Quantum of Solace (2008) - Two-Disc Special Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Thriller
MGM || PG13 - 106 minutes - $34.98 || March 24, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-03-13


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Marc Forster
Writer(s): Ian Fleming (characters); Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade (written by)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright


Theatrical Release Date: November 14, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 7 Featurettes
  • Music Video
  • Theatrical Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Note: This movie review contains some minor plotline spoilers, reader discretion is advised.

I considered Casino Royale one of the best James Bond movies ever made, a fantastic reboot much along the lines of Batman Begins, giving the franchise a firm foundation. A big part of Royale’s success came from the brilliant casting of Daniel Craig as Bond; a new kind of Bond: brutal and tough, a blunt force instrument. Kill first, ask questions later. Craig brought a darker James Bond not seen since Timothy Hutton and in stark contrast with Pierce Brosnan’s thinner, more suave portrayal of the British spy.

So with the success of Casino Royale, the highly anticipated sequel, Quantum of Solace crashed onto the big screen and left us in awe... for all the wrong reasons. Within the first 15 minutes (including the yawn-worthy opening sequence) we get two major action sequences beginning with a car chase basically stolen right from the Bourne movies and probably more intense in The Fast and the Furious. And it is within these scenes I began to realize/feared that Quantum of Solace could become just another action movie. And unfortunately, it was.

QoS begins where Royale ended. James Bond (Daniel Craig) tries to elude gunmen weaving in and out of traffic in Italy where it is revealed Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) is inside the trunk about to be “interrogated” by MI6 about his organization. This leads into yet another chase sequence, one that while technically proficient, was already seen in plenty of action movies (to this date, nothing will equal the brutality in The Bourne Supremacy).

Mr. White somehow escapes but now Bond, still reeling from the death of Vesper in Casino Royale, wants revenge no matter what he tells ‘M’ (Judi Dench). Clues lead him to a man named Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a Bond villain with, well, nothing really that interesting... No tears of blood, no golden touch, nothing -- more on this later. Camille (Olga Kurylenko) is a woman who, like Bond, has her own agenda of vengeance. A former spy herself, she has infiltrated Greene’s organization, which we later learn is called QUANTUM (a 21st century update on SPECTRE), an organization that has plans for a sparse piece of land in the South American country of Bolivia.

Quantum of Solace, on its own, isn’t a bad action movie. The action sequences are fairly well done and the acting is quite good overall, but this isn’t just any other action movie, is it? This is James *Frickin’* Bond for crying out loud. While it was acceptable that Casino Royale omitted using ‘Q’ or even saying “Bond, James Bond” until the very end, QoS features none of the classic pieces that makes a James Bond movie a James Bond movie.

That’s right, no “Bond, James Bond” (alright, I can accept that), no gadgets, no “shaken but not stirred”, no gadgets and no classic Bond villain for that matter. Nothing against Amalric, in fact I think he at least LOOKS like an interesting character, sadly there was very little about him that was actually interesting. He’s creepy looking for sure but that’s about it. And when it came down to his final fight with Bond, he’s certainly no match.

Certainly, Solace is not a terrible film but it is one of the most disappointing movies I’ve seen. With a predecessor so universally praised and a James Bond that is a huge change-up (for the better) than anything we’ve seen before, this sequel had everything going for it, including a capable director in Marc Forster. However, while Forester is indeed a great director (see: Monster’s Ball), he’s not that great of an action director, though I remember reading that was completely left up to other units. Fact is, producers made a blunder with this hire.

IMAGE

The screenplay by Paul Haggis (Crash), Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day), were all behind the greatness that was Casino Royale, so it’s a little stranger that the story fell short this time. With a running time of only 106 minutes, is the shortest Bond movie to date, so between the 5+ action sequences, there really wasn’t enough to tell a proper story (not to mention include all those Bond themes). Of course, we must take the writers’ strike into consideration which limited the storytelling and the film hurt because of it.

If there was one bright spot it would be about half way through the film as Bond infiltrates a secret meeting between QUANTUM members at an opera house (during a performance). The payoff for the scene is priceless and perhaps the saving grace for a substandard screenplay.

The other good thing about the film is the casting of Olga Kurylenko, an actress who stepped onto the American scene with roles in Hitman and Max Payne. Although she doesn’t hold a candle to Eva Green, Kurylenko has some great chemistry with Craig’s Bond. If only the screenplay would’ve given her some more to do, outside of a touching scene near the end.

Taken strictly as another action movie, Quantum of Solace isn’t too bad, but looking at it as another James Bond movie? It’s a sin. It’s certainly better than some of the Roger Moore outings but I was pretty disappointed and hope the next will up the ante.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

From the looks of it, this “Two-Disc Special Edition” seems to parallel Casino Royale’s initial 2-disc release. No commentary and no deleted scenes, so you know that when “Bond 23” comes out, a new edition will be released...

On disc 1 is the music video (4:31) with Jack White and Alicia Keyes and two trailers, one teaser and one theatrical.

Disc 2:
Bond on Location (24:47) feels almost like a primer for something bigger. This features some interview sound bites with the cast (Craig, Kurylenko) and crew (Marc Forster, etc). It’s a decent enough featurette and goes behind-the-scenes on location in Austria and Panama. Some footage from the “Crew Files” are also used here.

Crew Files (46:15) are 33 short featurettes (1-3 minutes) with various members of the crew from the second assistant director to the director of photography to the composer (as well as Alicia Keyes). It’s not an entirely interesting watch and was apparently previously available online while they were filming.

There are also five short featurettes: Start of Shooting (2:56), On Location (3:13), Olga Kurylenko and the Boat Chase (2:14), Director Marc Forster (2:45) and The Music (2:37) just give some more behind-the-scenes footage (stunt rehearsal, shooting scenes, scoring, etc) to go along with some comments from the director and others. These featurette, while nice to have, seemed more like filler than anything of substance.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

MGM is provided a watermarked screener so at this time I cannot fairly judge the video quality. I will amend this review once the final product has been sent.

The DVD does feature a good DTS 5.1 audio track. Although the beginning chase sequence didn’t sound all that great (the main part of the action, like cars squealing, sound flat coming out of the center channel), but other elements such as David Arnold’s score make use of the other speakers nicely. Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also available in English, French and Spanish.



.::OVERALL::.

Taken as an action movie, Quantum of Solace isn’t too bad but when you view it in the prism of a James Bond movie, it falls short on all levels. The action sequences, while pretty good, have been seen before in the Bourne movies -- not that that’s a flaw, but you expect more --, but the fact they failed to use anything that makes a Bond film is almost unforgivable. I still feels Daniel Craig is a good James Bond but I also hope his third outing could possibly reach the level of quality Casino Royale brought back into the franchise.