Ranking the Bond Movies: #11 – Quantum of Solace (2008)
Quantum of Solace will always be a tricky film for me, because it’s very much dependent on Casino Royale. In many respects, it can stand alone as its own film, but you really don’t get the dramatic impact of the film without having seen its predecessor.
Now, it’s a great film. It really is. It has everything about Bond, and for being the shortest entry in the franchise, it sure has its fair share of action. And it’s definitely a film I’d watch more than maybe the ranking suggests. But — I don’t know — it just doesn’t feel like a top ten Bond film for me. It feels like a #11.
It would be impossible to argue that it isn’t a top ten film. Mostly I’m sort of hedging my bets by putting it here, in the hopes that Skyfall completes a sort of trilogy in the series (or leaves this alone as a pseudo-sequel to Casino Royale. Either way, it’s gonna do one or the other) and ends up itself being a top ten film. In that case, my ranking of this one ends up all right.
So it’s not like I don’t think Quantum of Solace isn’t a top ten Bond film, it’s just — we’re in a weird position at the moment, where I really need Skyfall to let me know where I’m going to rank this one. I need to know where it fits in the series first.
The cold open begins with this sequence. I won’t say a word. I’ll let the screenshots and TokyoRemix do the talking.
The side strake is so definitively Aston Martin. It’s on all of them, you really can’t not show it.
Now the hood, which is made of carbon fiber. Nice shot of the vents and the power bulge.
Excellent shot of one of the exhaust tips enclosed in the DBS’ one-piece carbon fiber rear diffuser. This is looking like an Aston Martin brochure, and I like it.
An Alfa Romeo 159 is in pursuit. Everyone loves an Alfa, and this one is a direct descendant of the only good car in Octopussy.
Well, there’s the brake caliper and carbon ceramic disc brake. There’s nothing about this car that isn’t sexy.
And it’s a six-speed manual with a brushed aluminum gear lever.
This is the part that makes me sorry we only have screenshots, because those vents may as well be subwoofers. The sound kicks in when we see Bond’s hand on the shifter, and by the time this shot happens one second later, the V12 is nearing its redline. I get goosebumps.
It’s got a taut stance, muscular curves, and an awesome chrome strip over the rear tail lights to accentuate the widened rear track.
Whoever orchestrated this shot should be given a drillion dollars. It’s like the images reflected on women’s bodies in Maurice Binder’s old credit sequences. This is all happening so fast that you can barely register all the amazing stuff that’s going on.
How many more angles can we shoot this chase from? More, give me more!
Craig’s into it. This is him getting slammed by the truck that lost control under machine gun fire. The tight quarters and quick action are great. The guy’s got F1 driver reflexes.
In one of the best parts of the chase, a metal beam skewers the driver’s side door, and to escape, Bond has to flick the car around, ripping the door off.
To the casual viewer, this looks like a normal spin — like Bond does a 360. It’s actually a double 180, which is in fact different. We can tell by the sounds before and after that he throws it in neutral halfway through the spin, then re-engages the gear on the way out. The stunt coordinators could have left this out and most people wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It’s excellent editing and tremendous attention to detail.
It’s a shame we’re out of the tunnel, really. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a V12 echoed off of concrete walls.
Scratch one bogey.
One of my favorite shots of the whole chase. As they emerge from the tunnel, the camera is moving at a moderate pace toward them, as though you’re viewing the action from the driver’s seat of an oncoming car.
Oh no. A Land Rover Discovery Wagon. That’s going to pose a real problem for the Aston Martin. Or not.
I’m always glad to see stunt coordinators showcase a car’s abilities on multiple surfaces. Now we get to the the DBS try to hoof it on dirt and gravel hairpins.
I’m loving the wide shots for this part of the chase. It’s sort of like how the opening chase of Casino Royale begins with tight shots of them running through the jungle and opens up with wide shots of them fighting on the crane.
(Mike Note: I love the wide shots too. Look at those screenshots!)
This has never been the Aston Martin’s natural habitat. As a grand tourer, it’s for long, high speed trips without too much twisty stuff. But here we see it stepping the tail out and looking a lot lighter than it’s supposed to be. You make a compelling argument, Aston Martin.
This was the only way that the Land Rover was going to be a problem. But that’s a possibility with hairpins like these. Who knew a quarry would be such a brilliant place for a car chase?
(Mike Note: Schwarzenegger. In Raw Deal. That’s right, I went there.)
Craig’s managing to look really involved with this chase. Most other Bond actors would be too composed during action like this. He knows this shit is crazy.
Now it’s getting really close. This is exciting, and the sound is still thrilling. We then get this shot, which makes me all kinds of happy:
Classic Bond. Slow vehicle blocking up the road. Dr. No, GoldenEye…some of the best car moments in Bond begin this way.
We go left…
But Bond went right and got the jump on you with his gat.
It’s a shame the car had to die, but what a fantastic shot of it careening of a cliff. Spinning, no less. We get the great sound of the Alfa engine revving too high from lack of weight on the wheels.
Step aside, Vespa. The Aston’s in town.
You can shoot at it, rip a door off, ram it, and sprinkle it with angel dust — there’s just no way to make this car unsexy. Just look:
We like every bit of this. A long, brick tunnel in which we get to view the Aston from multiple angles. Got the front, the interior, the fender, and then the side interior.
We then find out that for this whole chase –
“It’s time to get out.”
I remember seeing this in the theater — weren’t we both there with some other people? — and clapping after this scene was done. There’s no way I could have stopped myself. I was utterly blown away, and I still am.
(Mike Note: We were there the second time with people. You went to the midnight showing and then went back on Friday night with a bunch of us. Those were the days… paying only like $5.50 for movie tickets.)
This then leads into our credit sequence, set to “Another Way to Die,” by Jack White & Alicia Keys.
I’m gonna break my “no screenshots with credits on them” rule for these next few, just because I really like what they did with them. (Plus it’s Jeffrey Wright’s credit, which automatically makes it okay.)
Of course that’s Judi’s credit image.
Nice way to reference the old school image of the hands that used to be in the Maurice Binder credit sequences.
I like this sequence a lot. Very fitting. The song actually isn’t as good as the sequence itself, even though I really like the song too.
We open in Siena, Italy. During some sort of festival.
Bond sets up Mr. White for interrogation.
M says the Americans won’t be happy. They wanted Le Chiffre alive.
She also tells him about Vesper’s boyfriend. Who faked his own death.
It’s not Bond if he doesn’t drink.
Craig does the drinking the best of all of them, too. In Casino Royale, when he’s washing all the blood off himself and just downs that huge glass in one go? There are two times in a man’s life when that’s required: when your first son is born, and when you’ve just killed an African warlord in single combat.
M needs to know if she can trust him.
“And you don’t?”
“One would have to be a pretty cold bastard if he didn’t want revenge for the death of someone he loved.”
Bond says he won’t go after the guy – “He’s not important. And neither was she.”
“You’re gonna tell us who you work for.”
“I was always very interested to meet you. I heard so much about you from Vesper.”
Oh, he’s good. He says that if she hadn’t died, they’d have gotten Bond too, since he figures Bond would have done anything for her.
Judi says the longer he takes to tell them, the more painful it’s going to be for him.
Mr. White finds that hysterical. They don’t even know his organization exists, meanwhile they think they do. He says “the first thing you should know about us is that we have people everywhere.”
“Am I right?”
Damn, Mitchell. He was Judi’s bodyguard.
