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Aug 11, 2008

Hype I just don't get: Quantum of Solace

I need help. Someone, somewhere, please explain to me what was so different, refreshing and better about Casino Royale? All it took was for a filmmaker to drop John Cleese, stupid gadgets and a brunette Bond for the world to go gaga for this "new" Bond?

Was I the only one that thought Royale played out just like every other Bond film that came before it? Takes itself too seriously? Check. Accented villain of undetermined nationality? Check. Overly long, ridiculous action sequences? Check.

To be honest, my opinion of that film would have gone up about three shades had they merely cut the final 30 minutes from it. The sinking house gave me a sinking feeling, and after 144 minutes in the theater, my butt was already sunk too far into my seat.

Now comes a new Bond film for everyone to drop their jaws for. It comes complete with a sad Bond hell bent on revenge and quite possibly the worst title in film history (and yes, I do know what it means, though for the longest time I said "Solace" but thought "Solstice," which wasn't helping). Nevertheless my quantum of solace for this movie is 0.

And if you haven't looked up the title yet, that pretty much means I have no love for it. Can't I just play some more GoldenEye on N64?


39 people have chosen wisely: on "Hype I just don't get: Quantum of Solace"

Anonymous said...

good call on goldeneye, that game was better than all the bond movies combined

And also they should make a Quantum Leap movie, I'm just saying Sam beckett is still bouncing around in time...

-Gay

Rachel said...

I agree. I grew quite bored of this "new and improved" Bond after the first 2 hours.

Piper said...

Hold on there. Save it for the blog-a-thon Fletch. I'm hosting a Bond Blog-a-Thon in November.

Okay, enough about me.

I'll give you that the movie was a tad too long, but I've felt that the last few Bonds were a bit too cheeky for their own good. A bit too wink, wink, nudge, nudge rather than a legitimate action movie.

And for the first time Craig feels like a real James Bond rather than a movie version of James Bond. More realistic. Not perfect in everything he does or says.

Anyway, bad title or not I'm excited for the new one.

elgringo said...

Fuck yes! THANK YOU!

"Takes itself too seriously? Check. Accented villain of undetermined nationality? Check. Overly long, ridiculous action sequences? Check."

I agree 100%. 110%, even.
I'd rather watch the Bourne movies any day over the Bond movies, old or new.

Fletch said...

Gay - A Quantum Leap movie is long overdue. It's a no lose situation, too, as there weren't that many fans of the original show that could get pissed by a movie. Same could be said for a MacGyver flick.

Piper - check you out, all planning 3 months in advance. That's why you roll on a bed of links, I suppose.

By the way, the 2nd Annual LAMMYs, coming to the LAMB March 2009 (or thereabouts). ;)

You have a fair point in comparing Casino to the few Bond flicks that came before it. But the love and adoration for it was out of control. There's a difference between getting a great movie and being really pleased with a movie when the bar had been set so low.

Elgringo - yup, though if they make 15 Bourne flicks, and 12-15 suck and a 16th comes out and is lauded as the second coming, expect to see a post like this again (you'll just have to wait 20 years for it).

Daniel G. said...

Yowch, this appears to an unfriendly area for Bond fans like me!

I'll definitely be part of Piper's blogathon (this is the first I've heard of it), and have my own little write-ups planned as well.

It's not that I can defend Bond as being better than Bourne or other secret agent franchises. It's just that I grew up watching Bond movies, even the old ones, and Bond was just cool. Obviously the action was campy and the villains were cheesy. It's what made Austin Powers (there's only one AP movie, the "sequels" were crimes that I deny existed) and OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies so funny. Sure, Casino Royale took itself a little more seriously, but it was also setting up the entire franchise. It's Bond's first ever movie, before he learned how to have fun. It was by far the best one since GoldenEye, and going into it I wasn't even that excited about Daniel Craig.

The action? That Parkour was awesome! Had to have been the best stunts of 2006.

Anyway, I know most of my Bond love is personal and comes from watching it with my friends growing up. Like Piper, I kind of ignore the ones between GoldenEye and Casino Royale, but for the most part I'm loyal to the franchise, even if it means, like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, appreciating the nostalgia of the old ones more than the most of the newer versions.

Stupid title, though, as we all can agree.

Big Mike Mendez said...

Wow. Just wow. I guess the only way for us to settle our differences is over a game of Goldeneye. Say, sniper rifles in the Complex, License to Kill, first to ten points?

JOSEPH CAMPANELLA said...

Most of you have gone a bit nuts. JAMES BOND films are special events.

They were the first real action movies, and with CASINO ROYALE, they prove to be better than almost everything else out there.

THE BOURNE TRILOGY isn't even as good as the lesser bonds.

