Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Quantum of Solace

Apparently Fleming's short story Quantum of Solace is about James Bond attending a tedious dinner party, and that's it. No shootings, no quips as some naughty evil doer is dispatched in a grisly manner, no oddly shaped henchman with unique methods of offing his master's enemies.

Thankfully I only found that out tonight *after* having watched the film, after all Daniel Craig's Bond is constantly being touted as getting back to the original 007 but it seems they weren't tempted to set the entire thing around some polite conversation and profiteroles.

Whilst Casino Royale introduced a grittier, more dangerous Bond who no longer relied on gadgets Quantum's Bond takes that up one notch. I don't think there's a single special gadget (unless you count his swanky phone I suppose) and the deformed henchman had to make do with an embarrassing haircut to emphasise his inner evil.

The politics of the whole thing was pretty bizarre really. Firstly we're dealing with the vicious "Greene Planet" organisation who's dastardly plan to conserve the world's resources is actually a cover for trying to monopolise them for their own ends. Secondly whilst we have the CIA backing a coup attempt in Bolivia (this is purely fiction of course) we have the plucky MI6 agent to thank for the protection of Latin American democracy. Umm, ok.

The action is fast and furious - although it seemed more in the spirit of the Bourne Identity than new Bond, but it still gets your blood going. I certainly like Bond having an emotional depth that he's never seemed to possess before, although I hope he doesn't start getting all weepy and talking about not getting a bike for Christmas in future films.

When Fleming wrote the books he had in mind the Commandos he knew during his wartime intelligence service and you can see that Bond fits that role far more snugly than a more nuanced but less robust spy. The two Craig films are the only ones I've ever been tempted to see at the cinema and I've not been disappointed so far even if the fantasy spy seems to bear little relation to the actual work of British Intelligence, but then who wants to watch a film about paperwork?

1 comment:

mish said...

The main thoughts I had after seeing Quantum of Solace was "Where did the humour go?".

I saw Casino Royale again recently, and some of the conversations between Bond and M, or Bond and Vesper were wonderful. But I remember no amusing dialogue in Quantum.

Bring back the humour