Quantum Of Solace
Sunday, 16 November 2008
I thought it was pretty good. Of course, it’s always easier to enjoy a film when the reviewers predict you’ll be disappointed.
Many critics have complained that the new Bond movie is dour and humourless. They miss the puns, the trivia, the fine wines and hot love scenes of the Connery/Moore/Brosnan episodes. But I think that’s very unfair, when they all applauded Casino Royale.
It was hard for me to love that first one quite as much as some did, because the crucial poker scene was so PREPOSTEROUS - quite apart from the old chestnut of everyone having a hand so big that it would be statistically more likely for Austin to come back and win the X Factor, everybody revealed their cards out of turn, half of them should have spotted danger and folded, and James Bond finding a straight flush when eight other people have full houses or quads in no way demonstrates that he is “the greatest player at MI6”. But Daniel Craig did the falling in love / betrayal / heartbreak thing beautifully. That happy, innocent scene in the boat with Vesper where he’s going to quit the service and live a normal life, still brings a lump to my throat. It’s the most human James Bond has ever been.
That first film took us back to the beginning: Bond has just got his licence to kill. He’s a green 00. If we’re going to buy that young fellow, new to killing, recently heartbroken, we have to accept a phase of soulless, gloomy professionalism in the sequel. If he immediately started cracking puns about “a couple of secret weapons but I’ve got them in hand”, it would just be stupid. It would make a mockery of the first film.
In plot terms, A Quantum Of Solace feels a lot like the middle part of a trilogy. Surely in episode three, he will blow the lid off the Quantum organization and we’ll look back at the second film as a well-made bridge to that climax. Aren’t they asking for a leap of faith? I’ll happily give him this second film to be numbed by his experience in episode one, and the third film to concentrate on the job in hand before chilling out a bit. If Daniel Craig makes a fourth film - surely that’s the time to be more relaxed, more urbane, more appreciative of the women he seduces, settled into the job, enjoying the perks, confident enough to make jokes? We’re meant to be watching a puberty here. Connery and Moore were playing an older Bond. If Craig is still there in two films’ time, throwing the wit and enjoyment of an older man into the anger and focus of the young spy we’re seeing now, I think we’ll look back on his canon as a really brilliant series of films, developing a real proper character.