Movie Review – Quantum of Solace
I, may or may not like it but life/kids/nieces are bent upon making me believe that I am ageing. So how? Sean Connery is in danger of becoming a memory? Roger Moore’s wrought features are no advertisement for the Bond brand. Pierce Brosnan’s awful flirtation with the Man’s role has mercifully come to an end. So where do I have a problem? None really! I sayeth cause it cometh! This movie starts like no other. There is no traditional gun barrel ordern of the Berretta shooting at you with Bond bending sideways. No strains of the old familiar music. Bond has changed. In more ways than one, truly. There are quite a few firsts for Bond here. For starters this movie is not a stand alone story.
Our man has got his emotions on a high and so goes on a revenge trail. Revenge for Casino Royale’s Vesper’s death. Who the hell was she? Oh, Bond’s love interest who committed suicide? What the devil is happening here? An uncertain ending in Casino Royale and a pursuit in the sequel? Yup and so for the first time Bond is not chasing a villain who is out to destroy the world or neutralizing a Russian Mafiosi but following his emotions. How sweet but I can tolerate Daniel Craig in a love sick mode only once. A quarter of a century ago in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, George Lazenby who was the worst Bond ever, fell in love and already got married (horrors) but mercifully the wife gets bumped off in the end. The Bonds of this world are supposed to simply love ’em and leave ’em. Surely they can’t be married and nevertheless be in business. The next worst thing is a brooding Bond who behind the garb of chasing villains is truly seeking to destroy the guy indirectly responsible for his girl friend’s suicide. He has forgotten to laugh. There are no gadgets so no Mr. Q. The same guy plays Felix Leiter twice in series. Bond does not sleep with the heroine! The famous martini, shaken not stirred is missing. And not once does he mouth, “My name is Bond, James Bond”. Yessir Bond has changed.
Commensurate with the new age Bond the villain is no longer threatening the world order but seeking to control the water supply of Bolivia (in any case the hell for?). Mathieu Amalric plays the pseudo environmentalist who is a leading member of the evil organization Quantum responsible for Vesper’s suicide. He is the corporate confront of the modern day villainy and does a splendid job of looking creepy. The long legged lass Olga Kurylenko plays the first Bond girl not to proportion his bed but what the hell, brooding lovers lose their desire anyway. She too is on a revenge trail. This story seems to be an adaptation of a million Westerns of the revenge theme. Only the horses were missing. Judy Dench as M is getting classier by the day. All women ought to age like her. Of all the Bond women the one I miss the most is Miss Moneypenny. I surprise why she has disappeared. Bond’s flirtation with her has always been one of the most endearing scenes of this spy saga.
However all is not lost. The gadgetry may have made an exit which is not such a bad thing after all but the intensely raw and physical action in its place is simply awesome. Craig with his superbly fit physique carries it off with eminence. Free style running which made its debut in the last movie does an encore here. It’s beautiful to watch. The Aston Martin makes a singular turn up in the breathtaking car chase at the beginning of the movie. Another highlight of the gripping action is the dog fight between an ancient Dakota and a fighter plane. The last I saw of Dakotas was in the Indiana Jones movies which are period pieces but its featuring in a current story was a pleasant surprise. Miss Moneypenny may be missing but there is another beauty by the name of Strawberry Fields! The casting director must be a Beatles fan and I would like to think a Bond buff because the manner of her killing is reminiscent of Goldfinger’s penchant for killing by applying gold paint on the victim’s body. Only this time oil replaces gold.
Sign of changing times? But then Bond has changed, right? However I am never going to forgive the makers for removing the identifying characteristics tune of Bond movies. The title song ‘Another way to die’ by Jack White and Alicia Keys is a piece of forgettable trash which will never find a place in my cherished collection of the Bond songs.
I am a die hard Ian Fleming/Bond fan so I have my observations and reservations but like all Bond movies this one too is hugely enjoyable. Only guys like me start thinking. Why is Bond changing? Well, isn’t everything around us changing too? But the sanctity of some things ought to be maintained. The aura of Commander James Bond is one such thing and it should not be messed around with.