Quantum of Solace

“I got no quirky antecdote for starting this one off, so we’ll just jump right in. Quantum of Solace is unfortunately known as the black mark on Daniel Craig’s term as 007. I figured I’d approach this with that thought in mind and try and pinpoint exactly why this one is considered so bad.

The short answer is the writer’s strike. You’ve heard me talk of it’s impact before. This was yet another unfortunate victim. Major studios, in their greed, decided that it wasn’t worth suspending their work while those silly writers hashed out their issues. Lots of movies, including Quantum of Solace, were filmed off of draft scripts. They didn’t admit it at the time, of course. It wasn’t until later that the practice was admitted or at least hinted at for a few movies. Doesn’t take much to connect the dots. That’s clearly what was going on here.

With that context in mind, the film really does feel kind of unfinished. THere’s a lot of action, but not much substance. I remember being confused on the first viewing about what exactly was going on. The climax just sorta happens. Characters are underdeveloped. I went with a group of friends to the midnight premier, and we all left there wanting to say we enjoyed it. We feigned excitement, not wanting to express disappointment.

There are a few bright spots. I like that M has a snarky line or two, instead of leaving all of them to Bond (“”florists use that expression””). Here, 007 is very strongly motivated by vengence over Vesper, thus adding to the darkness that is Craig’s incarnation of the character. Oh and I do remember one friend at the midnight finding it significant how Tosca was chosen as the opera where the bad guys convened. That reference is lost on me, but maybe it means something to you.

Now about those Bond girls. We’ve got two: Olga Kurylenko as Camille and Gemma Arterton as (Strawberry) Fields. Camille is pretty bad ass. She’s one tough cookie, but also has some moments of vulnerability that we don’t see outside of Craig’s tenure (Vesper had a few scenes too). Having seen Kurylenko in Hitman not too long before, that made her the first Bond girl I was familiar with going into the movie (not counting watching old films where I knew the stars’ later work). And for those keeping track of trivial details, Camille is the first main Bond girl that doesn’t bed Bond. Whoa. Arterton’s Camille gets a bad rap. You usually see her on lists of worst Bond girls, which I feel is undeserved. I like her spunky demeanor, but after a closer look, it seems her main issue is that she was underdeveloped. She’s just kinda there and gone just as quickly (though she does get a nice homage to Goldfinger). Oh and Stana Katic (Castle’s Beckett) is there for a scene. Did not expect her.

In yet another first (cool how we’ve still got firsts after 20+ movies), the theme song is a duet. Jack White and Alicia Keys. The opening credits mostly has a desert motif. There’s still a lot of focus on Craig, but we’ve got some of the girls back. Not too much going on compared to the other ones in the CGI era. Still, vastly preferred over the pre-CGI ones.”

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