I may have mentioned this before, but shouldn’t you be shooting Bond first? As Judi’s bodyguard, wouldn’t you know that he’s the one who shouldn’t be given a chance to react?
White gets shot.
And he’s gone.
And there goes M. She’s okay.
And White is presumably dead.
I like when they do sequences like this without dialogue. It really lets the screenshots do all the talking.
So Bond returns to the safehouse…
Back in London –
They’re sweeping Mitchell’s apartment. He worked for M for eight years. For five, he was her personal bodyguard. He passed a lie detector test and background check every single year.
M can’t believe that when Mr. White said they have people everywhere, they actually had people everywhere. She can’t understand why they don’t know anything about this organization.
But – MI6 has something.
Checking the cuffs. Classic Bond move.
What they did was – they had put some marked bills into Le Chiffre’s money. Mitchell had one. And a bunch more from the same series of bills were recently deposited into a bank in Port-au-Prince under the name of Mr. Slate.
They have Mr. Slate’s hotel and room number, even.
One thing I love about Bond are these exact moments. A flimsy lead that sets the plot in motion that so clearly is going to turn out to be the right one. This is indeed a Glengarry lead.
Well fucking of course Bond is going there.
This is also blunt instrument Bond – he goes right to the hotel and right to the room. Other Bonds would have went to a casino and happened upon the dude. This one seeks out some shit.
He even knocks. Way to tip the dude off that you’re coming.
Open the door, no gun drawn – this motherfucker don’t give a fuck.
From this image, I can already see the next sixty seconds playing out in my head.
Check behind the glass, motherfucker. Always check the rooms before you go outside.
You’re like a white girl in a horror movie.
Well fucking obviously.
Oh, he’s so fucked.
“A little faster, please? I haven’t got all day.”
This part’s funny. Checking himself out in the mirror, and they just cut back to the dead guy that Bond’s already forgotten about. Excellent.
I’m pretty sure this is his same routine once he gets done fucking a bitch.
Tokyo Drifter shot.
Bond decides to check to see if there were any messages for Slate.
There’s a briefcase for him. I also love how no one heard the fight upstairs. Says a lot about Haiti, doesn’t it?
And of course, because his dick is a magnet –
“Ain’t got to tell me twice.”
This is Camille Montes, our Bond girl.
Let’s talk about her now. (And to get it out of the way — yes, he doesn’t sleep with her.)
He doesn’t sleep with her. What else do you seriously need to know?
Okay, okay. She’s trying to kill General Medrano, who we’ll see soon. Her father was killed by Medrano, so now she’s all mad about that, I guess. She doesn’t suck as a Bond girl, she just…doesn’t sleep with him. Maybe it’s supposed to be his little mourning period for Vesper. But no, he sleeps with other chicks. So Camille is just hard to get, or something. Could have been better.
(Mike Note: Actually, because she doesn’t sleep with him, “She doesn’t suck as a Bond girl” might be the most appropriate thing to say.)
I love how this Bond is a pickpocket.
They’re being followed.
Is that a Live and Let Die reference? (Because I assume Haiti and New Orleans are interchangeable in their eyes.)
Nah, I think it’s just that Haiti needs a lot of coffins. Like in Yojimbo or Fistful of Dollars…some places are just good for the coffin industry.
Way to lose a tail.
I guess Camille’s car should be mentioned as well.
Camille is driving a Ford Ka Hydrogen model. It’s a compact car (as you can see) that’s powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. There’s zero reason for it to be here, other than Ford product placement. I mean, how many hydrogen vehicles are on the streets of the US, let alone Haiti? I’m sure there’s no hydrogen filling stations in Port-au-Prince. The thing might as well run on unobtainium. Let’s just pretend its a regular compact car. Cute.
“We didn’t settle on a price.”
“Well, make me an offer.”
What the fuck kind of transaction is this? Apparently Bond is supposed to be a geologist – this is some weird kind of roleplay shit. Is this the kind of shit that happens in Haiti on the regular?
“What the hell is this?”
“I think someone wants to kill you.”
I love the note of amusement in his voice as he says that. I love this entire situation. They say to get in the car, he gets in the car. He goes along with everything, finds out what he can find out (stealing her license), and then the amusement of, “Oh, bitch, you almost got fucking killed.”
I also love how he blocked that without looking.
“Bitch – what are you doing? That’s dangerous!”
So he breaks out, and she drives away.
Look at his face.
That’s just as great as that moment in The Man with the Golden Gun where he just fucking kicks the dude right in the face.
This was some straight up Chuck Norris shit. Or better yet, Mongo. When he just punches the horse to the ground.
Might as well jump follow her.
M wants to know about Slate. Bond says he was a “dead end.”
“Damn it. He killed him!”
That line says everything you need to know about this reboot.
This is PERFECT Bond. Humorous, just a little dark. And they say Craig can’t do funny.
So Camille goes down to the docks.
That’s Elvis, our villain’s main henchman. (Though he’s not really a henchman, since he’s not physical. He’s just sort of there.)
Camille’s not happy.
And, here’s our villain. Dominic Greene. We’ll talk about him in a second.
First, let me just say two things – I love how naturally creepy Mathieu Amalric is. It makes the character work so much better. And second, I love how he instantly recalculates when he realizes she’s still alive. It’s a nice little synecdoche for the Quantum organization, how when shit doesn’t go their way they basically can recalibrate instantly and not get fucked up by it.
This is a great line. He says he knew he shouldn’t have slept with her, since now he’s starting to like her. She says, “So you did try to have me killed.” And he responds, “And that made me very sad, thinking I would never see you again.”
I love how attempted murder is basically foreplay for them.
Also, one thing I love that this film did – notice her back. The burn marks on her back. They never really bring them up. That is – they tell you how she got them, but they never really show you them at that moment. You just sort of see them there and then bring up the image later when you hear the story. This is why I like when storyteller directors take over Bond, because you get shit like this that isn’t spoon fed to the audience (like the fact that Port-au-Prince is in Haiti, which the MI6 guy just had to tell us, even though the title did it for us two minutes later).
These are always great moments. The “come with me” moments, where you know whatever he says is going to be obscure but also be totally understood as threatening. Case and point –
When he was 15, he had a crush on one of his mother’s piano students. He overheard the girl saying mean things about him. He got so angry, he took an iron –
And he doesn’t even finish the story. He doesn’t even need to. How fucking great is that?
He also has a great line here – “It’s such a shame, because he’s one of my best geologists.” THIS IS HOW YOU DELIVER EXPOSITION. Everyone knows what’s going on, and they found a subtle and entertaining way to do it. And they make you, the audience, feel smart. Amazing how simple it is.
He says the guy said Camille wanted to buy information off of him.
She says he offered to sell information to her. Why would she come back to him if she was lying?
“Because you love me.” God, I love how complex they made this relationship within minutes. Because you know neither one is genuine about what they’re saying. It’s like Bond being at the villain’s lair and being all cordial funneled into a relationship.
Let’s talk about Greene now.
Shit, I had so much to say during that whole scene, but you covered it all. This is all exactly what I was thinking. Dominic Greene is a brilliant villain. Creepy, playful, and best of all — believable. He has no obvious henchmen in uniforms, no secret lair, no crazy vehicles or space stations or whatever. He’s just a rich guy who has a company engaged in philanthropic and environmental work. Who can hate him?
