Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bond-arama: No. 0011 Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace is a much better film than people believe and, over time, I predict it will rise up the rankings. It will eventually be seen as a better movie than Casino Royale. Why? Because this film has a great Bond, great supporting characters, the most believable “larger-than-life” criminal organization in the series and a truly strong story. But for now, the film still suffers from misperception. That’s why it’s only No. 0011 of 0023.

Plot Quality: Quantum of Solace picks up where Casino Royale left off. Bond is being chased through Italian mountain roads. In his trunk is the man he shot at the end of Casino Royale. He is taking the man to an MI-6 safehouse where he will be interrogated. However, the man will escape with the help of M’s bodyguard. Bond kills the bodyguard and learns the man has a contact in Haiti.
Bond goes to Haiti where he discovers that internationally renown environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) has hired a man to kill his girlfriend Camille (Olga Kurylenko) and that Greene is connected to the man Bond shot in Casino Royale. Bond saves Camille and trails Greene to Austria. In an excellent bit of spying, Bond discovers that Greene is running, or helping to run, an organization called Quantum. This is a collection of industrialists who use their multinational companies to control countries. Among this group is a bodyguard for an advisor to the British Prime Minister, which suggests the advisor is part of the group. Bond kills him, which causes M to cut off his passport and send people to get him.

Bond, meanwhile, gets Réne Mathis to help him follow Greene to Bolivia. When they arrive in Bolivia, Bond is detained so M can take him back to Britain. Bond, of course, evades detention and goes after Greene. He then discovers that Greene is trying to gain control over all the water in Bolivia by replacing the current government with a military coup who will give him the water rights. Mathis is killed and Bond is blamed. He is now hunted by the British, the Bolivians, and the CIA, who have cut a deal with Greene to turn a blind eye to his activities in exchange for what they believe are oil rights. With the help of Felix Leiter, however, Bond escapes and finds Greene at a desert resort, where he is meeting with coup leader General Medrano.
Having learned that Camille is an agent of Bolivian intelligence and has a personal grudge against Medrano for killing her parents and her sister, Bond and Camille attack the resort and kill the General and his security team. They capture Greene and Bond strands him in the desert to die. In a final scene, Bond catches the lover who betrayed Vesper Lynd, Yusef Kabira, in Russia, completing Casino Royale.

This film is beautifully shot. It has the travelogue feel too. Austria is opulent, the Bolivian desert is desolate, the Italian alps are amazing and even Haiti is compelling. Bond is fantastic as the relentless, cold-blooded killing machine; this film feels like Taken before Taken. Greene is a fantastic villain. Mathis is a compelling and likeable character, as are Camille, M, and Felix Leiter. The plot is very strong, being a focused revenge film combined with a film in which Bond must actually spy. The stunts are realistic. The action is brutal. Some have described this as the most violent Bond film ever, which is possible. The film is clever too. The dialog is sharp. The meeting in Vienna is highly original on an order we haven’t seen since 1970’s films like The Conversation or The French Connection. This is a great film.
So why isn’t it ranked higher? Perception. For one thing, the film was beset by problems. It was made in the middle of a writers’ strike and Craig and the director finished the script themselves. Unfortunately, both Craig and the director then attacked the film because of the problems they had. They are wrong, but it’s hard to shake that kind of reputation once you create it. Also, a lot of people don’t like the way this film continues Casino Royale, a first for Bond films. What I think really bothers people, however, is the lack of an over-the-top ending. A lot of people expect a big, stupid ending on each Bond film and this film doesn’t have that. There are no exploding space stations or blimps crashing into bridges. Instead, the film opts for an ending similar to Taken or Gladiator, with some explosions, but where the character’s drive for revenge is satisfied in a personal and visceral way.
I would also suggest that this is the first “cult” Bond film. In every Bond film before this, everything is perfectly explained. At each phase of the movie, the villain gloatingly brags about his plan as Bond explains the plot to the audience while ostensibly talking to the Bond girl. This film doesn’t do that. For example, we watch Greene grab water rights, but he never lays out the scheme or the implications, i.e. he’s dominating countries. You have to deduce that from the General signing an agreement he rejected only moments before and that Greene can control the CIA and MI-6 and apparently has people directing the British Prime Minister. Greene also never tells you what Quantum is or does. Again, you need to assemble this yourself from the importance of the men Bond identifies in Austria. Things like that will confuse some people, but delight others, and this is the first time a Bond film has done this in a script. I suspect that’s a big part of the problem: the film traffics in ambiguity.

