In which Gerry Hayes keeps looking around to see if John Cleese is going to pop up in a white coat, offering a titanium codpiece with a built in iPod and lemon-zester.
Quantum Of Solace, 2008.
Directed by Marc Forster.
Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini.
Written by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
Think Casino Royale was the return of Bond? You’d be wrong – it’s Quantum Of Solace. If Casino Royale was ‘Bond for a new generation’, Quantum Of Solace is ‘lets slip a bit of old-generation Bond in and, for the next one, we can get John Cleese back’.
There may be spoilers.
I had high hopes. I liked Casino Royale. I liked Daniel Craig as Bond. I liked the new, grittier, Bourne-ier Bond. I hoped QoS would be more of the same.
All I got was a little bit of the same. Sure there are some Bourney bits – some good fights and chases and whatnot but there’s too much of the old Bond sneaking its way back in. The airplane dogfight for instance. Just because it’s ruggedly handsome Daniel Craig flying – and leaping out of – the plane doesn’t make it any less ridiculous than if it had been Pierce Brosnan. And, Bond’s seduction of the, ludicrously named, Strawberry Fields seemed to have Roger Moore leering over it, eyebrows raised, saying “you seem to be attempting re-entry, old boy.”
In Casino Royale, when asked if he preferred his drink shaken or stirred, Craig’s Bond replied, “do I look like I care.” In QoS, he sits quietly in the first class section of a plane, drinking to forget his pain, as the bartender lovingly lists the recipe for his vodkatini in exacting detail, right down to the girlish twist of lemon. Now, don’t get all prissy with me and tell me ‘that’s what Fleming wrote’. I don’t care and neither should the writers and director of this. The idea with the Bond reboot was to get away from the old, and lets face it, shite Bond films. Whether out of misguided reverence, or just plain silliness, making Craig into Roger/Timothy/Pierce/Sean (i.e. the old Bond) is a bad idea. Stop it.
In Quantum Of Solace, we first meet Bond in a high-speed chase. He’s in his Aston Martin and the bad guys are after him. After he eludes them (i.e. dispatches them with flaming-carwreck-death) he delivers Mr. White (from the first movie) to M for questioning. Turns out though that he’s infiltrated British Secret Service and a traitor shoots M and helps Mr. White escape. Bond chases the traitor and duly kills him.
So far, so good. Then he’s off to Haiti however (we know it’s Haiti as the titles on screen show it in a ‘Haitian-style’ font) and here it starts getting a bit dull and silly. He finds new bad guy, Dominic Greene (Amalric) and his, rather angry, girlfried Camille Montes (Kurylenko). Blah, blah, blah, speedboat chases, airplane chases, opera, car chases, parachute-death-drops, twist of lemon, dead bloke in a dumpster (Giannini), blah, blah.
And then we’re in Bolivia. It turns out that the evil, twisted, maniacal super-villain’s dastardly plot has been to get appointed main services provider for Bolivia. Really. The super-villain wants to be in civic amenities . He’s managed this diabolical and fiendish deed by building secret, underground dams and stopping the water to at least one small village in the Bolivian Andes (we know this because we see, at length, simple, peasant-folk all gathered around as a tiny, inadequate, trickle drips from their water pipe).
Bond won’t stand for this and tracks the fiend to a hotel that seems to be made entirely of explosives. Needless to say, the volatile nature of this building is put to good use before Bond dispenses some poetic justice and the world is safe once more.
Yes, Bond is back. But it’s the crappy Bond.
Read more I Sat Through That? right here.
Gerry Hayes is a garret-dwelling writer subsisting on tea, beer and Flame-Grilled Steak flavour McCoy’s crisps. You can read about other stuff he doesn’t like on his blog at http://stareintospace.com or you can have easy, bite-sized bits of him at http://twitter.com/gerryhayes