The first 5 Bond's, along with various others spread throughout the series are not just brilliant action/adventure movies. But great movies period.

Forgive my snobbish statement I am about to make, but...

IF YOU DON'T LIKE BOND, YOU DON'T LIKE CINEMA!

Fletch said...

Daniel - I'm with you on forgetting everything between GoldenEye and Casino Royale, for sure. And Bond is cool. Or at least was. I guess I just don't consider Bond films all that special anymore, and (sorry Joseph) certainly not events, no matter how "un-lame" they might be.

And yes, the parkour was a nice touch.

Big Mike - I'm out of practice. I haven't had my N64 for years. But I'm sure it's just like ridin' a bike...I'll take you up on that game.

Joseph - I think we're destined to vehemently disagree on just about everything. ;) We need to find some common ground. What are your thoughts on Fletch (the movie)? Or The Princess Bride? Or Run Lola Run? Or Amelie? Or Fight Club? (For starters...)

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I think the excitement over Quantum of Solace is similar to the excitement over Iron Man. People were worried it would suck because recent films had (superhero films re: Iron Man / pre-Casino Royale Bond films of late). But then when it didn't suck, people LOVED it.

Disproportionate excitement, imo but then again when is any kind of excitement bad? :)

Dead Pan said...

I haven't ever seen a Bond film. I haven't found one that has caught my eye, but am actually planning to visit the Sean Connery Bond films soon. I did catch 30 minutes or so of Casino Royale on HBO a few months back and was kind of bored to be honest. Nice stunts, but I don't know I was kind of bored by the Bourne movies as well.

I say let it be released and I will do as I have always done and act like it hasn't been. =)

To be honest, I think this one looks pretty good. The trailer actually brought me in and I might catch it. who knows?

joen05 said...

Something about commercial movies just gives me a warm feeling in my heart. No wait, that's just sweat from running around like crazy. I haven't seen a bond movie in a theatre in a while... dunno if it's time to start doing that again....

Caitlin said...

I liked Casino Royale, mainly because, like others who have commented before me, it was more firmly rooted in reality than past Bond films, dropped a lot of the cheese factor of the Pierce Brosnan films and Daniel Craig makes an excellent Bond.

I got tired of all the gadgetry and it was nice to see that limited. It was also nice to see a darker Bond, one that wasn't all necessarily devil-may-care ALL the time and who actually had some sort of emotional depth besides one-liners.

Also, was I the only one that liked the lack of Moneypenny and Q? I liked having just M around perfectly fine.

Yes, it did need an editor - there was 45 minutes of fat that could've easily been trimmed out, but it was also directed much better than previous Bonds, if I do so say myself.

Nic Cage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nic Cage said...

Here goes the broken record, sorry...I love Bond too, but I have to agree with Daniel G. If the movies between Goldeneye and Casino Royale were not so forgettable, Casino Royale may have just been another new Bond film (new actor that is). That seems to be the theme with Bond films for me though.

Since Sean Connery rocked, I will start with the first films that I saw (being born in 1975 and all). For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View To A Kill, then blah. Then Goldeneye, then blah. Now Casino Royale (minus 30 minutes would be nice), then hopefully not blah, but we will see.

I also agree with Fletch that by the time the sinking house came around, I was ready for a nap. I do love Daniel Craig as the darker Bond with an angry chip on his shoulder. Bond's over the top cheese in some of the films bothers me, so it is refreshing to see an assassin that actually is cold and calculated. I mean sometimes I want my hero type to kill someone with a frown on his face and not follow the kill up with a cheesy Schwarzenegger one liner with a smirk on his face.

Fletch said...

Shannon, Caitlin and Nic - I think you're all mostly agreeing and making my point for me: Casino Royale got celebrated a bit too much merely for not sucking. I mean, I'm happy it wasn't chessy or dumb-gadgety, but that alone shouldn't be enough to make people gaga for it (or Quantum).

Deadpan - you totally need to see A View to a Kill. It doesn't get much better (worse?) than Grace Jones, Chris Walken and Duran Duran. ;)

Joe - those damn kids are back at the back door trying to get in. Get'em!

Luke Harrington said...

What it comes down to is that the people love franchises. American moviegoers will line up for anything in a franchise -- and it'll be the best movie ever, dang it! -- no matter how lame it is, no matter how old it is, and no matter how many times it's been rebooted. (Case in point: The Dark Knight...yeah, I went there.)

Blame George Lucas and Peter Jackson.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Yep, Fletch. I'm agreeing with ya. Holy smokes, I'm agreeing? I rarely agree! hehe.

Daniel G. said...