Bond Quality: This is Craig’s second outing as Bond and he’s excellent. The Bond character generally requires a combination of suaveness, cold- bloodedness, and humor. Few Bonds had all three. Craig does lacks the humor, but he makes up for it with a plot that puts the focus entirely on his cold-bloodedness, something he excels at. Indeed, his Bond is a relentless killer who will do whatever he needs to do to complete his mission. This is something we haven’t seen since Connery.
Craig also brings back something else we haven’t seen since Connery: he’s a jerk to the women he runs across. As with Connery, Craig enjoys the women he encounters, but he doesn’t think twice about using them. To him, sex is a game; he doesn’t fall in love and he doesn’t act like he wants to be anyone’s husband. This was a problem with prior Bonds who all started falling for their Bond girls. Connery and Craig couldn’t give a damn about these women (with the exception of Vesper Lynd, which is the one big flaw in Casino Royale). What this gives Craig is what it gave Connery, it makes him “the bad boy.” There is a real appeal in that type of character, especially when you believe that deep down, there is a heart of gold. By comparison, Moore came across as pissy with the evil women and clingy with the good women, Dalton was the earnest white knight, Lazenby was struck by love at first sight, and Brosnan was the hurt lover. Only Connery and Craig managed the playboy aspects right.

The one flaw with Craig is that he’s never jovial, as Connery often was. But with this being a darker plot, you don’t miss that aspect... plus you see hints of it with his relationship with M, with Mathis, and with Leiter.

The Bond Girl: This one has an unusual Bond girl. Olga Kurylenko plays Camille, who is a Bolivian Intelligence agent with a vendetta against General Medrano. Kurylenko handles the role well and has strong chemistry with Craig. What makes her unusual is that she has no love scene with Bond, yet you don’t miss it. Indeed, this seems to make her a stronger companion for Bond than other Bond girls because they are bound together by their mission rather than Bond’s sex drive. All in all, she’s probably the best companion Bond has ever had. (Gemma Arterton is a Bond girl in this too, but she’s pointless.)
Villain Quality: The villain is fantastic. For the first time since the end of SPECTRE, there is an evil organization confronting Bond: Quantum. And unlike SPECTRE and their volcano lairs, Quantum is highly believable. In fact, most people already believe oligopolies of amoral multinationals like this are already out there doing exactly this. And they represent a true threat to the world too – they aren’t just drug dealers or crazed misanthropic billionaires with fantasy plans. Their methods are clever too, being wrapped up in the world of finance, and holding meetings in public places that can’t possibly be bugged. They represent a true challenge to Bond.
Even better, the specific villain given to us is one of the strongest Bond villains we’ve been given. Dominic Greene is a cold-blooded killer. He doesn’t rant and rave and dream up elaborate Rube Goldbergian ways to kill Bond. He is a ruthlessly efficient businessman who sees killing and extortion as part of his toolbox. In one of his best moments, we see him threaten General Medrano. He doesn’t whine or prance around or kill the General because he tweaked his ego. No. He calmly tells the General that should the General kill Greene or refuse to do exactly what Greene says, Quantum will kill the General in a most vicious way. There is no passion in this statement and no ego, it’s just a statement of fact. And in delivering this threat in that manner, Greene shows that he’s an immensely powerful and confident man who doesn’t have a single insecurity. He’s not Scaramanga looking for Bond’s approval, Red Grant who lets his ego trump his judgment, or cowardly Blofeld scurrying away as Bond chases him, or any of the insane villains. He is the world’s worst nightmare: a smart, powerful and super-competent man who has no morals and decides to take over the world without anyone noticing.
Greene’s scheme is excellent too. Unlike other Bond villains whose schemes often made no sense, Greene’s scheme is to gain the power to control countries by controlling their leaders and their vital resources. Here, he’s taking control of the water Bolivia needs to survive, and one can assume they are doing similar things in other countries. In effect, his ultimate goal is world domination through the control of puppet states. This is both possible and scary. Compare this to Elliot Carver’s nonsensical quest for ratings or a contract in China, Blofeld’s simple extortion, or Zorin’s plan to destroy Silicon Valley to somethingsomething profit. This is a real threat because it involves genuine power and it’s something you believe can happen.

