‘So less’ of Quantum. That ought to sum it up nicely. The much vaunted and so-anonymous-that-MI6-doesn’t-know-it-exists super criminal organization, which I suppose will be the pool from which all future Bond Villains will arise from, is mentioned just once in the whole movie. Maybe it was just a curtain raiser and we’ll get to know more of it in other upcoming instalments. I guess it is modelled on the lines of S.M.E.R.S.H and S.C.E.P.T.R.E from the 70’s and 80’s era of Bond Movies.
Anyways, am just back from the screening of the 22nd James Bond Movie – Quantum of Solace, starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko and Mathieu Amalric, amongst others. And its no coincidence that I mention Judi Dench second in that list; for she has got a considerable role in this movie and essays it with aplomb. It may not be fair to categorize Olga as a Bond girl coz there’s just one kiss between her and Bond and share no more than a car seat. Mathieu Amalric is sufficiently sinister at times but again, is a very feeble Bond Villain…a general in the Quantum army, so as to say. His and the organization’s motive – broker a coup in Bolivia in return for a seemingly barren piece of land which eventually turns out to be a natural source of water – is slightly bizarre, if not overtly stupid! The star of the show is obviously Daniel Craig who carries on with the same grittiness and gut-wrench-iness from Casino Royale. Seething with rage and blinded with revenge, he shoots, stabs and pushes his way across the links leading out of Vesper’s betrayal and sacrifice, much to the chagrin of M.
The movie has lot of action across it but for me, it was all too sudden, and all too much. From the opening car chase to the free-running rooftop chase in Siena to the boat chase in Haiti to the airplane battle in Bolivia, all were superbly executed and filmed but were too fast to catch up with easily. Not to mention that the hotel room fight is similar to the one in Bourne Ultimatum and the boat chase is similar to the one in The World is Not Enough! Director Marc Forster has handled few sequences with aplomb, amongst which the Opera discussion, Mathis’ end, M and Bond’s show-off deserve special mention. And oh yes, there was an oily homage to Goldfinger too!
The only solace that I got from watching the movie was that it wasn’t half as bad as some of the post-premiere reviews had made it out to be but at the same time, it doesn’t replicate the feel of Casino Royale. IMHO, the climax leaves too many unanswered questions and ought to have been handled better. Ditto the CIA angle. One more thing I absolutely hated were the opening credits. The gun-barrel sequence was pushed to the end and instead we had lot of sandy-girl effects which made no sense at all. Coupled with Alicia Keys’ hollering rendition of Another way to die, it was a forgetful start to the movie. Just to ensure that it fades out of my memory, I sat through the entire closing credits to watch the familiar gun-barrel sequence and hear to the immersive Bond Theme by Monty Norman.