Friday, November 14, 2008

Quantum of Solace Movie Review

[Warning: Minor spoilers ahead]
I mentioned in a previous post about the magic of movie trilogies, how three is the magic number when it comes to creating, crafting and closing a richly woven tale full of character development, thickening plots, and those tasty turns in the plot so twisted that it would shame a preztel. What's interesting is that recently, there has been a trend in "rebooting" movie franchises, dumping the excess baggage tied to a flailing franchise and starting fresh with a new look and often, a new direction. A couple of years ago, we saw this with Batman Begins and Casino Royale (007). And next year, we'll be treated to the much needed reboot of the Star Trek series of movies. But for today, I wanted to focus on Quantum of Solace, the sequel to the 2006 Casino Royale that rebooted the 007 series from old, stale cliches to new, edgy excitement.

I really liked Casino Royale so I had a good time watching Quantum. Lots of action, exotic locales, future looking technological tools and an extra helping of action. And there lies the rub: if there was one bad thing about Quantum, it would be the action. As frenetic and brutally realistic as the action was, the too-close-for-comfort close-ups and shaky cam cinematography often seen in the Jason Bourne movies and the fast-paced, blink-and-you-miss-it split section editing often seen in any Michael Bay movie really made me wish I had ADD. It wasn't confusing or jarring to watch; it just felt like the movie director decided to piece together a bunch of blurry scenes together and call it an action sequence. Perhaps that the intent of the movie makers but I was a bit turned off by it. It's ironic: Casino did a great job of breaking away from the silly, over the top, bullets whizzing, things exploding action scenes from the Bond movies of the past but when you watch Quantum, it feels as though any other action scene from any other Bond movie. Casino Royale certainly had its fair share of action sequences but when you break down those scenes, you'll see a good mix of long, wide angle shots, followed up by some close up and midrange shots. There was a certain logic behind those action scenes, which I wish Quantum followed in their cinematography. But oh well. Lots of actions for everyone.

Daniel Craig does a great job in making his Bond the type of superspy who is willing to get his hands dirty to get the job done. Because of what happened in Casino Royale, you can see (and to a certain extent) feel his rage in wanting to exact revenge. He's really pissed off and willing to do anything to get answers. The unfortunate thing about QoS is that Bond is just a one note character. All anger, all action, whereas we got to see a more relaxed, a better humored Bond in Casino.

Some of my friends mentioned that they missed Q, the gadgets and all of the cheesy innuendo uttered by Bond at the most anticipated times. Certainly, the rebooted series forgoes cheese for a more realistic action-adventure spy game thrill ride and I'm glad it did since it's necessary to break away from the baggage of bad box office. Same can be said about Batman and the same will most likely be said about the new Star Trek movie.

Speaking of Star Trek, the trailer for the rebooted Star Trek movie series, directed by JJ Abrams, was shown before Quantum of Solace. You can find it online at the Apple website as well. If you haven't had a chance to see it, you should check it out. It definitely looks nice.

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