I’ve been a James Bond superfan going on 22 years. I can name all of the films, in order, from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace off the top of my head. For each one, I can tell you who played Bond, his main squeeze, and who played the major villains. I can even rattle off trivia about each one, like the fact that Roger Moore has said in interviews the only Bond film he dislikes is A View to a Kill because he, like everyone else, recognizes he was too old to still be playing Bond in that film.
Before yesterday, there were only two Bond films I hated–the aforementioned A View to a Kill, and License to Kill. Now there’s a third. Because overall, Quantum of Solace just plain sucked.
It pains me to say it. While the last 20 minutes or so of QoS were pretty good, the rest of the film is a botch job. The next time EoN decides to take some art house director and hand a 007 film over to him, I hope they get a second unit director who knows how to shoot an action sequence. The opening car chase is an incoherent mess. There’s an awesome scene in a large portico with Bond fighting another guy hanging from ropes, all while deadly shards of glass fall on them. Too bad no one bothered to point the cameras at any part of the scene that mattered.
I think the trend has been growing since Saving Private Ryan. If you watch that movie, you’ll note that the camera shakes an awful lot during action sequences. And there’s a lot of fast editing. But you always know exactly what’s going on!
I’m afraid it’s become a game of cinematic telephone. Spielberg does Ryan, another director apes it, a third director with considerably less skill copies that, and now we’re down to QoS. The phrase Spielberg originally said was “breathless excitement” and by the time it got to Forster he understood it as “screw you, audience.”
I am heartened, however, by the fact that so many people and reviewers are catching on to this stuff. Marc Forster’s not the first one to try to pull off this crap. Honestly, I’ve had the same problem with the last two Bourne films, although not nearly to this degree.
I generally hate fanboy rants. Anytime someone says the phrase, “raped my childhood,” I really want to punch that person in the face and say, “Get a life.” But I spent a good hour and ten minutes sitting in a theater last night just being pissed off. People have complained about QoS not having a story. The fact is, there’s all sorts of story going on in the film, with endless potential to grow the Bond character and expand the Bond universe. But I didn’t care.
The scene at the avant garde Tosca performance verged on greatness. And then we’re in the middle of a horribly mangled action sequence and everything goes to shit again.
I can’t say I wasn’t prepared. Every advance review complained about the things I’m laying out here. I even went to the theater fully prepared for disappointment. But I wasn’t just disappointed. I wanted to beat the shit out of Marc Forster and every single person involved with EoN productions who allowed him to ruin this movie. If I hear the same advance word on the next Bond film, I won’t be there on opening day. I might never see it at all. It’s just too painful.
If anyone wants to punch me in the face and tell me to get a life, send me an email and we’ll see about arranging it. After what I endured last night, I think I can take it.