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.