But he’s a member of Quantum, which is the new SPECTRE. They’re trying to gain world power by involving themselves in world finance and geopolitics. Greene is spearheading their project in Bolivia, which is actually a pretty cool one that they keep you in the dark about for some time. Just keep looking out for Greene. I know there’ll be a few creepy ass screen shots later on in the article. And what an ending! I was very pleased with this villain.
Here comes General Medrano, our secondary villain. We’ll talk about him later. He mostly only shows up now to let us know he’ll be important later. Like genital herpes.
Bond also goes up and hands them a card.
And uses it to figure out who the fuck they are. Nice.
Greene and Medrano basically discuss an overthrow of the Bolivian government. He’s the deposed leader of Brazil, and his organization is basically gonna help him and his men perform a coup, and they’re gonna pay off everyone to make sure it happens.
Basically Medrano is the criminal hood who goes around shooting up the town, and Greene and his organization are the lawyers who keep him out of trouble and cook up the books and shit to make it all run smoothly. It’s a nice pair, actually.
And all Greene’s organization wants in return of a desert. Medrano thinks it’s a great deal, since he thinks they’re looking for oil, and everyone’s looked there and haven’t found anything.
He then introduces Medrano to Camille. We can basically surmise that Medrano killed her father, but we’ll wait until the film tells us the details.
The great moment here is Greene telling Medrano to “drop her over the side when you’re done.”
I have to say – despite the fake tan, she looks good.
I like how one of Medrano’s henchmen is a cross between James Gandolfini and Rick Ross. (And don’t you dare tell me he’s not.)
So they leave, and Bond –
Of course that’s their reaction. No one ever thinks it’s an accident.
She had a gun and was going to shoot Medrano, but Bond stopped her. She’s not happy.
We see that Bond’s stolen boat is called Gardien des Etoiles, or “Keeper of the Stars”. Don’t know if that’s meant to signify anything, but it certainly sounds benevolent.
“Excuse me –”
That look can go one of two ways. I’ll leave it to your imagination which it is.
Hey look, a free car.
Time to call M. (I love that digital screen stuff they have going in this.)
They found him.
“Get me the Americans.”
Agent Gregory Beam says they have no interest in Greene. He’s lying, of course, since he’s the section chief of South America. And as M says, how would they know to transfer her to him unless they were tracking him?
She’s a sly devil, that Judi.
I also love that Bond can just be like, “Here’s the plane number. Tell me where it’s going.” And they can figure it out and basically map out the next few minutes of plot while leaving these few open enough to develop.
So the CIA is meeting with Greene.
Felix doesn’t like them. Beam is having fun. That automatically means Bean is corrupt. (Again, I love how subtle, yet obvious they make it.)
Felix feels the same way we do about Elvis, which is, “Why are you looking at me, stop looking at me right fucking now, you creepy piece of shit. I didn’t sign up for this.”
The agreement is that America do nothing to stop the coup, and in return they get a lease on the oil that’s found there.
As an American, this scene kind of tickles me. That our end of the deal is to do nothing. We’re not supplying them or helping them. We’re just not fucking them up. I kinda love how it’s accepted all over the world that even a clandestine organization like Quantum needs to treat the US with caution.
Greene wants to know who this is.
Felix says he doesn’t recognize him.
“That’s James Bond, British secret service.” Well – he’s corrupt. Or just a dick.
So they’re in Austria. (I can’t even make a joke about it being somewhere else… it’s a fucking airport. It actually could be somewhere else.)
This is the face you assure children won’t come into their room and kill them in their sleep.
This is a Jaguar XJ8, which I’ve noticed is kind of Quantum’s company car. Mr. White had one, as did Le Chiffre. And now Greene does, too. Car people are good to have around when you’re trying to link people.
“You know who Greene is and you want to put us in bed with him?”
“Yeah, you’re right, we should just deal with nice people.”
That line actually makes him seem like less of a dick. But then he says he needs to know Felix is “on the team.” So that’s right out the window.
So Bond is still tracking Greene, through Elvis’s cell phone.
And just like the Jaguar (which was still owned by Ford at the time), Bond’s Volvo is technically part of the Ford Auto Group, so this S40 T5 is an excellent use of covert product placement. It fits.
They’re going to see Tosca.
Looks like someone’s a little underdressed.
“Where’s my suit?” (Fun fact: That’s Craig’s stunt double.)
There’s the suit.
Now survey the room – what’s going down?
Gift bags from under the table.
And he went into the bathroom. Guess what that means?
Ah, an earpiece. I like how everything Craig’s Bond figures out is through detective work, instinct, and pure blind luck. He just sort of follows up leads, uses his skills to figure shit out, and also kind of happens upon stuff. It feels more like Connery than any of the other Bonds. The other ones, you just sort of knew they’d figure it out. Here, you know he doesn’t really know what he’s gonna find, and there’s the sense that we’re learning shit as we go along.
Now let’s find out who these fuckers are.
Problem is – we know Greene, but we don’t know who (or where) everyone else is.
So Bond just pipes up and says, “I really think you people should find a better place to meet.”
Bam. There they go.
And now we know who they are.
And look who’s there.
“Tosca isn’t for everyone.”
I love how he wisely doesn’t stand up. He knows better. This tiny moment made the character of Mr. White jump way up for me.
There’s Greene, getting the fuck out of there.
And there’s Bond.
Oh, you know what’s bout to happen.
They intercut it all with the Tosca performance, too. (Not exactly “London Calling,” is it, Die Another Day?)
Oh… you’re fucked.
Now Bond wants to know who he’s working for.
Man doesn’t want to tell him.
Very Spy Who Loved Me.
“Is he one of us?”
“Then he shouldn’t be looking at me.”
That’s fucked up. That was a good guy the whole time.
Tanner – that’s Tanner, by the way – sees some fucked up shit and calls M.
BATHTUB SCENE!!! (When I saw this in theaters, and this image happened, the only thing you heard in the theater was me loudly shout, “YEEEEAAHHH!!”)
Judi likes some candles going while she’s in the bath. Making a mental note.
Turns out, all the people there were really huge. As in, the last guy is the special envoy to the prime minister. (Oh, and they think Bond shot that guy, who was the envoy’s bodyguard.)
It really bothers me that he didn’t even deny it. She even says, “You shot him point-blank and threw him off a roof.” Why wasn’t he like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. The roof, I did. Didn’t shoot him.”
Judi tells Bond he needs to come in. He’s pretty flippant about the guy’s death until she mentions that he shot him, and that the man is a member of special branch.
“So who was he guarding?” Oh, I like this Bond.
She says she needs him to come in. He says he would, “But now I need to find the man who tried to kill you. Go back to sleep.” I love that last line.
These two have the best relationship of any Bond and M since Connery and Lee. Those two were fantastic, too. Connery telling stories about the two of them getting laid. “Well, once when I was with M in Tokyo, we had an interesting experience…”
Judi tells them to restrict Bond’s passports and “find out everything we don’t know about Haines.” (Haines is the envoy.)
Bond’s passport doesn’t work. He realizes why that is, so he makes flirty flirty with the woman at the desk, saying she’s gonna get a phone call. He wants to know if she can tell them he’s going to Cairo.
This is one of those little moments that I really appreciate. Just like in Casino Royale when he breaks into Judi’s apartment and hacks her secure server, it’s showing that he’s a step ahead of his own people, too. You see him start to walk away, and then he’s like, “Oh yeah, they’ll probably have put a stop on my passport, which means….right.”
This is like batting practice for the magic dick.
That’s not Cairo!
Actually, it’s Talamone, Italy. You know who lives there?
