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BlogalongaBond: Quantum of Solace
With the announced reboot of the Bond franchise with Casino Royale in 2006 and with Daniel Craig being announced in the role, nobody was sure that the reboot would be successful. Yet with its release in 2006 and with Craig having proved himself in the role of Bond, anticipation was high for its successor. Yet Quantum of Solace would prove unable to reach the bar set by Casino Royale.

The problems seem to stem for the cast but, thankfully, not from Daniel Craig’s 007. Craig proves that the Bond he portrayed in Casino Royale could survive into another film. Craig proves himself again and again between the action sequences and the (small amount) of dramatic sequences as well. The real shame is that Craig doesn't seem to have the chance to really act in the way he did in Casino Royale.

Moving on from Craig, the rest of the main cast is questionable. Playing the role of Camille is relative newcomer Olga Kurylenko. The problem with using a relative newcomer is the fact that Kurylenko doesn't have much acting experience and it shows. Kurylenko lacks screen presence and chemistry with Craig or anyone else she happens to share the screen with at any given moment. It seems a shame because with a better actress, the role of Camille could have been much better.

It has been said that a Bond film can be judged from the strength of its villain. If that is the case then Mathieu Amalric's Dominic Greene sums up Quantum of Solace: full of promise but disappointing in the end. Mathieu Amalric is a good actor without a doubt but the role of Bond villain is not a role for him. Dominic Greene is amongst the series least threatening villains who, like Moonraker's Hugo Drax, try to be the "silent but menacing" type and only succeeds in being a self-parody. The one time that Greene gets into a fight with Bond it turns into one of the series unintentionally funny moments (indeed, my strongest memory of seeing the film in theaters is of people laughing at it I'll leave it at that).

The supporting cast thankfully is better, if extremely underused. Perhaps the best example of this is Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields, who lights up the screen for such a brief period of time. I ask the filmmakers: what is the point of introducing a character who in her introduction alone is more interesting that your female lead just to give her the least amount of screen time possible? Like Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, the "secondary" Bond girl should have been the primary one and vice versa. Much the same is true of the returning characters from Casino Roayle: Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and White (the wonderfully menacing Jesper Christensen) who all deserved far more screen time then they eventually got. Back to the question: why introduce them if you're not going to use them much? Judi Dench makes a welcomed return as M, who in her screen time builds on to the Bond-M relationship established so well in Casino Royale and thankfully there are plenty of those scenes. The real shame is that, outside of Dench's M, the supporting cast is underused massively.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the film is that the film suffers from an action overload. While the action sequences of Casino Royale were stunning, the same cannot be said of those of Quantum of Solace. The filmmakers apparently took the Bourne films as a model because this film copies many of the action sequences right down to the foot chases and even a knife fight that is so reminiscent of the Borune series it could be called a rip-off. The film does have a few original action sequences in the film including the boat chase and one of the series better airborne action sequences. It's a shame that while there are good action sequences surrounded by a whole series of not so good ones. The filmmakers have made the same mistake they did with Tomorrow Never Dies: letting the action override the plot.

One of the pluses of the film is David Arnold's score. Arnold adheres a little more closely to the traditional Bond score. After making the James Bond Theme non-existent in Casino Royale, Arnold allows it to slip in without it being intrusive. In fact Arnold with one moment in particular perfectly captures the feel of the earlier John Barry scores with the scene of Bond and Fields. Arnold uses Quantum of Solace to show off his ability to make a good Bond score. Unfortunately the main title theme "Another Way To Die" is amongst the series worst with some odd lyrics and an odd performance (the “Bond theme done as a duet” was a good idea if only the song had been better). It’s a good score for an otherwise lacking film.

Perhaps it was raised expectations, but the film seems lacking in many areas. Its mixed main cast and action overload are its biggest problems and while it has many pluses (a good performance from Craig, an underused supporting cast and a good score) the minuses of the film are very hard to overcome. Quantum of Solace then, in the final analysis, is full of promise that’s disappointing in the end.