Saturday, November 08, 2008

Quantum of Solace: The Reluctant Bond

Quantum of Solace (QoS) not just sounds like an art-house movie but in parts is shot like one! What with Marc Forster of the art-house movies like The Kite Runner and Finding Neverland, the temptation is real. When the Bond is not involved in deafening episodes of action, all we get to see and hear are lengthy expositions (in typical British style Queen's English :)) of 'who-is-who' and 'who-is-spying-who'. The Bond is back and he is pissed! With his lover's death, he transforms into a killing machine and that is what all QoS is about.
With screenwriters like Paul Haggis (who has written the very famous Crash), the Bond franchise re-invented the Bond in Casino Royale two years ago with stupendous success. It was a masterstroke especially because the very suave Pierce Brosnan was giving way to a blond muscleman Daniel Craig. With the reinvention making him play a rookie yet to be promoted and trusted fully, Craig didnt have to carry all the baggage of his superstar predecessors. With the collaboration of Martin Campbell (Director of the Zorro series), Paul Haggis and an excellent casting inclusing the very beautiful and talented Eva Green Casino Royale turned out to be the best of the Bond series for many. The drama and the action built into this story of how the Bond transformed into a killer machine rejunevated the Bond series. Casino Royale has one of the best finales when in the climax Daniel Craig, all power-dressed, complete with a gun, looms over and kills one in revenge to Vesper's death. And that is where the problem started for QoS. Making a sequel to a herculean task, especially when the Bond franchise seems to be in a hurry to distance itself from typical elements of previous Bond movies.

Having broke up with his past through Casino.., the Bond cannot now return to his suave past (in this sequel of Casino... QoS is the first sequel in the Bond series. And for those with a mind for statistics, QoS is the shortest of the Bond series while Casino..was the longest). Having started the revenge saga in Casino,..the Bond goes on a killing spree in QoS. We are told he is 'blinded by inconsolable rage'. There are some mind-numbing action episodes lumped together for Bond fans. But otherwise the movie lacks a soul. The Bond is too serious to enjoy himself and his revenge drama doesnt excite because of a weakly characterized villain Dominic Greene. Nevertheless, the villain's henchmen chase the Bond across the sky in an aerial dogfight, across water in motor boat manoeuvres and on the cliffs in artillery-mounted cars. And to end this all, when the Bond actually gets hold of the villain, he drops him in middle of a desert to die on his own! This is one of the poetic art-house things done in this movie by Marc Forster and Paul Haggis. The other scenes include one initial chase scene where Bond chases his MI6 colleague. This chase was interspersed with a horse race scene. The climactic scene where the dictator gets killed in fire was poetic revenge for the Bond girl whose own family was similary put to death by the dictator. Alas, the plot and charcterizations ofcourse didnt get this kind of attention to detail. And that is why this bond enterprise in unexciting. This is a reluctant Bond. We miss his introduction 'My Name is..' and the tune (which plays only thru end-credits).

This Bond movie is filmed across Italy, UK, Bolivia, Austria, Haiti and Russia and is the costliest ever but this simply dosent measure up. But this does not seem to stop a sequel for this as well! The crime syndicate 'Quantum' discovered in this movie is not yet destroyed and the Bond is told that the villain is indeed shot by his colleagues in Quantum. Daniel Craig who has been signed for 3 more Bond movies may very well come back to destroy Quantum. And our solace, if the screenwriters are not up to the task.


Vinayak Razdan said...

Not the best of the Bond!
Even Paul Haggis is getting predictable with his twists and turns in story.

Raghavendra Keesari said...

No..meaning ..big disappointment