Somebody with a sweet pad and a 1964 Maserati Mistral parked out front. Someone’s got taste, and I mean like, serious taste. Get me one of these.
If you remember, at the end of Casino Royale, Bond thought Mathis was a double agent, so he had him captured and tortured. Turns out, Mathis was just a really good guy. So he’s a little bitter.
He tells his woman not to pour Bond any wine. “This man had me imprisoned and tortured, and you want to serve him fine wine?” He does it in Italian, so Bond doesn’t hear.
“You only buy cheap wine.”
The smile is everything.
“Bitch, I’ll never forgive you for this.”
She also says that since he was innocent, they bought him this nice house, so really he owes Bond, doesn’t he?
I love Bond.
Bond needs a passport and some credit cards. Mathis is the only person he can trust.
Mathis brings up Vesper. Bond stonewalls him.
Mathis tells Bond what he knows about the photos (and sits down and takes the wine anyway. I guess they’re friends again).
Bond asks Mathis to come with him to Bolivia, since Mathis still has some contacts in South America. (What’s with Bond and getting people killed?)
There’s actually a really nice moment here where Bond asks Mathis to come with him, and we can see Mathis wanting to do it – there’s that rush of going back into active duty. And then his woman looks at him as she says she wants his hands on her skin (which is basically the ultimate set of reasons not to go into danger), and when she sees him, she knows what’s about to happen.
And then she looks over at Bond, who seemingly doesn’t care or isn’t aware that he’s leading a dude who is living the good life into a situation that will probably get him killed.
This set of shots is amazing. Mathis, thinking about it, weighing his options as the woman calls him over. She looks at him, there’s that moment of realization in her face that Bond’s sold him on the job and that Mathis will be leaving. And now Bond’s throwing back all the rest of the wine. Because wine is for closers.
(Mike Note: The other implication is that Bond knew all the time that Mathis was going to come, which makes the shot work even better.)
So anyway, on the plane…
Bond is drinking. Heavily.
What plane is this? They have planes like this that fly to Bolivia? I thought you still got to Bolivia by burro. But I want to fly on this plane.
(Mike Note: It’s Virgin again. Branson gives them the good shit.)
Mathis asks the bartender what Bond is drinking, he says –
“Three measures of Gordon’s gin, one of vodka, half a measure of kina lillet –”
Six of them.
By the way – ever wonder just how much six Vesper martinis totals in pure alcohol? Well, let’s break it down:
The martini itself is basically a drink of pure alcohol. The standard cocktail glass holds about 4.5 ounces of alcohol, which is three shots. A martini is made of about two and a half shots of gin (or vodka) and a half a shot of dry vermouth, plus garnish. Bond’s martini, as we know, is three measures of 100 proof gin (though today it’s about 90-proof), one measure of 100-proof vodka, and a half a measure of Lillet, which is about 34 proof. Altogether it’s 4.5 ounces of pure alcohol, and mostly strong alcohol at that. Six of those – 27 ounces of alcohol is about 800 ml. So Bond, in this scene, has already drank more than an entire fifth by himself.
(Note: Presumably, though, with Bond ordering three measures of gin, one of vodka and a half of lillet, one would think that he’s actually ordering 6.75 ounces a pop there. Unless the martini glasses are by standard bigger elsewhere in the world, I don’t see how that’s possible. But if he is, in fact, drinking out of bigger glasses, that’s 40.5 ounces of straight alcohol, that’s just about 1.2 liters’ worth. Which, if you’ve seen one of those bigger 1.5L bottles, that’s 80% of that. Either way, dude is fucked up.)
Note: Mike’s a trained bartender. Did you get that from these paragraphs? He also made this drink specially for people at my 21st birthday party. I had two, and that was quite a buzz.
(Mike Note: “Trained bartender” just means alcoholic. Anyone who’s been around booze long enough is a trained bartender. It’s like that joke Pacino makes in Scent of a Woman, tells them to replace everything at the bar with John Daniels. And Chris O’Donnell is like, “Don’t you mean Jack Daniels?” and Pacino’s like, “He may be Jack to you, son, but when you’ve known him as long as I have…”)
They have a really nice heart to heart here. Sort of.
Bond says he wonders why Mathis agreed to come with him.
Mathis says, “It takes something to admit that you were wrong.”
He then offers him a sleeping pill, or any kind of pill, which Bond doesn’t want. It’s a nice conversation about Vesper that’s not actually about Vesper.
Meanwhile… in Bolivia…
(Sundance Kid Note: Bolivia?)
(Butch Cassidy Note: Bolivia.)
Bolivia hasn’t changed much since then, has it?
Bond is met by Fields. “Just Fields.”
Her orders are to put him on the first plane back to London.
I love how amused the two of them are during this entire scene.
“Do those orders include my friend Mathis?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are.”
“See that? Gone such a short time, and already forgotten.”
“You’re just saying that to hurt me.”
“Mr. Bond, these orders come from the highest possible authority.”
“Taxi! Fields, when is the next flight to London?”
“Well, then we have all night.”
“If you attempt to flee, I will arrest you, drop you off at jail and take you to the plane in chains. Understand?”
“Perfectly. After you.”
“I think she has handcuffs.”
“You hope so.”
They go to the hotel where Fields has a reservation.
“What the fuck is this shithole?”
“You’re going nowhere.”
“So shoot me. I’d rather stay in a morgue.”
“We are teachers on sabbatical. This fits our cover.”
Reaction shots are the key to comedy.
How can you not love this Bond?
Compare her reaction to his.
There go the keys –
“I can’t find the, um…. The stationery.”
“Come and help me look.”
The dick is magical, man.
That has to be one of Bond’s best pick ups. Cause he’s all, “Yeah…we both know this is happening. Okay, I guess I need to spell it out for you.” And Judi tries to shame him about involving her and when he breaks out of custody, he’s all, “I know you were just kidding. I fuck bitches. It’s what I do.”
I love this cut. Knock knock.
Tells you everything you need to know.
Bond’s been invited to a fundraiser Greene is having while Mathis is going to have a drink with a colonel who is his friend.
Back to business. (P.S. You’re welcome, ladies.)
He’s got a lot of scars going on that you didn’t really see in beginning of Casino Royale, like he’s acquired them all over these missions. Reminds me of Connery, who had some scars going, including one that was mentioned explicitly in From Russia With Love.
Let’s use this opportunity to talk about Strawberry Fields, who is indeed our secondary Bond girl.
See how well your charm works, James? Strawberry Fields is a low-level employee at the British embassy in Boliva. I have no idea what they do. Do England and Bolivia trade? Is there a Cambodian embassy in Bolivia? I bet that’s the easiest, most useless job on the planet. Anyway, Fields is assigned to supervise Bond, and she does until they lose the stationary.
She’s a babe, and Bond takes her to a party. She’s got some spunk (probably left over from all that stationary searching) and she even recruits herself into helping James by putting Elvis temporarily out of commission. She then has an excellent ending which pays homage to Goldfinger in the best possible way. I applauded.
She does just what she needs to do in this film, works really well. And although she’s only ever called “Fields” in the movie, the credits reveal her name to be “Strawberry Fields.” It’s awesome that they made her embarrassed about it, and weren’t as obvious about how funny her name is.
President Obama, what are you doing there?
This counts as a Bond car, right?
I will say this — they were a bit better with the product placement here. Not SO overt. They have those two Fords, but then they just put Fords in when people have to drive something. He steals the red SUV, that’s an old Ford Bronco, but you don’t see it and think Ford unless you’re a car person.