Even better, unlike the villains of the past, Greene has the perfect cover: he’s a renown environmentalist! When was the last time you saw one of those as the bad guy? Further, this is the kind of character detail that makes his scheme seem so dangerous because no one will believe that a man who wants to help the world is really trying to dominate it through a succession of puppet regimes. What’s more, his plan is working. Look at how he plays the CIA and the British with promises of oil – they don’t even comprehend what he’s doing. Greene is perhaps the most real, and yet most powerful and most cold-blooded villain Bond has ever faced, and he’s the perfect match for Bond.

All in all, this is an excellent film that deserves its high rank and which I think will one day be higher ranked. Right now, it falls in the category of misunderstood, but as we’ve seen with cult films (of which this has many attributes), they have a way of becoming understood once they find their audience. With the Bond franchise (and public tastes) headed in the direction of smaller, darker, more visceral action films, I think this one will eventually find its audience. In the meantime though, the public perception that this was a let down from Casino Royale will keep this one at only No. 0011 of 0023.

35 comments:

Anthony said...

Aside from the jump cut riddled starting chase scene, I really loved Quantum. The part where M's bodyguard pulled a gun and started shooting was brilliant ('They have people everywhere!).

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I liked it a good deal the first time through, but over time it really grew on me. There are a couple flaws, but what movie doesn't have them? All in all, I personally think this is one of the best in the series and I think time will vindicate that.

Anonymous said...

Well, truth be told, there are really only 8 very good to great Bond movies (4 with Connery, 1 with Lazenby and 3 with Craig). All the others are either underwhelming or just plain garbage (though admittedly my 8 year old self enjoyed almost all of them). I think I'd rate this one at 7 or 8.

By the way, I enjoy the website. Although I am a bit flummoxed by the love for Tim Burton shown here. I just don't get it.

Finally, could you please do me a favor. I spend too much time wading through crappy movies streaming on Netflix before finding a gem here and there. I'd prefer if you would do the Netflix wading for me, and then give me the recommendation. That would be a worthy series of articles for the website: Unknown Gems Streaming on Netflix. Thanks.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, It's funny that when I was a kid, I loved all the Bond movies. I thought they were all great. But as I've grown older, I have come to realize that most of them are really rather poor.

On Burton, I thought he was great in several of his early films -- he had a strong, original vision that fit the movies he was making perfectly. But that was along ago and I haven't enjoyed anything he's done in quite some time.

Unknown Gems on Netflix? Any particular genre? Are you talking new movies or just things people may have overlooked from the past?

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I'm talking movies both old and new, and basically from every main genre except horror (unless you consider movies like Jaws and Tremors as horror movies, then maybe those as well). For example, I've noticed that the South Koreans and French have made some darn fine movies in the last 10 years: Point Blank (French), Tell No One (French), The Man From Nowhere (South Korean), The Good The Bad And The Weird (South Korean), and a few others. I just wish I didn't have to wade through some less than stellar ones before finding the good ones. I thought you'd be willing to take care of that for me.

Interestingly, while I find it difficult to name a Hollywood actor these days that isriveting on screen (like Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood - particularly in Once Upon A Time In The West, The Great Escape and Dirty Harry), I think I found one in Korea - Song Kang Ho. Check him out in The Good The Bad and The Weird. He's interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

OT: For those of you who are into apocalyptic fiction, there is a guy at Amazon named Nick Cole who wrote a book (self-published originally) that I thought was bizarrely compelling. He's obviously a conservative as you see reading the book, and I think the book is well worth the read. It's FREE today on Kindle. HERE

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I'll see what I can do. I do from time to time try to compile lists of good films like that. Maybe we can come up with a bigger list?

Backthrow said...

