New Bond film stirring sequel to ‘Casino Royale’
James Bond has gone through some drastic face-lifts over the years, but no movie has achieved what Casino Royale, the predecessor of ‘Quantum of Solace,’ did. With one stroke, the womanizing attitude that Bond has embodied was fully explained and the franchise was given a much needed reboot. ‘Quantum of Solace’ tries to follow Casino Royale by starting where the last one ended, both in story and in style.
The name, ‘Quantum of Solace,’ means the smallest amount of consolation possible, and though it has been declared to be the worst title since ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,’ it fits the movie perfectly. Bond, fresh off of falling in love with the ill fated Vesper Lynd in ‘Casino Royale,’ is set against the organization that caused her death and uses any means necessary to avenge her. His emotional development fluctuates marvelously between a cold blooded killer with a sense of humor and taste, better known as the James Bond we all know and love, and a man whose quest for vengeance would destroy everything he touches, including himself.
But, in the end, he’ll get only a quantum of solace.
Contrary to die-hard Bond fans, this new Bond isn’t trying to kill all that made the franchise great before; it is trying to recreate the hero to fit the modern world. And that’s because ‘Quantum of Solace’ succeeds where the Pierce Brosnan Bond films failed: It has created a compelling and exciting film. And though Daniel Craig has blond hair, there is no Q, he doesn’t have any gadgets, the villain isn’t disfigured nor does he have a secret volcano lair and the famous ‘Bond, James Bond,’ line is conspicuously missing, what’s left is a good movie. And if you have to sacrifice those cliches to make a good movie, then it doesn’t really bother me too much.
There are scenes which are throwbacks to previous Bond films, but they aren’t just thrown in there for a cheap laugh, they are written into the context of the story. In fact, most of the story is extremely well written. It brings a level of sophistication that the last three Brosnan Bond films lacked. Where previous movies have thrown girls at him with no regard to good story telling, the back story for the girls in this movie places another layer upon this already deeply complicated film.
Bond himself isn’t just a super-secret agent – he’s a human being with real emotions and desires, even if he doesn’t let anybody get a glimpse of his real self in fear of giving in to another Vesper.
And this is where Craig shines as Bond. He has the physical ability to do a lot of the stunts, but he also has the acting ability to make Bond both human and not human. He can portray just the right emotion when confronted with death, then he can dance across scaffolding in a dazzling fist fight.
He has not only taken over the role of Bond, he has become him. Even I was skeptical of his blond hair to begin with, but Craig has proved that it does not matter because he can be anything and everything that Bond is supposed to be: intelligent, physical, witty and practically invincible while showing the slightest amount of emotion.
If there is one flaw in this movie, it is the villain. Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Greene, a business man with a degenerate plot. He is supposed to be the head of a nefarious organization that puts into power more dangerous dictators than the C.I.A. However, he isn’t enough of a villain. The cliché of the overly evil enemy is the only cliché that probably should have been in this movie. Greene is too much of a pansy – he doesn’t pose enough of a threat. Part of that is because his organization end goal isn’t evil enough, nor is it clear enough. The organization seems to act like smoke, you can see it and you know it’s there but you can’t catch it, and we follow Bond through the haze to get to the source, but unfortunately, the fire isn’t there.
‘Quantum of Solace,’ though not flawless, is one of the best films of the year, because it is entertaining, deeply complicated, and brings a great sequel to one of the best Bond films of all time, ‘Casino Royale.’
If, however, you haven’t seen the predecessor or don’t remember the important plot points, I would recommend viewing it before Quantum of Solace, because the two movies are as inseparable as conjoined twins. In the end, though Bond doesn’t get what he seeks, the audience will be rewarded by this stunningly well made film.