Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Not HBO - It's A Quantum of Solace

Just back from Quantum of Solace - it was far better than some of the critics have been saying, but not as good Daniel Craig's first James Bond, Casino Royale, in 2006.

There's not much in the way of gadgets, though MI6 has some cool thing which looks a lot like CNN's Magic Wall. And no real puns - about the closest we get of that is James telling a man on shore, "she's seasick," as he hands over an unconscious Camille he carries off the boat.

But A Quantum of Solace has more than a quantum of humanity - of James Bond as not just a killing machine, but a human killing machine. Craig's killer, unlike Moore's and Brosnan's, tempers his performance with an underlying everyman soul, not flippant humor. As was the case in Casino Royale, Craig's Bond seems most like Sean Connery's, but Craig's is more vulnerable.

The story this time is barely a story on it own - more a continuation of Casino than a story of its own - and that's mostly, I think, because the villain, Dominic, is second rate. No Blofeld, of course, but not even Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, who had great quirks and was a fine match for James in both cards and killing. But Dominic and the storyline worked ok, anyway, because what this movie was mostly about was Bond and his developing relationship with M, who has the best line of the movie ("I don't give a shit about the CIA," delivered only as Judy Dench can).

Why was this low-key story ok for the 2nd Craig Bond? Because this rendition of James Bond, here at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, feels more like a series on HBO or Showtime, than what the Bond movies were throughout all of their earlier renditions.

And as I've said many times, television can be a great medium.



See also The New James Bond - Without the Golden Pun






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