On the Big Board
|Riveting action sequences complimented by the most emotionally engaging Bond story ever
|Trim, lean, and surprisingly topical Bond picture with a memorable nod to Goldfinger
|I'd lowered my expectations to the point this pleasantly surprised me. I love the Bond canon throwbacks, but this alleged Vesper romance is nothing compared to OHMSS. Fields ranks high among Bond g
|The directing faltered, but Daniel Craig didn't.
|I haven't been this bored in a movie since The Mummy: Curse of the Dragon Emperor. And there was no Jet Li to redeem it.
|Things I liked about this Bond film: Gemma Atherton. Things I didn't like: everything else.
The James Bond franchise took a bold step in 2006 when the series’ producers attempted to go back to the future. The latest release in the second most successful movie franchise of all time (Harry Potter recently surpassed it for first place) took a page from Batman Begins by retracing the main character to his roots. Rather than attempting to outdo itself with over-the-top theatrics featuring a man who never loses, director Martin Campbell produced an insightful examination of how an ordinary man came to be Agent 007. The results were scintillating.
Casino Royale was everything a producer dreams a project will be when it is envisioned. The title was a smash with critics, earning a fresh rating of 94% at Rotten Tomatoes. Only a dozen out of 206 professional movie reviewers were underwhelmed by the release. Audiences were similarly dazzled. Casino Royale became the most successful James Bond movie to date in terms of both domestic as well as worldwide box office receipts. It earned $167.4 million in North America with an additional $420.6 million abroad, giving the project a grand total of $588 million. As I write this, Casino Royale is the 40th most successful movie of all time in terms of worldwide revenues. At least four summer 2008 releases are expected to pass it soon, but it should still be in the top 45 by the time of its sequel’s release. Needless to say, Sony and MGM were thrilled with the results they received from the James Bond reboot. In fact, a sequel was commissioned within days of the theatrical release of Daniel Craig’s first turn as James Bond.
Quantum of Solace promises more of the same for Craig as Bond. There is one key difference behind the camera as Campbell will not return for the 22nd outing of the franchise. He has been replaced by the equally talented Marc Forster, perhaps best known for his work helming Johnny Depp’s Finding Neverland. This outing will be a dramatic change of pace for Forster, whose resume universally consists of dramas and comedies. He has never done an action movie before; however, given that the best James Bond movies contain strong elements of drama and comedy, he should be fine as long as he can handle the complicated action sequences. These are the key for any James Bond movie, and it’s something Campbell proved he could do as well as any Bond director ever has. His work in Casino Royale as well as GoldenEye is basically the gold standard for the franchise, leaving Forster big shoes to fill.
In terms of storyline, the woefully named Bond film is a direct sequel to Casino Royale. Devastated by the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd, Agent 007 follows the clues left at the end of the last movie. The trail of bread crumbs leads him to the Quantum organization led by the charismatic Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). This group has the usual plans for world domination, but their point of attack is an odd one. Quantum seeks to overthrow the Bolivian government, thereby cornering the market on its water supply. How this leads to world power remains to be seen, unless The Day After Tomorrow was based in scientific fact a lot more than any of us had realized. If so, Bond should look out for wolves. Olga Kurylenko of Hitman co-stars as the latest Bond girl. If you don’t know who she is, you are not alone. A google image search will probably put a smile on your face, though.
In case you were wondering (and I know I was), Quantum of Solace is not a new term for the series. The Ian Fleming collection of short stories compiled in his 1960 release, For Your Eyes Only, apparently included this very odd term. Given that there are five short stories in the compilation and that For Your Eyes Only and From a View to a Kill have already been used, we can apparently look forward to later Bond films entitled The Hildebrand Rarity and Risico. In the interim, the 22nd James Bond film is poised to dominate end-of-year box office upon its release in November. (David Mumpower/BOP)
Vital statistics for Quantum of Solace
Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric
Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, Joaquin Cosio
Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
|Columbia Pictures (Sony), MGM
|Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture