Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Give me some solace, but just a quantum, they sell big bags of solace, but I don't want 'em!

I'm just gonna get it out of the way right up front: I never, at any point during Quantum of Solace, had any trouble figuring out what was going on. That's one of the main complaints I've heard over and over about this film: that the editing style -- quick, fuzzy cuts mixed with odd symbolic cutaways -- makes it impossible to follow. Dunno -- maybe I'm just used to that style from my years watching music videos (see especially Mark Romanek and Sam Bayer) or maybe I'm just so BORED with the slickitty slick style of the Brosnan-era Bond movies that I'll take anything that's different. Anyway -- got it, followed it, done and dusted.

Also: I keep hearing over and over again that there's "no plot." Huh? There's just the right amount of plot. Plenty of plot. I mean, it's a BOND PLOT. There's a guy, he's up to no good, he's trying to fuck with the world, Bond figures out his complicated scheme and stops him. Right? Is there typically more plot in a Bond film? A subplot featuring a gay love affair between two of the Bond girls? Some kind of subtlety that I normally miss? It features the usual amount of plot. And just a note: the more you say the word "plot" the funnier it sounds.

That all said: I liked it. I fully went in expecting it to be a flawed film, after reading so many reviews bitching about the previous two complaints, but I found myself completely captivated. Its relentless, to be sure -- the action starts right atop and never lets up for even a second. Okay, for a second -- we get the redemption of the Mathis character from the last film -- but other than that, there isn't any pause to reflect at any moment during the film. Which to me is great because I'm not sure I want a let-up, here. It just keeps going, bashes you in the face over and over, and then it wraps up neatly. It's fun.

And it isn't completely po-faced, either. There's plenty of humor, it isn't relentlessly dark -- see especially the growing relationship between Bond and Judy Dench's M, which this time 'round is played for laughs as Bond racks up the body count to Dench's great and vocal dismay. The audience I was with guffawed in all the right spots, too, so it isn't like the beats miss their mark.

Daniel Craig continues to be excellent -- he smoulders. We're not used to a smouldering Bond -- Moore fucking DRIPPED with irritating, winking charm; Connery was a little harder and more rapist-y; Brosnan was just plain HOT and knew it and acted like he knew YOU knew it. Craig's a funny-looking, jug-eared freak, but he fucking smoulders. He walks into a scene and he's SEXY even when he's not. His sexy catches you off guard, which seems more like the kind of sexy a blunt instrument is supposed to have. He's supposed to be a SECRET agent. If he walks through the world being smarmy, everyone's gonna know who he is. Y'know?

Oh, and the opening titles sequence was magnificent. But then, I'm a White Stripes fan.

I've never felt more like I was watching a different film than the critics. I say: go see it, pronto.

(Oh yeah -- the STAR TREK TRAILER -- I feel like that's almost a post in and of itself, but holy wow Jesus was it cool.)


Patrick said...

I thought the humor that was there was good but what this one missed was a sense of irony. Bond always had that. I actually miss the smarmy winking too--Sign of the times I'm afraid. I'm not so sure it was a good idea to follow up on the characters in Casino Royale so much. I totally forgot what Mathis was all about. I mean, in the old days of television they'd spend 5 minutes re-capping last week's episode. They didn't even try to make LAST YEAR's movie accessible... that's why people had problems with plot. You, sir, have an iron clad memory for Bond plot it seems, funny as the word is. The romance was really missing, as it was in Casino Royale too, all pretensions to Bond falling deep in love aside. I mean, this Bond girl (the one we spent most of the movie watching) got nothing more than a pathetic 1-second kiss in an SUV as a send-off... that's not Bond. Not at all. I did enjoy the acknowledgment of high politics in this movie, but there was not much spy work, just non-stop violence.

My two cents.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

There was such a sense of joylessness in this movie, I dunno.

Now "a subplot featuring a gay love affair between two of the Bond girls?" is something I would dig. Write that, would you? But with Bond "guys"?

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to reiterate
"rapist-y"- my favorite moment of this delightful review. cheers! - kells

Beques said...

You funny fella!

LAP said...

I'm glad you weren't disappointed, because your lead-in has got me sold on the Craig bond films.

I have to get my feet wet with Casino Royale first though..

Prince Gomolvilas said...

LAP, Casino Royale is GREAT GREAT GREAT!

vfleblanc said...

I loved this one too! And smoulder is what he did. He was hot, he was relentless in a Terminator sort of way. There was nothing he couldn't do. Can't wait for the Star Trek movie, and it doesn't come out until May!