As a huge supporter of "Casino Royale" and its return to a darker, bolder, more book like Bond I was insanely excited for "Quantum Of Solace". After watching it for only the second time (the first was opening day in theaters), I still have trouble comprehending this film. The best way for me to describe my Bond fanaticism and its reaction to "Quantum" is this: if Bond films were delicious cakes, "Quantum" would be an uncooked one. Yes, like the others, all the ingredients are there, but the process for making it seems to be skewed and unfinished. This film is only half cooked and if suffers greatly from it.
STORYLINE: Bond (Craig) is making a run for sanctuary with a mysterious Mr. White locked in his trunk. It's only a short time after the events of "Casino Royale" and Bond is continuing his mission to discover who was the organization behind the events that lead to Vesper's (and coincidentally his own personal love's) death. When Bond discovers that this organization, Quantum, leads to a quite well respected Mr. Greene (Amalric) and a odd deal of land he is trying to acquire in Bolivia, he finds himself on track to find a way into the evil organization and perhaps onto a larger plan to start collecting one of the world's most valuable resources.
PLOT 2/5: Firstly, this is the first ACTUAL Bond sequel of the series. Which sort of leaves an odd taste in my mouth initially. The storyline is solid but fails to achieve its 'own' feeling like it should have. It really feels like a tacked on extension and over-complication of "Casino Royale", never really garnering its own story. When it does try to, it never goes far enough. The idea that Quantum is after water control is kind of a cool motivation for this film, but it feels like a side plot and is treated like a bastard child detail that is irrelevant to Bond's quest. This in turns makes the entire film a character arc for Bond where the actual plot is a second thought. Where the character arc is being tacked on to what happened in "Casino Royale" and not its own new leap. This undermines the entire experience of seeing a Bond film. It still retains that darker, more serious Bond that I love so much, but fails to feel like a Bond film at all. It has all the right elements but none of the right execution. It puts all the right ingredients in the bowl to make the cake, but fails to actually bake it to finish it off. Which is a very frustrating experience. It has it moments, but they are fleeting.
BOND 3.5/5: This is easily the highlight of the film even though its flawed occasionally. Craig once again easily manifests the Bond that this reviewer loves with his quiet cold demeanor and take no shit attitude. Unfortunately, Craig is given far less to work with as a character this time around and many scenes that could have been super impactful fall flat. The death of Mathis. The final moments with Camille in the burning hotel. They just don't allow the same subtle work that made "Casino Royale" work like it did. Occasionally it can be pulled off like in the scene at the end at the Russian hotel with its final moments, but overall its a great performance for a underdeveloped focus of the film.
VILLAIN 1/5: Mr. Greene. Oh Mr. Greene. You were neither a physical or mental threat to the great Mr. Bond. Amalric did a solid job giving us a performance of a rather quirky Napoleon-like man, but once again the writing fails him massively. When he threatens it never really feels like he could pull it off like he says. Mr. White would have been a much better villain as he steals his one moment in the beginning of the film. Quantum is supposed to be the new SPECTRE but fails to live up to its predecessor in many ways, including its over-reaching web of people for which Greene is supposed to be the face of. Greene is just whiny and very light on the actual evil-ness. Not to mention he has no real henchman to help any of his faults.
BOND GIRL 2/5: Camille is ex-secret service and completely helpless to the entire film in plot and execution. The acting was solid but nothing to write home about and her character comes off as a wishy washy element that fails to intrigue or help with Bond's personal character arc (for which the film focuses). She also seems to be a second thought to the film and it just destroys any kind of relevance she was supposed to hold to an audience. I could have cared two shits if she got her revenge or even survived. Better than wishing her dead like Goodnight, I suppose.
Forster obviously was out to prove he could make an action film with "Quantum Of Solace" of which he did. What he didn't make was a Bond film. His modern style of action, too many quick cuts, undermines the sequences into a flurry of 'what the hell just happened' for the audience and makes the film feel more like a Bourne picture than Bond. He gets some of the nice visual queues right, but gets too many of the details wrong. Like the location names being done in odd fonts. What?! This, partnered with its weak writing that tries to re-write the Bond formula instead of re-inventing it like "Casino Royale" did makes for a weak Bond viewing experience. One massive disappointment. We just get the batter instead of the cake. Not the same.
BONUS RANT: This has got to be one of the worst Bond songs in history too topping the charts with its simplicity and failure to actually capture the Bond mood. Just one more thing massively disappointing with this film.
Written By Matt Reifschneider