one thing I missed the most was Bond’s character; that all men want to be him, and all women want to be with him. Where was that Bond?
I understand they are trying to re-boot the series, in much the same way they’ve re-booted the Batman series with Batman Begins and Dark Knight. But Batman is still Batman in those movies, where as Bond here is no longer Bond.