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A Quantum of “Nothing Special”: Review of James Bond: A Quantum of Solace (Major Spoilers)

Posted by Mister Random on October 31, 2008

One Sentence Review

A fairly standard action film that feels like the middle part of a trilogy

Plot Summary (Major Spoilers)

The film starts out with a car chase which turns out to be set almost immediately after the end of Casino Royale, with it turning out Bond had Mr White in the boot of his car and was delivering him to M at a MI6 depot in Italy. After the credits we have a small amount of dialog before Mr White managers to engineer his escape and Bond has a rooftop chase after Mr White’s agent who ends up getting killed. The action then goes back to London where the marked Money given to Le Chiffre in the last film ends up leading him to a target man Haiti where after Bond kills the target man (M wanted him alive), ends up being led to the main villain of the piece Mr Greene via Camille who Mr Greene had ordered killed using the target bond had killed. We then find out that Mr Greene is organizing a coup in Bolivia and we then have a boat chase where Bond rescues Camille from the secondary villain General Medrano and Bond eventually following Mr Greene to an airplane where he is meeting with the CIA on a flight to Europe to negotiate Oil rights in Bolivia and Mr Greene asks for the CIA to deal with Bond as part of the deal.

Things calm down from this point as Bond follows Greene to an Opera where he managers to snag an Ear piece from an associate of Mr Greene and listens in on a conversation between members of Quantum (name revealed in the conversation) and some business associates where he discovers that the oil in Bolivia is a ruse to distract the CIA before he interrupts over the channel causing several of the people to stand up and leave allowing Bond to capture images of them on his camera, we also learn that Mr White is still alive. During his escape Bonds actions leads to the death of a member of special branch (another part of the UK secret service) leading to M having to order him in (which he refuses to do) and freeze his assets and have an alert on all his passports.

Bond then turns to Mathis (his contact who he had interrogated at the end of Casino Royale) for help, who agrees and travels with him to Bolivia, where they are met at the airport by “Strawberry Fields” (just referred to as Miss Fields) who gives Bond a direct order to return to London on the next flight, but as their isn’t a flight until the next day, it allows Bond to investigate for a day. Mathis then arranges for Bond to attend a party held by Greene under his public persona as a major environmentalist and  Mathis introduces Bond to the Chief of Police. Bond then meets up with Camille again and saves her from Greene, as they leave Fields trips a pursuer on the stairs allowing Bond to escape.

As Bond leaves he is stopped by the police and Mathis is found dead in the back of his vehicle, Bond manages to disarm the police and escape, but Mathis’ death leads to M being ordered to get Bond back and the CIA to have a kill or capture order on him. Camille and Bond then travel to the desert to investigate the area that Greene had requested in Bolivia, and after a plane chase and crash landing in some underground tunnels discover that Quantum have been building underground reservoirs leading to a drought and leaving the conditions right for the coup and reveals the real reason that Quantum are in Bolivia water not oil.

Bond then returns to his hotel where he is met by M and several agents and finds out that Greene has had Fields killed and covered in Oil. Bond is then restrained by the agents but manages to escape, and has another brief conversation with M before leaving. Bond then contacts Felix Leiter and finds out where Greene and General Medrano are meeting, Bond and Camille then head to the meeting and manage to foil every ones plans destroying the hotel where they are meeting and killing Medrano and the Chief of Police in the process. Bond manages to capture Greene and leaves him in the middle of the desert after Greene tells him everything he knows about Quantum.

In the epilogue, Bond tracks down Vespers previous lover (supposedly captured by Quantum) and prevents him from doing the same thing to a Canadian agent, leaving him alive for M to interrogate. We also discover that Greene had been found shot dead in the desert, the film ends with Bond saying he had never left in response to M asking Bond to return.

Thoughts and Analysis

I should start off by saying that while I think the film is on the whole a fairly standard action film, it is in no way a bad film, I do feel though that the films pacing was a bit off as the first half hour felt like they were trying to make sure that as many possible types of chase were included as possible, I am slightly surprised that they didn’t put the plane chase in there as well, as it seemed to be “chase-5 minutes dialog-chase-5 minutes dialog-chase….” before things settled down, and then if anything were slightly too slow and the majority of action scenes too short. My second problem was that the initial action scenes were a little too fast paced for my liking and could have done with being 10-20% slower as I found them hard to follow. My final issue is that they should have used the opening credit sequence to show a recap of what happened in Casino Royale as this film was unlike most Bond films a direct sequel to the previous film, and their were numerous references to the events of Casino Royale so a recap would have been of use to refresh peoples memory’s and to fill people in who had not watched the film.

After Bonds initial rescue of Camille the pace of the film calms down and we finally get down to learning a bit more about the organisation Mr White and Le Chiffre belonged to, “Quantum” and that they seem to play the role of secret power brokers in the world, and have been around for some time without running into government interference. The middle third of the film mainly seemed to be around showing how pervasive their influence was and into forcing Bond to go “semi-rogue” to combat them. In the final part of the film we have Bond (but not the audience) learning more about Quantum and apparently putting Vespers ghost to rest.

In many ways “Vespers Ghost” was the main plot of the film and not foiling the Bolivian coup attempt as that was to tied into the Quantum story and that is still ongoing and unresolved. This is why the film feels like the middle part of the trilogy as the main villain is still out there and while “Mr White” is a good candidate for overall head of Quantum or at least someone close to the top we still don’t know that much about them other than they are powerful and in exist. I suspect that Quantum of Solace will be best judged once the next Bond film is released and we see where they go with things, as things stand it is a distinctly average action film and I was slightly disappointed with it. 

That being said on the whole I found the acting to be of a high quality and there was more development of Bonds character, while a few aspects of the plot were slightly incredulous and I found the revealing of Quantum’s plan too fortuitous (Bond and Camille just happen to crash near an underground reservoir), on the whole characters actions and motivations were believable. There was also only 1 superfluous character in the film “Strawberry Fields”, this was nothing to do with the actress but rather that she only seemed to be put in the film to get killed and they could have done that with a random women met at the fund raiser, I also have to question what the wardrobe people were thinking of with her initial outfit.

To sum up I would say that my initial impression is that A Quantum of Solace is not as good as Casino Royale and was not satisified with the resolution of the film BUT that part of this may be to it having the feeling of a middle film and so it will only be fairly judged once the Quantum arc is complete. The films pace is also uneven with some parts too fast and others too slow. Despite these flaws I would say that like most Bond films, it is best viewed at the cinema rather than in your own home, just dont set your expectations too high

Liked
  • The politics in the film
  • Bonds character development
  • Judy Dench’s M
  • “We have people everywhere…..dont we?” a second prior to Mr White’s escape
  • “How did you find us?” Felix to Bond over the phone

Disliked
  • The quickness of the initial action scenes
  • The pacing of the film
  • The resolution of the film

Rating

6/10 – Dont expect too much

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2 Responses to “A Quantum of “Nothing Special”: Review of James Bond: A Quantum of Solace (Major Spoilers)”

  1. Se7en said

    Dear Random,

    Well done, Great review…keep up the good work….

    Se7en

  2. Paint.NET Download

    A Quantum of “Nothing Special”: Review of James Bond: A Quantum of Solace (Major Spoilers) « Random Remarks

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