Casino Royale succeeded – despite the cheerless Daniel Craig – because it was a first-rate story from the pen of that master storyteller, Ian Fleming. Wisely, the screenwriters chose to adhere to the main thrust of Fleming’s original and thus kept the plot building inexorably towards its climax.
One of the biggest problems with Quantum of Solace, and to a much lesser extent Casino Royale, is entirely of EON’s own making. More than an entire generation of audiences has grown up with the cinematic Bond, as distinct from the Bond of Fleming’s books, and their expectation is precisely what Messrs Broccoli and Saltzman very successfully created – a witty, tough, but above all entertaining, super-spy.
That is precisely what Daniel Craig and screenwriters Haggis, Wade and Purvis fail to create in Quantum of Solace.
If audiences want to experience the gritty, humourless, no frills hard-action of a Jason Bourne film, then they can watch a Jason Bourne film. To their shame, the producers, director and writers of Quantum of Solace have manifestly sought to emulate the Bourne filmic style. To their credit, they have produced an imitation of a Bourne film – but it isn’t a Bond film. Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson have singularly failed to learn the lesson that Bourne isn’t Bond and Bond isn’t Bourne.
And with Quantum of Solace they fail to deliver what Bond aficionados want.
The gratuitous rape scene is wholly out of place in a film series that regularly attracts family audiences, in spite of its UK 12A rating (children may on watch if accompanied by an adult).
To be fair, Quantum of Solace promises much in its pre-title sequence – assuming, that is, you don’t (as some people) suffer nausea from the frenzied camera movements. Sadly, given the fact that the film lasts 106 minutes, the pre-title sequence is unequivocally the high-octane highlight of the entire film. What follows is a confused story, lacking any coherent direction and end goal, peopled by a host of characters who fail dismally to create feelings of empathy or enmity with the audience.
And, ultimately, Quantum of Solace fails.
Broccoli and Wilson would do well to abide by the old adage: “Cobbler, stick to your last!”
And listen to the public.