Quantum of Solace: The Mini-Review

I liked it a lot, as I liked the previous installment with Daniel Craig, because, as I told Krissy as we drove home from the theater, “they’re not stupid.” Fundamentally Bond films tend to be stupid: A ridiculous fake super agent fights equally ridiculous villians with impossibly impractical world domination fantasies; everyone has idiotic tech gadgetry and then Bond gets to have sex just because he’s Bond. I’m not going to suggest that the Craig Bond films are anything approaching realistic — really, they’re not — but at the very least they seem more plausibly connected to the world we live in than any other Bond flicks you might care to name, and Craig himself actually seems like he might actually be able to kill someone, which is more than, say, Roger Moore ever managed to pull off.

I’m aware there are a lot of critics who seem to be under the impression the new leaner/tougher/marginally more plausible Bond is not what people come to Bond films for, but my two responses to that are

a) speak for yourselves, you chunky sex-and-gadget obsessed dweebs, and

b) considering the general financial success of the Craig Bond films (QoS is on target for something like $60 million domestic opening weekend, the best Bond debut yet) it seems that audiences are perfectly fine with them, too.

I’d be happy to get at least a couple more Bond films like this before the producers cave and bring back Q and his silly laser-equipped watches and invisible cars. I suspect that when they do, Craig will have moved on. He’s not that kind of Bond.

77 thoughts on “Quantum of Solace: The Mini-Review

  1. As usual, John, you nailed it. I completely agree with your thinking on the current Bond films. Craig is an amazingly good actor, which is also a rarity after the wink-wink-nudge-nudge versions of Bond that preceded him.

    As I said to a friend of mine after seeing CASINO ROYALE, “Craig actually looks like he could take these guys.”

    The old Bond bits had grown SO tired…

  2. I, too, enjoyed the movie, though I had only seen its predecessor once, and thus was thrown a bit by how readily it continued on from “Casino Royale”. It kind of gave me the vibe of trying to watch “The Two Towers” without really remembering what happed in “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

    The one thing that really irked me, as an engineer, was the idiotic design of the building the climax took place in. I shall avoid saying anything more spoilery for the sake of those who have yet to see it, but I can’t help but think that any architect or engineer with a grain of common sense would not have designed so unsafe a structure.

    Ahem.

    Out of curiosity, did the audience you saw it with notice the little Canadian joke at the end? I’m not sure if it was intended as a joke or not, but it actually got a big laugh here in Toronto….

  3. Meh, I didn’t much care for it, myself.

    I’d not seen Casino Royale, so part of the problem is my fault.

    But the ending was terribly abrupt and anticlimactic. Nothing was really resolved — he just walks off. When the credits *surprise* me, someone screwed up.

  4. Bryan:

    Actually, quite a bit was resolved, but yeah, since you didn’t see Casino Royale I can see how might have missed some of that. These are the dangers of direct sequels.

  5. Funny, I was thinking about the two Daniel Craig Bond movies being more serious while watching the trailer for Solace this afternoon.

    I think the Bond movies got cannablised from two directions since the ’90s. First off, plenty of directors made much better action films than any of the previous Bond fare – the Bourne movies and the Mission Impossible films. And the Austen Powers films and movies like Johnny English made it really hard to play the character with anything other than a straight bat (hey, he’s English) if they wanted Bond taken seriously.

    So thankfully when it came time to do Casino Royale they focussed on making a strong, character-driven action flick. And they pulled it off well. Now I just have to get myself to see Solace.

  6. I liked Quantum a lot, too, and for the reasons you mention, John. On the gadgets front, I thought it was actually kind of cool that one of the most gadgety gadgets in the whole movie was a table Microsoft formally introduced and began marketing in April.

    It was a lot of fun. My biggest thing is whether or not I liked it more than Casino Royale (I’m sort of leaning towards “yes,” and I thought CR was pretty cool).

  7. Having seen neither of the new Bond films, it seems to me that the new Bond is part of a larger push to “grow up” or at least sophisticatize(sp?) some of our more hoary media favs: Battlestar Galactica, Bond, and now, Star Trek. Everybody is getting a revamp. With an eye towards de-geeking the franchises.

  8. The Bond franchise is hardly being de-geeked. (If you didn’t geek out at the touch-table display used to show documents to M, I am revoking your nerd license right here and now.) It’s just that now we expect spies not only to have cool gadgets, but to use them in an ordinary fashion. We live in a world of cool gadgets. Nobody wants to see Bond use something you and I could probably buy off ThinkGeek.

    That said, while I really enjoyed this movie, it was nowhere near as good as the first. Without revealing anything, there’s a moment where a huge cannon is rolled onstage and the characters (in essence) say “Wow, look at the huge and scary cannon!” Naturally, the cannon goes off. How subtle and shocking.

