Arts and Entertainment

Quantum hits the bulls eye

By Artie Augustyn
Published: November 2008

The Bond series has had a new addition every two years for the past half-century. The latest release, Quantum of Solace, starring Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, and Olga Kurylenko and directed by Marc Forster, attempts to garner the same amount of praise as 2006′s Casino Royale. Quantum of Solace successfully lives up to the hype, and could replace Casino Royale as “Best Bond Film ever.

Quantum of Solace is a direct sequel to Casino Royale: the action starts chronologically minutes after the previous film ends. The plot continues to progress key events that occurred in Casino Royale. This is the first time a Bond film has ever referenced another installment, but audience members can still watch Quantum without being familiar with the previous film.

Quantum of Solace attempts to add serious subplots into its story, a first for the series. Luckily the film never takes itself too seriously, and there’s still plenty of classic James Bond humor incorporated in the action.

The pacing of Quantum of Solace is phenomenal. Most Bond films struggle to maintain a balance among story, action, and comedy. This latest addition, however, makes it look easy. Unlike Casino Royale, there aren’t any hour-long poker tournaments to sit through, and the overall dialogue is a lot funnier. Each individual aspect has been built on and improved since the last installment.

Quantum departs from the typical “Bond classics. The catch-phrases “shaken, not stirred and “Bond. James Bond are never spoken. Simple nods, such as the Bond theme song played over a shootout or a specialized Aston Martin designed to be blown up, never make an appearance.

This may upset some fans, but there’s still a feeling of “James Bond in the air, most apparent in Daniel Craig’s performance and the writing of each individual scene. With the removal of those tiresome one-liners constantly paying homage to a particular movie that was made over 40 years ago, the franchise feels new again. Great writing in place of a nostalgic quirk is a rewarding tradeoff.

The one legitimate problem with Quantum of Solace is the editing. Many of the action sequences, specifically near the beginning, are spliced together through numerous short cuts similar to the Bourne franchise. Here, though, the splicing gives the impression that the editing crew was in a rush, rather than trying to accomplish a certain technique. The majority of these quick-cut sequences leave the audience bemused. The sound design provides essential cues to the audience because looking at the screen is about as useful as staring into flashing neon lights.

In addition to this, most of these scenes never seem to connect each shot together. There is often a shot of Bond doing something spectacular, like participating in a boat-on-boat head-on collision, but then he’ll suddenly speed away while avoiding machine gunfire. To be fair, though, all of these problems are fixed half way through the movie, where the action gets a lot more cohesive.

Despite its shortcomings, Quantum of Solace is an amazing action-packed Bond experience that’s fully recommendable to anyone. The plotline, humor and edge-of-your-seat excitement combine to make Quantum one of the better installments in the franchise. There’s no way of knowing where the series will go from here, but the future seems promising, and I personally cannot wait for what they do next.

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