I saw Quantum of Solace Friday morning at 11 A.M. Much to my surprise, in a theater auditorium seating about 600 people, only 25 or so people showed up for the matinee screening. I was thinking at the time that the negative critic reviews might have hurt the turnout, but preliminary numbers point to a very large opening weekend gross. Regardless, I was delighted that nobody showed up to my screening because in general I hate theater crowds, plus I was late leaving my house and was expecting the theater to be jammed full when I got there.
Like most everybody, I have loved the reboots to two major movie franchises: Batman and James Bond. Expecting Quantum of Solace to be the Dark Knight to Casino Royale was perhaps hoping for too much, so I went into the movie with realistic expectations.
I had heard about the frenzied shaky cam editing in the action sequences, but even I was unprepared for how unwatchable some portions of the movie are. The first 20 minutes consist of a car chase and two on-foot chases/fights, the details of which are a complete blur to me because the action is undecipherable. Trailer-style editing with 4 cuts a second is a major annoyance for me and I practically got a headache trying to make some sense of the action. In one of the fights, both Bond and his enemy were wearing suits and I had absolutely no idea who was punching who. One person got tangled upside down in a rope and it took 20 seconds before I realized it was Bond.
The title sequence plus theme song that traditionally follows the opening act was absolutely terrible. I was looking around to see if anybody else was cringing at the horrible wailing woman blaring from the speakers. I can’t think of any redeeming qualities to the animation in the title sequence either, which just seemed uninspired and forgettable.
Needless to say, I was really sour on the first 20 minutes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Luckily the movie calmed down soon afterwards and the rest of the movie was enjoyable overall. My favorite scenes are the whole Tosca opera setpiece and the ending with Vesper’s boyfriend, both of which were executed splendidly. Fields was also great in her brief scenes; she has a lot of charm and made me smile.
I’ve been reading reviews of the movie and many people don’t seem to like this ruthless Bond. I really enjoy Daniel Craig’s Bond, especially his sarcasm and how badass he is. The part where he flips a motorcycle and the hotel changing scene were awesome. “We’re teachers on sabbatical, and we just won the lottery.”
In fact, it’s the many little moments like that which saved the movie for me, and I left the movie theater feeling satisfied. Daniel Craig is a joy to watch on screen; he is so smooth and has such a command of the character. Next time, hopefully there’ll be a better plot and smartly directed action to accompany his performance. I believe that Craig has three more Bond films in his contract, and I’m confident that at least one of those will approach Dark Knight quality.