For some reason Quantum of Solace, the most-recent outing of super-spy James Bond, got lukewarm reviews when it came out in theaters. I’m not sure why that was since I actually quite enjoyed it and even thought it was an improvement over 2006’s Casino Royale.
Picking up right, more or less, where that previous movie left off, Daniel Craig once again stars as the new stripped-down and highly intense version of Bond the first movie introduced us to. He’s on a mission to not only uncover some shadowy, nebulous organization that specializes is toppling governments and exploiting natural resources but also to – although he doesn’t admit as much – to avenge the death of Vesper, the girlfriend he lost in the previous installment.
The nature of the plot doesn’t really matter though. Quantum of Solace needs to be viewed as the second half of a single film, one who’s primary purpose is to introduce this version of James Bond and give him a mythos of his own as someone who is emotionally damaged and brutal in pursuit of his goals, which often seem personal but which also have the advantage of meshing nicely with those of Queen and country.
Watching Craig as Bond is even more enjoyable this time than it was in Casino Royale. We know better who this guy is now and can read more into his aggressively passive expressions. It’s also more interesting to see him in the movie’s series of chases and action sequences. I found myself thinking over the course of the movie that he reminded me of Indiana Jones in how he escapes not because of some master plan he’s worked out, but instead because he just happened to survive from one moment to the next, not thinking about anything beyond the next ledge he’s going to leap to and he’ll figure out the next move once he’s there.
There’s never really a moment that doesn’t work in Quantum of Solace. Not only are the action scenes great to watch but the quieter moments (if you can call them that) – especially the ones with Dame Judy Dench as M – are pretty good as well. Dench is basically given the same two things to do over and over again – scold Bond and remind him of his duties or look up information based on Bond’s latest discovery – but she sells them with her usual class and talent.
Quantum of Solace comes with a host of bonus features on the two-disc special edition DVD, including:
- Bond on Location: All about the exotic locales and how they play into the story of the movie.
- Start of Shooting: Very brief featurette about the shooting of the movie.
- On Location: More about the settings. Not sure why this wasn’t just rolled into the 20+ minute first bit.
- Olga Kurylenko and the Boat Chase: Covering one of the key action sequences in the film.
- Director Marc Forster: How the man behind the camera did on his first time out.
- The Music: Self-explanitory
- Crew Files: Likewise.
As I said, Quantum of Solace needs to be viewed as the second half of a single story and it works as just that. Well worth checking out.