Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Disappointment

I wanted to like QUANTUM OF SOLACE. I really did. But I found it quite a disappointment after CASINO ROYALE. I still think Daniel Craig makes a good Bond. But here's what I didn't like:

1. Not enough fun. The best Bond films manage to balance both drama and fantasy. Heck, in Casino Royale lives were riding on a card game. The only fantasy here was Bond's ability to come through nasty situations without dying; and (spoiler warning) to knock out a whole elevator of fellow agents in two seconds. (And these are his co-workers! Boy, is he going to be unpopular in the service from now on.)

2. Lack of a good through-line for the story. CR benefitted from following the arc of the novel on which it was based (though it departed from the story, particularly in making Bond more active than reactive). This one was just one event after another until the story came shuddering to a halt.

3. Choppy action sequences. Credit the Jason Bourne movies and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN for the subjective, fast-cutting, shaky-camera action sequences that attempt to put the viewer into the action by making things confusing. Well, it was so confusing here that I couldn't tell who was doing what to whom. The editor needs to sit down and watch FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and GOLDFINGER fifty times so that he can figure out how to cut a fight scene and make it both exciting and coherent.

4. Too damn loud. The volume started with the commercials (used to be that The Bridge had minimal commercials; that's apparently a thing of the past) and stayed throughout the movie. I complained to the theater manager, who informed me that the Sony people had been out before the movie's premiere to calibrate the visuals and sound and that the director had prescribed the precise sound level he demanded. Sounds to me like the director is mistaking a loud soundtrack for a well-crafted soundmix.

5. (Spoiler warning) Bond doesn't get nearly as much sex as he should. (See Point #1.)

On the plus side, the trailer for the STAR TREK movie was cool, as was the one for Bryan Singer's VALKYRIE. (Singer just can't stay away from those nazis, can he?)

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