And then they were clever — in Casino Royale, there were the REALLY obvious shots of the Ford Mondeo rental car. This time, he’s got a Volvo S40 rental and later they have the Land Rover before and after the party (oh, and the overhead shot of one driving over the word “London” near the beginning). Not Fords. Only, at the time, Ford owned Volvo and Range Rover. Only someone who knows the business end knows or cares about that. It’s like Sprite turning up in a show, and you know that Coca Cola’s paying for it. So they got Ford Auto Group product placement on screen without you realizing it. A Volvo in Austria? It’s Europe, sure. Range Rover IS very British.
I love that dress. Perfect foreshadowing.
Greene gives a bullshit speech.
I like the red hair.
There’s the colonel – Carlos. He tells Bond his entire police force is at his disposal. Seems a little suspect to me. (Especially since another military dude’s about to overthrow the government, and all.)
Plus, it’s Bolivia. What’s the police force, four guys? Actually, it’s probably more like nine single moms in their early 20s.
And while Greene is getting donations, Camille shows up and fucks everything up for him.
There’s a nice line here, “You just cost me quite a bit of money. “You can’t put a price on integrity.” “I can try.”
It’s great how he just looks pissed off for this entire movie. Like, the whole movie, he’s just angry all the time. He smiles once that I know of, and we’ll point it out. But you’ve got to be pissed off when your boss is being a dick and tricksy.
She wants to know where Medrano is, since now it’s understood she really only wants him dead.
Nice moment where he’s going to throw her over and make it like she slipped.
And right on cue (wrong film to come up with a ‘right on ‘Q’ pun) –
You’d think this would be the time for “Bond. James Bond.” But they already know who he is.
Dude, a banana daiquiri?
Did you not see that coming? Oh, I don’t think you included the shot of him giving the other henchman a really gay look when they were at the opera. I’d be shocked if most of Elvis’ drink orders didn’t require choosing an ice cream flavor.
And they have a semi-cordial conversation that’s just dripping with disdain.
Greene also takes some shots at Bond. It’s a nice moment.
Oh, Fields – the magic dick’s making you do something you shouldn’t be doing.
Great moment, but – oh, the consequences.
Seriously, Felix is fucking great. He’s been a bit too serious all the time, but it’s been fun. I hope they let him lighten up a little bit in the sequels. I also love how they have him and Bond exchange a glance, like, “You’re here, and I’m here. Cool.”
And now that Camille knows Bond is British secret service, he wants her to show him Greene’s project.
But they’re immediately followed. This can only mean one thing.
“What’s the bet that Dominic Greene has friends on the police force?”
They want to see his papers, and they want to open the trunk.
“Now why would you want me to do that?”
It’s at this moment in the film where everyone who knows this franchise just went, “Oh no.”
Note that this is what Mathis did to Le Chiffre’s guys to get them arrested in Casino Royale.
He’s gonna fuck you up.
But Mathis is alive –
So they put two in his back.
You should have fucking shot them.
There’s a great moment here where Camille’s like, “There’s a hospital on the other side of town,” and Bond gives her this look:
I love that they both know, Mathis and Bond. Mathis asks Bond to stay with him.
“Is Mathis your cover name?”
“Not a very good one, is it?”
It’s a really a touching moment. Mathis is really one of the best allies Bond has had in the entire franchise. It’s a shame to see him go, but his impact on the character is undeniable.
His lines about how Vesper gave everything for him, and how he should forgive her, and forgive himself are fine and all, but the line that I think is the best one in this scene is right before that, when he goes, “Do we forgive each other?”
And then he dies, and it’s sad.
And then boom – right in the fucking dumpster.
“Is that how you treat your friends?’
“He wouldn’t care.”
And you know what – I believe that. And that’s why I fucking love Mathis.
I love Mathis too. This bummed me out, but you also kind of want him to be done and not overused. Like, if they got him doing action stuff, or something. That wouldn’t be cool. I haven’t talked about Mathis here, have I? That’ll happen for Casino Royale.
And then here we are, in the desert.
There’s a brief scene in between this where Tanner tells M the foreign secretary wants to see her, and she goes, “What don’t I know?”, which is a great line. And then they say Mathis has been shot dead and that the police say Bond did it. Which is a great moment for two reasons. One – it’s feasible that Bond killed Mathis in cold blood. Judi doesn’t fully trust Bond, so we can completely see why and how he would do that. And second – this is exactly the type of moment that works in this film, because once Bond is Bond, M will stick by him no matter what. Fast forward to M two films from now – something like this happens, she’ll take Bond’s word that he didn’t do it. I like that we’re seeing that trust develop (and we actually start to see it in a bit).
So anyway, Bond and Camille drive out to an airfield.
Bond rents the plane. (Love the blood on his shirt.)
I’m guessing there’s gonna be a note about the plane.
Of course. This is a Douglas DC-3, which has been featured in so many movies and TV shows it’d be foolish to even try listing stuff. A lot of people recognize it in US Army Air Corps olive livery, because the military version of this plane, the C-47, was the main US transport during WWII and what we dropped a lot of paratroops out of.
Even though it was first introduced in 1936, there are still hundreds in civilian use around the world, especially in developing countries. It’s accurate that they’d have one of these lying around in Bolivia. What happens with it soon…not so realistic. But a good choice.
I also like the dialogue once they’re on the plane. Camille asks what Bond paid for the plane, he says the guy wanted her, but he gave him the car instead. And he says, “He’ll make much more when he sells us out.” I love lines like this. Where he knows and doesn’t care.
I’m confused about this. Why does the guy know to sell them out? Blood on the shirt? How does he know they’re bad guys who he can rat on and make a fortune? This might have been written after the Writers’ Strike had begun.
(Mike Note: Isn’t it just assumed that Quantum has people everywhere? Plus, it’s a random airstrip in the middle of the desert. They’ve had to have used that guy at least once. Or maybe it’s just one of those dictator state things. Someone looks suspicious, you call the police, they make the person disappear and give you a pair of sneakers for your help. It’s that kind of mentality — they’re oppressive, so instead of fighting them, you try to help them because you figure that’ll get you on their good graces and maybe they’ll give a shit about you for a second and help you out. … but yeah, it’s probably the writer’s strike.)
Bond and Camille have a conversation. Bond says he thinks Camille is Bolivian secret service and she dodges the question and asks what his business with Greene is.
He mentions that Mr. White tried to kill a friend of his, and quickly points out that it’s not a girlfriend.
“She likes to think so.”
They see a sinkhole, which becomes a plot point in a minute (and some very helpful exposition for the end of this next sequence), and just as Camille is explaining that she doesn’t work for the Bolivian government –
“Fly, yes. Land? No.”
(Mike Note: No ticket.)
I’m not sure exactly what the fuck he does here, but it’s some goddamn good flying.
They’re showing you the Aermacchi’s airspeed falling and approaching stall speed, which is SLOW for that plane. And since they’re showing you the gauge, they want you to put that together. “The fighter is approaching stall speed because Bond’s trapping him under the slower DC-3.” But this is a bullshit little South American prop fighter, meaning it’s an aerobatic plane. They stall at 65 mph, a speed you might hit in your car on the way to the office. But they make it look like 500 mph by speeding everything up. Bullshit.
I think just the idea that he destroyed a fighter plane without weapons or touching it is just…what the fuck? Plus, you jump out of a plane and catch the person with the parachute and open it just before landing at the bottom of the chasm? I think they were just itching for a wild action sequence here.
