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 Quantum of Solace (2008), Bond's Rebirth Continues...

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Quantum of Solace (2008), Bond's Rebirth Continues...   Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:46 pm

After the low-point of Die Another Day (2002), Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli knew that they'd let Bond stray up the wrong path again, as he had done over 20 years previously with Moonraker (1979). A couple of years previously, they'd finally acquired the rights to Casino Royale, the only Bond book that had not been officially filmed as part of the James Bond series. After Die Another Day looked as if it had killed off the Bond franchise, it was decided to bring 007 back down to earth. To do this, they would remain close to Ian Fleming, but it would be updated from the old fashioned days of the Cold War, and brought in keeping with the times of today, and the threat of terrorism. In order to show this realistic side to Bond, the producers felt they would have to recast Bond. Pierce Brosnan was out, and after a mammoth search, Daniel Craig was in, although it was criticised, but he would prove his nay-sayers wrong. Casino Royale was very faithful to Ian Fleming's original book, keeping the card game in, and the awful torture scene in as well. It was one of the most successful Bond films ever, it would gross nearly $600 million worldwide. Craig was firmly established as the new James Bond, injecting some much needed new blood into a tired old franchise. But, it doesn't stop there, Casino Royale is revealed to be Part 1 of a two-part story. To continue the story, the attitude of Bond is still the same, it's more action packed, and it's tighter. Quantum of Solace is gritty, realistic, very exciting, and has all you could want from a James Bond film. It makes for a good continuation of an already intriguing saga.

Picking up an hour after Casino Royale finished. Quantum of Solace, (it's title taken from a 1960 Ian Fleming short Bond story), has Bond taking Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to be interrogated in Siena, Italy. Mr. White tells Bond and M (Judi Dench) that he is part of a global organisation called Quantum, and that they have agents and contacts "everywhere", even within the British Government and the CIA. Bond is sent to capture an MI6 traitor in Haiti, but he is still smarting emotionally from the death of Vesper Lynd, even though she betrayed him. But, he soon becomes involved with the mysterious meets Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who leads him to the ruthless Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), chairman of Greene Planet, which is the cover for Quantum. Bond then Bond travels to Austria and onto Bolivia to unveil Greene's plans. M is on top of him as well, incensed by Bond's attitude, and tries to restrict his movements, but he's still able to get about. He also gets a little help from allies such as French double agent René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright).

To direct this Bond film, the producers made an exceptionally inspired choice, Marc Forster, best known for such acclaimed films like Monster's Ball (2001), Finding Neverland (2004), Stranger Than Fiction (2006) and The Kite Runner (2007). He has fun with making a James Bond film, bringing the best out of his actors, locations and sets, and is able to keep the pace up throughout it's explosive and exciting running time, (at 106 mins, it's the shortest Bond film to date, probabily a good thing in a way.) But, it also references alot of past Bond films, the air battle in the rickety old plane is reminiscent of The Living Daylights (1987), whilst the scene that follows is lifted from the pre-credit sequence of Moonraker (1979), nudging ever so slightly at the fantastical, but always able to remain on the right side of reality, plus the plot of the Bolivian government receiving dirty money from corrupt millionaires is from Licence to Kill (1989). Oh, and Leiter's partner Gregg Beam (David Harbour), kinda resembles henchman Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Forster brings on alot of his own crew whom he has worked with before onto Quantum of Solace, including cinematographer Roberto Schaefer, who gives the film a rough but epic scope, and Forster's company MK12 design the sand-swept psychedelia of the title sequence, done to Another Way To Die by Jack White and Alicia Keys, which is a good Bond theme by the way!! Wink

Daniel Craig already made the role his own in Casino Royale, here he continues Bond's gruff tenacity and emotional gravitas. This is a Bond still hurting on the inside, he has been betrayed by people he thought he could trust, and to paraphrase M, "is unable to tell his friends from his enemies". It is a very powerful performance, and Craig is able to hold his own when it comes to the action sequences. Mathieu Amalric makes a good Bond villian as well, but there should have been more of him in the film, he's normal looking for a Bond villian, but not all villians have scars or disabilities, alot of them are normal looking, which is the point of the film, who can you trust?? Can you tell someone from their looks?? Plus, the film has two interesting choices of Bond girls, Olga Kurylenko, like Craig, also shows emotion, as she has a similiar agenda to Bond, to get her vengeance on someone for the death of her parents, and she does good. Oh, and the lovely Gemma Arterton appears as Agent Fields, who falls for Bond charms, and looks like she walked in from one of the Bond films of the 1960's, which is a good thing!! Wink

The action is top-notch as well, alot of it was supervised by Bourne's action director Dan Bradley, very little CGI appears in this film, as compared to the Brosnan Bond films. This is harder edged, it has to look real or audiences won't believe it. Alot of the stunts are done for real, and it looks better for being real. Let's hope it doesn't lapse back into CG-fantasy again, audiences have finally come to accept Fleming's true interpretation of Bond. But, it still has alot of moments people will enjoy, from the action to the elegent sets designed by Coen Brothers regular Dennis Gassner, it's safe to say that Ken Adam would be proud!! Wink With the film, it's easy to say that the late Cubby Broccoli and Ian Fleming would be proud too!! Wink



It's a short but sweet Bond, and all the better for being so. It doesn't need to be a long film, alot of the past Bond films could have done with a trim here and there, some more than others. It's action packed from the first minute with the suspenseful car chase along the narrow winding roads of Italy, and it doesn't let up until the last minute. Craig is an excellent Bond, tough, brooding and very engaging. This is a Bond you can believe, and it's one you could imagine working out there today in the real world. The real question is where do they go from this one?? Bond will never get over the death and betrayal of Vesper, but he will come to terms with it. From the end, it would appear that they will continue to look into Quantum, and who is really behind this vast organisation. Craig has made the role his, and it would be brilliant to see him continue on for a few more. Director Forster has made an action-packed and exciting addition to the Bond franchise, it's safe to say this it is one of the best in the series already, not as good as Casino Royale, or even the classic Connery Bond's of the 1960's, but it's certainly up there!! Wink Roll on Bond 23!! Very Happy
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