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Friday, 17 August 2012

A Modicum of Mediocrity

Quantum of Solace is the only Bond movie I couldn't sit through - indeed I walked out of the cinema after thirty or so minutes and although I picked up the DVD when it was released,I haven't managed to sit through to the end of this movie...until now, that is.

The previous Bond movie, Daniel Craig's debut in the role was praised for giving the franchise a much needed hard edge. Now I don't necessarily agree with that opinion and I think that Pierce Brosnan was far better in the role than Craig, but at least Casino Royale tried to get back to Fleming's original vision of the character and for the most part it succeeded even if this Bond was far more thuggish than Fleming's character, but the follow up Quantum of Solace is just one big jumbled mess. The action scenes are spectacular as expected but the problem is its difficult to see exactly what is going on and quite often we see Bond all battered and bruised without any clear idea how he received those injuries. The set piece at the opera is a complete mess and any suspense is ruined by the fact that we don't have any idea what is going on.

The plot, such as there is, is unclear and all we are sure of is that Bond is still looking to avenge the death of Vesper in the previous movie - indeed this movie kicks off where the last one ended with Bond travelling back to a safe house with the double agent,Mr White in the boot of his car. Then we have a neat scene with M which quickly resorts to mayhem when it is discovered that the organisation called, Quantum have even infiltrated the British secret service. This starts off more frantic running, jumping and shooting and from there we get the usual exotic locales with Bond turning up, giving his best tortured look and then more running, jumping and shooting. The climax seems oddly light for a Bond movie and the biggest action scenes come earlier in the film. It didn't help that David Arnold's score this time out is weak and far too booming - there's no sense of style with either the movie or the score. And if there's one thing the Bond movies have always had, is style.

Now I'm not a fan of Daniel Craig as Bond but I did find myself warming to him - he does some wonderful things with his face and you can almost believe he is a tortured agent, even if he's not the agent we have come to know and love over the course of the last fifty years. The scene where he holds a dying Mathis is superb and it is nice to see 007 once again seducing the ladies.

The greatest problem I have with the two Craig Bond movies, is that the Bond films have never been run of the mill action movies and have always had an identity of their own, but Quantum, like Casino Royale before it,  seems far too influenced by the Bourne movies. There is a place for a harder more serious Bond but these movies are just too grim. Timothy Dalton did a harder Bond years ago, and in my opinion did it much better,  and yet audiences rejected him, preferring the fun and games that Roger Moore brought to the role and Pierce Brosnan emulated.

So am I looking foward to Skyfall? Well, yes but only because I am hearing that they are taking the franchise back into line with classic Bond - Q's back for one thing and it is rumoured that Moneypenny will also be introduced in the movie. And as Quantum tied up the entire vengeance arc then hopefully we can get back to the style that has made Bond the most successful movie franchise in history.

Ah well, James Bond returns this October in Skyfall and here's hoping that it is a touch above Quantum which, in my opinion, is the worse Bond movie of them all. It makes Moonraker look like Citizen Kane.

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