Latest Bond film a thrilling adventure

josh.snyder

Film: Quantum of Solace

Director: Marc Foster

Producers: Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson

Writers: Paul Haggis, Neal

Purvis, Robert Wade

Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Judi Dench

Runtime: 106 minutes

Rating: PG-13

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I’ll always have a soft spot for James Bond. With the exception of the God-awful “Die Another Day,” I’ve always enjoyed watching Bond take down villains ready to conquer the world with ridiculously complicated schemes. But nothing could prepare me for the direction MGM was taking the franchise with the re-boot, “Casino Royale.” So it was with great anticipation that I awaited “Quantum of Solace.” And although the grittier look remains, “Solace” is the same old James Bond, for better or worse.

Immediately following the events of “Royale,” “Solace” opens with Bond (Craig), bringing Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) into custody. Believing that his first assignment is now over, Bond soon learns from White that the group he’s a part of is bigger than either MI6 or the CIA can possibly imagine. After an assassination attempt on M (Dench), Bond decides to uncover the identity of this mysterious group and find out what their true motivations are.

If people complained that “Royale” moved a little slow, then people will complain that “Solace” moves too fast. This isn’t always a bad thing — in fact it’s one of the movies strongest selling points. Director Marc Foster was smart in knowing how to cut scene transitions to a minimum, while never making the audience play catch-up. This was a bold move that could have been disastrous, but it pays off.

What benefits most from this fast pace is the action. For all you action buffs out there, go see this movie. The speed and intensity at which bodies and cars go flying through the air while explosions rip through the background more than justifies seeing this on the big screen. The best part is there are some pretty inventive actions sequences, but the focus still remains on Bond throughout all of them. This is a good thing because the film never becomes just a showcase for bored Michael Bay-inspired directors to just blow stuff up for the hell of it. The craziness and chaos always seem practical.

The one flaw in an otherwise brilliant production is the cinematography. For some reason, Foster opted to use a shaky camera to “intensify” some of the scenes. Why directors continue to use this is beyond me, as it nearly kills every scene it’s used in. If there’s one thing I would love to see changed in Hollywood, it would be the banning of all shaky cameras. It’s just nauseating and pointless.

But my biggest gripe with “Solace” is that underneath all the layers of dirt and grime this is still the same old Bond we’ve come to know and love. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but after the revamping of the franchise in “Royale,” I was a bit disappointed to see yet another villain attempt to amass large amounts of power through an unnecessarily complicated scheme. It might seem nitpicky, but films like “The Dark Knight” have proven that so much more can be done with an already established franchise.

One thing that didn’t change, though, is the characterization of Bond. Craig is easily the best Bond ever. This is because he isn’t just some smooth operator that knows how to charm the ladies – Craig’s Bond is vulnerable, capable of not only getting physically scarred but emotionally scarred. This adds a layer of depth to him that was missing from the Pierce Brosnan films, and one that I’m glad to see incorporated. Bond is just more than a bad-ass with a pretty face – he’s a real person.

In the end, “Quantum of Solace” manages to be the better of the recent Bond films, but not by much. If you’re a fan then there’s no question of seeing this in theaters, but for those who want to see an exciting action flick, this is definitely the best one out there now. Just don’t expect the end-all-be-all of action films.