  9. Meh. I didn’t hate it, but it was like the director and screenwriters had no idea what it was that worked about the last movie. Those nice long stretches of Casino Royale where Bond was actually busy being a spy, which mostly involves talking to people? Gone: it just lurched from action setpiece to action setpiece. Which could have been fine — this is Bond’s quest for revenge after all — except that Marc Forster apparently can’t direct an action scene to save his life. Hand to hand fighting, gunfights, car chases, it didn’t matter: every single last one was a jittery, over-edited mess where you couldn’t tell what the hell was going on or why.

    Also, who’s brilliant idea was it to build an entire hotel out of dynamite?

  10. If I may dare to be guilty of a little psychological projection here – the reason you like the newer Bond FILMS is that they are exponentially closer – in both tone and style – to the Bond BOOKS.

    Fleming’s novels were beautifully crafted works that combined travelogue, Epicurean porn, gambling and intrigue. Bond always went somewhere neat, ate something great and played (and won) some game of chance or skill – usually against a cheating opponent – all of this while solving some crisis and meeting a gorgeous woman.

    On top of this fairly formulaic frame was layered storytelling chops and a flair for the dramatic and unexpected that elevated ‘spy novel’ to an art form still riding high in the popular imagination.

    Where is this post going, I forget.

    Oh yeah, enjoy movies but read the books too.

    Thank You.

  11. Sub-Odeon “Everybody is getting a revamp. With an eye towards de-geeking the franchises.”

    Getting the many many stupid elements of these franchises put to the axe is de-geeking?

  12. Well put, John.

    In addition to people complaining that this is not the cartoon superhero of the later non-Craig bond films, I’ve also seen people vaguely grumbling that Quantum of Solace “wasn’t as good”. As far as I can tell, though, their problem was that they expected it to be another giant leap forward just like Casino Royale was. I went in with modest expectations, and feel richly rewarded.

    Today I dug my copy of the Casino Royale novel out of the closet for the first time in a decade or so, and I really think the two recent movies do a great job of capturing the spirit of the Fleming novels.

  13. speak for yourselves, you chunky sex-and-gadget obsessed dweebs
    *gigglesnort*

    I wanted to see this, but got suckered into watching an advance screening of Disney’s new bomb Bolt with my bratling instead.

    That $60mil being the most the franchise made…adjusted for inflation, or just today’s sucky dollars?

    Also, I don’t care what Q does to an Aston Martin, I’d still drive it, dorky or no.

  14. ScottE,

    Well, yes. If you use ‘geek’ as a pejorative term, and not an accolade.

    I think ‘geek’ is both a pejorative and and accolade, depending on context.

    You know something has been “de-geeked” when it’s no longer considered “geeky” by normal Americans to watch or enjoy the product.

    BSG 2.0 is a recent, very successfully “de-geeked” franchise. Anyone can watch it and not feel like they have to quickly change the channel if ever another, non-geek adult walks in the room.

    Now, Bond has been de-geeked. And it’s about effing time, too.

    I wonder how well JJ Abrams can de-geek Star Trek.

    The leaked Star Trek trailer certainly kicks butt.

    But I am a geek, and blind to the ways of the many non-geeky, so I am not sure if the Star Trek “reboot” that Abrams seems to have engineered, will be as successful as either BSG or Bond.

  15. I liked it, overall; it did resolve some issues that were carried over from Casino Royale, played well to character development of both Bond, M, and other old characters, without leaving out the new ones…

    But I still think it felt a bit like a trailer that just happened to be two hours. Action sequences were decent, in my opinion…but where was the plot? I’m fine with realistic nature of things, it’s just that…well, we know nothing more about Quantum than we did when we started the movie. Everything that happened was hardly accidental or even incidental, but it felt like there should’ve been more than just, ‘look forward to the next movie!’

  16. Jon S,

    I saw the “leaked” version on YouTube.

    As trailers go, it kicked ass.

    Alas, trailers are deceptive.

    The “Next Generation” movies have so badly disappointed me, I am not sure what to expect from this new Star Trek movie.

    The 14 year old hopeful Trekkie in me wants to love it.

    The 34 year old bitter Trekkie in me wants to hate it.

    I hope for the best, but expect the worst.

  17. How about instead of “de-geeking” we call it “re-geeking?”

    As a child of the ’70s, I can honestly say at one time “Moonraker” was the second coolest thing I had ever seen, right behind “Star Wars”, and Richard Kiel was the coolest villain.

    I Don’t think either has aged well.

    As “Geek” has become more mainstream, entertainment has to keep up. I’m Sure in thirty years we’ll be looking back at these and be going, “Sheesh, what were we thinking? Touch screens but no voice recognition?”

  18. I enjoyed the film in all ways other than the director’s choice of super-fast edits and hand-cam action sequences. The story, characters and overall film was really enjoyable, but that visual style just took the edge off. That’s a purely personal choice clearly, and this movie was so far and above the old Bond stuff (and really, I thought I used to enjoy that stuff) that I can forgive it.

    I thought the sequel approach worked well and was a good move overall, and there were some subtle and not-so-subtle nose tweaks to previous Bond movies that I really liked.

