Rewatched Jul 15, 2012
Silent J’s review:
It's been a fun ride, but my journey to watch every single 007 film has ended now that I've rewatched the twenty-second Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
Unlike other Bond films, this is a direct sequel to Casino Royale. In fact the only other direct sequels in the Bond franchises are From Russia With Love and Diamonds Are Forever (a slight sequel though). This film's predecessor, Casino Royale, was an outstanding return to form for the franchise and in my opinion the very best Bond film. It left plenty questions wide open for a bigger story and left me wanting more. Unfortunately, we got more in Quantum of Solace and it's disappointing to say the least.
While Quantum of Solace is nowhere near as impressive as Casino Royale, Daniel Craig is just as excellent as James Bond. While in the last film he played a man still in the process of becoming the James Bond we all know and love, here he is 100% Bond an he is just as fantastic. Even if the material he's given is weak, Craig manages to make it work. He's charming, he's brutal, he's ruthless, he's cruel, and he's cool. Literally, the complete embodiment of the character Ian Fleming imagined in his novels. The more I see from him, the closer he is to becoming my all time favorite Bond.
The main Bond Girl is Bolivian agent Camille Montes played by Olga Kurylenko. She's a good, interesting character and Kurylenko does a decent job in the role. Not as memorable as past Bond Girls but she's not bad either. There's also Gemma Arterton as Agent Strawberry Fields, who is something left more to be desired. Arterton is pretty bad in the role but much of that has to do with the script. The character isn't handled very well and on top of being poorly developed, she just comes an goes like that *snaps fingers*. If she's gonna come and go so fast then what's the point of her character? It makes her a bit generic if you ask me. I would also like to praise the fantastic supporting cast of Giancarlo Giannini as René Mathis, Jeffery Wright as Felix Leiter, and especially Judi Dench as M. The smartest decision director Marc Forster made while making this was giving M more screen time. What makes her so interesting is not only how much of a mentor and motherly figure she is to James Bond but how she's probably the only woman (other than Moneypenny) Bond has never been sexually attracted to. The two again share terrific chemistry and it's great to see their relationship evolve as the films go on.
The main villain is Dominic Greene played by Mathieu Amalric. The villain is neither a threat nor particularly memorable. He's just a generic Hollywood villain who only has a plan so he can predictably be thwarted by the hero in the end. It also seems like Amalric underperforms in the role, which is kinda understandable. The script does'nt give him much to work with and it's hard to do anything when your script does'nt give you anything to do.
You might have realized I've used the word "generic" a lot in this review. Well, that's because it is and it's even more noticeable on repeat viewing. Not just a generic Bond film, but a generic film altogether. Like you could easily replace Daniel Craig with Jason Statham and call this Transporter 4 and you'd probably get the same result. It's not just generic because it isn't as good as Casino Royale, but the script is just so messy, handles the characters poorly, and lacks a story. It's just slambang action. Some of which rips off the action in Casino Royale minus the emotional resonance. Sometimes it feels like the action happens for no reason while the high octane action looks great, there's nothing that keeps you interested in it to care. The film trades what made the last film so smart with bad writing and good action. Still, the soundrack is great, a lot of the action scenes are pretty impressive, much of the cast is impressive, and Daniel Craig is especially impressive as James Bond.
Well, it looks like this Bond series is over. It feels great and it was fun to get through all of these films and to see every Bond film. This recent film is less of a band and more of a whimper, but that doesn't change the fact that this is one of the greatest franchises out there and it's amazing how long it's lasted. Not many franchises can go on for 50 years like this one and I would'nt mind if it lasts another 50 years. Now I'm just eagerly anticipating Skyfall...