7 Nov 2008

It's the Suantum of Quolace!

Good evening world. How goes?

The new Bond film, Quantum of Solace has been met with mixed ratings among the media. It certainly receives one from me. A few weeks ago I went along with a few members of a covert and nameless society of the university I am currently an undergraduate at to check it out. I thought that, on the whole, "Bond 22"/"The Quantum of Solace"/"The Thingy of Whatsit" had its merits and was a good use of 2hrs of my Saturday evening. However, it also had its downfalls, which will merge in here in due course...

- Interesting switch from the more one-off episodes of the Bond franchise, in that it leads directly off the ending of Casino Royale. Oh, mild spoiler warning for this entry by the way ;-)
Whereas your Moonraker's, Goldeneye's and Thunderball's would all introduce the villain, the Bond Girl, the master plan and its demise in a 2hr burst, QoS builds upon the workings of Royale, and implicates CR's antagonists in a wider plot and a shadowy organisation that, much to the concern of surveillance state proposers, even MI6 couldn't track.


LeChiffre in CR is shown to have a certain "Mr. White" working in the shadows behind and around him. This geezer then goes on to blow The Frenchie's brains out when Bond wins in the longest cinema poker match, blackmails Bond's girl Vesper into transferring the casino winnings over to him and his organisation, before off-ing her as well in Venice. Bond shows up before the end credits to blast his kneecaps with what Doom fans might call a Big F***ing Gun Lite at his country mansion. QoS opens with Bond's "Escort Mission" for his foe, bound and gagged in the trunk of a flash Aston Martin.

*End Spoiler, for now*

- In a similar vein, there's some good character development moving off Royale. Daniel Craig may still be a cold-hearted b******, but he's more strongly motivated here, determined mainly by the death of Vesper - a combination of a feeling of betrayal and a desire for revenge. M offers a good line drawing this out in one of the 'board meetings' during it.

*Partial Spoiler*
You don't think about it too much when considering Craig's Bond, but he very sternly states "I am motivated by my duty" at one point; offering insight into the fact that, while he may cause a bit of collateral damage along the way, he's true to his goals, and definitely is going out there 'For Queen and Country'. Especially interesting to see this counter-played by the switching of loyalties and lack of moral conscience of the British politicians and Americans from the CIA.

- Certainly maintained the migration away from over-the-top gadgetry as seen in Moonraker and Die Another Day... Well, to a certain extent:
*Here thar be more spoilers*
~ The Evil Guys take in a performance of Tosca and, spread across a 10,000 seater auditorium, engage in a bit of teleconferencing. Their means of communication? One earphone with a localised wireless network connection to a stylised pinbadge on their lapels concealing a microphone. Not only did they freely chatter together in the auditorium, but I believe they were also linked in internationally.
~ Pulling out his Mobile Phone, Bond manages to get accurate facial recognition shots of moving targets from about 500m away
~ The extent of technology for MI6 offices is ludicrous. Starting on a desk-based touchscreen interface system, features could be effortlessly brought up, shifted along, cross-referenced, before being projected 2 metres across the floor to another system on the wall, then skirted around on to the semi-translucent boardroom window. Somehow through all this mess they get a lead that laundered money was marked by them with a tiny pinprick, this cash was then noticed to have been deposited at point X by man Y who had been seen entering Heathrow at time Z.

- OK that's my discussion of some of the more superficial stuff over. Now, onto the plot. I hope I use the term correctly, but most of the plot seemed to be to be a bit of a MacGuffin. Bond's searching for a root cause of the organisation, yet by the end of it you're left disheartened with a feeling that the surface had only been scratched. You're only really told the name of the umbrella they work for, but essentially the Big Bads for QoS boil down into "Frenchie Neo-Liberal Environmentalist Capitalist" and "Random Army General with aims for a coup in Bolivia". Die Another Day may have had some ludiocrity associated with it, but at least we knew they were pretty big, upper-level Koreans with a more explicit plot for world domination.

- A certain scene features Bond piloting a Ye Olde cargo plane over the desert. It gets peppered with bullets from a fighter. The engine catches fire. The plane is still getting shot at, yet somehow Bond can continue to control it to glide another 15 miles through canyons, before jerking it up the vertical for maximum lift, then flinging themselves out the rear bay door to parachute to safety. Surely they'd have crashed by that point with only one working engine?
- Going directly off this, it takes Bond 95% of his descent to reach his femme fatale with the parachute and yank it open. You see a split-second of footage where it's open before they slam into the ground. Yet somehow they are able to casually walk it off in their dusty evening wear with nary a scratch. I feel like digging out my SUVAT equations here.

- The cataclysmic wrecking of EcoFrenchie's Greenpeace Hotel In The Desert was hilarious. The entire place was filled with biofuel cells, that yes, you guessed it, are hilariously inflammable. Those babies must be pumping out Terawatts of power to explode and combust that vigorously.

- The advertising, oh Lordi Lordi, the advertising. In the 30 mins plus of tripe you get nowadays in advance of a film, heck even in advance of the "These trailers are for films of the same rating standard" spiel, there was so much of the QoS bandwagon jumping.
~ The official game based on the film. AKA slap Quantum of Solace on a generic FPS game and release it on everything from the C64 to the PSP. ... ??? PROFIT!
~ CokeZero tie in with QoS to get a free demo disc of the above. Cunningly done for 007 to be made of CokeZero7.
~ Omega, the watch of James Bond. Yes we know... you said it very explicitly on your empty train to Montenegro...
~ Random plug for the non-memorable arbitrary model classification of the mobile phone Bond uses a heavily modified version of.

Now to finish my ramblings, I present to you a YouTube offering. No the video is not a rickroll, rather a far more impressive theme tune for Quantum of Solace than was given in the movie. Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMoJRLStD9c

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