M@Movies: Bond, James Bond.
November 17th, 2008

Posted by Matt

Casino Royale was a great Bond film in many regards.  It introduced Daniel Craig as the new, “darker, grittier” Bond.  It was strongly character driven.  The action sequences were intense, and fast paced, but done almost entirely without the aid of CG, so despite their grand scale, they were believable.  But more than that, it showed us what a Bond movie could be if it stepped outside the formula. Gone was Roger Moore’s Bond, parodying the espionage genre that Connery’s Bond had helped to popularize. Gone also was Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, assaulting our sensibilities with action elements more befitting of xXx than 007.  Casino Royale was a compelling, intelligent Bond film, atypical in nearly every way.  This may be why I found Quantum of Solace to be such a disappointment. They established Craig as a ‘different kind of Bond’ and then proceeded to drop him back into a very standard Bond film.

Now, let me be clear, I enjoyed QoS a great deal.  I do not mean to imply that it is a bad film.  In fact, I would even go so far as to call it one of the better bond fims. My problem with it is that despite being a stong Bond film, it’s still just a Bond film.  It brings nothing new to the table, and it is formulaic to almost the point of cliche. 

The plot picks up 20 minutes after the end of Casino Royale, with bond evading his persuers, and bringing Mr. White before M for interrogation.  Mr. white informs them that there is a secret organization pulling the strings of international crime, an organization that MI6 knows nothing about.  Bond sets off to get revenge on the members of this organization for Vesper’s death,  and in the process, stumbles on to a plot by one of them to arrange a military coup. Along the way, he meets women, drives cars, boats, and planes, attends parties, and kills badguys.

Taken as the second half of Casino Royale, the film makes sense.  And, I get why they did it. It’s the perfect conclusion to Casino Royale within the established bond universe.   This movie was all about linking Casino Royale’s Bond with the hardened, womanizing Bond we’ve always known him to be.  It’s about taking him from being a three dimensional, emotive character, and making him two dimensional carachture. It’s about establishing the beginning of Bond’s adventures. And it performs this role admirably.  Craig’s Bond fits beautifully within the classic formula.  Thinking back on it though, I kind of wish they hadn’t gone this route.  It’s the easy way out.  Taken as one film, QoS is a very generic Bond movie.  It holds a place with Dr. No, The Living Daylights, and You Only Live Twice as what we might expect from a typical Bond film, but fails to acheive the hights of Goldeneye, Thunderball, or Casino Royale.

It’s a good film, and I vehemently encourage everyone to go see it.  It’s a lot of fun, and there’s a lot there for bond fans.  The action is still top notch (although there was more CG than I was happy with), the story is well constructed and believable, and the characters interesting.   It’s just a shame that despite the cast and crew’s attemts to distance themselves from the catchphrase, they made a film that is very much “Bond, James Bond.”


12 Comments »

  1. A rather intelligent review. I’ll let you know if I agree with you once I’ve seen it. And you’ve definitely increased the piquedness of my interest.

    (Heh, piquedness. Awesome.)

    Comment by Tim — November 17, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  2. I disagree completely but have not the time at the moment to articulate a proper response. In its place I will make some derogatory remark about your parentage.

    Comment by Cybren — November 17, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  3. Wow. What a great review.

    Comment by Shandi — November 17, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  4. The movie felt more like a Bourne movie than a Bond movie.

    Comment by Lord Chrusher — November 17, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

  5. So let me get this straight, Quantum of Solace was not made by LoadingReadyRun? Yet you still expect it to not be totally horribly bad?

    I you want to see something cool, take Ijon Tichy:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=iJjqnAheMDc

    Comment by Casandro — November 18, 2008 @ 1:10 am

  6. I have to say I agree with you pretty much completely. Adding on to Lord Crushers comment, there were parts of the movie that seemed to be taken directly out of the later two Bourne Movies, namely the roof tops in Spain. Also the style of filming in action sequences which was very jittery and sometimes made it a bit hard to make out what was happening seemed very Bourne.

    Comment by Whatchamabiscut — November 18, 2008 @ 8:15 am

  7. who said Matt knew anything about good movies? the problem with james bond movies is… just that, they can never live past being a james bond movie, its a very limiting factor.

    Comment by Corax — November 20, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  8. That’s not true at all, I thinkCasino Royale proved that Bond movies *Can* be much more, if they cast off the clichees laid out before them.

    Comment by Matt — November 21, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  9. If it looks and feels like a Bourne movie, I think I’m going to <stronglove it. Seriously, I think those are the best action movies ever made.

    Comment by Tim — November 21, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  10. The problem is that it isn’t a Bourne film. It’s a Bond film that tries to be a Bourne film, and in my opinion fails at both. There’s no charm in this movie, no suavity. Things just happened with no rhyme or reason. Fields, for example, went from hating Bond to being in his bed after he asked her where the post-it notes are. Craig is not Connery, he can’t just do that.

    Comment by Master Gunner — November 21, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  11. To Master Gunner. Thats the point.

    It shows Bonds evolution. Casino Royale was a prequel to the others and QoS is a direct Sequel to that film. The whole thing with Fields shows Bond becoming the Suave man that Connery set for him.

    Comment by xGHOVOx — November 24, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  12. i personally thought you only live twice was an awesome bond film, and goldeneye mediocre. anyway…

    i think that the bond series has largely fallen over since they went from using the books as a basis to writing their own scripts. bond has gone from a professional (a womanizing, somewhat immoral, very witty professional) agent to a revenge motivated killer who just happens to be employed by MI6.

    to that extent, i rarely have high expectations these days for JB films.

    Comment by Sir_Substance — November 24, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

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