Quantum of Solace

Quantum of SolaceSynopsis: On a nonstop quest for justice that crisscrosses the globe, Bond meets the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who leads him to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless businessman and major force within the mysterious Quantum organization. When Bond uncovers a conspiracy to take control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, he must navigate minefield of treachery, deception and murder to neutralize Quantum before it’s too late!

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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

Quantum of Solace

Date of viewing: June 19, 2014

1-Quantum of SolaceOpening credits

The Thorn: 7.0 – As with ‘Casino Royale’, the intro is a bit short; it’s just a chase sequence, really. Oh, and a stupid rope duel. It’s merely action, action, action and then it ends abruptly. The credits sequence is Bond wandering about the desert, surrounded by sand girls. Meh. It’s hard to be excited about sand.

The Horrible Dr. B: 9 – I like it but a bit too many naked chicks. Song is rockin but is not one of the best Bond song.

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2-Quantum of SolaceStory
The Thorn: 7.5 – The crux of the story is that MI6 has been infiltrated by an extremely powerful and shadowy organization that they didn’t even know existed until now. Bond is sent out to investigate them. I love the idea, but not so much how it played. I think that it was likely excellent on paper, and would have made a great book. But, as a movie…?
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – The most important thing to understand about this movie is it isthe continuation of the story of CasinoRoyale. The story picks up minutes from the end of the previous movie. You cannot watch this movie without seeing CasinoRoyale as you wont understand important references. Bond continues his investigation about a secret evil organization and shed more light on some of its villain members. The Bond series often draws its inspiration on real world event; this oneis inspired by the conflict between the people of Bolivia and the Bechtel Corporation who took control of water supplies in 1999 and raised price by 300%.

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3-Quantum of SolaceBanter
The Thorn: 7.0 – The dialogues really lacked zest in this one. It’s all solid stuff, but it’s dry… so very dry. I would have liked a little humour to soften the edges a bit. Dry wit would have been nice. Any wit, really.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Camille delivers the best lines against the villains. Bond is not very vocal in this one, which is quite alright with me. If you don’t have anything good to say, stay quiet.

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4-Quantum of SolaceVillains
The Thorn: 6.5 – ‘Quantum’ continues with the series’ new tradition of having real-world villains with realistic ambitions, but I hated that it cynically made him an acclaimed environmentalist. Not an evil oil baron – a !@#$ environmentalist. F- you. To make matters worse, Mathieu Amalric’s take on the character is a bit limp; His Dominic Greene seriously lacks edge.
The Horrible Dr. B: 9 – Greene is not charismatic; he’s building a large empire, but his “unscrupulous accountant” style is boring. It’s less colorful than usual but does make sense within the story.

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5-Quantum of SolaceBond girls
The Thorn: 4.5 – I won’t even name the two characters of the actresses playing them because they’re so forgettable, you might as well forget their names too. At least they weren’t annoying characters or bad actresses. But they don’t sparkle intellectually or visually. Just to give you an idea of how pathetic they can be, just after meeting her and checking into a hotel together, Bond coldly tells one of them “I can’t find the stationary. Will you help me look?”. It’s the worst come on ever, and yet she passively joins him in bed anyway. The art of seduction is lost in this Bond, apparently.
The Horrible Dr. B: 9 – Camille is cute and feisty, however not very wise; however I am most impressed by that Ukrainian actress ability to play a south American role. I don’t like Fields; she’s not a field agent, has a stupid name, and isout of place; why was she chosen to retrieve Bond? I’m guessing its the only agent they could spare on short notice at that specific moment?

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6-Quantum of SolaceGadgets
The Thorn: 7.5 – There’s a very minimal amount of gadgets in this film, but they’re believable ones: an earpiece, a cel phone with highly advance photo analysis software and an electronic boardroom. There are no outlandish or especially noteworthy bells and whistles.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – I like how the bad guys meet incognito at the opera;its a smart way for them to conduct secret and secure meetings. However pictures taken by Bond using his mobile could not have picked up facial details at that distance; however I do like that a softwarewas used to create portraits made from multiple images; that makes sense.

