15 November 2008


Still a sexy beast, if a little addled

November 14 at Flickr.comThe iconic James Bond "shoot at the camera" montage doesn't appear until the end of Quantum of Solace, and that's a good summation of the whole movie: it's fun, but things aren't quite in the right place. In fact, by the time it's over, it seems a bit like a Bond movie trailer that lasts almost two hours.

A couple of years ago I raved about Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's first Bond appearance. Quantum isn't as good. It strays too far into Jason Bourne land, where the fights are all dizzying intercuts, the scenes flit around the world almost randomly (Italy, Britain, Haiti, Austria, Bolivia, Russia...), and the various secondary players are so corrupt that there's nearly no one left to root for. There's something emotional missing, and by the time it's over you wonder a little what most of the movie had to do with Bond's end goal.

I'm not saying I didn't like the film. Craig remains extraordinary in the role, steely and taut. There's a lot of clever editing, implying what happens rather than showing it. The action scenes—including chases on foot, in boats, in cars, and on aircraft—spark with energy, even if they occasionally confuse. By the end, you know more about why Bond is who he is, and there's a nice little joke about Canadians, presumably by Canadian lead writer Paul Haggis. Overall, my wife and I enjoyed it.

But next time, the filmmakers need to go back to Casino Royale and figure out why that movie didn't just spark, but was refreshingly, blazingly on fire. They have a good thing going, but they've got to keep it going.

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