“BOND. JAMES Bond.”
Oh, wait, that line does not show up in this Bond installment. Nor does Quantum of Solace use the trademark line,“shaken, not stirred.” And whose idea was it to have Alicia Keys sing that complete butchery of the opening Bond theme?
In the sequel attempt at trying to let both 007 junkies and new fans alike experience Bond fresh, Quantum again delivers a new take on the prolific movie spy—but perhaps a bit too new. The 22nd Bond movie is highly entertaining and worth the price of admission, but will not fully satisfy the cravings of true Bond lovers or viewers who adored Casino Royale for the complete film that it was.
It seems that this time, the filmmakers thought they were making a sequel for another J.B. superspy: Jason Bourne. But while Quantum of Solace does have an action style that is Ultimatum-esque, it has a bit more heart—never mind the fact that it skips a beat here and there.
Quantum takes up where Royale left us: James Bond attempting to unravel the plot that caused Vesper’s death at the end of the last film. His determination to see this through to the end is at the forefront of the movie. Bond says he is not motivated by revenge (“I am only doing my duty,” he says), but is clearly in denial The short story that gives the movie its name defines a “quantum of solace” as “a precise figure defining the comfort/humanity/fellow feeling required between any pair of people for love to survive. If the quantum of solace is 0, then love is dead.” As he kills faster than he questions and the body count rises, the one thing viewers know for sure is that this James Bond is shorter on the charm and heavier on the harm.
Within his quest for revenge, Bond uncovers a coupe to take over a government and monopolize their precious commodity. This coup is the work of an international shadow organization, which is astonishingly beyond the grasp of MI-6 but not an uncontrollable 00 who decides to pull out all the stops (including jumping out of a plane without a parachute) to bring them down.
Along the way, Bond teams up with Camille, a confident and mysterious woman who has a personal agenda of her own. Camille lives up to the Bond-girl expectations in her naivety, but does not fall prey to 007 as is usually the case. The tension between the two is different than what viewers will expect: this time the tension comes from James, who does not want to risk falling for someone again and is completely focused on his task at hand. That’s how this movie is all the way through: instead of light, almost fun fare, this Bond film delves deeper into the dark tenor of Agent 007. In one telling scene, after a friend dies, Bond simply disposes of his dead body in a nearby dumpster, takes the cash from the corps’s wallet and says as he walks back to his car, “He wouldn’t care.”
Viewers who simply enjoy well choreographed fight scenes and quick camera movements will no doubt love Quantum. Daniel Craig again shows the ability to pull off deep emotion and an elegant wit, but the film gives him a short leash on acting. Instead, it has replaced typical drawn-out Bond storylines with a speed-plot and choppy nanosecond-frame action sequences. Gone is the playful banter between Bond and his female sidekick during chase scenes, replaced here by wooden action dialogue like, “Give me the wheel!” or “Get down!” There is scattered humor, but few memorable lines.
In Bond’s downward spiral towards being completely obsessed and self-motivated, one wonders if he will recover enough by the end of the story to warrant a third Daniel Craig Bond movie. But the ending, at the very least, answers that question in full. Daniel Craig is here to stay. Let’s just hope this sequel turns a page in the 007 series instead of writing a new book. In the meantime, if you love Bourne, you’ll love the new Bond.
Jacob Parrish is a journalism student in northern Virginia.
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