    It will be a real shame when Craig moves on, and he’s already half hinted he’s not keen to do the next two (he signed up for 4 originally).

  19. I was dissappointed!
    I watched this movie last evening but wasn’t as good as the previous ones.The action scenes weren’t up to the mark as well as the villain was not a strong opponent of bond! This goes into one of the bad movies of Bond.

  20. I’d seen a raft of different actors in the Bond role by the time I first read one of Fleming’s novels. That was a ‘Whoa’ moment, I can tell you.

    The new Daniel Craig Bond is much closer to the original, and speaking as someone who can’t handle the way the movie industry regularly screws over their source material, I for one am rejoicing.

    (I realise it’s necessary to adapt novels to the screen, it’s just that they usually ‘adapt’ in the same way a ruddy great meteorite adapted the dinosaurs.)

  21. Re. computer interfaces: When they used that multi-touch table, it got me thinking about the horror of being a designer of funky tech for SF moviews.

    This interface seemed better or at least as good as the one in Minority Report – and MR is supposed to happen pretty far into the future. Of course, the police always seems to have to deal with 20 years old tech, so maybe it makes sense that way :)

    Oh, and about voice recognition. It seemed to me that they had that in the early scenes, where M is checking whether the CIA is interested in Greene. Either that or a bloody quick hidden operator somewhere.

    One of the things I liked about this movie was the fun attitude towards old Bond cliches. Bond not really knowing what he’s drinking in the plane bar, the Bond girl’s quaint first name not being revealed until the end credits. Stuff like that.

  22. Yeah, I grew up with the Pierce Brosnan bond. I have seen some of the Roger Moore and Connery Bonds and thought they were fun. But Daniel Craig just blows me away. Excellent interpretation of the character and both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace simply ruled.

  23. Kinda agree with you here Scalzi, actually I think I agree in every aspect. But at the same time, I think the good ol’ gadgets was a bit funzies, and I miss them a bit :p

  24. Meh. The action sequences at the beginning were nice, but they were never able to get back to that level at the end of the movie. The boss battle wasn’t as good as any of the opening action scenes.

    I don’t mind adding some sense of realism to the movies but James Bond is big, he deserves big movies. Wrecking DB9s and killing people over water rights in the middle of no where seems pretty small. “I’m Bond, James Bond, zoning inspector!”

  25. I liked QoS, and it strikes me that the first two Craig Bond films can be viewed as really one large story. Seen that way, the negatives of the second tend to disappear (those negatives include not being as strikingly innovative as Casino Royale).

    I do hope that the next flick in the franchise introduces a bit of lightness and humor; the near-constant intensity and darkness of these first two Craig turns as Bond got wearying at times. Do keep the darkness dominant; just let up for a minute or two at a time.

  26. I didn’t really like this movie.
    The new mean/lean Bond is great, but a movie is more than the sum of its concepts. there’s direction, and camera work, and the specifics of the plot… And this is where the new Bond film fails. the plot is sketchy, merely a construct to hang merely-competent (never original) action scenes on. Other than Bond, the characters were paper cutouts. I never got to CARE about anything happening on the screen in front of me… And the overused Michael-Bay style shaky-cam (there are other directors who use shaky cam… but they know how to do that, Forester doesn’t) didn’t help, and neither did the blatant product placement by Ford.
    Finally, the overall plot reminded me of the plot of Sahara, where a seemingly philanthropist millionaire is actually destabilizing third world countries and supports a local warlord in order to gain money by destroying the environment. I’m afraid Sahara did this better – the climax scene on the top of a solar power station was worthy of a Bond film, while QoS’s climax was rather pedestrian.

  27. I liked it, and I kinda miss Q at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, it shows Bond as someone who has to get things done without gadgets, and has to use his physical prowess and quick thinking to out perform the enemy at the time. It makes him a real person, and people can relate better to a real person, rather than some imaginary character.

    Also, Mr. Scalzi, I hope that I am the first to present this to you, and if not, oh well.

    http://gizmodo.com/5088786/bacon-iphone-case-is-most-savory-gadget-protector-yet

  28. Saw it yesterday. Enjoyed it too, although, as I mildly complained in my review, WTF is with the one sec shirtlessness and where are my swimming trunks? :)

    This new Angry Bond has been fun to watch. I like how all the hints of what he is to be are scattered through the story. I also thought the last lines were the most tongue-in-cheek anticipation of audience outrage:

    M (paraphrasing): “I want you back, Bond!”

    Bond:”I never left.”

    Cue in smarmy familiar much-missed by audience Bond music theme. The end.

    They know where they’re leading us, al(l)right.

  29. We went and saw it last night and loved it. We’d seen Casino Royale and loved it. We bought the DVD this week and watched it Friday night, which helped with COS a lot, because if you haven’t seen CR, COS is going to be a bit of a chore trying to figure out what’s going on.

    That said, I thought the early action chase was cut a little to jerkily, but aside from that, I thought it was great. The final scene with Matthis–no, I’m not saying what that is–made me think, “My God, they’ve decided to make Bond a recognizable human being. For for ‘em.”

