a/perture Cinema, Casino Royale, Dame Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, Dr. No, For Your Eyes Only, James Bond, License to Kill, Netflix, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Quantum of Solace, Rotten Tomatoes, Skyfall, The Less Desirables, The Spy Who Loved Me
a/perture Cinema, the Official Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Quantum of Solace (2008), starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric and Dame Judi Dench.
Per IMDb: “James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country’s most valuable resource. All the while, he still tries to seek revenge over the death of his love.”
As a James Bond fan, and as a Daniel Craig as James Bond fan, this was right down my alley. The film is a direct continuation of Casino Royale, the first Bond film that Craig starred in. This film also does something that is rare in the 007 film world and that’s reference a past lady in Bond’s life. As far as the movies go, there have been some references that were linked: Lazenby’s version of Bond married Tracy Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and (spoiler alert) she was eventually killed. There’s a reference to that in The Spy Who Loved Me as Barbara Bach’s Anya Amasova mentions “wife killed…” in her recitation of Bond facts to show she did her research. In For Your Eyes Only Bond is shown laying flowers at the grave of Tracy Bond. In License to Kill when Felix Leiter gets married, his wife refers to Bond as the next one to get married after throwing her garter and Bond is disturbed about it; Felix explains to her why. There are also a few indirect references throughout the canon but they’re subtle and it’s not really a prominent issue.
In Casino Royale, Bond’s love interest Vesper Lynd is murdered and he wants to know who and why. Along his search, he finds, assists and is assisted by Camille Montes (Kurylenko), who is plotting her own revenge for the murder of her family. She is already involved with wealthy businessman Dominic Greene (Amalric), a member of the Quantum organization, who seeks to buy his way into a coup in Bolivia to seize control of the water supply.
Along the way Bond’s death count rises and M (Dench) asks him if he could try to not kill every lead they have. He says he’ll try. At one point while tracking Greene, he ends up at a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca and intercepts a communication device and baits the participants in the scam to out themselves. At this time, Greene’s henchmen kill a British Special Branch man and assuming that Bond did it, M freezes his passport and credit cards. That makes things difficult for Bond, but in true Bond fashion, he makes do. He does this by enlisting the help of a former ally, Mathis played by Giancarlo Giannini who secures false documents for him. When Bond and Mathis arrive in La Paz airport in Bolivia, they are met by a striking redheaded MI6 agent named Fields. Any guesses as to what Ms. Fields’ first name is? Remember, she’s redhead. I’ll give you a second… That’s right, Strawberry Fields. Anywhat! She says she’s there to return Bond to company and he gets her to go along with him to stay at a swanky resort and gets a pass to a meeting with Greene. She’s eventually exterminated in classic Bond fashion (instead of gold paint, she’s covered in oil).
From there, there’s more government corruption, scandal and destruction. Lots of explosions and keeping with the Daniel Craig era, not a lot of gadgets. That’s really all I miss about his era of Bond, the gadgets. But, even with the “we know what we’re going to see” aspect, I always like to see how it plays out. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Daniel Craig is James Bond. He’s the closest to the Ian Fleming version. Ruggedly handsome without being the pretty boy, sarcastic wit without the camp that Connery or Moore portrayed him as. This film was every bit as good as Casino Royale and served, basically, as a part 2 to it. TLD FD (full disclosure), Bond gets his revenge for Vesper’s death. But, it’s not the same old “kill the bad guy” line, either. You’ll have to watch to see how that happens.
Rotten Tomatoes has it at only at 65% Fresh stating: “Brutal and breathless, Quantum Of Solace delivers tender emotions along with frenetic action. Not as good as franchise reboot Casino Royale, but still an impressive entry to the Bond canon.” I can see their point but I don’t believe it’s entirely accurate, at least from my opinion of the film, and I’m talking about the “brutal and breathless” part. It has an even lower 58% Audience Score. That’s a shame, because I found the film to be very engaging and entertaining. It is true that it’s not as good as Casino Royale but it’s still a good film. I recommend it, highly, but only if you’ve seen Casino Royale as it is just a lot of blowing up stuff. It’s okay as an action movie, but does better as a companion piece when you know the whole story. Unfortunately, I didn’t see this on Netflix, but saw it on Blu-Ray because I own the 50 Years of Bond collection. I’ll review Skyfall in the upcoming months at which point, I’ll restart the Bond series over again, back at Dr. No. I know you can’t wait for that!
What do you think? Do you agree or not? Drop me a line on any of the social media outlets and let me know. Tell me what you want to hear and read me review.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“They say you’re judged by the strength of your enemies.” – James Bond