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Apr 6, 2011

The State of the Cabins (4/6/11)

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
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:
Expectation:
"Whatever."
Reality:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs


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


21 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (4/6/11)"

The Mad Hatter said...

Canada: Identity-Free since 1867.

Castor said...

Canada: America's backyard since 1867 ;)

Yea I quite liked Quantum of Solace, probably more than most people did. It's really a lot of action and lot less of a James Bond feel due to the darker, brooding themes in the movie but I didn't mind that.

Fletch said...

@ Hatter - Well...that will likely confuse everyone but me. And come now - we all know Canada's identity is "America's Hat." I know that's not very original, but it makes me smile every time nevertheless.

Fletch said...

@ Castor - How did you feel about QoS in relation to Casino Royale? Simon Columb wishes to castrate me for claiming that QoS is better (I think). Seems a bit harsh.

I didn't mind the brooding, darker themes, either, I just wish there was something Bond-ian about the film at all, outside of the opening and closing credits.

Jack L said...

That's weird, I thought pretty much exactly the same as you about Casino Royale, cool opening but went downhill from there, was to long and terrible end...
But I didn't prefer Quantam of Solace, I thought it was even worse. Almaric's villain was pathetic, I mean he hit's himself in the foot with an axe!
In fact, now that I think of it, I've never liked any of the James Bond films, even...

Nick said...

Link me, hot stuff.

Fletch said...

@ Jack - Not a one? How many have you seen? And if the answer to that is 4 or more, why are you a glutton for punishment?

@ Nick - Oh, did I not say meaningful comments? Weak sauce!

simoncolumb said...

castration would be too kind...

Jack L said...

I'm afraid the answer is somewhat more than 4, actually it's 17 to be precise...

Nick said...

Fine then...

I haven't seen Quantum of Solace. I've not heard of that music. I've never heard of that author.

Link me, hot stuff! :P

Andy the Time Lord said...

I'm a devoted lover to CASINO ROYALE, the only James Bond movie (of the five I've seen) that I will watch and rewatch and rewatch and never fail to love. So I was super pumped for QUANTUM, and...yep, disappointed. No way in the universe could I say I prefer it to ROYALE, but I do agree with you about Craig as Bond this time around. He was a complete robot, without personality or emotion or anything. The script continually directs Bond to be a man driven by revenge over Vesper and her organization friendies, but Craig just held that same blank stare the entire time. I love it when a kickass character wants revenge, usually means some damn fine entertainment. SOLACE was a thud.

Of course, ROYALE'S 144 mins. flew by quicker for me than QUANTUM's 106. None of the action scenes held by interest for me in QUANTUM, although I blame director Forster for that. And the Writer's Strike for the blah script. To use your rating, I would go with a well deserved "Whatever."

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

Damn it. Not one of the first five. Oh well. My writing will grace these halls one day.

I'm right with you on Quantum. It was trying too hard to be gritty and hyper realistic, and it just came off as tedious. Also, what was it with Mathieu Almaric's eyes? They would no stop bugging out of his head for the whole movie.

Big step down from Royale, which I consider to be one of the best of franchise, right behind Goldfinger and just barely ahead of Goldeneye. It was an adrenaline shot in the heart for the franchise, and I thought it was awesome.

And yeah, Craig is easily the least smarmy Bond, but I like that. Sure, he can still bed every woman he lays eyes on, and can drop a one-liner like nobodies business, but he's also realistic. When he gets punched in the face, it actually hurts him. I like Bond when he has to struggle to take down three guys, rather than effortlessly take down a small army. It's a nice change of pace.

CS said...

Thought Royale was far better than Solace. The best scene in Solace was at the opera when Bond uncovers some of the folks in the organization. I love how half the people flee yet the villain from Casino Royale just calmly sits there. Hopefully he gets a bigger role in the next film.

Stevee Taylor said...

Quantum of Solace was...totally not fun. Like, I felt really angry after watching this movie. I just wanted to punch the air.

I guess I'm not gonna get linked, anyhoo. Oh, the joys of being at school all day ;)

Castor said...

I think Casino Royale was a better movie from a cinematic standpoint but from an entertainment standpoint, QoS was maybe a little bit better. Just my thought ;)

Fletch said...

@ Simon - Ouch. Just ouch. All our camaraderie, gone in the blink of a James Bond eye. (Hey, he blinked - he's alive!)

@ Jack - LOL - seriously? Why on earth do you torture yourself? Are you related to someone involved in the films?

@ Nick - Well, you're supposed to listen to the music, then! And you've absolutely heard of Klosterman, since I know I've brought him up here before. Hot stuff. :P

@ Andy - I'm gonna have to give Casino Royale the old rewatch to see if maybe the problem was/is me. It can't be as dull as I remember, can it?

@ Sebastian - Come now - I'm sure you've been linked in one of these posts in the past. And will again!

Almaric was an interesting choice for a villain. I almost LOLed when the two of them were fighting, it seemed such a mismatch.

Bond can be realistic and have less smarm, but shit, replace that smarm with something other than a straight face and mumbled lines, ok?

@ CS - Yes, the opera scene was the key takeaway from Solace. It was a very cool set piece. Yea, the villain from CR was the only smart one! I'd forgotten that he was still on the lam when the film ended, so I'm sure he'll be back soon enough - they've got to wrap that up somehow.

@ Stevee - see my comment to Sebastian above. Have no fear, my dear! Sorry you hated QoS so much.

@ Castor - I could potentially get on board with that. Let me do my CR rewatch and I'll get back to you...

Jack L said...

@Fletch
I have no idea why I watched so many of them, I was young I suppose...
It took me while to realise how much I disliked them, and when I did, it was to late :(

Univarn said...

My favorite part of Quantum of Solace was sitting in the theater and trying to count the number of action scene locations they didn't tap into. Shame they missed on a space fight for the royal flush.

Fletch said...

@ Jack - I suppose the big question is...are you going to see the next Bond film when it comes out? Do you now have a *need* to see them?

@ Univarn - James Bond - The Post Office of Action Heroes. Think they missed out on snow, too. Though, hell, Inception covered quite a bit, too.

Jack L said...

I don't really want to see the next Bond film, but I have a feeling a probably will anyway and I'll end up not liking it...

Fletch said...

@ Jack - Dang! You're a glutton for punishment. Or an eternal optimist. Or both.