That should probably have hurt a lot more than it did.
M has a meeting with the Minister of Defence. He basically explains that they need oil and they have to get in bed with people like Greene. He also says Bond’s been acting crazy, and that she needs to bring him in.
And we’re coming back to the theme presented in that exchange from before. “You can’t put a price on integrity.” “I can try.”
Meanwhile – in the sink hole…
Let’s take a moment to notice how perfectly placed the bloodstain on his shirt is. (I noticed it in the theater and was so happy about how subtle that was.)
Camille explains her backstory – her father worked for the military. He wasn’t a nice guy, but he was her father. The opposing party sent Medrano to her house. He killed her father, and raped her mother and sister. And then he strangled them while she watched. And since she was too young to do anything, he just smiled at her – and set the house on fire. That moment on the boat was the one chance she was waiting for since she was young. Bond fucked it up for her.
See? This is how you do Melina Havelock correctly.
True. Just…with sex.
(Mike Note: And a pulse.)
Bond then says, “Seems we’re both using Greene to get to somebody.”
And they get the fuck out of there.
Apparently this area used to be a riverbed.
And there, they discover the villain’s plan – getting all the water, creating a drought, and selling it back to the people at ridiculous rates.
Back at the hotel…
Bond gets this message.
That’s not running.
“So that’s what she meant.”
Great line – also, wait til he figures out what she really meant.
I also like how he says, “I hope you can trust these men.”
And here’s the scene – Judi says he’s motivated by revenge, he says he’s motivated by duty. She wants to be able to trust him.
Bond says it’s misdirection, to keep them looking for oil. Judi wants to know “why her.” She wasn’t anybody. She worked in an office. (I guess she never really worked in the Fields, huh? I’m sorry… she’s dead.)
“I know how your charm works, James. They’ll do anything for you, won’t they?”
(I’ve really never heard someone put it out there like that before.)
I like how they don’t give you the full-on Goldfinger homage shot. It’s only faded into other shots. But, to the person who loves screenshots – just give me one!
So Bond is taken off active duty and suspended – yeah, I’m sure this shot will end well.
Well what the fuck did you think was gonna happen?
I like that Bond fucks up three guys in the elevator while his hands are tied. You know they’re MI6, too, so after the movie’s done he has to see them at the office.
(Mike Note: HR must fucking hate Bond.)
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Ms. Fields showed true bravery, I want that mentioned in your report. Now, you and I need to see this through.”
I love how quickly she comes to help him.
“Find out where he’s going. He’s onto something.”
“But the CIA –“
“I don’t give a shit about the CIA and their trumped-up evidence. He’s my agent, and I trust him.”
When I saw this in the theater, I should have gotten up and applauded right here.
I think with this reboot they’re going in a new direction with M that works especially well with her as a woman. The old M — really old M. Bernard Lee — busted Bond’s balls constantly. From day one with the Beretta. Shit like revoking his licence to kill and taking him off cases and siding with his government buddies over Bond. It often seems like Bond ends up taking care of shit in spite of M, or at least without much consideration.
But now, even though Judi busts his chops about shit and gets pissed at him, she goes to bat when it counts and takes hell for supporting him. She’s the real mother figure now, which Bond actually says in the plane. I can’t imagine Bernard Lee sitting there taking shit about Bond shooting Mathis and trying to argue for some diplomatic integrity instead of dealing with Greene.
It might be that she’s a woman, but Judi’s brought a lot of depth and vulnerability to the character that she didn’t even really have in the Brosnan years. Like how in World Is Not Enough she sided with Elektra at first and didn’t trust Bond. Oops. Now she’s like, “Fuck the CIA, he’s my agent.” I like this Judi. Who am I kidding, I like all of Judi’s iterations.
(Mike Note: Especially the ones in the bath.)
“Get in.” (Isn’t this where we came in?)
“Are you going to try and shoot me?”
“I said get in.”
Kind of a downgrade from last time, huh, Camille?
Oh, we’ve been waiting for this one.
This is such a great short scene.
This is where Felix smiles. Bond calls out the US for being imperialist, and Felix replies, “I’ll take that as a compliment, coming from a Brit.” And there’s another awesome bit where Bond groans about how America will go to bed with anyone, and Felix comes back with a snappy, “Including you, brother. Including you.” He’s all business, and he’s trying to do the right thing through all this.
“How long have I got?”
“Well that doesn’t give us a lot of time, does it?”
Felix tells him where Medrano is.
“Thank you, Felix.”
“James – move your ass.”
The Bond Ultimatum.
I fucking love Felix.
Just like Bond with the wine after he bags Mathis. This shot says, “Okay, I did what I came to do.” Cause beer is for closers.
Time to go to the desert.
Look at this hideout. A hotel in the desert. It runs entirely on fuel cells.
Everything in this movie runs on hydrogen. The hotel. Did they just want a place that would realistically blow up to stand in for a ridiculous villain lair with a self-destruct feature? But this is also Bolivia. Know how many hydrogen fueling stations there probably are there? Fucking none. They’re barely off horseback.
Now’s a good time to talk about Medrano.
This is the sleaziest bad guy we’ve had in some time. Amazingly enough, he’s also probably the most realistic. Medrano is a military leader, a general, who aspires to rule Bolivia, cause he’s always had a thing for SimCity and thinks the real thing could be fun. I’m kidding. Ruling Bolivia would be nothing like SimCity, cause in the game there are parks and parades and you can build nuclear power plants.
Anyway, Medrano has shown himself to be a rape-y, murdering arsonist who’s ready for action. He’s also a total sap, who falls for Greene’s plan hook, line and sinker. Other than that, we know that he enjoys a beer after rape, and that he wears jungle camo even in the middle of a big, orange desert. Where are you? Can’t even see you! Greene’s the focus here. Medrano’s even part victim in this plan.
Bond brought Camille with him. He asks if she’s ever killed someone. And he explains to her what she’s going to go through, and how to deal with it. Nice moment.
“Take it to my suite, please.”
So Medrano signs over the “worthless” land, and then Greene hands him another paper. He says that his organization now owns 60% of Bolivia’s water supply, and he wants him to sign that he’ll use them as a utilities provider.
Medrano, in a rare act of decency, refuses to sign.
What’s with people knowing shit? Greene springs the trap contract on Medrano, who responds, “This is double what we are paying now,” without skipping a beat. I couldn’t tell you what I pay for monthly phone service offhand. This deposed general knows the going water utility rate for the entire nation without even thinking for a second? Maybe he DESERVES to be president, cause he’s clearly been studying.
Greene then calmly says, “Don’t sign,” and just lets him know that the only reason he’s talking to him is because the guy he’s overthrowing felt the same way. He says that if he doesn’t sign, he’ll wake up “with your balls in your mouth and your willing replacement standing over you.”
Oh, but Camille’s in the house.
And there goes the Colonel, who betrayed Mathis and just got paid off by Greene.
There he goes indeed.
Bye bye, Spic Ross. (I guess a hustle a day does not keep El Diablo away.)
Meanwhile, Medrano’s having that beer –
Why was that shot necessary?
What could be more necessary?
Next time, they should design their hotel to be less blowy-uppy.
I love this moment –
Fight scene #2.
Lots of intercutting.
I like this moment:
She shoots –
And this, right here, leads to what may be the best moment in the entire film.
Bond lets Greene live and goes to Camille.
