And You Thought It Was Safe(?)

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Our review of the twenty-second James Bond film and the one we’ve watched the least, for reasons that will be clear as glass if you give me…oh, say, fourteen or so minutes of your time.

15 Comments so far
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I’ve hurt my brain trying to figure out the meaning of the title. 4 years later, it still gives me a headache about the title being Quantum of Solace and the evil origination is named Quantum, WTF ? Whatever. As for the film, one wonders what Paul Haggis didn’t finish. The whole film is an assembly line of incomplete ideas cemented together with the old formula but it’s even more shallow than Goldeneye in that respect; At least we had Trevelyan with a mildly interesting background and a clever scheme. Here, we have a nobody character named Greene who seems to be just a sales rep for a vaguely fleshed ou criminal organization with the evil plans of stealing water; The stakes haven’t been that low since The Living Daylights.

Comment by Ricardo Cantoral

Sometimes I think the Bond Writing Staff named the next film Skyfall specifically to yank Craig’s chain. “Oh, you think these titles are meaningless, do you, Daniel? Well, fuck you. Just wait and see what we name the next one!”

As to what Paul Haggis didn’t finish, I’d go out on a limb and say, “everything” since it’s all so malformed and hideous to behold. I detect more than a whiff of Michael G. Wilson in this movie’s low stakes and reliance on formula. With all current WGA members on strike during production, I’m pretty sure he had more to do with this script than anyone (he, his wife, his director and stars included) would like to admit. For good reason. They should all be ashamed. One of the many reasons I’m glad their follow-up pretends this one never existed.

Comment by David DeMoss

Many do speculate MGW more than likely finished what Haggis and the red herring was that sky diving sequence which was in the first draft of Goldeneye.

Comment by Ricardo Cantoral

And on the subject of getting the whole “rogue” agent idea wrong, I think Mission Impossible 4 was even further off the mark than Quantum or Die Another Day. The “rogue” IMF team only had the meager resources of millions of dollars worth of Star Trek level technology. Shit, at least in DAD when Bond went rogue he only had his tailored suits, passport, and a revolver.

Comment by Ricardo Cantoral

Ah, yes – another perfectly good reason to ignore Mission Impossible 4, the same way I’ve ignored its prequels.

Comment by David DeMoss

At the end of the day, the whole MI movie franchise is just Tom Cruise’s way to inflate his vastly overblown ego every few years. Case in point, ever since Cruise took over as executive producer, Ethan Hunt became more and more physically indestructible even by action hero standards. True, Cruise eventually did give in to the demand of fans of the original show by actually having a team play a useful role in the third film but they were only meat puppets to surround the star meat puppet.

Comment by Ricardo Cantoral

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I actually quite liked MI4. MI1, 2 and 3 can go to Catwoman Hell for all I care, but 4 just barely managed to redeem itself by taking Tom off the screen for some of the time and letting the backup cast have something to do. Mostly I was watching it for Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner, not the Xenu Dwarf.

Yeah, the plot went to pot, but that’s what happens when the script’s written by two TV producer/writers for a Big Star. Anyone involved in American Life on Mars should have been debarred from ever writing for publication again.

Comment by RogerBW

Especially since they went on to write that abysmal monstrosity of a Ninja Turtles script we were all passing around a few months back. So keep your fingers on your Emergency alarms: their rampage continues unabated.

Comment by David DeMoss

Simon Pegg was in a terribly cliched role that was common place in about every action thriller during the 90’s; The comedy relief tech geek helping the “bad ass” action hero.

As for Jeremy Renner, he was the only character I had any real sympathy for. I wish MI:4 was his film instead.

Comment by Ricardo Cantoral

Olga Kurylenko has just such a weird career path. A year before she was in that horrible abomination of a Hitman adaptation and in 2008 she also was in Max Payne (with Marky Mark, another video game movie that completely missed the mark.). Poor girl can’t seem to catch a break. Not that she’s much of an actress.

Comment by Choronzon

Damnit, that’s right: I’d managed to forget Max Payne even existed. Now I really feel bad for Olga, even if she is an internationally recognized definition of hotness. Two bad video game adaptions in a row would’ve been bad enough (just look what happened to Robin Shou) but top it off with this and you’ve got a career-cratering triple-threat. No wonder she wound up rolling in the Empires of the Deep.

Comment by David DeMoss

I never understood what made Kurylenko the international icon of hotness. There’s plenty of East-European models hotter than her. I’d rather cuddle up to a girl like Parminder Nagra, Rosalyn Sanchez or Rose Byrne instead. It’s weird, like video game adaptations Bond movies generally tend to bring out the worst in producers/directors and secondary character actors/actresses. It’s like they save the worst of all, to put into these movie projects.

Despite all the connotations of prestige, a 007 movie has buried many a career of actors and actresses alike. Makes you wonder why they keep cranking ’em out. Oh yeah, that’s right, easy money. The General Public is an ass, that’s right.

Comment by Choronzon

It was old school Bond girl casting by using former models. Other than one willing to bone the casting director, I can’t imagine what made one model stand out over the other.

Comment by Ricardo Cantoral

I didn’t DISLIKE Quantum of Solace the way I actively hated Die Another Day, disdained Tomorrow Never Dies, and genuinely loathed Moonraker. I did, however, think it was a Bond film which didn’t particularly wow me. The Alicia Keyes theme, you’re correct, is absolute garbage and it’s especially troublesome because there’s a Shirley Bassey song they rejected which is GOLD (look it up on Youtube).

For me, it’s slightly worse than average across the board for the Bond canon. It’s a shame because I enjoyed the way they handled Neo-SPECTRE. Well, for the most part. Quantum (Quantum of Solace is the title of a short-story by Ian Fleming about a airline stewardess sleeping around told to Bond–seriously) feels like a business for most of the opera scene. It’s a group of rich bastards using politics and terrorism to make MORE billions–you know, like Haliburton. I can get behind that.

It’s just the movie immediately undermines the relative realism of Mister White by inserting the batshit insane Dominic Greene. Quantum is supposed to be a serious organization and Dominic is just this side of the Joker. I also can’t say the geo-politics lesson and environmentalism lesson was particularly well-received: I get clean water is important and corporations can be evil as well as the CIA–but it didn’t work for me.

Still, Mathias and the wrap-up of the Vesper thing satisfied me. It felt like a heart monitor, though, good moments with bad.

Comment by Charles Phipps

Quantum was, and is, the industrial run-off of the series. It’s few good bits (Mathis) feel like intrusions from another film – the film this one should’ve been if they’d waited for the end of the writer’s strike. Greene’s exactly the kind of one-note “relevant” villain “ripped straight from the headlines” we’d get back in the mid-80s, and his plot might’ve been interesting if it were the entire plot of the movie. That was probably the original conception of this movie, but desperation (and industrial inertia) forced them to throw every damn idea they could into the pot until they’d padded things to feature length. So we end up with a Bond Movie Stew, and like most bad stews, everything in it – even the good parts – tastes like the same, bland mush.

Comment by David DeMoss

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