I like QUANTUM OF SOLACE quite a bit, apart from the lousy theme song/credits sequence and the overdone hyper editing in the opening chase scene, though I've only seen the film 2 or 3 times so far. However, despite the strengths listed in the review, I really think it works far better as a fourth act addendum to CASINO ROYALE, rather than as a stand-alone entry to the series, its direct-continuation-sequel aspect working as both a strength and a weakness, in that regard. Also, it can be argued that FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is a direct continuation of the events in DR. NO, as its plot is revenge by SPECTRE (and they specifically say so) for Bond thwarting their Eurasian operative in the Caribbean, unlike the other SPECTRE-oriented films where things pretty much seem to be starting from scratch.

While I think QOS will rise (and to some extent has risen) in estimation in the years after its release, I doubt it will ever be seen as equal to or superior than CASINO ROYALE, which was more self-contained, had a great theme tune, and didn't have its classical-style action hamstrung by editing fads.

Also, I have to disagree on a point: Vesper Lynd was not a flaw... that was the point of the book and the film; a cold-blooded agent lets his guard down when he atypically falls for her, and the aftermath guides his approach to relationships with the attractive women he meets during his missions from then onward, the lone exception being Tracy Di Vencenzo in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.

Speaking of Netflix gems, I finally caught the recent Andrew Price recommendation, COPLAND (maybe not unknown, but definitely low-profile and borderline forgotten), the other night... and it was outstanding.

Dwizzum said...

Wow, I disagree with a lot of what you have said about this movie. I hated it. Let me count the ways.

I agree that the film looks nice. The locations are gorgeous, but the action set pieces are awful. Yes, I am talking about shaky cam. Take the opening of the film as an example. Maybe it's me, but when I can't tell whats going on, who is chasing who, what car is where, I lose interest and don't really care. It's hard to build tension and care about a character when I can't tell what the hell is happening. An action film having incoherent actions scenes is hard to overcome.

I did not like the Bond girl in this one. I did not find her interesting or even very attractive. Gemma Arterton was hot at least.

The plot did not work for me. The Quantum organization can over throw entire countries yet is only interested in water rights? That just seemed silly to me and did not seem to belong in Bond movie. Rene Mathis is completely wasted in this movie. Why even bring him back? He walks into an obvious trap and unceremoniously killed. Then Bold dumps the body and forgets about it. It was a waste of an interesting character.

The final thing I hate about this movie is what I perceive as liberal sucker punches and/or bad writing. Apparently the US government is willing to look the other way when a friendly foreign government is overthrown just so it can get some oil rights. Hey, I get it. Back in the day the US did some sketchy things, but this is set in the modern era. Once you put that out there you are pretty much saying that the US is the bad guy in the movie. And just to add to that fact the CIA tries to mow down Bond with automatic weapons in a public place. All this feeds into the Evil Corporations are running the world liberal stereotype. It really turned me off to the film. In the end Felix is like, "Oh it's all good now, sorry about trying to murder you and all". Not buying it.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I'm glad you liked Copland! I think that's a fantastic film.

All told, I think that Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace feel like one long film and they are very much linked. They work well together. In terms of which one is better, it will be interesting to see. I think what this one has working for it is that Craig is more in his element at this point. He doesn't feel as over-done as he does in Casino Royale because Craig has nothing to prove. It's a small advantage, but I think it's significant. Either way, we'll see.

On From Russia With Love, you could link those, but not in the same way. QOS is a straight continuation of the plot, where as From Russia With Love was more like "round two." And they don't bridge together like this one.

The problem I have with the Lynd story is that this is Bond's first real mission. He's finally found his calling. He's a cold-blooded killer ready to do whatever. Then he meets this woman and instantly becomes ready to give up everything for her. I had a hard time buying it. I think the film would have been better if everything that happens related to her disappearing at the end and him chasing her would have been cut.

Backthrow said...

By the way, probably the thing I like most in QOS is Bond's line to M at the end, when she asks what happened to Greene.

AndrewPrice said...

Dwizzum, Taking over the country would be a mistake on many levels. First, if they took over, then some foreign power (like the US) is going to make them give it back. Ditto on the locals, who will revolt. That doesn't happen if you sit in the background. Secondly, trying to take over the country would let the world know who they are, something they don't want -- because they clearly have interests far beyond Bolivia. Third, taking over assumes they even have an army -- which they probably don't. Besides, why take over? It's not like they want to rule the country, they just want to rob the country. What better way to rob the country than to control a puppet government?

