Revenge is best served cold, and that’s what happened on November 14, 2008, when American moviegoers finally had their chance to see the twenty-second official James Bond film, “Quantum of Solace.”
The film was a direct sequel to 2006’s blockbuster “Casino Royale.” and it was directed by Marc Forster and written by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade. Quantum was the second film to star Daniel Craig as James Bond, and also starred Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, and Judi Dench.
In the ten years since its release, “Quantum of Solace” is almost always listed as one of the worst films in the Bond series. I understand the complaints fans have with the film. There are too much shaky cam scenes, the title cards don’t belong, and the villain is not what you call a classic 007 baddie.
Then there are the script re-writes during pre-production that were hampered by the impending strike by the Writers Guild of America that was due to start in November 2007. The final script for Quantum was hurriedly written and completed just hours before the strike officially began.
But there’s more to “Quantum of Solace” than people realize. For one thing, Quantum is a proper revenge film. A type of mission we’ve only seen Bond embark on once before. I’ve been a Bond fan since I was nine years old, and in all that time I’ve often wondered why Bond rarely takes revenge.
I’m not saying he needs to go AWOL in every film, but prior to “Quantum of Solace” the only time Bond sought revenge was in 1989’s “License to Kill.” Which if you think about it, James Bond took the attack on his friend harder than he did the death of his wife.
Something else “Quantum of Solace” did well expanded on the themes of the previous film by bringing to light the criminal organization known as Quantum who was responsible for many of the events in “Casino Royale.” This gave Daniel Craig a chance to build up his version of James Bond in a few ways: Craig’s Bond is bruised and battered in a way no other Bond has been before, sp When Fields is killed, he learns his actions as a double O have consequences. Bond also realizes that although M likes him, he too is disposable. But by the time “Quantum of Solace” ends, Bond turns the page, basically guaranteeing he will never fall in love again.
After “Quantum of Solace,” Craigs Bond is a multi-layered character. A mix of pent-up emotion and anger that only takes pleasure in women. Hmm, that sounds a lot like TNU’s own Nick, but that is neither here nor there. The point I was trying to make is that by the end credits of “Quantum of Solace,” we have the closest the films have ever come to the literary version of the character.
As I said earlier, a lot of fans don’t like “Quantum of Solace” because it’s not your typical Bond movie. I for ones like some of the quieter aspects of the film, like when Bond and Camille get to know one and another on the plane. I also like when Bond tells M that Fields served bravely, or the last few moments of Mathis’ life and he tells Bond its okay to forgive Vesper for what she did. Those are great moments as far as I’m concerned.
Action wise, I’m a fan of two sequences in “Quantum of Solace.” Firs is the pre-credit car chase in Italy. Yeah, there’s some shaky cam work here, but that didn’t take away any of the intensity of the chase. I still crack up when the door of the Aston Martin gets torn off and Bond carries on as nothing has happened.
The second action sequence is the one at the opera house. Not only does this scene have a little humor, like when Bond takes some poor guy’s tux, or when he calls out the Quantum members in the audience. But I even think it was a nice touch from the filmmakers to do a shootout without sound. This sequence also showed how creepy and cruel Dominic Greene was.
I am by no means saying “Quantum of Solace” is one of the great films in the series. Quantum is not close to being in my top 10. But “Quantum of Solace” is a movie that despite its flaws, I’ve come to appreciate more as time goes by. This is not a perfect 007 movie, but it also doesn’t deserve the criticism it still gets today.