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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Quantum Of Solace

I'm not sure that this review is going to make much of a difference to most people who bother reading it, seeing as how most of you have probably already seen it. To be perfectly honest, for those who do want to see it, only do so really because it continues the story of Casino Royale, and links it to what must be the finale of the "Daniel Craig" trilogy, seeing as how he has signed on to three Bond movies. And it is true no doubt that the movie is probably better off seen after seeing Casino Royale, being the first Bond film to have some degree of continuity. But in a sense, this film seems to have the problem that quite a few trilogies, including the Lord of The Rings have, in that they merely tie the first to the last, with one event in between, the Lord of The Rings being the battle of Helms Deep. Now, maybe I don't think as highly of this film because it follows Casino Royale, a film I absolutely loved and consider one of the best of all the Bond movies, along with the Dalton films, the Connery ones and The Spy Who Loved Me. But to be perfectly honest, Quantum Of Solace is a genuinely underwhelming and at times boring film. Let's start on the good though, Daniel Craig once again great as Bond, this time playing a suitably cold Bond out for revenge, and regular Judi Dench in her sixth Bond as M is as good as ever. Ever since Craig took over as Bond, Dench's role has definitely been expanded for the better. Also, Olga Kurylenko I think was very good in her role as Camille, creating a flipside to Bond himself and the stereotypical Bond girl. Personally, I think she deserved more screen time to expand the character. Also, the climax of the film in the Atacama Desert was fantastic, what I felt was a genuinely great ending to the film. However, now this is where I start digging, I believe that this is a great third act lambasted into what is a fundamentally flawed film. For example, like I said, the climax is great bringing to mind the great almangation of character and action onscreen with perfect synchronicity. However, the opening act of the film is something which you would not find out of place in the later scenes of Die Hard 4.0. It is utter bombardment of the senses, and not in a good way. It is umbearably poorly edited in these action sequences, with various fast-paced cutaways, and then the camera is shaking about as though it has found its way into the mouth of a dog. Yes, I know, Casino Royale had fight sequences and chases at the beginning of the film, but they were superbly choreographed, realistic and counterbalanced by scenes of dialogue which let you know why Bond was doing all these car chases. It all seemed very rushed. Now, I'm not saying the running time was a bad thing at 106 mins, but they clearly had not put much thought into the structure of the film like Casino. It took four year to make Casino Royale, which ran at 144 mins, a properly deep and structured film, whereas this seems overly rushed at two years and unstructured 106. I mean this is the first act. Within half-an-hour we are given an opening car chase, which leads into intro, then one minute at most of dialogue, leading into extended foot-chase sequence, followed by Bond travel to hotel, only to fight someone. Bond leaves hotel, gets into a motorcycle chase and then, only then, after this are we introduced to the villain of the piece in a two-three minute scene. And following this is a speedboat chase. Now, I know I am not one to tell someone how to make a movie when the extent of my film-making is the edited manipulation of a yoga ball, but you simply cannot believe the producers when they say "Bond has went real" whenever you are given this amount of action sequences within half an hour or even less. After this, it takes about forty minutes to reach another action sequence, and like me, I'm sure you can guess what viechle is involved judging by what has proceeded. I did, around the time after the boat chase, not taking myself or the film seriously, and then I was right. It infuriates me after the masterpiece that was Casino Royale to see something as lacking in clear thought as this. It was pretty obvious that because of the high demand for a Casino Royale sequel, the producers have really rushed this film. As a director, they chose Marc Forster, a critically acclaimed arthouse director of films such as Finding Neverland, who is clearly out of his element here. The same writing team is involved here, but only give us roughly half a good film. Also, it seems that Gemma Arterton's purpose in this film is just to throw in a Goldfinger reference. I know what the film-maker's are trying to acheive with her character, but this simply cannot be done if she is given about thirty seconds onscreen. In conclusion, with regards to Quantum of Solace, despite some great performances and a fantastic climax to the film, this cannot be what the film is remembered by. It should be judged as a whole, and as a whole it is structurally and fundamentally weak, with lacklusture editing, a director out of his element and a film which has too many action sequences in the film in its entireity and not just the opening act. At least in one or two of these scenes, it retained a degree of the realism of Casino Royale, whereas others just go in the direction of Die Hard 4.0 ridiculousness. Word(s) of advice, spend longer developing the film, don't rush making it and for god sake, spread out the action sequences.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 4.7/10

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