I think you guys are holding the Bond series to a higher standard than it deserves, and as such unfairly criticizing it. For the most part, the early Bonds (60's and 70's) were pure camp - it was all about the ridiculous villains (Dr. Evil, for example), ridiculous henchmen (Jaws!), the ridiculous gadgetry (car boats), the ridiculous "romantic" dialogue, and the ridiculous plots ("_____" villain in "_____" lair threatening "_____"). Austin Powers wasn't that far off the mark, just exaggerated.

It wasn't until the 80's that the movies became a little darker, and I think people were excited about CR because it looked to be a return to that form instead of the pure commercialism of the 90's/00's Bond movies.

All of this is to say that I think the Bond movies need to be viewed in context, as we've already mentioned, and not held up to be some classic franchise that broke new ground in cinematic art.

Elana said...

First:

Daniel Craig is hot in a I've-been-punched-square-in-the-nose-harder-than-a-hooker-sweats-in-church and

Second:

Bond showed a vulnerable side hidden (non-existent?) in previous films

Third:

I can't think of anything else...The above two are why I enjoyed it more than the others from the last decade...I'm still nuts about Moonraker and Octopussy.

Your blog is sweet.

Peaches n Cream

E

JOSEPH CAMPANELLA said...

I know you'll kill me Fletch, but I've never seen FLETCH! Or RUN LOLA RUN. But I will. They are both queued up.

As for FIGHT CLUB, PRINCESS BRIDE and AMELIE....

I love all three. Looks like we have more in common after all!!!

Nayana Anthony said...

Can't speak for anyone else, but for me, Casino Royale had these factors going for it:

1. Relative lack of cheesy one-liners
2. A not-so-invincible Bond (Word to Elana!)
3. Daniel Craig in that Speedo. (I'm not usually a Speedophile, but *rowr*.)

David Bishop said...

Except for the typical Bond movie action, I thought Casino Royale stayed pretty loyal to the original Flemming novel which presents a man who is a lot more human than the invincible machine that came about in the majority of the preceeding films.

I hate to be cliche, but I think James Bond is just another one of those cases where the book was more interesting for me. Casino Royale and On Her Majesty's Secret Service are my favorite Bond novels. Maybe because those are the ones where you actually have Bond in love, which is a huge vulnerability.

"We have all the time in the world."

Nick said...

I've never been a huge Bond fan... and the part I really enjoyed of Casino Royale was the first 20 minutes or whatever... the parque (or free running or whatever you wanna call it) sequence. After that, the movie got pretty dull... and that last 30 minutes really was vastly unneeded.

Becca said...

Finally people speak out! I really did not get Casino Royale and I'm a big Bond fan (have all the movies, soundtracks etc...)

Casino Royale just left me cold, the story was dull, the villians were dull, Eva Green was dull. I really wanted to like it and have even tried watching it again but I just dislike that film.

Fletch said...

Luke - c'mon, Jackson's only had one franchise to his name. Can't I blame Richard Donner or Spielberg, instead (not that they've had more, but had theirs first)?

Daniel - this ("All of this is to say that I think the Bond movies need to be viewed in context, as we've already mentioned, and not held up to be some classic franchise that broke new ground in cinematic art.") puts in pretty damn well.

Elana - thanks for dropping by, and more thanks for the "sweet"-ness.

Joseph C. - despite my love for Fletch, I really hope you enjoy Lola more; it's a fantastic film. While I love Fletch with all my heart, I do realize that it's dated as hell, from the music to the hair. Still, it's got some of the best one-liners and non-sequitirs (sp) of any comedy out there.

To the ladies liking the Bondspeedo - you can have that, just give me and the guys some boobs - it ain't like Eva Green is shy (see The Dreamers for evidence).

David Bishop said...

Even though I personally liked Casino Royale, I'm quite skeptical of this follow-up. Although, I do find it interesting that for the first time in Bond cinema history, we're getting a direct sequel.

I used to be the Goldeneye 64 champion on my block. I lose to everybody at Halo though.

Luke Harrington said...

Fletch,

You can blame Richard Donner all you want (the man has established some good franchises for sure), but the reason I mentioned Peter Jackson was that, as I see it, the Lord of the Rings trilogy cemented the mindshare of franchises in the mind of modern audiences. Maybe I'm wrong, but it was the first series I can think of where the sequels didn't suck. :)

Fletch said...

Luke, do you mean to tell me that Teen Wolf Too and Karate Kid II aren't classics? How dare you.

Nayana Anthony said...

Empire Strikes Back? Return of the Jedi? The Godfather Part II?

David Bishop said...

I like the Terminator franchise (TV show and all.) Terminator 2 came well before LOTR.

Plus, I don't think of the LOTR movies as a franchise. I think of it as one really long movie. Now, with a The Hobbit movie on the horizon, that might be more franchise minded (especially since they want to do another movie to fill the gap between LOTR and The Hobbit.)

