Well, Bond is back and what can I say? Craig delivers the goods as everybody’s favorite super agent, 007. The film is quite watchable, but maybe not the best of the bunch.
For much of the film, the direction is great. Marc Forster really knows how to make a great-looking piece of cinema, giving everything a sheen that you could mistake for a car commercial… in fact, with some of the product placement it almost becomes a car commercial. What Forster really excels at is allowing the actors brief moments between action scenes to actually emote and develop the story.
Unfortunately, Forster’s action direction leaves much to be desired… or perhaps something was just lost in the editing room. By bringing in the editor from The Bourne Supremacy, Richard Pearson, it was inevitable that action scenes would become jumbled, shaken, and ultimately almost unwatchable. Almost any sense of scene geography, momentum, and purpose is driven from any action scene. Let’s talk about that…
The opening scene, a frantic car-chase, quickly tells the audience how the rest of the film’s action will be staged. With what seemed like no wide angles or establishing shots, we are left to piece together what exactly is going on. This would be much easier if each shot didn’t last less than a second. There is literally one or two cuts every second. Instead of allowing the audience to sit back and enjoy the film, we are then left to wait until these scenes end and hope that there will be some evidence as to what exactly we just saw.
A chase scene through a tunnel and then through a crowd, and finally on ropes leaves us wondering whether or not Quantum is going to continue in the “griity” and “realistic” tradition of Casino Royale, let alone ever allow us to enjoy the action in an action film. And speaking of the Bourne films, be prepared for a hand-to-hand fight scene that, while possibly being better done than what we’ve seen in those films, might just be utter cinematic plagierism. Which brings me to the…
I enjoyed much of the story in QOS, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a plot cannibalising much of what’s been done before in the series. Bond seems intent on seeking revenge south of the border to such an extent that it blatently mirrors much of Licence To Kill, including a scene where 007 must evade fellow British agents, led by M (here, played again by Judi Dench). Bond hooks up with new Bondgirl, Olga Kurylenko, a character seemingly a clone of the Melina Havelock character from For Yours Only. She, like Bond, is also seeking revenge. But like the Melina Havelock character, Olga’s Camille is seeking revenge on a Bond villain who murdered her parents.
Craig, once again, brings his A-game to this one, filling the role with a Dalton-esque intensity. He really pushes the envelope and it pays off. There are plenty of scenes with Craig doing little and saying little, using his eyes and ever-slight body language to tell us how Bond feels; and James Bond is hurting inside. Here lies a tortured soul, but also a fierce and determined one. His body and training the shell, this new Bond is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Sure, I may not have liked the score a whole lot (the main theme was marginally better this time around), and the action scenes were terribly done, but this is Bond. Better than that, this is Craig’s Bond, and he’s doing a great job with the role. Craig, like Connery, saves the whole thing from tanking, which I think is commendable. Bond has become Bond, and now we can move on in the series. I can hardly wait.
6 outta 10