  30. I could happily watch a fully clothed Daniel Craig read the phone book aloud. He has a powerful Steve McQueen vibe that I find compelling.

  31. So the critics are not only sex-and-gadget obsessed but they’re also chunky, which makes them really obnoxious. I guess.

  32. bensdad00@11: Sorry, but can’t agree with you there. I wouldn’t recommend those books to anyone. The portrayal of women (we have gays because women got the vote, you know. Also, women just loved to be raped–ask Vivienne Michel) in Fleming’s books makes them absolutely unreadable. To me, the Craig films take the suck out of the books by portraying women as people and Bond as a believable operative.

    My favorite things about QoS, in no particular order:

    1. Camille (ok, this one’s in order, because she was awesome).
    2. The way they at once paid homage to and dodged the whole gag about women’s names by not telling us Fields’ first name (check the credits).
    3. The witty little homage to GOLDFINGER
    4. The fact that the most advanced gadget we see him using in the field (Movie!OS aside) is a freakin’ leatherman.

  33. Justme – “phonebook movie” is a descriptor for any movie you’d go to see regardless of how sucky it is, but because you have a thing for one of the major actors in it, and would pay $10 to watch a movie of said actor reading a phonebook for two hours.

    What, there is a Bond after Sean Connery?

    Blessedly, yes. I realize this makes me some kind of geek traitor, but I didn’t much like Connery as Bond. Perhaps it’s just that the movies don’t age well.

  34. I actually sorta want Q to come back before Daniel Craig leaves, if only for a scene in which 007 treats the gadgets with the scorn they so richly deserve.

    Or for a reprise of the gadget tour from Stephen Colbert’s recent trip to the International Spy Museum.

  35. I liked it. Some really nice moments. Love Judi Dench’s M.

    But the big climactic action scene really bugged me. Worst building design ever. Someone should have told them, “hydrogen fuel cells” does not equal “Hindenburg.”

  36. I enjoyed the movie, but felt like it was missing something, perhaps a sense of urgency. There has to be something at stake, and I just didn’t get the sense that there was, at least in the short term. If things didn’t work out at the hotel, the villain would have moved on and Bond would have followed him to the next spot on the map. It clearly wasn’t a “make or break” moment for anyone. That just left me feeling a little flat.

  37. I’m a fan of Daniel Craig’s James Bond. So far as I’m concerned, he’s the best of the Bond actors (even including Connery). I can see Bond (as played by Craig), always thinking, judging the angles, never blinking in the face of certain death. The quick intelligence and sheer nerve of the character makes some of the death defying action seem more plausible, even if ridiculuous.

    Quantum was a great flick, expecially viewed as a continuation of Casino Royale. I’m anxiously awaiting the 3rd Craig Bond film.

  38. >>>laser-equipped watches and invisible cars

    What, no frikkin sharks with laser beams?

    I saw QoS and then saw Royale, so I could see the connection.

    I remember when I first saw the 2nd Bourne movie (still haven’t seen 1 & 2!), I thought, “This is what the Bond movies should have become.”

    But now, QoS seems like a Bourne Xerox.

    I haven’t (yet) read the Fleming books, so before I made a total ass of myself by doing a post about how I hated the new Bond, I asked people who had read the books. They all agree these two movies are closer to Fleming’s books. Fleming even had a variant on “The bitch is dead” line. I never realized the real Bond was like *that*. It’s pretty gruesome stuff.

  39. SubOdeon: Oh, I see.

    Geek has lost all negative connotations for me. Which is weird, since in high school, it was ever the perjorative.

    But yeah, I’ll go see this movie. That’s not a sentence I’d ever normally utter in response to a Bond film.

    With one exception, I never liked any of the James Bond movies.

  40. Haven’t seen QoS yet, but I loved Craig’s ~Casino Royale~ for the reasons you mentioned. Other benefits:

    –By its being somewhat more realistic, the sexiness of CR was also more charged than many of the Bond films. In other words, it was more of the sexiness that grown-ups associate with being around someone scorchingly attractive, rather than the faux-sexiness that teenage boys associate with having girlie posters (possibly of the Heavy Metal cover-art variety) tacked up on their walls.

    –Craig’s Bond is dashing and sexy like Brosnan’s and Connery’s, but he’s also (a) a problem drinker, and (b) somewhat sadistic. Again, this is much more realistic — and therefore compelling — than the cartoon-character Bonds who shoot and fight and drink and bag the babes with too much aplomb.

  41. I enjoyed QoS well enough while I was watching it, but had read a few reviews and so had my expectations lowered (whereas with The Dark Knight my expectations were rather higher and so I was disappointed).

    I think Craig is a good actor (I first noticed him in Copenhagen, where he is Walter Heisenberg and spends most of the time discussing nuclear physics with Stephen Rea’s Niels Bohr) and a fine Bond whose terse, wrapped-up and intense Bond works well.

