Quantum of Solace or Shedload of Drivel?

This weekend we thought we would see the new and much maligned Bond flick. There have been lots of people complaining that it is difficult to follow, and the Radio 4 reviewer even said that he couldn't give away the ending because he wasn't sure what it was. So with that in mind, I was on my best and most attentive behaviour.

We couldn't be bothered with all the adverts but quite liked the trailers so I hit on the idea of buying the waste of money, premium ticket so that we had seat numbers. We've never sat in these before and had to grovel around in the cinema twilight to find the right row, and then turf 2 prole free-loaders out of our seats. No popcorn, no fizzy drinks, no distractions - just me, the wife and Bond. Off we go...

Titles

The song has been criticised, and I admit that it starts off with a punchy descending baseline, which is matched by very well thought out retro graphics. Quickly the visual aspect becomes more about naked ladies writhing about on a dimly lit beach than any sort of clever storytelling or artistic integrity. The song is powerful, but has wierd little episodes, which make it unpopular. Definitely Casino Royale had a much more inventive opening which I hoped had marked a conscious effort to tone down the mysogenism of Bond and his fully loaded and throbbing Walther PPK.

Camera work

This is worth mentioning on its own because it is absolutely outstanding. The Matrix style of slowing down fast-playing action sequences appears in every modern action film. I would have felt cheated if it hadn't appeared in Bond. However, what stands Quantum of Solace from the usual run of the mill sequences is an effect I don't remember seeing in any other film (and if I have it certainly is not done as well).

In films like the epic Lord of the Rings, there are scenes which are so packed with action and detail that you can't consciously experience. The difference in the Quantum of Solace camera work is that during a piece of high-paced action, there is a tiny, fraction of second pull back or slow down which allows the viewer a glimpse some extra, uncluttered detail. It is only a tiny minuscule amount but it works extremely well.

Overall story

The Times has said today, that the story line was confusing, that Bond was a cold hearted killer, and there was no discernable baddie. Maybe the reviewer closed their eyes and ears at the start and left their brain at the door.

There is a fantastic car chase and very well choreographed boat chase. Daniel Craig is very good at portraying the strong silent type. Why waste words when 2 or 3 are enough. The best chat up line has to be "I'm having trouble finding the stationary". Many people missed the subtlety in this seduction; the cheeky pout, and slight, saucy glance at the lady's ....er.... 'shoes'.

The film is brimming with emotion and feeling, far more than anyother Bond film. The mother/son relationship between M and Bond, the chaste chemistry between Bond and Bond-girl (not the stationary dolly, who definitely gets to meet Little James), Bond's passion for the girl he'd loved but won't admit to loving and the avenging of her death. If you have a little sensibility you will notice these light touches. If you dont notice them, then you probably think Sid James would have made a good Bond - yack, yack.

The baddie in the film is a businessman. A snivelling weakling of a man, that Bond can beat in fist fit with both arms tied behind his back. The sort of person who rises up to positions of power by being 'friendly' with the right sort of people. Of course the real villain is 'The Company' that we don't really know anything about, other than 'they are everywhere'.....thats lucky, no specifics, plenty of menace and bags of stealthy power, nicely replacing the role the USSR fullfilled when Bond was set in the Cold War.

The plot has a bit of slight of hand to fool the characters and the audience. If you can't cope with that, I'm not sure you can cope with the world of literature, the films of Oliver Stone, Shakespeare, Sudoku, Times 2 crossword, and you should probably think about your ability to make informed decisions about who to vote into government.

If you want more chatting, clear delineation between good and bad, with ballet-like martial arts fight scenes I suggest you go and see Rush Hour 14 and not bother to tax your poor, overworked brain further than the monumental effort of finding the cinema and buying a ticket.

I think the story is better than Casino Royale, but there is substantially less glamour. I suspect that is the real problem most people had with the film, and they were too lazy to use their brains for more than finding their seats.

Thumbs up from me and the wife.