Belated Reviews: Quantum of Solace
I’m sorry this review got delayed like this. I should have written about this last week, but I was busy getting murdered by office work. I knew you’d understand.
As all Bond fans know, Bond has been rebooted since 2006’s “Casino Royale”. Bond is bigger, meaner, grittier, and doesn’t smile much anymore. He has retired his quick quips and fancy comebacks, traded in his ejector-seat like gadgets and the wizardry department, ‘Q’, for sturdier plots and darker shades. He’s no longer required to bed every woman that pops out from the corner of the screen, and that gives him time to focus on his missions.
I do miss the old Bond. The raised eyebrows, the insane gadgets, the colorful villains, the larger than life action scenes and the double entendres that the writers graciously pepper all around the script. But I was pleasantly surprised how I liked the new version too. Casino Royale was the best possible way to get the new Bond rolling.
And Quantum of Solace does not disappoint. I didn’t expect it to overshadow it’s predecessor, and I was right. It didn’t. As the shortest Bond movie ever made, QoS seems more like an epilogue to Casino Royale. The movie starts off right from the tail of the last one, and it is almost certain that people who haven’t seen the predecessor would probably spend their time chewing their fingernails in abstract confusion.
We start off with a car chase that ends with the trademark Bond finesse, which basically reduces the pristine Auston Martin DBS into premium rubble. The better part of the plot revolves around an embittered Bond seeking revenge over his murdered fiance, Vesper Lynd, and the systematic discovery and research on the mysterious and sinister organization called Quantum, which, you would have to admit, sounds way more cooler than the nemesis from the original franchise, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
I usually try to hide the fact that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. stood for ‘Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion’. The name was a hidden shame to all of us Bond fanatics out there, though we wouldn’t admit it under heavy torture. It must have been a pretty screwed up team who decided to opt for a name that had the words ‘Counter-Intelligence’ prominently lit up. Maybe the executives weren’t intelligent enough to understand what it meant. I don’t know.
The new Bond doesn’t use the iconic catchphrase ‘The name’s Bond, James Bond’, anymore. Neither do we see his unstirring devotion to the shaken vodka martini. Instead, we are treated to the cold brutal assassin who interrogates his targets only after vital vocal chords are removed. We are shown that M disapproves of this tactic, possibly because of the practical difficulties in getting information from dead leads. But Bond continues to leave a trail that seems to challenge the grim reaper; everything he touches seems to wind up dead, including cars, planes, bikes, confidantes, lovers, and his career at MI6, though just for a short while.
This is a Bond that bleeds, looks grim, and gets dirty after crashing his plane in the desert. The added touch of vulnerability makes the character easier to relate to and brings a new aura of tension to the movie experience.
At the center of the current plot, we see a rogue environmentalist group seeking to control utility supply for a proposed new nation. Excited? Yeah, neither was I. Sure, this was disappointing, but this ultra-thin plot left a lot of room for very engaging subplots centered around Quantum, and I’m already getting impatient for the next installment.
James Bond, meanwhile, seems to have picked up tips from his distant cousin, Jason Bourne. Foot chases on old terraces, jumping through glass windows to get to the the next apartment, rapid adaptation to environment, and cameramen who gets shaken and stirred during the action scenes all add a Bourne touch to Bond, and it suits the mood of the new Bond setting.
We are treated to a few memorable chases, unfortunately balanced by a few weak ones. By the end of the movie, our debonair agent has of course, thwarted the villain, regained public favor of his boss, M, unlocked a few clues to Quantum, and expanded the dossier on items blown up.
Granted, the central plot was thin, but I thoroughly enjoyed this installment, and I’m hungry for more. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of a 5, and keep a look out for the next 007 instalment. But until then, maybe I’ll go stand in line for another watch of QoS.