She’s freaking the fuck out because of the fire, since that’s how she got burned when she was a child.
Bond gets in there.
He sees that there’s really no way they’re gonna get out of there.
She says, “Not this way. Not this way. I can’t.”
I love this look.
So he gets his gun, and goes to shoot her so she doesn’t have to be burned alive.
It’s a powerful moment, because she should, by all rights, be dead from when she was a child, and here she is, having gotten the one thing she’s wanted for years. And it’s powerful for him, because the recurring theme is, as Greene said earlier, that everything Bond touches “seems to wither and die.” So he’s now faced with the prospect of having to lose another one.
“Close your eyes.” MAN, this is a tense moment.
Oh, but wait…
They out this bitch.
And look who’s still there for the killing…
Turns out – Bond’s not gonna kill Greene. Greene already told him what he wanted to know about Quantum. So instead, Bond leaves him with this:
That’s the second Bond villain in a row that’s gonna be killed by his own organization. (Note: They say later that they find him in the desert, shot in the head, with the motor oil pumped down his throat.)
Meanwhile, Bond drops Camille off at the train station, and doesn’t fuck her.
This is a nice line: “I wish I could set you free.”
“But your prison is in there.”
That’s the most action we get.
NO! I’VE GOT ULTRAVIOLET BALLS! DID THAT WAITRESS MAKE IT OUT ALIVE?
It’s actually a really nice sendoff for the character. I really don’t need him to have fucked her outside of the tradition factor.
Meanwhile, in Let the Right One In…
Bond is waiting…
For Vesper’s boyfriend.
Now, the way the plot has progressed has already dictated how this scene will end, but the fact that we can actually consider it a legitimate possibility that Bond could shoot this man in the head right now means that the character development has been a success.
The chick is working Canadian intelligence. Bond explains that the same shit that happened to Vesper will happen to her.
“That’s a beautiful necklace. Did he give it to you? I have one just like it.”
Doesn’t that make it seem like Bond was the one in her position? I mean, he does say, “He gave it to a friend of mine,” but that first line does make it seem questionable for a second.
He lets her go and tells her to contact her people, since they have a leak.
Also, the way she says “thank you” as she leaves – even she knows this motherfucker could have shot her right in the fucking head.
To the dude’s credit, he does say, “Make it quick.”
“Is he still alive?”
(But I bet Bond beat the living shit out of him.)
“I’m surprised. Did you find what you were looking for?”
She explains about Greene and says that Leiter’s been promoted – he replaced Beam. (Yeah, Felix!)
“Well then, the right people kept their jobs.”
“Congratulations, you were right.”
“Bond – I need you back.”
“I never left.”
Gun barrel walk!
Into an end title. I like it.
Final Thoughts on Quantum of Solace:
My initial reaction to this movie was extremely positive. Like, not on a Casino Royale level, but I was up for hours after seeing it just trying to piece together everything I’d seen, down to the minutiae. I wasn’t thrilled that it was a direct sequel and I was bummed that it was so short, but I really enjoyed it otherwise. Then, most of the people I talked to about it were surprisingly unenthusiastic. The song was no good, they said. He didn’t do anything crazy, they claimed. No gadgets! What was this?
I stood by it, calling it a decent effort and a solidly second-tier film. The shame of it is that, as a sequel, I will always have to judge it on its handling of the transition between Casino Royale and Skyfall, but assuming Skyfall is as amazing as people say, this gets a bit of a break. I was a bit caught up in all the negative hype around this film, and expected it to be lower than it was for me. I’m actually happy with this as a top ten film. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s going ninth on my list. That way, if Skyfall is brilliant — which is pretty much expected now — it’ll get up into the top of the list, bumping Quantum of Solace down to tenth, which is a lot easier for people to swallow.
But watching it again — and going through this article — has convinced me that this is a properly good movie. The villain is great, the evil plot is unexpected and misleading, we have plenty of Judi and Felix, both of whom are awesome. Mathis and Fields are also spectacular in their own ways. We have multiple locales — Italy, England, Haiti, Austria and Bolivia — which work really well, and provide some variety. And that chase, oh that chase. I’m going to say on the record that the opening chase of this movie is my favorite ever Bond chase. In fact, it’s the best chase I’ve seen in a modern film, done in a car that I love unequivocally. I can’t wait to get to Casino Royale just so I can talk about it. We like Camille, too. We can live with them not sleeping together, especially since it’s rumored she’s coming back at some point. And Craig is great in this. I really believe him as Bond, and this is only his second time out.
I can’t forget the architecture. The reboot has been really great about incorporating great architecture into the films, and this movie has it for days. The two most exceptional sets were the Festival House Bregenz, where the opera took place — its floating theater is so cold and sinister in its design that it’s totally believable as a meeting place for Quantum — and the Paranal Residence that was the location of the final showdown. Its color, minimalist styling and placement in the shadow of a ridge make it blend into the Atacama Desert, and only Bond’s “explosive” involvement makes it stand out. The rest of the movie’s architecture was fantastic as well. Mathis’ Tuscan Villa — Torre di Talomonaccio — might be my favorite, and I enjoyed the interior of their Bolivian hotel, which is actually Panama City’s Instituto Nacional de Cultura.
The set I thought went horribly unnoticed was Mitchell’s flat, where Bond and M are seen discussing Quantum as forensics teams search for clues. The flat is in London’s Barbican Centre, famous for its brutalist architecture that’s cold, uninviting and spartan. The exterior is bare concrete, and it offers no hints as to what the interior might be like. I can only expect that they showed the exterior of this building to create a parallel to Mitchell himself — he’s a blank slate, and while there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, we have no idea what’s going on inside. Coincidentally, the Brutalist School of architecture was one of Ian Fleming’s great dislikes, and he named the Bond villain Auric Goldfinger after his neighbor and famed brutalist architect Erno Goldfinger.
Parts I didn’t like? The excessive use of hydrogen was a bit much, but it was a plot thing, so I’ll allow it. Medrano was okay, but he doesn’t make you really love him as a villain. And the plane bit. That was over the top, ending with a ridiculous two person-one parachute fall.
I enjoyed everything else, though, making this a really strong film. It still only FEELS like sacrilege to put this in the top ten, but I’ll think of it this way: putting this at number nine means bumping Diamonds Are Forever. Would I put this on before that? Absolutely. Do I think it’s better made, with a better plot and better supporting characters? Yup. As for the final argument that it can’t exist as a stand-alone film and should therefore lose points — well, I’ve seen Casino Royale literally more than 20 times, so that’s never going to be a problem with me. I’ll stand by my #9 ranking for this movie.
My Final Thoughts:
Two person, one parachute? I saw that on the internet. Ewww.
I really like this film a lot. While it’s definitely a film I’d watch more ofent than some of the ones in the top ten, I really don’t feel like this film is a top ten for the franchise. Not yet, anyway. My feelings on it are — this film really only works well if Skyfall works really well. Since it’s mostly a continuation of Casino Royale, tying up loose ends and establishing Bond as a character. They’re still sort of building him from the ground up again, making him into the character we recognize, and also taking him in a new direction. I need to see what they do with Skyfall in order to decide what the legacy of this film is going to be. Mostly I’m curious to see if we get finished product Bond in Skyfall, or if they’re gonna do what I think they’re gonna do, and use the first three films as a sort of trilogy to show Bond becoming Bond. And then those next two films Craig signed up for will be just straight Bond movies. Either way, the thing that hampers this film slightly is that it’s dependent on another film in order to make sense (to an extent. But even so, much more of an extent than any of the other films). I want to see how Skyfall addresses this first before I decide fully. Either way, I feel like this is a film whose legacy is destined to be a very good, but not great Bond film that has some warts, but on the whole, does a great job of continuing the progression of the current Bond and puts a very entertaining product on the screen. In an ideal world, Skyfall will end up being a top ten film for all time, and be incredible, that way this film can hover in this #11, #12 area, which really feels like the most comfortable fit for it. It’s just outside that top ten range, where the other two films around it are. It’s a great supporting film, but doesn’t quite work on the level that something like Goldfinger works. So I love it, I just feel much more comfortable with it just outside the top ten.
