Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Quantum of Solace, the new 007 installment directed by Marc Forster, arrives in France and in the United Kingdom on October 31, and has been shown to the Press. This direct follow-up to 2006 commercially succesful « James Bourne » reboot, Casino Royale, has inspired mixed first reactions from critics who bona fide enjoyed the first entry with Daniel Craig as James Bond.


Lizo Mzimba, of BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7676637.stm
), appreciates the characterization of Bond, as « the real interest lies in how Bond deals with the individuals and situations he meets along the way », and also the intentions of the helmers of the 007 franchise: « it's a brave step to push even further a lot of the themes developed in Casino Royale, especially the rediscovery of who Bond is, and why he is the way he is ». Two years after Casino he warns Bond rebooted adversaries that « The raw nature of the film may put off some who yearn for the days of gizmos, gadgets and Bond quips as he dispenses with faceless opponents ».

Kim Newman, of Empire (http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=134523
), praises « a pacy, visually imaginative follow-up to the series relaunch » [...] « In an era marked by franchise bloat, it’s entirely admirable that Quantum of Solace is the shortest Bond movie to date – it drops a great many of the long-running series mannerisms (callous quips, expository lectures, travelogue padding, Q and Moneypenny) ».

David Edwards, film critic of The Daily Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/10/18/first-review-of-new-james-bond-movie-007-115875-20815336/
): is not disappointed but « just don't expect the brilliance of Casino Royale ». An opinion shared by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/oct/18/jamesbond1): « Quantum of Solace isn't as good as Casino Royale: the smart elegance of Craig's Bond debut has been toned down in favour of conventional action ». Bradshaw is impressed by Craig: « he carries the film: it's an indefinably difficult task for an actor. Craig measures up ».

Mark Monahan in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/10/18/bfquantum118.xml
) wonders « if director Marc Forster and screenwriters Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis haven't tried a little too hard to distance the film from traditional Bond plots » but agrees that « Craig inhabits the character with a ruthless charisma that never lets up. And he, above all, keeps you watching ».


Daniel Craig is the subject of a quasi-consensus: « Craig, it must be said, is excellent », writes Ali for The Shiznit (http://www.theshiznit.co.uk/review/quantum-of-solace.php
), on the contrary of Marc Forster as director, « completely out of his depth handling a franchise this large. High-tempo sequences, like the opening car chase and an extremely Bournian rooftop pursuit, are disorientating in the extreme: too fast, too sloppy and too ruthlessly edited ». Obvious reference of the producers since Casino Royale, Jason Bourne becomes a problem... « perhaps former Paul Greengrass protege Dan Bradley (1) should be held responsible... »

Richard Brooks, Arts Editor of The Sunday Times, does his own Gunbarrel sequence (« It’s the audience who will need solace, 007 »): « It's James Bond, licence to bore. Quantum of Solace may be a sequel to Casino Royale but it lacks that movie’s panache and brio » (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article4969426.ece
The movie « lacks any wit, ironic or otherwise, which has been a strength of so many 007 films » and the title song by Alicia Keys and Jack White is « tuneless ». « At around one hour 40 minutes, this Bond is shorter than most. Somehow it felt longer ».


Two years ago, Casino Royale, left traces amongst French 007 aficionados after a raging debate between advocates of the relaunch and the fans of « Old School Bond ». François Justamand, editor of website La Gazette du doublage (http://www.objectif-cinema.com/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=0168), contributor for http://www.jamesbond-fr.com/
(2), and one of the top experts about James Bond in France gives us his first impressions: « Action sequences suffer from an editing too rough, the movie lacks of familiars Bond "trademarks", some characters are not sufficiently developed (Fields, Greene), idem for the Quantum organization (perhaps further developed on next movies?), a bleak script, and an expeditive ending ». On the Plus side, François Justamand admits some intimate scenes, good dialogue from time to time, and some good ideas from the writers, like the coded conference of Quantum during La Tosca.

La Tosca retains the attention of Kevin Collette, journalist and Bond specialist, who considers the whole sequence is wasted by its « speedy editing a la Jason Bourne » (http://www.jamesbond-fr.com/news-1224530966-36-Un-Bond-post-moderne-.html
). Bourne again, shall we like it or not we always go back to Bourne...

Update: Please have a look at this interesting and sometimes harsh discussion in the Comments section of a post on Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily where Nikki develops on the Opening Box Office weekend of Quantum of Solace in Europe: http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/bond-shatters-uk-box-office-record/.

(1) Stunt coordinator on the Bourne movies, second unit director on Quantum of Solace.

(2) François Justamand is also an eminent member of Sérialement Vôtre (http://www.serialement-votre.fr/

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