Tuesday, November 18, 2008

movie review--quantum of solace

A few weeks ago, I gave in to a bit of curiosity, and from the library checked out an old James Bond movie. It was "You Only Live Twice", and was from the time when Sean Connery was in the role of the super-spy.

So, I took it home, and an evening or two later, watched it. At the end of it, I sat in my chair thinking "Ok, what was the big deal?"

The few times I've heard disucssions about Bond movies, the common opinion seemed to have been that Bond was at his best when Connery was Bond. I haven't watch many Bond movies. I do remember seeing one, I think it was "Live and Let Die", once when I was traveling. It was, if I may be blunt, a rather ridiculous movie. I expected something more from YOLT.

I'm not sure I got it. Oh, it as better, which may not have been all that hard to do, but it was still just very iffy. The character of Bond in the movie was rather unlikeable. He was selfish and chauvinistic (a PC word, I know, but in this case very true), and with little to any emotional display. Even when his first lover in the movie is poisoned and dies while sleeping with him, he didn't show much in the way of regret or grief or consternation.

I've seen the Brosnan Bond movies, and thought them ok. Rather too clean and super-hero-ish, maybe, but the character was at least likeable at time.

So, last week, I took a gander at "Quantum of Solace", and left it rather impressed indeed.

This new Bond is very different from any I've seen in my admittedly limited experience with the movies. Of coures, he wears tuxedoes and nice suits, but they don't seem to be a part of him as much as they were with Brosnan.

There was almost no use of the kind of techno-tricks that seemed common with Brosnan's Bond. No Q to come up with gadgetry. I rather liked that, it keeps the movie from that super-hero type of feel.

Perhaps the best parallel to this Bond that I can think of is to be found in the Tom Clancy novels, in the character of Clark. A kind of stoic, intense, super-competant killer.

Though, really, the character is more involved with that (that same with Clark as well).

This movie is a direct sequel to the last, Casino Royale, and even brings back many of the characters from it. Bond is still in some state of grief over the betrayal and death of his love from CR, Vesper, and still trying to discover what and who is behind it. At the same time, on the outside, he is denying it to others, perhaps even to himself.

Trips to rough and exotic places are, of course, in order. Haiti is shown as a poor and rough place, though I would guess not as much as the reality. There is an important scene in some kind of opera house, which reminded me a bit of scenes from "The Godfather" movies. Things finally come to an end in South America, not counting a short finale in Russia.

One thing that makes Bond hard to like for me is the philandering and womanizing nature of the character. It was present in YOLT and LaLD and in the Brosnan movies, and sadly even here, though this one seems far more interested in his tasks at hand then in flirting. In QoS, there is the obligatory bedroom scene, sadly, though even it was rather downplayed. I rather think they did it almost as an afterthought, as if thinking "Well, we have to, because that's what Bond does".

As opposed to the Bond in YOLT, this one seems to care for the women who cross his path. His feelings for Vesper still haunt him, and he also seems to care for the Argentine woman whom he meets and rescues in Haiti.

And his relationship with M is given some new twists. They disagree and knock heads, as per usual, but they seem to have a true concern for each other.

I'm really liking this new Bond a lot.

No comments: