Seeing Bond movies on opening night has become a tradition for my husband G. Grod and me; we saw Goldeneye on our second date, almost exactly thirteen years ago. Quantum of Solace, the newest Bond movie, disappoints, but still entertains. It’s a step down from Casino Royale, but still a reasonable entry in the Bond oeuvre, which was never meant to be high art.
Daniel Craig is handsome and brooding, Judi Dench is classy and stern, Mathieu Amalric as the villain is especially good. He’s all the more scary for not being a cartoon, as are most Bond villains. The Bond girls are by the book, as are the opening song and montage–meh. The action sequences are terrible, perhaps unsurprising given the director’s indie-film experience. As Hollywood learned last year with the Chris Weitz directed Golden Compass, you can’t just slap a small-film director, no matter how talented, on a big-budget action film. The story also suffers in the telling, becoming muddied and even boring.
Complaints about the film, as in this review from the NYT’s A.O. Scott, are that Bond is too brooding, and the film is too Bourne-like–the final scene is an out-and-out homage to the final scene in The Bourne Identity. Based on what happens in QoS, I suspect we’ll see a return to the more charming and urbane Bond in the next film. But Bond is always a reflection of his times. I don’t find it incongruous that he’s more dark and violent. He still looks good in a tux.