(Review originally written at 7 November 2008)

While "Casino Royale" was also far from a perfect Bond movie, I liked the movie for the direction it was heading in. It basically re-imagined and set up the Bond franchise all over again, with a change of characters, style of action and story lines and overall approaches of it all. Instead of further redeveloping and re-imaging, "Quantum of Solace" feels like a movie that is standing still in its evolution and offers nothing new to the revived modern Bond franchise. It's as if this movie is just an in-between movie for things yet the come. But if they continue to redevelop and set up things again for the James Bond franchise in this pace and style, it means that we'll probably see the full new redeveloped style in and characters in 3 Bond movies from now. Bond still doesn't feel like the James Bond character we all grew up with and he is obviously a character still in development, no 'shaken, not stirred' lines, no gadgets, no Q, no Moneypenny, no 'Bond, James Bond' introduction line and heck Bond doesn't even sleep with the Bond girl! It makes you wonder what it is that makes this movie more special and makes it distinct itself from other action genre movie made this present day ant time. The answer is sadly; nothing. With this movie the Bond franchise really doesn't earn its right to exist anymore among other genre pieces in this modern era.

Why spend something like a $200,000,000 budget on a movie that is just like any other modern action movie made these days? When I go and see a James Bond movie I expect to see something special. Something different from any other genre movie. Something more fun and entertaining. This movie is like the world upside down! Normally James Bond always used to be a trend-setter for action movies, now it has become a franchise that itself lends from- and imitates different action movies and styles. This movie is already often being compared to the 'Bourne'-movies for a good reason. Its action style with shaky cam, fast editing and all is similar, however also not as good as in any of the 'Bourne'-movies (and I'm not even a too great fan of the shaky cam in the Bourne movies), with has everything to do with the fact that Marc Forster is simply not an action movie director.

It already in advance seemed like an odd move to install Marc Forster as the new director of a Bond movie. When you like on his résumé you'll only see drama's and art-house movies. Not anything with remotely some action in it. Normally these directors often surprise when they are given the opportunity to directed a movie like this one, which isn't the case for Marc Forster however unfortunately.

For also when you like upon this movie as a stand-alone movie, a movie that has nothing to do with the Bond franchise and simply purely as an action-thriller, this movie is severely lacking. This is due to the very messy story, with shaky motives for all characters and a main plot-line that just never becomes fully clear. Because of the this also the villain doesn't work out. Mathieu Amalric seems like a good and interesting actor but a Bond villain needs to be evil personified. The villain is simply not villainous enough in this movie and has no good interaction with the Bond character. This was the guy Le Chiffre was taking orders from? Hard to imaging!

Also its severely lacking with its action and I don't just mean because of its style. For a $200.000.000 budget movie it is surely lacking in some big spectacular and renewing action sequences. It's really a movie like dozens of others, with action you've already seen before in movies that got made 20 years ago, only better looking. But not that you'll notice this though, its shaky cam and fast editing style ensures this.

The movie is filled with references to tons of other classic Bond movies, some more obvious than others. Sounds like a fun and good idea on paper, however in the movie itself it often works out more annoying and distracting at times.

Another problem with this movie is that it is a direct sequel to "Casino Royale". Maybe it would had been a good idea to announce a direct sequel if you already have the proper script for it. It seems to me that they had a hard time coming up with a good script that connects well to the events of "Casino Royale". Yes, Mathis is in it again but why? Felix Leiter is in it again but why? Mr. White is in it again but why? It all feels so obligatory and doesn't seem to have a significant enough purpose. It's also because of this that the movie feels like its standing style and doesn't develop the new Bond and Bond style further. The movie would had definitely better as a new stand-alone movie, that had nothing to do with the events which occurred in "Casino Royale".

Yes, Daniel Craig is in good form again and he is definitely a good choice for a more grittier and humane Bond, driven by his emotion but he simply is given nothing good or interesting to do, which is just a waste of talent. Same goes for basically every other actor within this movie as well. Olga Kurylenko is a waste of a potentially fine Bond-girl, Mathieu Amalric is a waste of a potentially fine Bond-villain and Judi Dench is also in it somewhere.

So stop making direct sequels and start finally with completing to set up the Bond character and the new Bond movie style. Oh and also just pick a better script and more suitable director next time please.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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