Author 337

New Bond is Dope

Posted in Writings by author337 on November 16, 2008

007musical Totally dope. True its source material, The Quantum of Solace is rugged yet refined, brutal but tender, and both funny and tragic. It’s also balls to the wall bad ass. Daniel Craig’s sophomore outing as the iconic secret agent James Bond 007 is certainly not as groundbreaking as Casino Royale, which took the geriatric franchise back to it’s roots, but it’s a leaner, meaner, more functional spy caper. The last film had a lot of groundwork to do, which made it a bit clunky and overlong. Clocking in at an hour and forty-five minutes, this latest Bond is certainly the most efficient in the series. In this way, Quantum benefits from the best parts of the last film, and solves some of its problems. All in all, I was highly satisfied. Keep ’em coming.

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  1. Dude. said, on November 19, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Dude. Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I don’t dislike what they WANTED to do with Quantum of Solace, but in forty six years of James Bond movies, the execution has never been so awful. QOS is the result of a Hollywood writer’s strike, and hiring a director/cinematographer/editor team who have never made anything approaching a movie with the sweep, charm, or action of James Bond.

    But even that doesn’t explain the consistently baffling creative choices made by everyone involved in the project:

    Unmotivated, ten frame at a time edits that seem designed to make the action scenes viscerally impregnable? Makes Michael Bay look like Alfonso Cuaron.

    The flamboyant henchman with the goofy wig? Give me Wint and Kidd any day.

    The song? Would have been better served bringing back Duran Duran.

    A script where everyone seems convinced that Bond is getting revenge – despite no plot evidence to support this whatsoever? I miss License to Kill.

    A villain’s hideout with a fatal design flaw allowing for the ENTIRE BUILDING to explode from a chain reaction initiated via a car accident? You couldn’t write a PARODY of this scene. Blofeld’s volcano seems logical in comparison.

    A boat chase that involves Bond defeating his enemies by crashing a dilapitated wooden motor boat directly into their machine-gun-armed yachts and police rafts? He does this FOUR TIMES. Suddenly that ski chase from The World Is Not Enough doesn’t seem so bad.

    And perhaps worst of all is the handling of the villain, Dominic Greene. Bond films have a long, proud history of casting ruthless CEO’s as their heavies, but Greene is the first who actually sounds like a right wing parody of liberal Hollywood’s fear of corporate America. He spouts hilariously declarative lines like, “We are already destabilizing the government,” “You know how these deposed dictators are,” and something I can’t remember well enough to quote about how “the corporations” are doing evil shit.

    And his plan? To replace an evil dictator with another evil dictator, and then to sell water to people with an appreciated pricetag. Wow. What stakes. What will happen to the world if Bond fails to kill this prick?

    Nothing.

    From a creative standpoint, where would the harm have been in saying that the Bolivian dictator Greene wanted out of the way was a good guy? Or that he was planning on taking the water and selling it to the first world – leaving the Bolivians to die of thirst? It would have been no less believable, taken no more time to develop, and we would actually care whether or not Bond succeeds.

    Harry Knowles praised this film because it had “higher stakes” than the “measly” $100 million bucks on the table in Casino Royale. While that may have been true from the perspective of the raw cash value at play, Casino Royale distinguishes itself by really hitting home how devastating it will be for Bond to lose that money: “Sorry?! Would you mind putting that in a sentence, like, ‘sorry Le Chiffre’s going to win, keep funding terror, and killing innocent people.’ THATkind of sorry?!”
    Whereas Quantum of Solace (way to waste the most internalized Fleming title on the dumbest, most straightforward film) doesn’t really ever draw a line in the sand for Bond to cross. Maybe that’s why Act 3 kind of comes out of nowhere.

    Also, why couldn’t Greene and Vesper’s boyfriend have been the same character? Would have simplified and personalized the script a lot. Instead we get Greene telling Bond about the boyfriend offscreen, followed by an epilogue that, despite being pregnant with self-importance, doesn’t actually mean anything. Did you really buy for one second that the greasy hipster douche we meet at the end of the film could have seduced Eva Green into aiding a terrorist organization?

    They had a great cast, the biggest budget per second of any film EVER, and the best movie character of all time. So fuck this movie for being so bad.

    All this could have still worked if Forster had tried to be creative with what he had. Even the worst of the Roger Moore stinkers take some chances in terms of their visuals/humor/sex. QOS felt like it was assembled via a checklist.

    The director has said in interviews that he’s never liked James Bond movies, and it shows. Otherwise he might have bothered making sure that there was some point in the script where his leading man bothered to call himself “Bond, James Bond.” For the first time in almost five decades, there wasn’t.

    Creative choice? Or glaring oversight?
    Now, normally I’d have said “only child”, but see, the way the film ignored everything else that mattered, I’m gonna have to go with “orphan.”

    PS: You’re a pretty articulate guy, and I desperately wanted to like this movie, so please convince me that I’m wrong. Please.

  2. Brian said, on December 2, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    It had it’s flaws, but in no means was a bad film. As a standalone film, it would be bad. But as an epilogue to Casino, it was great. I like how the new Bond films are story-based instead of mission-based. The sequences at the end (both live action and animation ones) telling us that “NOW this mother***** is Bond” were stunning.

    It was a risk, making the crucial bridge-film in the series also an experiment in film making.


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