Directed By Marc Foster
Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench
Most of the people I know who are hardcore James Bond fans universally agree that Sean Connery is the superior Bond. I, being the weirdo I guess, have always preferred Roger Moore. The reason for this is primarily because I grew up with Moore in the role and his movies were much more modern.
Many fans and critics have commented that Daniel Craig is a throwback to Sean Connery where Pierce Brosnan was a throwback to Roger Moore. Overall, I like Craig as a more modern version of Connery but I also liked Brosnan as a modern Roger Moore. The problem with the Brosnan run of movies was that he was great in the role but the movies he was in weren’t stellar.
Unfortunately it appears the Craig’s version of Bond will suffer the same issues that Brosnan’s Bond did. Casino Royale was great fun due to some extremely memorable scenes, the most memorable of which was the opening black and white scene, but overall the plot just wasn’t that strong. Quantum of Solace features an even weaker story and no really memorable scenes outside the few minutes after the movie is over. A week after viewing this film there won’t be an action scene or a fantastic character exchange that you’ll tell your friends about. The movie, from that perspective, will disappear into the haze of other action films.
When friends ask you about the story of the film you’ll even have a more difficult time remembering and explaining it than trying to pick out a strong action scene. Honestly the story is just a big mess. The worst offense of the film is the fact that the revenge story that was so hyped in the marketing of the film just falls flat. The problem is that the story seems to already be in progress when the movie starts. Bond apprehends a bad guy who we don’t know and we don’t know what’s so important about him. It does get explained but in the most convoluted way possible. It also appears that Bond’s girl from the last film has been killed by these bad guys and Bond is pissed and wants revenge. No weight is ever given to Bond’s relationship with this girl other than through dialogue between him and a few other characters and her murder feels more like a plot device in the film than something truly dramatic. Olga Kurylenko, the Bond girl for this film, also has a revenge story in the film and the description and visuals tied to that story make it real and more dramatic. It’s much easier to understand and believe her anger in the film.
The villains in the film lack any charisma and never seem to be a real challenge for Bond. Honestly they’re just boring. I’m reminded of the villain in Lethal Weapon 3, he was serviceable but that was about it. Finally, none of the great setups of the classic Bond films are here, no casino, no shaken not stirred, no clever banter sexual innuendo laden dialogue between Bond and a Bond girl. Also, there’s no Q and no gadgets. Sure, there have been too many gadgets in some of the more recent films but he needs a few in order to make him appear to be working on a whole other level above other generic agents.
On the upside Craig fits fantastically in Bonds’ shoes and Judi Dench is a real pleasure as M. Sadly though that’s really all that’s positive about the film. For some Bond fans that may be enough because they are such big fans of the character. Believe it or not, because I’m such a fan of the character is why the film gets the below score. If I didn’t like the character and Craig in the role the score would probably be much worse.
The 1080p presentation does a great job of recreating this movie’s frenetic and gritty style. The film doesn’t have a consistant color style with some shots looking vivid but realistic and others being heavily oversaturated for no other reason than it just seemed like the cool thing to do. A good bit of grain is also intentional. With all of that being from the source it comes through as close as possible to the theatrical experience. There are however a few scenes where the oversaturation is just to heavy and in other scenes there’s some compression noise mixed with the grain. Overall everything looks great it’s just not as strong as some of the best presentations on the format.
The audio comes off much better than the video. There’s a DTS-HD lossless presentation that is top notch. The immersion throughout the film is fantastic and the dynamic level is also solid from the opening credits to the end. The subwoofer gets tons of use and the balance between dialogue, score, and effects is near perfect. This presentation is very nearly as good as it gets for audio.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The single disc blu-ray comes packaged in a standard thin amaray case with a glossy slipcover. The art is taken from the original poster art for the film and it does a solid job of selling the film.
The bonus features are honestly a bit disappointing and the menu interface actually hides the features a bit. Be sure and scroll further down beyond what you see on screen.
“Bond on Location” is a half hour making of featurette that features behind the scenes footage and cast and crew interviews. The interviews feel very much built on sound bites and were taken either prior to making the film or during the production so there’s not a lot of perspective on the film here. This featurette comes off as an extended marketing package.
There’s an additional 15 minutes of featurettes that are obviously cut from the main making of featurette to the point that some of the same comments reappear in these featurettes. There’s a bit of good stuff here but it all feels to brief. These bits should have been edited into the main featurette. Had they done that the main featurette might have felt a bit meatier.
There is around 45 minutes of “Crew Files” which are featurettes focused on individual crew members. These featuettes were originally made for the web to do early promotion for the film. There really isn’t much to these featurettes honestly. They’re just sort of “markety” and boring.
Lastly there’s a music video and some trailers for the film. These featurettes just all feel minimal and more focused on sound bites and marketing than really giving the viewers a behind the scenes look at the film.
Much of what made Bond a stand out character is gone in this film replaced by frantic action scenes. This movie feels more like a cheap Bourne clone than a Bond film. There’s some fun action here and there but overall this movie is just weak in comparison to Casino Royale.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Movie 4/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 9.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10