- – - – -
Official Bond Number: #22
Release Date: October 29, 2008 (London Premiere)
November 14, 2008 (U.S. Release)
Run Time: 106 minutes
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $168.4 million domestically, $586.1 million worldwide
Title Song: ”Another Way to Die,” by Jack White & Alicia Keys
Music By: David Arnold
Based On: James Bond. But actually, it’s kinda based on Casino Royale, since that’s directly responsible for a good portion of this plot.
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis
First Lines: ”Station from Patrol 48 – grey Aston Martin followed by a black Alfa Romeo driving towards the quarries. Gunshot fire.” (Though in spirit, the first line is, “It’s time to get out.”)
Last Lines: ”Bond, I need you back.” “I never left.”
- – - – -
- – – – -
- Dominic Greene
- Camille Montes
- General Medrano
Secondary Bond Girl:
- Strawberry Fields
Bond Villain Chick:
- Felix Leiter
- Rene Mathis
Other Important Characters:
- Mr. White
- Gregg Beam
- – – – -
- Siena, Italy
- Talamone, Italy
- Port-au-Prince, Haiti
- Bregenz, Austria
- Kazan, Russia
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- Aston Martin DB5 (opening, Bond)
- Alfa Romeo 159 (opening, henchmen)
- Ford Ka (Camille)
- Ford Edge (Dominic Greene)
- Jaguar XLJ
- Volvo S40T5
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- Bond’s phone has a facial scanner.
- There’s that touch interface on the MI6 computers.
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- The film was released on the 100-year anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth.
- This is the shortest Bond movie in the series. It’s also the first Bond film to be under two hours since Tomorrow Never Dies.
- This is the first official Bond song to be sung by two artists.
- Daniel Craig recommended Marc Foster as director.
- They started pre-production on this before Casino Royale started filming. Michael G. Wilson came up with the story for the film while they shot Casino.
- This should come as no surprise — they hired the second unit director based on his work on the Bourne films.
- This is the first Bond film where we actually see Bond drunk. (Six Vespers will do that to you.)
- This is the first time the same actor has played FelixLeiter in consecutive films. It’s also only the second time an actor has played Leiter twice.
- Marc Forster originally wanted the climax to take place in the Swiss Alps, which they didn’t do for cost reasons (though the desert is a much more fitting locations). They also have never had a villain’s lair in the desert before, so that’s another great thing.
- This is the first time a Bond film has taken its title from something in an original Ian Fleming work since The Living Daylights. (GoldenEye was the name of Fleming’s ranch and The World Is Not Enough was Bond’s family motto from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.) It’s also the first time Bond’s been to the opera since then.
- They deliberately designed the sets in this movie to be reminiscent of the Ken Adam sets in early Bond films.
- They originally approached Paul McCartney to write the song for this movie, but he turned them down. He did, however, recommend Amy Winehouse, who turned in a demo, which wasn’t used, mostly because of her — personal situation at the time.
- They deliberately made Greene a regular guy — no distinguishing characteristics, and he can’t even really fight. The idea was to make him more like the modern villains in society, who are basically just random dudes who run corporations and shit. So on that front, they succeeded, but on the other hand, there’s not much of a chance of him ever becoming a top franchise villain.
- This is the first film since You Only Live Twice where Bond doesn’t introduce himself with “Bond. James Bond.” (From Russia with Love and Thunderball are the only other Bond films that don’t use it.) Also, the “shaken, not stirred” line doesn’t appear in this film either. (Which really makes me hope they use it in Skyfall, because I need to hear Craig say the line at least once during his tenure.)
- Unlike other Bond organizations — SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Exortion) and SMERSH (derived from Smiert-Spionam, “death to spies”) — Quantum isn’t an acronym, it’s just the name (at the moment, anyway).
- This is the first Bond movie to have both a car chase and a boat chase since Live and Let Die. It’s also the only Bond film with a foot chase, a car chase, a boat chase and a plane chase. (And it’s the shortest!)
- This is the first time ever a Bond opening sequence has been the primary action set piece.
- This is the first Bond film that doesn’t have a gun barrel sequence at the beginning of the film. (Technically, Casino didn’t either, but they did have one near the beginning.)
- Strawberry Fields is the fifth redheaded Bond girl in the series, after Fiona Volpe, Tiffany Case, Helga Brandt and Tracy di Vicenzo. And only one of those was a villain chick. Redheads are typically good in Bond.
- This is the first bond film to be released in a year ending with the number 8. (So far the only year ending that hasen’t been used is 0. A Bond film has never been released on a year ending in 0 — 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010. Maybe 2020…)
- Here’s a totally unrelated bit of trivia that’s interesting — in Munich, which Daniel Craig was also in, Mathieu Amalric played the son of Michael Lionsdale, who played Hugo Drax in Moonraker. That’s interesting.
- This is the third time Bond’s licence to kill has been revoked, after Licence to Kill (obviously) and Die Another Day.
- The film originally had an extra scene between the shot of Vesper’s necklace in the snow and the gun barrel sequence. It was supposed to be Bond finally killing Mr. White. But they took it out so Skyfall wasn’t compelled to continue the story. I think it’s a good idea. Plus I like the idea that Mr. White is out there somewhere.
- There was a rumor when they were casting the film that Al Pacino was going to play a part in it. Most people figured it would be a small, Blofeld-esque cameo as the head of Quantum. But apparently the actual role he was interested in was — ready? — General Medrano. (The reason this is here is so you can picture how that would have went.)
- This is the sixth movie not to mention the film’s title in its credit song. The other five are Dr. No, From Russia with Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Octopussy and Casino Royale. Technically From Russia with Love did have a title song, but it wasn’t during the credits. So really this is the fifth one. And really fourth, since they didn’t establish the credits song until Goldfinger anyway. But still — you can see — they don’t do it with the tricky titles.
- Title translations: (Russia) Quantum of Mercy, (Mexico and Canada) 007 Quantum, (Croatia) A Grain of Comfort, (Germany) A Quantum of Consolation, (Japan) 007: Reward of Comfort.
- This is the third time we see M’s home in a Bond film (Casino Royale and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service being the other two).
- And to explain the title, for those who still have no idea what it means — in the Fleming book, he explains it as such: “A precise figure defining the comfort, humanity and fellow feeling required between two people for love to survive. If the Quantum of Solace is zero, then love is dead.” It’s further explained that love can survive a lot — crimes, bankruptcy, disaster — but not the loss of humanity in one of the partners. So in relation to the film, aside from being related to the Quantum organization, Bond is also looking for a Quantum of Solace with Vesper. He wants something to be able to salvage his relationship, so he can feel good about her again.
- Also, I never actually realized this, but “Another Way to Die” starts with the same musical motif that ”You Know My Name” started with. So they actually linked the two songs together in the way the films are linked together. That’s brilliant.