And why water? Because water is becoming a global issue. It's a BIG deal around the world, almost as big as oil.

On the sucker punches, this isn't corporations taking over, it's an evil conspiracy. These guys know they are villains and they act that way. Their corporations are just tools and there is no moment where you have someone defend this as capitalism or "this is what we do for our shareholders." This is just a conspiracy, not a slap at capitalism. Also, think about the fact that the villain is a billionaire environmentalist... Al Gore, Bill Gates, etc. Those guys are leftists, and you never see things like environmentalists made out as villains in Hollywood these days.

In terms of the CIA, the story seems fairly clear that they are talking about rogue agents -- just like with Britain, where you have rogue bodyguards and Prime Ministerial advisors. In effect, the bad guys have their tentacles in various governments.

And keep in mind, the CIA involvement is non-involvement, i.e. they've decided to turn a blind eye to this coup because they are happy being friends with whoever wins. We do that all the time. This isn't the CIA staging a coup, it's just them making sure they win no matter what happens.

Also, keep in mind that in this film, everyone is dirty. That's kind of the point, that this is the dark underbelly of the world in which these guys operate.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I like that line too. All in all, this film really excels at powerful understatement. Almost everything Leiter says is fantastically written too... short, simple sentences that ooze meaning.

Dwizzum said...

I disagree that the CIA was "rogue" agents. I did not get that at all. Felix tips Bond off, but he does it rather sheepishly. Just following orders indeed. The CIA was not looking the other way. The CIA was involved enough to try to murder a British agent in a rather obvious manner. What does the CIA get out of this deal? Oil rights? What do they care about that? To me, the US government or evil corporations are the ones who would care about oil rights. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

AndrewPrice said...

Dwizzum, If he's not a rogue agent, then why does he get replaced at the end? And in particular, why does he get replaced by the guy who tipped Bond off and ruined the mission? The other agent says as much and would have told the CIA that Leiter sabotaged the mission. If the CIA didn't see this guy as a rogue agent, they might have put a mark in his file, but they wouldn't have fired him and then replace him with the guy who ruined the mission.

Also in terms of killing Bond, they were told that he had killed a bodyguard to an advisor of the British PM and that the British were coming for him with orders to take him back alive or dead. At the same time, they are told that he's coming to kill someone the CIA considers a good guy and deals with regularly. Also, we don't know if the CIA itself authorized that or if it was just the agent himself acting alone.

As for what the CIA cares about oil rights, the CIA is an arm of American policy. And the very reason we have troops throughout the Middle East and why we work to keep places like China out of Africa and South America is because we are concerned about oil rights. Moreover, the job of the CIA includes monitoring the stability of countries all over the world. This is in their wheelhouse. They would care very much.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Dwizzum, let me point out that Goldfinger was much like Greene. He was a noted "industrialist" with business contacts in the British government. Ditto on Drax and many of the others. No one sees those as sucker punches. And the reason is that there is no anti-corporate statement made. They are evil men who are using their position... there is no statement that the companies themselves are inherently evil.

Tennessee Jed said...

I don't really disagree other than to add, for some inexplicable reason I can't put my finger on, there seemed to me to be a slow spot in the middle. I own the blu-ray, but have only screened it twice, so perhaps I should slide it out and give it a re-look. Casino does have the advantage of the great setting of the casino, and the finale in Venice, which may give it the slim advantage.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The interesting thing is that the middle is the most traditional. You have Bond checking into a nice hotel, seducing Aterton, and letting the villain know that he's watching him. You see that in every Bond and I think it always slows the plot.

On Casino Royale, I think the Casino is an amazing setting and that will be hard to beat.

PikeBishop said...

I actually kind of liked Gemma Atherton's "Strawberry Fields" character. She was perfect as a "glasses pretty-hair tied back professional" but you just know she was one of the best romps Bond ever had." And Bond's reaction to her grisly death and upon learning that she wasn't a trained field agent and basically just an MI-6 paper pusher, comes acrross to me as good character moment for him.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, You are SO wrong! Just kidding. :)

I see why they included it. It reinforces the idea that this Bond is truly callous. This is the playboy stuff I talk about above, that he will sleep with women because it entertains him or because it helps him get what he wants, but he doesn't get all teary-eyed like the last several Bonds. This is how Connery played the role as well and I think it's effective as part of his character.