    My main beefs with the film are:

    1) the editing is so fast and choppy, so that the action sequences look like they’ve been more faked than they were – the cutting so quick it appears to be trying to hide some flaw in the shooting. The “Making Of” footage I’ve seen sometimes seems more exciting and dangerous than what appeared in the finished film – for instance in the opening car chase – as you get a good sense of what is going on in the real world (albeit you can see the camera cars, cranes etc). This was also true of Casino Royale, where one early scene with a big pile of pipes breaking free and rolling around looked far more dangerous and exciting for the characters/stunt people in the “Making Of” footage than in the cramped, quick-cut telephoto shots in the finished movie.

    2) the plot was too often advanced through a series of verbal and short tell-don’t-show scenes with characters telling each other stuff, followed by a piece of action that itself usually didn’t particularly advance the story.

    The showdown is rather underpopulated for a Bond film, lacking in bodyguards, soldiers, redshirts &c. And overall it could have done with more pacing and a few more minutes to breathe.

  42. Bensdad00@11

    If I may dare to be guilty of a little psychological projection here – the reason you like the newer Bond FILMS is that they are exponentially closer – in both tone and style – to the Bond BOOKS:

    From wikipedia: “Quantum of Solace” is not a spy story and James Bond appears only in the background. Told in the style of W Somerset Maugham, the tale has Bond attending a boring dinner party at the Government House in Nassau, Bahamas with a group of socialites he can’t stand.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Your_Eyes_Only_(short_story_collection)#.22Quantum_of_Solace.22

    Yup, quite close there. (I know you mean in general theme; I just find the fact that this hardcore killin’ movie is ‘based off’ of a W Somerset Maugham pastiche hilarious.)

  43. I’ve seen CR, not QoS yet. Loved Casino Royale. But…

    I’m a bit concerned about Bond films becoming nothing more than spy movies. I like spy fiction and movies. Liked the Bourne films a lot. But Bond is MORE and by more I don’t mean the gadgets etc.

    Bond has panache, wit, sophistication. Yes, he’s deadly and has darkness in his soul, but he needs to go beyond the dour, brooding, highly competent spy. The wit can be mordant, but it needs to be there, as does the sophistication. I can see Craig layering this stuff into his Bond in the next few films, but of course that depends on the scripts.

  44. Ryan@ 45

    Tis but a quibble I know, but your point reinforces mine I think. Short stories of popular recurring characters give the author a change to ‘break the mold’ as it were and explore aspects of the characters environment and personality in a format and setting that minimizes the risk to the franchise while still allowing a fair degree of experimentation.

    To compare (in time tested analogy format!) –

    Quantum of Solace (written) is to Fleming’s Bond

    as

    Questions for a Soldier is to Scalzi’s Perry

    Am I off base here, JS?

  45. I’m just gonna go ahead and assume anyone reading this far has seen the movie.

    We actually see a lot more of Bond’s wit in the last two movies, at least defining “wit” as more than clever bon mots. Which is another development pushed by action movies, I think: anybody with muscles and a big gun can say something smart-assed after blowing away a villain.

    But it takes Bond to get them into a swanky hotel without blowing the official cover story Fields gave him. It’s Bond who is cosmopolitan enough to travel all over the world and speak the local language (remember him grinning at Mathis’s girlfriend’s tart comments in Italian?). He can figure out M’s first name and how to break into her apartment in CR, but he’s gentlemanly enough to apologize and treat M with respect.

  46. My favourite Bond was the unfairly-maligned Timothy Dalton, because he’d obviously read the novels (as was confirmed in interviews after I saw him in TLD and LTK); Sean Connery is the best actor overall out of them, but I always found him an overrated 007 (a little too much smirking for my taste). Daniel Craig has now officially surpassed Dalton in my estimation, because he delivers even more of the one quality that Connery, Moore, Lazenby and Brosnan showed far too little of: Genuine menace.

    I’m aware there are a lot of critics who seem to be under the impression the new leaner/tougher/marginally more plausible Bond is not what people come to Bond films for, but my two responses to that are

    a) speak for yourselves, you chunky sex-and-gadget obsessed dweebs, and

    b) considering the general financial success of the Craig Bond films (QoS is on target for something like $60 million domestic opening weekend, the best Bond debut yet) it seems that audiences are perfectly fine with them, too.

    Spot fucking on, sir!

  47. Some time ago, there were two Bond films out at nearly the same time, with two different actors. One was Octopussy, and I forget what the other was. Anyway, I saw them both. They were essentially the same movie with different actors and different gadgets. I asked a Bond fan if they were all the same that way, and he said they were. So, those are the only two I have seen.

    My opinion on how this one compared to others would be pretty much worthless, because I didn’t see it. But I can agree with the first part of The Scalzi’s post. The ones I did see were stupid.

  48. I couldn’t stand the movie. Because I can’t stand the constant exploitation of rape, threatened rape, or death of a woman as a convenient plot device. This movie had all three, plus a gratuitous shot up the almost-rape victim’s skirt for extra bonus exploitation. Right then, I didn’t want to shoot the General – I wanted to shoot the director.

