Wednesday, February 3, 2010

“James Bond: Quantum of Solace” – Put down the popcorn and pay attention.

After I see a movie, I like to read some of the reviews to find out what other people thought of the movie, especially when I like the movie. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one and most of them stink.” That pretty much sums up the general opinion of those who saw this movie (and don’t think the irony of that statement is lost on me).

There were two things that seemed to crop up the most often in other reviews. The first is that the movie wasn’t Bond-enough. What the hell is that supposed to mean? One reviewer said it was missing the gadgets and womanizing that are typical of James Bond. Did he not see “Casino Royale?” For those of you haven’t seen “Quantum of Solace” yet, it picks up roughly five minutes where “Casino Royale” left off. While “Casino Royale” had no gadgets, it had plenty of womanizing (he slept with a married woman and the lady who was working the case with him). And why do we need all the gadgets? They were cool in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but they are no longer necessary in today’s films (not just Bond films).

The second, and proof that most moviegoers are about as perceptive as their popcorn, is that the plot was too thin or just bad in general. I’m not going to wholeheartedly disagree with this, because it was a step down from “Casino Royale.” Seriously, though, do you really think they were trying to win an award here? It’s James Bond. The Academy hates these movies by default, so why should they even attempt to pander to them? And let’s not kid ourselves by thinking the basic plots of “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” were different. Again, it’s James Bond. My point to all of this is that the real plot (or point of this movie) was to reveal the “evil organization,” otherwise known as Quantum. The rest was just window dressing. (Really attractive window dressing, if you ask my wife.)

Going back to the fool claiming it wasn’t Bond enough, the revelation of the Quantum organization mirrors SMERSH, the Russian counterpart to MI6 from past Bond films and novels. By the way, if you don’t know what SMERSH is, stop reading right now, go sit in the corner, and think about why you haven’t watched past James Bond material.

In all fairness, there were some things about the film that made no sense. The biggest was the fuel cell-powered hotel in the middle of the Bolivian desert. You heard me right, and your response should be…bwaa? Then, to add to the ridiculousness, the hotel was filled with random hydrogen tanks, including in the guest rooms. Apparently, the architects designed this hotel specifically to be destroyed.

Another plot point I could have done without was the CIA backing a coup in Bolivia so America could get more oil. Is it too much to ask for James Bond films to cut back on the anti-American political statements? They even made the head CIA guy an exaggerated Cowboy-American stereotype, complete with Tom Selleck’s mustache. Enough already.

Like “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace” was extremely entertaining. Daniel Craig was fantastic and his interaction with Judi Dench’s M is one of the best aspects of these two films. For all of you Sean Connery fans, you’re not going to like this, but Daniel Craig is the superior James Bond. Before you respond, just remember what I said about opinions. Now go and eat your popcorn.

Rating: It’s worth what you paid for it. Now go back to your corner.

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