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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Countdown to Skyfall - The worse Bond film of them all!!!

The movie opens up a few minutes following the end of Casino Royale, and we are thrown into a generic TV car chase - what the f**k! The Bond pre-credit sequence has always been a big opening, often nothing to do with the plot of the film that follows, designed to get the viewer into the right frame of mind. This opener however is so badly edited that the viewer doesn't know what's going on and we are immediately thrown into Bourne territory -it's as if Paul Greengrass has taken control of Bond and decided to drag the viewer into the action by giving us shaky camerawork and fast cuts. The editing in the opening sequence of Quantum is perhaps the worse of any other Bond movie. Enough of the jump cuts and makro shots, already! To illustrate the point I am trying to make watch the scene where Bond shoots the car and it goes off the cliff - this scene uses two of the most uninteresting and predictable camera angles possible. For years the Bond films set the level to which all other action movies tried to reach, but this new incarnation is heavily influenced by the Bourne movies and it just doesn't work.

Another bad point is that Casino Royale showed us an origin of Bond and ended with Craig speaking the line - my name's Bond, James Bond and then the famous Bond theme played, so Quantum should have picked up from there, but for some reason the film wants to continue the origin and tells us that the Bond we are about to see is still some way from being the Bond we know and love; the Bond we supposedly got when Casino Royale ended.

Quantum should have opened with the gun-barrel sequence and gone on from there, but in place we get a mess of a Bond movie; a film that beats both Moonraker and Diamonds are Forever for the title of being the worse Bond film in the long history of the franchise.

And once the film starts proper things don't really get any better - if anything they get worse.

"We have people everywhere,'Mr White tells Bond and M after he's been removed from the boot of that car and taken to the MI6 lair to be questioned. Then  the MI6 guards standing around pull their weapons to try and kill everyone, M and Bond included. M, of course, survives and then we are into another thrilling chase only this time on foot, as Bond pursues one of the MI6/Quantum double agents. Again in this chase the editing is atrocious with constant cutting back and forth between the main action with footage from some horse race. This makes no sense and the viewer isn't sure what is happening. Is there something the director is telling us with the constant cross cutting between foot chase and horse race? Is this some kind of arty bollocks? Are the horses all stallions or something? I do wish someone would tell me what the f**k the horse race is about? This nonsensical editing will be repeated later during the opera scene, but by this point I had walked out of the theatre. As far as I was concerned James Bond was dead, at least as far as the movie series was concerned.

It took me a couple of years to finish watching the film on DVD - and I'm someone who has seen every Bond film on opening day since Moonraker back in 1979 - I wasn't overly keen on Casino Royale's dark edge but Quantum completely alienated me - a life long Bond fan and I couldn't even be bothered to watch this on DVD and had to force myself to finally sit through the entire car crash of a movie.

Later we get a boat chase that isn't a patch on the record breaking boat chase from Roger Moore's debut, Live and Let Die. Surely if you're going to have a boat chase in a series that has done this so many times before - Live and Let Die, World is not Enough - then you should at least try and best that which came before. Instead here we get a pointless chase that does nothing to take the movie forward and shortly after we find ourselves at that awful opera scene. It looks stunning and Daniel Craig is excellent as he slips his way into the opera, but as soon as the fight starts we get more of that cross cutting nonsense that makes it hard to follow and destroys any suspense.

What a load of total bollocks!!!

Quantum of Solace is a mish-mash of the movie - Casino Royale took us back to basics and Quantum follows this, and yet some of the scenes could have come from Star Trek - we don't even have a Q branch yet when we are shown MI6 it is a paperless place with documents floating around on wafer thin screens. This is an odd choice in this supposedly back to basics Bond. It would have fitted right into any of the Brosnan Bond movies but is so far out of place here that it is jarring.

Daniel Craig gives the best performance possible given the terrible script and art-house editing, but at the end of the day even the weakest Bond films have often had their moments but Quantum doesn't seem, to my eyes at least, to have any. The makers seem to have forgotten they are making a Bond movie, they have ignored the rich legacy of the series and instead delivered a third rate action movie, and whoever did the editing of the action scenes needs to go back to film school, and learn how to interest the audience. It might look effective cutting back and forth to the opera and the action,the opera and the action, the opera and the action, the fucking opera and the action, but what the fuck does it all mean? Self indulgent crap is what it is.

Here's to Skyfall...surely it can only get better.

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