    Amazing how I’ve not yet read a single review that points this out. I guess rape is just that normalized.

  49. Re. computer interfaces: When they used that multi-touch table, it got me thinking about the horror of being a designer of funky tech for SF moviews….

    I’m pretty sure the table was a Microsoft Surface; if it wasn’t, it was a clone. So the most obvious gadget in this one was actually current technology and not SF–which I thought was pretty cool. (The facial recognition software Bond uses with his cellphone is SF, but not too intrusive.)

    The problem I’ve had with the SF elements in the earlier Bond films is simply how they underscore the lack of continuity. I mean, if the U.S. had a fleet of space shuttles with space marines with laser guns in 1979, you’d think maybe it would have come up when Bond’s trying to blow up the laser satellite in Die Another Day or something; and yes, it’s weird that I can accept Bond not aging more easily than I can accept that he’ll have some swank gadget in one movie and then we’ll never hear of it ever, ever, ever again (unless it’s as some kind of cheap gag like Q’s supply closet in DAD).

    If NATO was concerned about criminal terrorists having undersea lairs and stealth space stations and sometimes even stealing spaceships and hiding them in volcanoes, you’d think it would have had an impact on budgets and national security plans; and if the Warsaw Pact (back in the day) had seen the NATO countries building fleets of submarines and space platforms, you’d think that would sort of have an impact on their funding.

    So maybe my problem really is that Bond was never SF enough: by the era of the Brosnans, you’d think all the stuff Moore was using would be available at Radio Shack and the spy stuff would be, like, indestructible armor made out of nanobots stored in a deodorant can and an antimatter beam fountain pen or something.

  50. They were essentially the same movie with different actors and different gadgets. I asked a Bond fan if they were all the same that way, and he said they were.

    A friend of mine went to see one of those films – might have been Octopussy – and when I asked him how it was, replied “I know this is a total spoiler, but what happens is that James Bond goes up against a megalomanic supervillain with a doomsday plan, and defeats the villain with the aid of a sexy female superspy and a lot of cool gadgets.”

  51. I loved it. Lots of layers, so you could just watch it as an action flick (great, except a tad too much hand-held work for my liking), or as Bond’s revenge (interesting, but a bit flat) or of the externalisation of Bond’s feelings for Vespa which he is suppressing through the film. M says “You’re still missing Vespa, aren’t you?” and Bond says no and goes and kills somebody. He goes through the denial and anger stages of grief in this film, denying he cares and then proving he does by killing people. Which is his job, after all.
    I love his brutality – I love the cold edge to his character, and in this film, I loved the villain, one of those creepy-attactive types that make your blood run cold but you can see would be an interesting prospect in bed.

  52. I’ve always wondered what other people think about the second Bond movie, From Russia With Love. It was a fairly good straight forward spy type movie with a minimum of Bond type gadgets. I think it was the best of the Connery Bond movies.

    George

  53. Actually, I found QoS to be sub-par in multiple respects. Overall, the problem could be quantified as this: the director desperately needs a prescription for Ritalin. He simply cannot provide a smooth story arc, a smooth camera shot, a smooth line or basically anything other than a jittering assault on the eyes. From the underwhelming initial action scene in which it is impossible to track the actual action, to the opening credits and tune, which was the closest I’ve ever heard rap come to a lullaby, to the contrived dialogue and personal conflicts, I found nothing in QoS which would have suggested it should be found anywhere other than the $5.00 bin at Wal-Mart. In fact, I’ve bought far better movies from said bin and had a much better time watching them.

    Unfortunately, this word will not get out to enough people in time, and opening weekend is sure to be a smash as people who enjoyed Casino Royale flock to the theater expecting a reprise of that excellence. The test will be what happens next weekend and the weekend after. I will be very surprised if QoS has “legs” to take it through three weeks at anywhere near the first weekend levels.

  54. KIA @57: Agreed. I loved Casino Royale, but I was so disinterested in the film at points that I started to count shot times. There was a point where Bond and Michel are talking in a dark bar (I think it was, the establishing shot was so brief) and the longest stretch of time between shots was around five seconds. Almost every three words that were spoken, we were treated to a new angle on a wonderfully quiet scene that didn’t need that kind of hyperactive editing. I was half expecting to see a shot of a man on a bicycle as a riff on Bunuel!

    Worse in one of the first action sequences where I honestly could not tell which dark blur was Bond and which was the bad guy. Was it… the guy in the black suit?

    Fields’ death was shocking but I didn’t know her enough to care (although she was gorgeous). Felix Leiter was reduced to scowling in all his scenes and none of the bad guys carried any real dramatic weight: Greene was foppish, El Jefe was a buffoon.

    There were some great moments and dialog, but this was the first Bond film I’ve seen where I was more interested in the governmental machinations than in what was happening to Bond.

  55. Monica@52

    Hedley Lamarr: Qualifications?
    Applicant: Rape, murder, arson, and rape.
    Hedley Lamarr: You said rape twice.
    Applicant: I like rape.

