After the critically acclaimed and much successful 'Casino Royale' I had hopes that 'Quantum of Solace' could rival this years best movie so far: 'The Dark Knight'. Well... it doesn't even come close.
There use to be a time when Bond movies where trendsetting...
I remember when director Doug Liman some time ago said he wanted to make "Bond for a new generation" - so he dug up Jason Bourne. Several received Oscars and years later, we now have the Bond franchise mimicking the Bourne franchise instead. How ironic. If you are a Bond fan like me, and - when the endcredits roll - think to yourself that the movie you just saw had more in common with the last two Bourne-movies, than the first 21 Bond-movies, then you know there's a problem!
On paper Quantum of Solace may be a Bond movie. But many of those things that people use to associate with Bond movies are gone. Some for no obvious purpose or reason.
It wasn't enough for them to take away Moneypenny, Q, the gadgets, the humor and witticism, his "shaken, not stirred", the line "my name is Bond, James Bond." They even ditched the famous opening gunbarrel-sequence, and you won't hear the James Bond theme right until the very end (as in Casino Royale which - besides being 40 minutes longer - "felt" more like a Bond movie)
And what's up with this new style of filming and editing?
Well, they hired the editor, the stuntteam and 2nd unit director of... yes, you guessed it - the Bourne movies. So do not under any circumstance buy tickets for the first 10 rows - you will regret it. I was sitting in the 15th row at an advance fan-screening and even there I would be reaching for my seasickness-pills if I had any.
Because with this annoying new MTV-style editing (which is suppose to add "realism") known from the Bourne-movies with shaking hand-held cameras in which you have a hard time following what really is happening on screen, especially in a crowded surrounding, you will be better off sitting as far back as possible in the theatre. Luckily this style is - unlike Bourne 2 and 3 - not incorporated into every single scene in Quantum of Solace. Far from it. But it's there, and it's very annoying, in my opinion. It actually ruined much of the first two action set-pieces for me, and by then we were only 30 minutes into the movie.
Quantum of Solace is very fastpaced, like a Bourne/Bond-movie should be. We jump from location to location, actionsequence to actionsequence. It can be very confusing watching Bond on a rampage still dealing with "personal issues" (like Bourne). Bourne Ultimatum had a rooftop-chase. So does Quantum of Solace. Bourne Ultimatum had a fistfight in a small cluttered apartment filmed the way I mentioned earlier. Well, so does Quantum of Solace. How original!
It's like they took some of the best parts of the two last Bournemovies and said "let's do almost the exact same thing and add something more, like letting him fly a plane." So Bond does that, in what I think is the second-best part of the movie. The best part for me, was oddly enough not an actionsequence, but when Bond for once does some real spywork on a floating operastage accompanied by a great music score. Very Bondian.
For this, for Dennis Gassners terrific production design, for David Arnolds usual great score and for Craigs cool performance, I give it six stars.
A note to the producers of the Bond movies: Now that you played around with Bourne, can we have 007 back for Bond 23, please?