Dave Olson said...

Sorry, I just don't get it. To quote Martin Balsam in Psycho, if it doesn't gel it isn't aspic. To be sure, the last five minutes are great. Bond leaves a bad guy in the middle of a desert with only a quart of motor oil to drink. Then he confronts Vesper's killer, just as he's about to "seal the deal" with a lovely young naïf from Canadian Intelligence. And we get the return of the iconic gun barrel sequence. Perfect.

The rest of the movie is a mess. Hypercuts and shakycam galore. I realize that the writers' strike didn't help matters, but it seemed like the producers were going for a less stupid version of either The Transporter or Fast and Furious franchises. Not horrible for a one-off action flick, but totally beneath Bond.

What was Mathis doing there? Last we saw of him, he had been tased (just before poisoning Bond) and and taken away to the MI-6 equivalent of Guantanamo Bay. Now he's running around Austria free as a bird. Something get missed in the writing process? And the free fall sequence was just plain dumb, worse than Moonraker.

Granted, I felt the same way when I first saw The Big Lebowski; didn't like it at first, now I love it. Maybe I'll feel the same way about this one, but I ain't holding my breath.

John Jameson said...

Clearly, I need to see QOS again, since in my only viewing to date, it bored me to tears. I probably have contradictory requirements when it comes to Bond movies, which ideally run along a knife edge between realism and escapism. On the other hand, this latest post places Skyfall in the top ten, which is pretty damning of the entire franchise, in my view!

AndrewPrice said...

John, Skyfall is another one that's hard to place. I think it's not as good a movie as most people think, but the public really embraced it and I'm not sure how it will be perceived 20 or 50 years from now.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I think the better comparison is to Taken, which came out around the same time. Both films go for a very tight, close-up, cold-blooded series of action scenes. And they use quick edits and the shakycam to make it work. I don't normally like the shakycam, but I think it works for both films.

In terms of not liking it, this one is rather hard to rank because opinions on it really are in flux. When it came out, it did major business, but everyone panned it. But then it quickly caught on in the "after market" and it has worked its way into regular rotation in a way that other films below it have not. So I definitely recognize that the choice is controversial, though I think that in 10-15 years the high ranking will be more than vindicated.

Dave Olson said...

Taken is a much better film in all respects. It may have done terrible things to French tourism, but the quick cuts and shakycam worked to the film's advantage. They weren't overused, and they added to the underlying theme if the ticking clock. More to the point, there was a coherent plot with a definite protagonist and villains with clear motives. All of these are sorely lacking in QoS. And yes, this was one of the three Bond films that I thought would be ranked too high, and each of which I thought were somewhat or very inferior to GoldenEye. We'll see if the next two films are the others I'm thinking of; they certainly couldn't be ranked higher than I expect them to.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, It's hard to say which is the better movie, but Quantum made more than twice as much as Taken and it seems to be a television a lot more. So clearly general audiences disagree. Also, Quantum has a very coherent plot and every character in it has absolutely clear motives.

Patriot said...

Andrew.....That was exquisite!! ("You are SO wrong")

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, LOL! I was just kidding of course. :)

Glenn said...

Andrew, I agree with you on QOS. I was really pleased with the return of the hard nosed, realistic Bond in Daniel Craig from the comic book character he'd turned into in so many previous films, especially that last Brosnan abomination.

Casino Royale was excellent and I quite enjoyed QOS, but then I started to see a lot of negative reviews for QOS, which surprised me. I thought perhaps I'd missed something, so I rewatched both films and enjoyed them just as much the second time around. Not sure why so many complaints about shaky cam. When utilized carefully, it feels as if you're right there in the action. Of course, it can be over done, but I haven't seen any films I can think of where it was so bad it gave me a negative reaction to the entire film.

Your placement of QOS here is reasonable and I think you're right about future ranking. If I were doing a list I might have it in the top ten right now. Regarding Skyfall, I'm not sure where I'd rank it as yet because it didn't feel like a traditional Bond movie, which isn't a negative. Just a few too many plot holes that didn't make any sense on first viewing, so need to rewatch.