  56. George: personally, for whatever it’s worth, I think From Russia With Love is hands-down the best Bond movie in the franchise. I think the Craig movies could challenge it, but I’d like to wait and see how they age. (I remember thinking the Daltons were good, but they’ve aged really badly and haven’t held up, so I’m holding off before I call the newest ones the best, though I loved ‘em both.)

    In another online discussion, a friend pointed out that a lot of hardcore fans and critics consider Goldfinger the best. I can see their point, and Goldfinger is made of awesome, but I’ll stand by Russia as my personal pick.

  57. Saw it Saturday afternoon, was sad not to get the Trek trailer with it. Did get the Spirit trailer, which had me torn between “God, Gabriel Macht gets Denny Colt’s body language and expressions” and “OH FRANK MILLER NO.”

    I’m kind of intrigued about QUANTUM the organization. They have some very fancy gear– those lovely earpieces shaped like Qs– and they’ve thoroughly penetrated MI6. I just don’t know if EON Productions are actually going to commit to an evil Q Branch/ rogue Q plotline, given that QUANTUM are replacing SMERSH/ SPECTRE. It just seems a little too coincidental to me.

  58. 1) the editing is so fast and choppy, so that the action sequences look like they’ve been more faked than they were – the cutting so quick it appears to be trying to hide some flaw in the shooting.

    ITA — I hugely admire Christopher Nolan (and after The Dark Knight has grossed the GDP of a small African nation, he will be able to do anything he wants) but the guy can’t direct or cut action for shit. Slapping in a crash cut and pyrotechnics ever half second is one way to fake up energy or momentum, but some of us can only take so much migraine medication in a two-hour period without serious side effects.

    b) considering the general financial success of the Craig Bond films (QoS is on target for something like $60 million domestic opening weekend, the best Bond debut yet) it seems that audiences are perfectly fine with them, too.

    Then again, I do wonder who impressed we really should be by those grosses when 1) the budget is reportedly north of $230 million — and the marketing blitzkrieg can’t be cheap either. And movie tickets sure aren’t a dime any more.

    One of the really surprising thing about the early Bonds — given the franchise’s latter reputation as a bloated money pit thanks to the gadgets and location shoots etc. — is how much was done with, relatively speaking, sweet stuff all. In 1962, a million dollars (Doctor No’s budget) wasn’t exactly chump change. But it was hardly lavish either.

  59. Saw Quantum of Solace last Sunday, and I thought it played basically like the second half of Casino Royale. I loved it – the same hard core Bond, closer to the books as others have said, updated for the 21st Century but the man himself still a dinosaur.

    I was on the edge of my seat for a good half of the movie, and I liked both that it didn’t always hit you over the head with the details of the plot, and that the actual plot details have a basis in events that actually happened in reality.

    Scotte@42: “Geek” can be used pejoritively?! That’s crazy talk.

  60. I agree about the Daniel Craig movies being at leas a bit more plausable than all the Bond movies since Sean Connery left. It got to the point where I refused to see any of them. I was amazed at how fast Bond’s face healed in the new movie however…maybe Q is still around but got left on the cutting room floor.

  61. Maybe it’s a generational thing, John, but Craig looks to me like he ought to be the villain in a Bond film. I like him fine in other films, but he ain’t Bond. And Tim Dalton was plenty able to kill people; he had a mean edge when he needed it. As for Roger Moore, I’ll always think of him as Simon Templar.

  62. Looks like I’m repeating others, but:

    – really enjoyed the movie (even if I had to see it from the second row, looking STRAIGHT UP).
    – I like Daniel Craig as Asshole Bond.
    – For an action movie, the action scenes were horrible. Couldn’t see any of them, couldn’t figure most of them out, because they decided to blur the, well, you know, Action. The opening chase in particular, with two black cars on a black background with drivers in black cut every two seconds – I still don’t know who was what, and what actually happened, except that one car blew up and the other had Bond in it. I kept waiting for them to finish so I could get back to the story. Speaking of which:
    – I like the story. I believe the story.
    – I like that kind of cartoony villain; not the bombastic, “One MILLION DOLLARS” guy, but the Bill Gates, who can do society, but with an ulterior motive guy.
    – Yeah, bits of it don’t work if you haven’t seen CR.
    – Three words: Dame Judi Dench…

  63. Oh, and the “Canadian Spy agency” woman at the end – well, I’m Canadian. What can I say?

    (Sorry for the doublepost)

  64. No gadgets? No gadgets?? Dude could I.D. people with his cell phone at unspeakably long distances and little to no lighting. Gimme that phone!

    I mean, technically it’s feasible I suppose but still! Still! The techgeek in me was shrieking “unpossible!” while the Bondgeek in me was shrieking “it’s a gadget! Who are these people saying the film has no gadgets??”

    I’m glad they ditched the deus ex gadgeta that pervaded the Bond genre. It crept a little into CR, and was the only part of the plot I rolled my eyes over (the whateveritwas that he restarted his heart with).