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7-Quantum of SolaceVehicles
The Thorn: 7.5 – Your usual complement of sports cars, a few standard cars and planes. There was nothing exciting or awe-inspiring here.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Unfortunately Bond’s Aston Martin gets destroyed at the beginning of the movie. I like Camille’s mini cars.

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8-Quantum of SolaceLocales
The Thorn: 7.5 – I rather liked the offices and interiors in this one, more so than the actual locales – which were often barren, given the poverty of the countries Bond was visiting. The lavish opera house was something to see, even if the sequence itself left me cold, and Mathis’ villa was splendid. I’m not sure if it is worth the price he paid for it, no matter what his special lady friend says.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Great.

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9-Quantum of SolaceStunts
The Thorn: 8.5 – One thing I like about this Bond is that he looks tough and able to handle the brutal mano-a-mano. The stuntwork helps tremendously (ex: the many leaps he makes from one balcony to another), because we never get the impression that it’s CGI-ed to death (aside for the ridiculous airplane jump, that is). Unfortunately, in ‘Quantum’ the action is shot in the ‘Bourne’ way, all jitter-cammed. The action loses its impact because the viewer can’t connect to anything.
The Horrible Dr. B: 9 – They start the movie a bit too strong.The action and editing is a bit too fast; its only on a second viewing that I could follow things properly.

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10-Quantum of SolaceSoundtrack
The Thorn: 8.25 – David Arnold proves himself worthy of carrying the torch for John Barry by layering many classic Bond themes throughout the score, again only hinting at the iconic James Bond Theme seeing as Bond is only just shaping himself into 007. This one’s even better than ‘Casino Royale’. Jack White and Alicia Keys’ theme song is punchy and vibrant, but it doesn’t really sound like a Bond theme; it feels out of place.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – I love the way where music present in the story is used as background for other surrounding scenes; ex: the opera.

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11-Quantum of SolaceBest Bond moment
The Thorn: There were no significant high points in the film for me, so the only two moments I can recall having an impact on me were: 1) When Bond interrupts the Quantum exchanges at the opera (I know it’s just one line, but it did amuse me), 2) When the interrogation of White turns on M and Bond; it was quite a turn of events.
The Horrible Dr. B: Greene is not a fighter and obviously at the end he tries to escape from Bond. However, when he finally get cornered, he gather enough courage to fight Bond one-on-one. He uses a fire axe in the combat and at one point clumsily hack his own foot: funniest moment!

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12-Quantum of SolaceWorst Bond moment
The Thorn: There was nothing outrageously bad in ‘Quantum of Solace’, but there were a few moments that I would changed or removed: 1) the ridiculous rope fight at the beginning, 2) Bond and Solange’s unbelievable fall from the plane, 3) the afore-mentioned “seduction” of Agent Fields, 4) the oily death by skin asphyxiation (Were they so bereft of new ideas that they had to rip off ‘Goldfinger’? It’s a great visual, as we all know, but c’mon!).
The Horrible Dr. B:  I didn’t like how Fieldswas killed; an obvious rip-off from Goldfinger.

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13-Quantum of SolaceOverall impression
The Thorn: 7.0 – This is not unlike ‘Licence to Kill’: a grittier Bond, real-world villains, set in South America and somehow blander than usual. Of course, after the outstanding ‘Casino Royale’ almost anything would have been a letdown. But I do like that we get more of a look behind the so-called curtains of power here. Judi Dench is phenomenal, but I dislike that we see so much of her personal life and that she’s in the field so much; the character of M is always better when he or she is slightly enigmatic, and it’s more realistic (if less exciting) that M would stay at HQ. All this to say that ‘Quantum of Solace’ is an underwhelming experience for me. Oh well.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – The movie is not as perfect as Casino Royale, so why a grade of 10 you may ask? Because this movie is an extension of Casino Royale; you must not watch this movie on its own. You must have both movies and watch them together back-to-back. Together they form a perfect 10.

James Bond will return in ‘Skyfall’

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