Quantum of Solace is not without a Modicum of Merit

Continuity has never been a concern when it comes to the James Bond film series. For the most part, each entry has been made with utter disregard and complete ignorance of what came before. No actor played Blofeld more than once, and the character “died” almost as many times as The Master on Doctor Who. Until Jeffrey Wright, the only actor to play Felix Leiter twice was David Hedison; first in Live and Let Die, then in Licence to Kill. Those movies had a sixteen year gap, and other actors played the part in between. It came as quite a shock when it was announced that Quantum of Solace was to continue the story told in Casino Royale; picking up the story ten minutes later.

I would like to say that Quantum of Solace is a great film, or that it’s underrated. It is what it is, whatever that is. After seeing the film, my first thought upon leaving the theatre was, “Huh?” It’s not that I didn’t understand the plot, or maybe it was. I just wondered why they wanted to tell that particular story. Or should I say I wondered why they wanted to tell that story the way they did.

But Quantum of Solace is not a bad film either. It looks great. It was in focus. I liked how some of the sets were reminiscent of the work of long time production designer Ken Adam. The action scenes were great, and the opening car chase reminded me of Ronin.

The whole thing just felt a bit off. The screenplay was written by Paul Haggis, and Neal Purvis and Robert Wade; the same team from Casino Royale. The problem may have been that they weren’t working from an Ian Fleming novel this time around. Purvis and Wade are also at least partially responsible for The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. Make of that what you will. Matters weren’t helped any by the movie being made during the writers strike. The only ones allowed to work on the script during this period were director Marc Forster, and star Daniel Craig.

Quantum of Solace is a violent film–by Bond standards anyway. At least that is what it says on the film’s Wikipedia page. The violence never bothered me. Okay, there was a bit with an axe that made me draw up in my seat a bit, but that was it.

On the plus side, Quantum of Solace is a short film by modern standards. It lasts 106 minutes, and if you add it to Casino Royale’s running time of 144 minutes, it equals four hours and ten minutes in old money. That’s perfect for a double feature. Maybe I’ll try it sometime.

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