    All in all, I didn’t like QoS as much as CR, but I still liked it, and it was still better than any of the Brosnan run. Also, the juxtaposition of the hotel-on-fire in QoS and the building-under-water of CR were nice.

  65. “I’m glad they ditched the deus ex gadgeta that pervaded the Bond genre. It crept a little into CR, and was the only part of the plot I rolled my eyes over (the whateveritwas that he restarted his heart with).”

    They have those in boxes on the wall all over my building, except for the telemetry part. We live in the future and I want my rocket car.

  66. You’re right, Steph: the facial recognition was pretty gadgety. And, like I said, the high-tech shiny table actually wasn’t, ironically enough.

    Manny: I think Craig is signed for #3, but not for any more, though he’s making some noises like he might not be back for #3 (probably a money thing–hope it doesn’t bite him in the ass). O’course that doesn’t mean he won’t be around for a #4, just that they’d probably have to back the proverbial dump truck full of cash up to his front door….

  67. I loved the trailer, and the movie was pretty great.

    (slight spoiler) I liked how M is called “Mum” or “Ma’am” by her underlings, as if that’s what it stands for. Her character in the Brosnan-Bond movies often complained about being a woman in a man’s world. I think she’s firmly ensconced in MI6 now, and she’s come to terms with her identity as both a woman and a spymaster, and more importantly, so has the rest of her agents. All her agents except for those pesky Quantum moles, of course.

    I can’t wait for BOND 3: SHAKEN NOT STIRRED (or, perhaps, A CRAPTON OF SOLACE) to come out. I hope it has a little more intrigue and super-sleuthing, and that the action scenes are shot more like Casino Royale than Quantum of Solace.

  68. I’m hanging on the “Dislike” side of the fence. Nothing against the people who liked it.

    I’ll preface my little review here with this: I loved Casino Royale, and I think Craig is a fantastic Bond. That said, I did not like the James Bourne: Quantum Identity movie. You read right. I think the filmmaker’s copied just a bit too much from the recent Bourne movies. Enough that it stood out in my brain. The movie started out of the gate with a billion cut sequence that took the notion of fast cuts way too far. The Bourne movies had just the right level of speedy cuts. It went with the behavior of the character, creating the correct atmosphere for Bourne. Bond is a different sort of Spy, to me. Honestly, I like the Bourne movies more, just because that is my kind of story telling. But I respect James Bond’s right to be its own creative entity. This isn’t a race to see who can cut more times in a movie.

    More over, I felt kind of horse raced through the story, unable to invest any interest in most of the characters because they appeared and died so fast I didn’t catch there names. Like, that guy with the dramatic dialogue who dies right after the party- I can’t remember his name, and I saw him for maybe 10 minutes before realizing he was apparently important. Plus, I like watching Bond seduce women. I know its going to happen, its not a surprise or anything, but really, I did want to see it. Instead we see him walk into the room with the redhead, Fields, and then cut two seconds later and its been done already. Poor pacing.

    I will admit that there were strong elements in the film. I do like that they’ve decided to make a direct sequel bond. Its fresh. Bond needed something spicy to get him from the Brosnan era to the Craig era without it flopping and in that department they did wonderfully. I did like that they were unafraid to show the Americans as quasi-bad guys. Again, nobody disputes Craigs ability to be Bond. I do look forward to the next one despite feeling a bit unsatisfied with this installment. All I ask is that they don’t stylistically copy Jason Bourne, cause there is absolutely no need.

    I apologize for my long wind.

  69. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Quantum of Solace either a short story or made up of some of Fleming’s shorts?

    There is a bit more that the writers would have had to connect to make it into something film worthy. I thought they did that. And Daniel Craig is on par with Sean Connery. They’re both built like bricks and go for the “I’m not afraid of some dirt,” unlike Moore and Brosnan. . .and that other dude. . .whats-his-face.

    I do miss Q, the Welsh guy with too many L’s in his name (Llewellyn?). I miss some of the gadgetry because it was so much fun. Like the car with the flipping license plates for whatever country you’re in. The “simple” toys. I don’t need super fancy whatevers. I wasn’t surprised to see MI:6 with huge gadgetry, but that’s headquarters, not Bond-gadgets.

    Also, Daniel Craig is much more calculating. If you watch him, you can see the wheels turning in his head. Perhaps in real life it’s “okay, I have to jump left then my stunt double goes there, and I have to be over on that balcony for a close up” rather than “How do I chase that guy and not break my leg?”

    I love the various versions of Bond we’ve seen. I like the less pretty ones, because being a spy gets ugly.

  70. [small spoiler]

    Meh. I thought it was alright, but it didn’t have the style or pacing of the first film. But worst of all, WORST, was the villain. Like a friend said, it was surprising to actually see him fight Bond at the end of the movie. This little wimp is capable of throwing a punch? What? He was the most unvillainous villain I’ve ever seen – barely even an appetizer for Disney’s Cruella de Vil.

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