Bond, I need you to come back.
I never left.
Bond, I need you to come back.
I never left.
Actors: Daniel Craig, Jesper Christensen, Judi Dench, Lucrezia Lante Della Rovere, Tim Pigott-Smith
Directors: Marc Forster
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009
Run Time: 106 minutes
It's been forty-six years since the very first Bond film Dr. No, and Bond is back in his 22nd installment of the franchise. This one just about has it all- Car chase, boat chase, plane chase/dogfight, a foot chase that ends up running across the roof tops of Italy... pretty women, evil bad men... the Austin Martin, and of course... we can't forget the tux!
Quantum of Solace starts out with a beautiful panning shot across the water and of the hills of Italy. The silence of the beauty and panning shot is abruptly interrupted by the roar of high performance car engines and the sound of machine gun fire. The car chase is full of adrenaline and does a good job at setting the pace for the rest of the movie. QofS is an action packed roller-coaster ride of a movie, blink and you'll miss something!
It's not perfect though, well not a perfect Bond flick I should say. When I said it has 'just about everything', it does for an action flick, but missing are some Bond staples. There is no gun barrel scene at the beginning of the movie, no Q, no Moneypenny, and no gadgets. Also missing is the classic Bond rift and music whenever there is an action scene coming or ending.
[MOUSE]Fun Facts: The film shoot used 200,000 rounds of blank bullets which were used for training, testing and filming.[/MOUSE]
Quantum of Solace is also a first in Bond movie franchise history. It is the shortest of all the Bond movies, and it is the first direct sequel to the previous Bond movie. At first I wasn't thrilled with the way the franchise is going, mainly the absence of Q and gadgets. To many people Q is just as important as Bond himself and they have come to expect seeing him and his workshop in every film. I personally also miss the banter between Q and Bond. Q acts like he despises Bond because he is reckless and always destroys his field gear, but truth be told Q actually holds a special friendship with Bond. We'll get back to Q in a moment though.
[MOUSE]Fun Facts: At 106 minutes long, this is the shortest James Bond movie in the EON Productions Official Series. This film is a direct sequel to Casino Royale (2006) which ironically is the longest film in the official series. This film is also the first Bond movie to run under two hours since Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).[/MOUSE]
At first I didn't like Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace, and it has nothing to do with Daniel Craig. He is a fine actor and I actually like him as Bond. Not only is he physical, he actually looks like he's in shape and knows how to handle himself. Roger Moore's Bond looked like he couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag. Craig actually looks like he could chase someone a mile on foot and then still beat them in a fight. Craig also isn't a pretty boy and isn't handsome in the classical sense. He is however closer to Fleming's idea of what Bond looked like than any other Bond, including Connery- and I am a die hard Connery fan.
The reason why I didn't like Casino isn't because it is a reboot of the franchise, and not even because Q was missing as well as the gadgets, it had to do with M. For unknown reasons Eon Productions decided to make Bond a brand new double 0 agent and have Judi Dench be the current head of MI6, or M for short. The problem I have with this is Dench was introduced as M in Goldeneye. Brosnan clearly was Bond and a seasoned double 0. They even went out of their way to crack jokes about Dench's M and her coming over from the accounting department. In Casino they treated us viewer's like we don't remember things like that. Now I understand this is a 'reboot', but I am not so sure why they felt they had to reboot a franchise that was doing so well. Typically in a 'reboot' though, they cleanse all the actors and start over with new faces, like they did in Batman Begins. In Casino though, they kept Dench because she is a familiar face to Bond fans. That is a small quirk of mine though. I want consistency and don't want to be treated like I'm too dumb to remember things.
All that aside, I have changed my mind about the reboot. I changed my mind because I know where they are going with things. You see QofS really isn't a separate movie, but a continuation of Casino Royal. And Casino Royal was the 'reboot'. The now famous gun barrel sequence that opens each Bond movie is actually at the end of QofS. What they are saying is Bond is now the Bond that we all grew up watching and have come to love as our favorite super spy. Also Casino Royal introduced Mr. White and a 'secret organization', and QofS continued to tease us with this organization, and now it actually has a name. SPECTRE was the nemesis of Bond in the '60's and we got some of our best villains as well as Bond movies from that era. Now we have the organization known as Quantum. This is the new SPECTRE and something the Bond franchise was missing during the '70s and '80s. During those years Bond was no longer fighting an organization, he was going up against governments, evil businessmen, and maniacal 'mad' scientists. Now we have a common enemy again, one worthy of Bond!
If rumors are true, Bond23 is going to have everything. It will have the action of Casino and QofS, we'll see Moneypenny again, and Q and the gadgets will be back. I wouldn't expect some of the outlandish Bond gadgets of the past, like Roger Moore's spy camera with '007' boldly emblazoned across the front. Moore's Bond became campy and the gadgets were just as silly. What we are going to see are more realistic spy gadgets. What I hope and expect to see are gadgets that are not only plausible, but could actually be out there being used right now in the intelligence community.