Taken was an okay movie, but the problem I had was everything worked out too perfect. After awhile, it just lost its drama because Neeson just walked right in and had his way with no real serious resistance, which I thought wasn't very realistic. Sure, we all cheer for the hero, but making it so easy for him, tension is lost and it makes you wonder what was the point. You know from the beginning he's going to win in the long run, but I need to feel some doubt along the way, otherwise it's just a walk in the park.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Glenn!

I didn't think QOS was great the first time I saw it. I thought it was good but it didn't really grab me. But it grew on me a lot with the second showing and then with each subsequent showing. That said, I was still surprised by how negative the negative reviews were. In hindsight though, I see little reason to respect the opinions of the media critics. Take Roger Ebert for example, Ebert attacked the film because he thinks James Bond films shouldn't be violent and he thinks the villains need to be cartoon villains... seriously. He also doesn't like the Camille doesn't have a suggestive name -- he suggested Camille Squeal. He also thinks Bolivia isn't worth Bond's time, which is kind of asinine, plus he completely misses the point that Quantum has tentacles everywhere and this is just one battleground. Because he doesn't understand what Quantum is, he also doesn't see how the various parts of the movie relate.

Ebert is fairly representative of most of the criticism I saw. To him, the Bond franchise is a joke and he doesn't like it when it tries to lift itself about the level at which he placed it. He's also proven time and again that he can't understand anything that isn't layout in exposition.

On Skyfall, that one has admittedly been rather hard to place. Personally, I would like to have listed it here and I suspect it will eventually fall to this number... or possibly even below Goldeneye, but at this point it's such an overwhelmingly popular film that it's hard to say yet where it should go. Right now, anything lower than Top 10 would probably be seen as unrealistic, but I'll bet that will change over time.

On Taken, I enjoyed the film a lot, but like you, I also felt that everything was too easy for Neeson. And I definitely felt that in the sequel, which just feels like they are going through the motions.

Backthrow said...

Here's some pretty big 007 news, finally capping a legal saga that persisted for over 50 years.

What this means is, if Eon Productions wants to bring back or reboot Blofeld and/or SPECTRE, in new films or remakes (though I highly doubt they'd ever do the latter), they can.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, That's interesting, though I can't imagine they would go back to Blofeld now. Not unless they decided to do some sort of retro piece.

Backthrow said...

Andrew,

I think the chances that the current producers would do either a remake, or a retro piece, are pretty close to nil (though I'd love to see the latter tried sometime). However, I could easily see them bringing back Blofeld/SPECTRE, though in rebooted form, for the Craig (or post-Craig) era, but in a way that would be a lot different than Donald Pleasance in a volcano base. They'd probably retain his baldness and perhaps his white cat (maybe), but as someone more along the lines of Mr. White in CR or Greene in QOS (and Mads Mikkelsen's "La Chiffre", as well as Javier Bardem's "Silva" are at least as weird as the cat-stroking cueball). I mean, 'Quantum' is pretty much an analog for 'Spectre', since they couldn't get the rights to use 'Spectre' in new films up to now. And 'Spectre' was used in place of 'Smersh', from the early books, since I guess Broccoli & Saltzman didn't want to go too 'cold war' with the 1960s films (apart from FRWL, and even that toned down a lot of the Soviet stuff from the novel), since it probably would've affected international film sales in some quarters.

Who knows, maybe they'll continue to use Quantum, but then reveal that name as an alias of Spectre, which could be treated as an old threat, long thought dead, or a completely new (rebooted) one. Or, since we really haven't seen/heard from the head honcho (if there is one) of Quantum yet, maybe it'll be Blofeld (the producers opting not to use Spectre at all). I bet the writers and producers are weighing such possibilities as we speak.

George Soros is essentially Ernst Stavros Blofeld, so the character isn't that far-fetched, in today's reality, LOL.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Interesting idea. I think they stick with Quantum because they have already created it. But why not make Blofeld the head of it?

Soros is indeed Blofeld!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone agrees that QOS is a great film . I see it as a non - typical Bond film ...It's more of a revenge thriller . It has many different layers you usual don't see in action films or Bond films .

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