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Boring. Quantum of Solace is, I'm assuming, not a good Bond movie. I still have next to no experience with this series, but based off Casino Royale, this is an extremely poor showing for 007. It's not even a good action movie. It's poorly shot, poorly edited, poorly paced, emotionally detached, and dramatically inert.
The story is nonsense. I still really have no idea how it connects with Vesper. But basically, Bond's out to uncover the organization behind Vesper's murder. Along the way, a bunch of non sequiturs ensue.
Up until this point, I've had nothing but positive experiences with director Marc Forster. Finding Neverland is a charming and effective film. And World War Z is one of my favorite blockbusters of 2013. But this, this is a textbook example of a director who has no idea what he wants to do, and he has no idea how to do it. The writer's strike of 2007-2008 didn't help matters. But even given that, this is a shockingly inept film.
At only an hour and forty-five minutes, Quantum of Solace doesn't allow for a moment of reflection. We're thrown into the action with no situational bearing. The first 20 minutes of the movie consist of a laundry line of really choppy (and inconsequential) action scenes. From there, we get the plot running rings around itself for another hour and twenty minutes.
Fact is, this movie really couldn't have been less interesting. Bond in a make-or-break Poker game in a classy hotel? Interesting. Bond falling in love in Venice? Interesting. But Bond walking through the desert? Not so interesting. Putting 007 in these exotic but solitary locations takes the fun human interaction out of the character. Daniel Craig still gives it his all, but he is severely let down by the material.
As for the Bond girls, it feels like they picked the wrong one to focus on. Olga Kurylenko plays Camille, and there's absolutely no chemistry between her and Bond. She's not even really a love interest. She's just your run-of-the-mill, charisma-less heroine. On the other hand, Gemma Arterton plays Fields, another MI-6 agent. And had the movie kept Craig and Arterton together, I fully believe that the whole experience would have been a lot more fun.
One final note on the cast, Mathieu Amalric plays the villain, Dominic Greene. And he's awful. He lacks all of the qualities that make a villain convincing.
You don't have to be a enthusiast to know that music is very important to this series. Bond songs can and should be iconic. But Jack White's "Another Way to Die" is ... misguided, to put it nicely. The lyrics could work, but the production is a mess. David Arnold fares better. In what might be his final Bond score, Arnold provides everything we've come to expect from this franchise.
Quantum of Solace isn't entirely without merit (that Opera house scene is very impressive and well done), but on a whole, the thing that sticks with me the most is how this is a wit-less, senseless, and charm-less entry to the franchise. Better luck next time, I'm guessing.
"If you could avoid killing every possible lead, it would be deeply appreciated." 4/10
I have no point of reference with which to compare Casino Royale. I've never seen a Bond movie ... up until now. I can't really say anything authoritatively. I think Daniel Craig is fantastic as Bond, but I have no comparisons to draw from. I think Eva Green is probably one of the best Bond girls, but that's entirely conjecture on my part. Still, as a post-Bourne action movie, Casino Royale is a remarkably good time!
This rebooted Bond is one of those unattainably classy films, think Oceans 11 but without the occasionally goofy characters. And I like that! Action movies nowadays could use an extra dose of class every now and again.
The performances are exceptional. As I mentioned above, Craig and Green are terrific! Chemistry between actors is a tricky thing, but the two leads deliver it in spades! Mads Mikkelsen plays a chilling foil to Bond. Judi Dench is as reliable as always. And Jeffery Wright lends his talents in a smaller supporting role. The cast offers nothing in the way of flaws.
The action is surefooted and confident. There is an awesome free-running chase near the beginning. The scene offers little bearing on the rest of the movie, but it's still exhilarating to watch! There is a lengthy and impressive action scene in Miami International Airport. But I wouldn't say this is an action-centric movie.
The pacing could be problematic. And there's no denying that Casino Royale is a tad too long. Poker games take up the majority of the middle portion of the film. But it's incredible who tense director Martin Campbell keeps these scenes.
The main flaw present is the shifting villainy. At the beginning, there is a very clear villain. Then he's out of the picture, and character B becomes the main baddie. Then that washes out, and character C comes on the scene. A little definition would be nice.
Also of special note, the music is amazing! Chris Cornell's inspired Bond song sets the tone right from the get-go! And David Arnold's score never ceases to astound - in the action scenes and in the quieter, more introspective moments.
Casino Royale: one of the most classy, flashy, and engaging action movies yielded from mid-2000's. The other Daniel Craig movies in this series are now, most definitely, on my want-to-see-list! Mr. Bond, it was a pleasure meeting you.
"I won't consider myself to be in trouble until I start weeping blood." 8.5/10
While watching this movie may have been an assignment, I was no less excited to give it a go. After Gravity, I was more than willing to see what else Cuarón had on his resume. And Children of Men, while not at all like Gravity, is a mind-blowingly put together Sci-Fi drama!
The story is clever and fresh. But it's the filmmaking that is the star of the show! Firstly, the movie is set in 2027, and it feels like a real place. The futuristic elements are really kept in check. The world looks just like it is now, except it sucks. It's a horrible place. And the production design by Jim Clay and Geoffrey Kirkland expertly reflects that. The cinematography by the peerless Emmanuel Lubezki is absolutely outstanding! The costume design, the set decoration, and the lighting all merge together to create a perfectly tangible world.
And then there are the long takes. The best scenes in the movie are these 4-5 minute single takes. They are show stopping, jaw dropping experiences that cannot be described! There's a car chase that is probably the most well known long shot in the movie. But it's a 6 minute take of Clive Owen rushing through a war zone that leaves the biggest impression. The staging involved with these shots is mind-numbing. I couldn't believe my eyes!
The acting is also spot on. Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Clare-Hope Ashitey give top-notch efforts. It's not just acting, it's hitting marks and keeping energy going. There's a 3 minute child birth scene, and the level of commitment that Owen and Ashitey maintain is stunning!
You don't just watch Children of Men, you're placed right in the middle of the action. You don't simply see this movie, you feel it too. Alfonso Cuarón is, when it comes to shooting style, the most inventive director I have ever experienced. More like this, please.
"As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices." 9/10