Perhaps the biggest rumor of them all is Al Pacino. Yes Al Pacino. The rumor was that Pacino was supposed to have a small cameo in QofS right at the end. Rumor has it he is the leader of Quantum and our new Blofeld. Keep in mind this is just a rumor at this time, but it seems to come from sources within EON. Imagine a big name like Pacino coming into the franchise...
So if the rumors are true, we will have a full blown classic Bond movie complete with Q, gadgets and the Bond theme- But we have to wait until 2011 to find out, and a lot of things can change between now and then.
Let's get back to Quantum of Solace now. I try very hard not to give away plot spoilers, and I haven't so far, and don't worry none are coming.
Quantum is fast paced and a great action flick. Right now it is Bond only in name, but like I pointed out, they are working their way to a full blown Bond film. Anyone that likes action movies will enjoy QofS.
Some have compared the action and fights to the Bourne movies, myself included. The first instinct is to think they copied the Bourne style because they are phenomenally successful movies, but there is also another reason why the style is so similar. The second unit director of QofS was hired based on his work on The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. The second unit director for Casino Royal was Alexander Witt... who was also the second unit director on The Bourne Identity. So if you were wondering why these movies have such a similar style, it's pretty easy to see now.
[MOUSE]Fun Facts: The Aston Martin DBS car will make a return in this movie due to a three picture $100 million deal that car company Ford has for exclusive vehicle product placement rights.[/MOUSE]
The Bond girls in this one are Olga Kurylenko as Camille and Gemma Arterton as Agent Fields. If Olga looks familiar, she was in another action flick, Hitman starring Timothy Olyphant. She is a natural beauty and at 5'10" quite the presence herself. Olga also has a striking resemblance to another Bond beauty- Sophie Marceau from The World is not Enough. Gemma is an MI6 agent sent to bring Bond back. When Bond asks her what her name is, she coyly says "Just Fields." Most likely because she may have been embarrassed by her full name, which is totally befitting of a Bond girl- Strawberry Fields.
Gemma also has a physical attribute that is typically something you'd see in a Bond villain. She was born with six fingers on each hand. This was surgically corrected when she was young. Gemma calls it 'her little oddity'.
Bond villains: Mr. White is back but in a brief role. Keep in mind QofS takes place immediately after Casino Royal. At the end of Casino Bond shoots White in the leg and when asked who he is, ends the movie with the classic "Bond, James Bond". We get to learn a little more about Mr. White, and I am sure we will see more of him in the Bond23.
The main villain is Mathieu Amalric who plays Mr. Greene, rich business owner and ruthless extortionist. Unlike most other Bond villains, Greene doesn't have any strange physical attributes. He is actually a very real and believable character. We see it every day now how corrupt and greedy corporate CEO's can be in the real world. Greene just takes that to the next level in QofS.
[img]http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l190/wbassett/HTS/MovieReviews/007023_QofS/solace3.jpg[/img]There are some other return characters, but to some that may spoil things so I'll let you find out on your own and decide if that part of Quantum was just as confusing to you as it was to me.
Dench is back as M, and she really is an asset to the franchise. Her 'M' is a much more vital character to the plot than the earlier Bond movies with Bernard Lee as M. Basically Lee's M gave the initial mission brief while sitting behind his desk, and that's the last we see of him.
Back to Q- I wonder if John Cleese will reprise his role or not in the next one. Nobody can really ever replace Desmond Llewelyn, but I did come to like Cleese in the role and hope they bring him back. He's starting to get pretty old himself though.
All in all, for a movie I wasn't really too fond of because of the franchise changes, this one grew on me fast. Mainly because I now see the direction they are taking things, and Bond23 should be back to the original formula sans the camp. It took two movies to fully complete the 'reboot', but really when you look at Casino and Quantum they are one long story.
The Bluray transfer didn't seem as bright and vibrant as Casino did. Then again most of Casino was shot inside where it was supposed to be bright and colorful whereas Quantum takes place in a variety of places including the desert and is 'grittier' than Casino. Still the video looks a bit softer to me.
The special features are all in 1080p this time, but there are fewer special features than I expected. Something like five, maybe six short features. I fully expect them to come out with a two disc Bluray set like they did with Casino Royal, so more double dipping, or at least the studio hopes we all will double dip.
Sound- The sound is every bit as good as the image on the the screen. I noticed the sound track is very loud, but balanced. I had another DVD in my player before I put Quantum in. Once the movie started it was like someone cranked the volume up on my receiver at least 10 clicks. The channels are well defined and there was no guessing about the dialog even during quiet scenes or loud ones with lots of gunfire and explosions. The surround channels come to life as does the bass when the explosions occur. The aerial dogfight has some really good surround effects and it really does feel like the planes flying around your room and bullets are zinging from everywhere.
I give this a solid :4.5stars: for video and audio and :4stars: for the story line.
Thunderball is still my all time favorite Bond movie, but I have a feeling Bond23 may be a close runner.