David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

Quantum of Solace doesn't suck

It's not as good as CASINO ROYALE, but what could be? I saw CR at least five times, and it was my favorite movie that year; it didn't hurt that I'd been wanting an adaptation of that book since I was around fourteen. QoS bears no resemblance to the Fleming story whose title it steals, but who really cares? You want Bond, and that's what you get; it's well done, though my sense of tradition is still slightly wounded by their moving the "white dot, turn and fire" sequence to the end credits (NOT ON, BROCCOLIS) and the utter lack of the James Bond theme throughout until same. (There is a Bond girl named Fields. You do not learn her appalling first name -- "Strawberry" -- until the closing credits. This also makes me a little sad inside.) More problematic: the quick cuts during the action sequences, particularly in a car chase and foot chase/fight scene that come early on, make it hard to tell what's going on -- which is a shame, because the bits of the car chase that I could process were totally sweet. Guys, c'mon, you spent a lot of money to film this; let your audience see it and make sense of it.

Once Bond starts doing the legwork, though, things rapidly improve. I quite liked the flick, though Paul Haggis's reflexive leftism comes through too much in the script (it's like he's hitting all the lefty hot buttons: the US will do anything amoral to get oil, while leftist South American governments truly care about the people! James Bond isn't fighting for Queen and Country this time so much as he's fighting for Lula, which strikes me as annoying, but Haggis couldn't see him as moral otherwise. Remember when I talked about liberal ideological fiction? This is a good example of how it gets worked into high-profile stuff, and a prime reason conservatives like John Ringo and Vince Flynn vent their spleens so hard in their novels), but there is some good character stuff, and Judi Dench gets some wonderful material to work with.

Biggest disappointment: the opening titles. They suck. The song by Jack White and Alicia Keys is lousy, and the accompanying visuals are worse. The post-Maurice Binder Bond title sequences work best when they have a visually distinctive dominant theme: THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and its oil derricks, GOLDENEYE and its fall-of-the-Soviet-empire iconography, CASINO ROYALE and its playing cards. QUANTUM OF SOLACE had a shot at one, with items being formed of sand and falling away (the desert featuring prominently), but those interesting visuals were rarely seen and we got endless vistas of dunes and naked chicks sitting up. Also, a star map kept being superimposed over the desert for some damn reason. Credits guys: pick a gimmick and stay with it, or just go with the Maurice Binder guns/girls/glasses formula.
Tags: movies

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