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Monday, November 17, 2008


ModFab On...Quantum of Solace

Yeah, I've read the reviews of Quantum of Solace, poo-pooing the film as an inferior Xerox of its predecessor in the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale. I've heard the dismayed sighs of film critics over the series-best weekend grosses, tut-tutting as the audiences ignore their downward-pointing thumbs. I've heard it. I've heard it all.

And so what. As a Bond fan for over twenty years -- my first Bond adventure in a movie theatre was For Your Eyes Only, and I've seen all 21 previous installments multiple times on DVD and on television -- I see the critical disconnect and yawn. For Bond fanatics, there are only two essential truths in the universe. One: Lazenby was underrated. Two: critics know absolutely nothing.

Quantum Of Solace eschews some Bondian staples -- no gadgets, no Q, no Moneypenny, the wrong beverage -- and it owes more of a karmic debt, in stylistic terms, to Paul Greengrass' Bourne Supremacy than to the amused elegance of Sean Connery. But make no mistake: Quantum is a quintessential chapter in the Bond franchise, marvelously mixing style, action, sex, and dramatic tension in fantastical proportions.

The film also confirms the choice of Daniel Craig, who raised eyebrows four years ago when named the new 007. In Craig's hands, Bond has become a fascinatingly scarred creature, an automaton whose programming has veered wildly off course. Commanding even when reckless, brutal in a way Ian Fleming never imagined, Craig owns the character so completely that he is able to tinker with its underpinnings. And what a pleasure that tinkering is to watch -- after five decades, the one thing Bond desperately needed was some serious unpredictability.

Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) may not be the most assured hand when it comes to action sequences, but his ear for dialogue and eye for character endow Quantum with more clarity and precision than one usually expects from blockbusters. (Side note: between this, Dark Knight, and Iron Man, 2008 has been one helluva year for well-structured action flicks.) Casting Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) as a life-sized corporate villain also hones Quantum's effectiveness; for perhaps the first time in franchise history, a coterie of unassailable acting talent has surrounded the secret agent (Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini) which elevates and sharpens both the man and the movie. Mere escapism gives way to a raw, visceral entertainment, an ethos that satisfies far deeper than one imagined.

So...suck it, critics. Bond isn't back...because in truth, he never left. But he is better, leaner, meaner, and far more badass than he's ever been before. Someone pass the popcorn.
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Blogger frandy said...

It is a never look for bond series. Action and strength both were implement much by the story it self. Discovering method used by the director to guild to movie bond in to revenge. It was an fantastic achievement as far as the bond movies concern. http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com is where I have seen it and when days go by it will be most discussed topic in the arena.

11/17/08, 1:07 AM  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Do I take it that you did not repudiate movie reviewing, as you were semi-threatening to do a few weeks ago? If so, I'm even gladder about this than I am that you liked Quantum of Solace. But I am glad about that, because when Tim and I saw it a couple weeks ago in London, we thought it was pretty thrilling, but then all the reviews were so ho-hum. I'm totally with you: sure, it isn't perfect, but it sure is mighty spiffy. (My review)

11/17/08, 1:17 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

You know, I did enjoy this film, but not as Bond film. I enjoyed it, certainly, as an action film...but then, I felt cheated when I left the theater because I paid for James Bond and that is not the movie delivered. And that, I think, is what the critics are really commenting on: the 007 series being such a successful staple and this film is, ultimately, moving away from it. Bond films aren't just an entry into the action genre. Bond films, really, have become their own genre. The Bourne series is not James Bond, just as Mission: Impossible is not James Bond, but then, we don't pay to see cheap imitations or failed reproductions of a James Bond film (or perhaps, we don't pay to see an entry into the James Bond genre). We pay to see a James Bond movie, something entirely different from an action movie, which is, sadly, what Quantum of Solace is.

11/17/08, 2:08 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Nick...sigh. I'm trying. Trying to get the old mojo back. This was the second time in a week that I felt compelled to write about a movie (the other, I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, will appear tomorrow). So maybe my love for film, and writing about film, will return. I hope so.

11/17/08, 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your thorough review! Too Shy to Stop writer Adam Shuler also wrote about Quantum of Solace. You can read his review here.

11/17/08, 2:35 PM  
Blogger Zombie said...

Couldn't agree with this review more. Loved the flick - can't see why people are so bent on tearing it down.

I made my own review (entirely in MSPaint, even) - check it out here:


11/17/08, 3:18 PM  

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