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Saturday, June 4, 2016

QUANTUM OF SOLACE -- Movie Review by Porfle

First things first--the editing in QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008) is horrible.  I mean, it's shockingly bad.  Sometimes damn near incomprehensible, in fact.

If you're going to stage elaborate and expensive action setpieces, you don't chop the footage into confetti and blast it at the audience with a salad shooter.  Imagine the best scenes in CASINO ROYALE done in this style.  It would've been a jumbled mess, too, instead of a generally recognized success.

I'd love to see the raw footage of this film given over to someone who knows what to do with it. Imagine it in the hands of original Bond editor Peter Hunt, who helped create the series' style.

Fun stuff like Bond's womanizing and sexual innuendos have been toned down.  (At the time I feared this was because everyone was afraid of offending Barbara Broccoli.) He doesn't even score with the main "Bond girl" of the film, Camille, well played by Olga Kurylenko ("Magic City") as an emotionally-damaged survivor out for revenge.

Bond does have a quick fling with MI6 field agent Miss Fields (Gemma Arterton, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED).  We never learn her first name, but being that she's a redhead and this is a Bond film, it isn't hard to imagine. 

At any rate, subsequent viewings of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, during which I no longer have to spend all my time figuring out what's going on, have caused me to grow increasingly fond of it.

Not only is there a whole lot of action, but the continuation of the previous film's storyline relating to Vesper Lind and the mysterious "Quantum" organization is quite satisfying to me, as is its resolution, which is like something right out of a bonafide spy thriller. (Shades of DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.)

Some sequences, such as the airplane setpiece, the various hotel scenes, and the explosive desert finale, are quite well done.  There's a nice scene between Bond and his CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) in a seedy bar, and a reunion with Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini, HANNIBAL) from CASINO ROYALE which is sublime.

We get what may be the first "breaking the fourth wall" moment in an Eon Bond film when 007 is pulled over by Bolivian cops and ordered to open his trunk.  Bond glances right at us for half a tick and mutters aloud, "Now why would he want me to do that?"

The evil megalomaniac Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) isn't the best Bond bad guy of all time, but this neurotic, narcissistic flake isn't the worst either. And his scheme to control all the precious water rights in an entire South American country is plausible enough, even if it isn't all that exciting.  (It's just a McGuffin anyway.)
Plus, we finally get to see what all the hostility between Bond and M (Judi Dench) has been leading up to.  With her faith in everyone else around her eroding, and the supposed good guys making Faustian deals with the bad guys left and right (this is the most politically pessimistic of all the Bond films), M realizes that Bond is the one person she can depend on because he's the only one who doggedly insists on actually trying to do the right thing.

"He's my agent," she tells her aide Tanner, "and I trust him."  And Bond proves that he's been worthy of this trust all along. It's a cathartic moment, one of the most important of the entire Daniel Craig era.

But best of all...we finally get to see the return of NUDE SILHOUETTE BABES in the title sequence!

Not all that crazy about the theme song, though.  Here's one I came up with, which I think is much more Bond-like:

GREENE FINGER (to the tune of "Goldfinger" by John Barry, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley)

Greene Finger
He's the man, the man with Polanski's puss
An evil wuss

Thus, a mean finger
Buying up, the stuff that's worth more than gold
His water's cold

H2O he will pour up your nose
And no telling what else, I suppose
For an oily girl, knows when he's dipped her
It's the dip of death, from mister

Greene Finger
Beckons you to jump in his lake of sin
But don't dive in

Stay away from his desert abode
If you go there, you just might explode
When he catches you, trying to sneak out
He will grab an axe, and freak out

Greene Finger
Pretty girls, you're not what excites him so
It's H2O

He loves H2O, H2O
He loves H2O, H2O


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