At the Movies with Kevin: Quantum of Solace unimpressive

It is incomprehensible to think that this many talented people made this disastrous product. Marc Forster, the director of one of the greatest films of this decade, “Monster’s Ball,” and Paul Haggis, who won multiple Academy Awards for “Crash,” are partially responsible for this catastrophe. The worst characteristic of this terrible film is the fact that it lacks any ambition to be anything other than a special effects extravaganza where there is nothing special about the effects. “Quantum of Solace” is not only an uninspired movie but it is also incredibly lazy.

The most exciting part of the film is the title sequence with everything going downhill from there. The plot involves something having to do with the British, Americans, Bolivians, oil, environmentalists, and water. I could go into much greater detail about the story but the rest of it is hard to discern and, frankly, I do not really care. The film’s basic desire is to find excuses for massive explosions in place of any absorbing narrative.

Daniel Craig does not make Bond particularly interesting, mainly because his one motivation for continuing to put himself in harm’s way is made abundantly clear. The greatest asset of James Bond is that his reason for taking extraordinary chances with his life is murky and difficult to pinpoint. This complexity in his personality is the quality that makes Bond a fascinating character and he is simply another spy doing a mission because it is his duty.

James Bond has always been seen as a suave, sophisticated, and debonair individual, while Craig’s characterization is instead boring, aloof, and uncomplicated. For example, sex for Bond in “Quantum of Solace” is illustrated as a pervasive necessity rather than as something from which he derives actual pleasure. Bond used to get great pleasure out of not only the act of sex, but especially from the intricacies of the foreplay and seduction.

The main attraction of Bond has always been his ability to commit sin without any emotional consequences. In “Quantum of Solace,” he does not even glance at Camille (Olga Kurylenko) and does little to coerce Fields (Gemma Arterton) into bed. Contrary to this film’s belief, it is not a requirement that every woman who comes into contact with Bond sleeps with him, but rather that his charm makes this act seem not only inevitable but also incredibly enjoyable.

In any struggle between good and evil, the villains must be infinitely more fascinating than the protagonist in order for the film to be riveting, such as The Joker in last summer’s masterpiece, “The Dark Knight.” On the other hand, this villain is a dull and mean individual without any compelling reasons for his actions. The best antagonists are evil, plain and simple, with a defining basis for their dealings.

There are many other ridiculous facets of the film that are astonishingly aggravating, including the title, the state of the art hydrogen powered hotel in the middle of the desert, the implausible chase scenes, and the impossibility of Bond completely ignoring death on one occasion. The best moments in “Quantum of Solace” are when the action stops and attempts to reveal something new about Bond by exploring the convolution of his persona. You can almost see Forster yearning to stay in those scenes for much longer with the special effects person yelling, “I’m ready to blow more stuff up.” It is a shame that Forster did not simply tell the studio that James Bond is more than explosions and shootings. He bleeds, feels, hurts, and even thinks, just like everybody else.

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