Luke Harrington said...

Semantics aside, David, the point is that people lined up and paid to see LOTR no less than three times. Even if it's not a "frachise" in what may be the strictest sense, it certainly is from a business standpoint.

Sorry for forgetting the greats, Fletch. I also admit that Home Alone 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were awesome.

And Nayana, point taken, but LOTR is the only series I can think of where the sequels continually improved on their predecessors. That's all I'm saying. (By the way, does anyone really think that Return of the Jedi is better than Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back? Not that it isn't a good film, but...it's clearly a step down.)

MovieMan0283 said...

You summed up my pre-viewing attitude towards Casino Royale pretty nicely: do we really need another franchise re-boot that's heavy on self-seriousness and superficial attempts to darken and deepen, ala Batman Begins and Superman Returns?

But then I saw Casino Royale and really enjoyed it. It seemed to be going for the Steve McQueen late 60s vibe and pulled it off pretty well, I thought. Though it didn't quite hold up as well on a second viewing, and the poker-for-dummies explanations got grating ("zose are two aces, zey are higher zen ze king..."). And yes, the new title is terrible.

MovieMan0283
http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/

Chick Young said...

Casino Royale? it's not perfect. Hell what is? But it is a major step in the right direction. Bond has moved on along with the times - Terrorism is more naturally in play and feels "right" for this re-launch. Previous villains, from S.P.E.C.T.R.E to more recents - played on the WORLD DOMINATION conquest. Clearly, the Cold War has transmutated into a Global Marketplace war and as such - the terrorism element seemed appropriate to me. Along with the locale of where said terrorists may have a play home - in a warm climate with Bikinis. Doesn't seem a calculated stretch to me. Think about Le Chiffre's dramatic need for example, it's not world domination, it's not even revenge, he wants his MONEY back. In a media landscape where torture and high stakes poker games can both be read about and make for entertainment by casually flipping through your handy cable channels, this seems entirely appropriate and more importantly plausible. This Bond story feels a fusion between Fleming's novel and contemporary issues that face a global society. I'm particularly fond of the massive crater between his first and second kills. The first I think sets up just how hard it is to kill a man in hand to hand combat - the second almost a lampoon of the Moore days, which I am very fond of. My first Bond film in the theater was The Spy Who Loved Me. It feels like there is a resonance to this film that makes many previous efforts seem inconsequential or even trivial. The drama feels much more situational and less forced. I'm reminded of the scene after the stairwell battle where Bond gulps whiskey and blots his wounds with a wet wash cloth. A scene we WOULD never with Bond's predecessors. It's REAL. Just as the first fight is real (Kill #1) just as his loss of Vesper feels real. A great deal more verisimilitude in this re-launch - I guess that's where I am going. People want realism with their spectacle now and Casino Royale delviers this in spades (no pun intended). Plus, it's stunning to look at and impeccably cast. The stituational drama feels REAL. Credit Jason Bourne.

Though not perfect, it feels like a perfect relaunch of a MAJOR franchise.

As fot the new title? Are we really that conditioned by popular culture to have to have simple, short, in your face titles for everything? DIE HARD! FACE OFF! I'M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS! I don't think that QUANTUM OF SOLACE is nearly as esoteric (or long) as say, The Unberable Lightness of Being, or The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner or, Your Vice is a Locked Room and only I Have the Key, or Scooby doo and the Reluctant Werewolf. In fact, Quantum of Solace is, in fact, short and to the point. What the hell is wrong with that?

Fletch said...

Chick, I can't disagree with much of anything from your first paragraph.

With the title, I'm no linguist, but I think I can speak for a number of people by saying that it just sounds bad, rolling off the tongue as poorly as The Phantom Menace. It's not about length or simplicity - I think The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a much finer title than Q of S, to use one of your examples. Adding to it as well is that it features two rarely used words. Considering the shadowy poster, I even misinterpreted the thing for a while thinking it was Quantum of Solstice. Naturally, that left me wondering what the hell that was supposed to mean. Though reading it correctly helps, it's only marginal help.

Chick Young said...

Well Dylan, if you put it that way. I have to agree that it's a Clunky title. Quantum of Solace is in my opinion too, a bit on the... shall we say "inelegant" side.

Spot on. Agreed.

Chick.

Juanita's Journal said...

Why did you even bother to write this article? You sound as if you had made up your mind about the film before even watching it.

Such a fucking waste of time.

Fletch said...

I could ask you the same - why did you read it? The link you clicked on specifically said I was complaining about it.

And likewise, you seem to have made up your mind about it as well.

Juanita's Journal said...

Actually, I had only read a part of your article, until I realize what I was reading and stopped.