Directed by Marc Forster
October 29, 2008 (London) / October 31, 2008 (United Kingdom) / November 14, 2008 (United States)
Bond (Daniel Craig) is seeking revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd and encounters Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) along the way. As he plunges further in his quest, he uncovers a plot to stage a coup d’état in Bolivia and seize control of the nation’s water supply. Ladies and gentlemen, Bond is involved in the cutthroat espionage sub-world of water rights.
Quantum of Solace is better than Casino Royale, but I am getting a little sick of Bond being racked with guilt and anger. He is too addled by his emotions. Here he is train wreck that has nothing under control. His life is not a house of cards. It is a collapsed Jenga stack yet somehow, he can still be a spy.
Bond is doing everything he’s doing because of revenge over his one true love? Bond felt guilt over the women he could not save in the previous continuity which is why he was a womanizer and a gambler and an alcoholic in order to hide his emotions. But his search for revenge ended when the credits started. His romance with Vesper never rose to the level of great romance. They were good but the connection for long term just was not there.
I do miss the fun vibe of the older films. Bond is a superspy. He was the last of the 60s superspy/spy-fi characters. These films had a winning formula that the other types of those films of the era did not. That is why they are still making them. This film and its predecessor have ignored many of those ingredients that made them stand out. Without them it becomes a bit generic.
This is less a film about stopping a villain and more about Bond coming to terms with his feelings. Ugh! Sure they toss in some action but do we really care about James Bond dealing with his emotional turmoil over the death of a woman from the last film? Has the Bond audience which has kept the film series going really cared about that? Referencing one or two previous deaths has occurred (specifically Countess Tracy di Vicenzo played by Diana Rigg from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) but that was really it. And it was not a major plot point when mentioned or referenced. It was just a sore spot for Bond.
Bond films often draw inspiration from the real world, and this is no different. Only it is missing the superspy twist. Apparently the water situation in Bolivia mirrors what happened here though reading about it is a touch confusing. What gets me though is why is everyone so into water rights in Bolivia in this movie? The CIA cares. British intelligence cares. The secret organization Quantum cares. It is Bolivia! I know the Bond films invert the US/Great Britain relationship, but it stretches credibility that Bolivia is so important.
In Quantum we have an organization with people everywhere that is trying to control the water rights in Bolivia. That is it. That is really what it seems to come down to here. There is no threatening of the world. There is no great economic impact that could affect multiple nations. It is just Latin American politics.
Bond has plenty of cocky swagger in this film which is good. He needs to be confident more often than not. He is also more of a force rather than just a brutal agent. Bond needs to be better than the best. That is in part what Bond is but the villain of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) and General Medrano (Joaquín Cosío), who is trying to take over Bolivia, never really rises to the occasion to be worthy of facing off against Bond. He does not get any witty banter with either one. He does not get to really screw with them. His whole attitude and his swagger is saved mostly for M.
The music felt not very James Bond. Director Marc Forster kept the use of the iconic Bond theme to a minimum. Why? Ask him. It seems nonsensical to avoid the theme of the character. “Another Way to Die” by Jack White and Alicia Keys was ill fitting in the world of Bond. It lacked the sexy that pre-reboot songs had.
The movie has good action scenes. Bond does get to kick some ass. And the explosions at the facility at the end are cool. The moments with the vintage Douglas DC-3 were also a highlight. But those alone do not make a great Bond film.
Quantum of Solace is a good action film but only an OK James Bond movie. The story is kind of thin and is focused more on James Bond more than it is on James Bond dealing with a threat. I am not asking for James Bond to necessarily fight a world conquering villain but I am looking for something more than a water rights threat to Bolivia.
I think you could also have cut out the whole Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) bit. I am not sure if it added too much to the movie if it added anything at all. It just was more like a heavy-handed way to connect the film to its predecessor.
And the tone of the film is just so downbeat. I know these are supposed to be more serious and all, but I have said it before you are not going to hang around a Debbie Downer in real life for very long. You will leave the room or leave the party or just not talk to them. The same can be said for a continuously downbeat film series. Nobody wants to be brought down revisiting a familiar character. Eventually audiences will get sick of downbeat James Bond and then what?
Quantum of Solace is not a bad movie, but it could be so much better. It waters down the Bond formula. It is an okay action film but not very good James Bond. If you like action. If you like Bond, skip it!