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Entries in Quantum of Solace [2008] (1)

Monday
Nov172008

Quantum of Solace (2008)

 

Quandary of Somesuch

Presented here, in no particular order, are twenty-two spoilerific thoughts on the awful Bond 22. If you can watch and enjoy this movie, and rationalize any or all of these points, I congratulate you on being an utterly indiscriminate filmgoer...

1. Eva Green's Vesper Lynd was not only a sexy Bond Girl, she was one of the brightest, and served as a romantic and comic foil for the brutish James Bond. Eva Kurylenko, as Camille, is a conventionally pretty, pouty-faced Girl-Out-For-Vengeance who might as well have been clipped off of a box of L'Oreal hair dye.

2. It is impossible--IMPOSSIBLE--for two people to open a single parachute twenty feet from the ground--while holding onto each other--and walk away without so much as a shattered limb (unless one of those "people" is actually a cut-out from a box of L'Oreal hair dye; even then the odds aren't favorable).

3. James Bond has grown a lot since Casino Royale--specifically, he has grown the ability to fly out of a plane, without a parachute, and attach to another falling body; he even goes so far as to detach from said body and regain his hold.

4. The post-credits fight/chase scene was intercut with a horse race for the sole purpose of fooling the audience into forgetting that they'd seen this exact sequence--minus the excitement and believability--in the post-credits fight/chase scene of Casino Royale.

5. Ditto the scene in which Mathis' body is found in Bond's trunk by a couple of corrupt cops--minus the horse race.

6. Ditto the scene where Bond and Mathis leave behind a beautiful, unsuspecting woman to go on an adventure.

7. The Bond franchise has elimiated the need for spin-off video games, as it has officially become one.

8. The Bond franchise has eliminated the need for a fourth Bourne film, as it has officially become one (in a direct-to-cable kind of way).

9. Jeffrey Wright's Felix Leiter character appears to have been demoted in the couple of weeks since his successful co-takedown of LeChiffre in Casino Royale. He now finds himself working a vague case with a jack-ass superior who wouldn't be out of place in a Naked Gun movie.

10. Jeffrey Wright's Felix Leiter not only has the cool to stand in the middle of a bar that is being raided by an armed tactical squad and take a manly sip of beer, he apparently has ear-drums of steel that prevent him from so much as twitching at the sound of breaking doors and gunfire.

11. The film's villain, Mr. Greene (who--chuckle, chuckle--runs an eco-friendly corporation) is after the world's "most precious resource"; if you didn't immediately surmise that he was talking about water instead of oil, please--PLEASE--stop going to the movies and read a goddamned book.

12. The Bond Lay--as opposed to the Bond Girl--is discovered dead in her bed, drenched from head-to-toe in oil; this is meant to A) symbolize the villains' twisted methods and B) remind the audience of a truly great Bond film, Goldfinger (in the hopes, I suspect, that these nostalgic good feelings help them coast through the next terrible forty-five minutes).

13. The Dead Bond Lay makes no sense, as the villains are after water, not oil.

14. When Bond drops the can of oil at the feet of Mr. Greene and bets that he'll drink it twenty minutes into being stranded in the desert, I was uncertain of whether or not he'd offered the man oil or a can of beer--apparently Bolivian oil comes in six-packs.

15. The can of oil makes no sense, as the villains are after water, not oil.

16. Mr. Greene is a slimy, bug-eyed little shrew for most of the run-time; during the burning-building climax, he becomes Jack Nicholson in The Shining. This is neither explained, nor commented on; neither is...

17. Bond's drawn-out "dilemma" of whether or not to shoot Camille in the head in order to spare her the terror of being burned alive. Neither is...

18. Director Marc Forster's refusal to recall--even in black-and-white flashback, even for a second--the tender moment between Bond and Vesper in Casino Royale's shower scene at the moment when that scene is sloppily re-created in Quantum of Solace shows that he either A) hadn't seen Casino Royale or B) does not understand filmic motifs. Such a cue could not have saved the scene, but it may have provided some distraction from the intelligence-insulting notion that Bond would actually kill someone he liked, even out of mercy.

19. Forster also doesn't understand editing, pacing, or cinematography as they relate to creating suspenseful, easy-to-follow action sequences; which is why his being tapped to direct the film adaptation of World War Z is so depressing.

20. The Quantum of Solace title sequence contains a grating, uninspired song playing over scenes of Daniel Craig stalking a desert of female limbs that morph into sand; he never encounters anyone, but there's a lot of cop-show turning-and-pointing. This goes on for two minutes, and should be taken as a sign that it's okay to get up and leave the theatre.

21. Quantum of Solace is (allegedly) a movie about vengeance, featuring a character who swears he's not out for vengeance. This is usually played as sort of a knowing joke between the protagonist and the audience: we both know the protagonist is out for vengeance, even if other people in the movie don't. In this case, Bond keeps his word and sets in motion a sub-par action movie plot that favors cliches over emotion and sub-text--complete with the trite "give-me-your-gun-and-your-badge" nonsense that immediately precedes Bond's going "rogue". Quantum of Solace is a revenge movie without the revenge, and it makes for a frustrating two hours...

22. The highlight of which was getting to see the trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek on the big screen.

23. {Okay, I lied, this is a twenty-three-point list. Consider it my homage to the deception on behalf of the filmmakers that they would make a quality follow-up to Casino Royale.} The trademark Bond-in-the-sights opening--which was brilliantly handled in the previous picture--is relegated to a pre-closing-credits add-on. It's a nit-pick, but it's also emblematic of everything wrong with this backwards-assed movie. The Bond franchise has regressed about sixteen years; it's once again Brosnan-bad, and I can only hope that this installment fails due to a lack of repeat business by smart people.