Sunday, November 16, 2008


Just back from the movies. Me and Leah spent the day at the movies, we saw ROLE MODELS (which was hilarious and awesome) and the Bond flick QUANTUM OF SOLACE--which was terrible.

The last Bond film, CASINO ROYALE, was an fantastic re-booting/return to form for the series. Though his casting might have been a little controversial, I think Daniel Craig is the second best Bond ever (with Sir Sean being the first). I had high hopes for Craig's second outing as Bond, but those hopes were dashed, pretty quickly in fact.

The first problem I had was the opening--first things first, these movies are supposed to open in a very specific way. They've been opening the same way since the 1960s. Bond walks out, shoots the camera, there's blood...then the pre-credit sequence begins. The last film got away with not following the formula because we got to see Bond get his "00" staus (but he DID shoot the camera). QUANTUM decides to wait until the end. Bond shoots the camera (though the mission is over) and the credits roll. True, this is a bit of a nit-pick, but I've been a fan of this series since I was a I feel like I have the right to be picky, I grew up with this shit.

My second gripe with the pre-title sequence, is that it's a simple car case. I'm not sure if the filmmakers realize this, but the car chase is dead. It was killed in the 1990s. I was at the funeral, please, please stop with the car chases. If you're going to do one, at least make it interesting.

My other gripes are technical gripes-- plot issues and camera work. I know these movies are supposed to be Shakespeare or anything, but for God's sake let's at least have what's at stake made clear. There's something about Boliva's water-shortage being staged so that a coup can occur--but everyone thinks the bad guys are really after oil (which doesn't exist, or does it? Someone takes a bath in a lot of oil...). To make matters worse, Bond's quest for vengence is murky--who exactly does he blame? Not Mr. White or Mr. Greene--her ex-boyfriend (who was dead, but not really?). But at the end he DOESN'T kill this person??? WTF.

Which brings up the camera work. QUANTUM OF SOLACE commits the cardinal sin of action movies, it doesn't let you see what's happening. I know there is a school of thought that says "make the camera shakey, with lots of quick cuts...and the audience will feel like they're there" or worse "they feel part of the action." Well I don't want to be part of the action, I want to SEE the action. There is a roof-top chase early on in the film that is unwatchable--there are clearer scenes in CLOVERFIELD for cryin' out loud (and that film's camera work is (an inentional) mess). Half the time I couldn't tell who was doing what. The director is clearly an action-director n00b.

I realize this rant is full of spoliers, but honestly--even if you read this, you won't have it spoiled for you...because at no time is there anything to spoil. Stuff just kinda happens. Nothing is really very clear or interesting. I leaned over at one point and whispered to Leah "This is boring." And that right there sums up QUANTUM.

So what was good about it?

There wasn't much, but I was able to think up some stuff that was good about it:

Mr. Liter.

Felix Liter, the CIA agent who helped Bond in the previous film. He returns, and though he says little, I totally identify with his character (tough guy, restrained from doing what he thinks is right by a snivling boss who's more concerned about money). Sadly, Felix is kept to the sidelines.

There is also one fantastic scene at an opera that is actually well done. But the rest is pretty crappy (I'm sick of Bond being on the outs with MI6, too...the guy goes rogue so much, it's a wonder they still give him a paycheck).

The next Bond flick should (in my opinon) open with Bond killing the remaining Quantum members, and let this current plot thread end for good. Perhaps a stand-alone mission will be better than this poorly executed sequel.

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