Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quantum of Solace - A Shaken and Stirred Mixture

I'd heard mumbled comparisons with the Bourne films in reference to the new James Bond outing, Quantum of Solace. Those are not untrue, but nor are they pervasive. 

Action scenes never seem to get to quite the bone-crunching levels they did in Casino Royale, but they are frequent and kinetic, with a couple of early ones offering the blur and bash of Bourne. Things happen so fast your senses require a few frames to catch up. To me that wasn't disappointing at all because things were soon settled into a nice plot-to-action ratio with some Bond-cool chases and battles.

Fleming forever
Happily the new film follows the tone of the Royale reboot, with just a few light touches of past Bond flavor or twists on the old style. We get a red-haired character named Strawberry Fields, as Flemingesque a character name as we've heard since Holly Goodhead, and there's a repeat of the by-the-book--the book being Fleming's Casino Royale--cocktail recipe, which cements that as the replacement for "shaken, not stirred." It's actually a bartender who utters the description this time as a slightly-soused 007 asks "What am I having?"

There's also an homage moment with oil replacing a different precious resource and a set-piece ending both down-to-earth and as extravagant as the best of the set-piece endings in the Bond film canon.

Solace also offers a quality baddie in the person of Mathieu Amaric as Mr. Greene, less grotesque than a Goldfinger but almost as sadistic as Casino's Le Chiffre.

Daniel Craig remains fabulous and grim as bond in his second outing. He is Bond, without question. I'm up for more installments with him in the lead.

Overall, a nice mixture of new formula and old, and a nice early kickoff to the holiday movie season.


Charles Gramlich said...

Seems I've mostly heard negative reviews of this one. I'm sure I'll watch it when it comes out on PPV. I really do like the title for sure. One of Fleming's best.

Steve Malley said...

I still have to wait a few days for it to come out here. Definitely going big-screen with it, though!

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