Quantum of Solace
There's a fine line between being stoic and being free of charisma, and frankly, in his performance as James Bond, I'm not sure where I feel Daniel Craig falls.
He certainly comes across as a cool customer - even when faced with the death of a supposed loved one - but, again, can we tell the difference between his cool customer and a robot? Craig plays Bond as a man with icy resolve, determined to get the job done at all costs, even if he keeps his employers at bay as to just what that job might be. He has the mental and physical tools - as well as the contacts - to get any damn thing done that he so well desires, and your attempts to shut him down are not even enough of an obstacle to as to get his ire. You and your political motivations and prancing about are nary enough to get a "Whatever" out of the guy. He simply...doesn't...care.
I was on record as not particularly being a fan of Casino Royale. To be sure, the Bond franchise needed a jolt of...something...following a series of cheekier and cheekier episodes with Pierce Brosnan's game-yet-smarmy Bond. His Bond might have been a ladies' man and a debonair bastard, but the cooks behind the scenes were either too numerous or were simply not paying attention, as they'd turned the character into a caricature of himself, his villains more (unintentionally) laughable than Dr. Evil. How bad a sign is it that the villains in your franchise's parodies are scarier than your own?
Royale re-grounded the franchise in reality and was an episode that I might have thought solid, had it not traveled slowly downhill since it's opening 15 minutes. That it ended with several thuds (false endings) and overstayed its welcome (144 minutes?!? Ugh.), I might have considered myself a fan.
Nevertheless, I was curious as to the reaction that Solace received. I wrote a post prior to its release in which I somewhat echoed what I've said above, wondering why everyone was so in love with the Quantum trailer. I didn't think it looked all that special, and my lack of love for Royale was partly to blame for that. Then Solace came out, and it was largely seen as a disappointment. Seems no one felt the same for it that they did for its predecessor.
So I've finally watched it, and...of course, I think I prefer it to Royale. Makes sense, right? Well, it's not as though I loved it, by any stretch. My feelings on Craig as Bond are above; the story is...I want to appreciate it for not being outlandish, but when it's revealed what Dominic Greene is truly after in that Bolivian desert...let's just say it came off a bit dull. Combine that with a blah Bond, no gadgets, no charm, etc., and you get a pretty unmemorable film, with but a few set pieces (the opera, the location of the climax) and some idiot's bowl cut to take away from it.
Then again, at least it's not 144 minutes.
Fletch's Film Rating:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
Music I'm currently obsessed with:
* A random Facebook status by my friend April with the lyrics to this song have had me randomly singing this happy little ditty. If you're not familiar with Nortec Collective (you're not, I can almost guarantee it), they're a funky little project. Not so much a band as a, um, collective of artists that have mashed together electronica and, appropriately nortec music (seriously, that's the name of a genre - a blending itself of norteño and techno) to make cool music out of the crazy oompah music you might hear in your local Mexican restaurant. I don't know how else to describe it, but I dig them a lot.
Book I'm currently reading:
* Last time, I said: "I believe next up will be some massive book Mrs. Fletch has that's a collection of Roald Dahl short stories."
Well...that's still on the table, but I'm putting it on hold in favor of re-reading a favorite from a few years' past - Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live. He's my favorite author, and I'm leisurely working my way through re-reading all of his books (I might skip Fargo Rock City, I might not). It's been a long time since I read KYTL, so the specifics will be new again. Looking forward to this greatly.
I'd also like to thank everyone who offered me reading suggestions on Facebook recently. I'll be getting to those bit-by-bit, I'm sure.
Things to Click On
* None of these for you this week. First five people with blogs that comment get a link next week. :D