Thursday, 13 November 2008
How Bond broke my heart
I went to see the long awaited (and considerably over-hyped) 'Quantum of Solace' last night, a little wary after mixed reviews (in both the media and from trustworthy friends) Admittedly, it had a lot to live up to after the visual feast that is 'Casino Royale', a film that simultaneously reinvented the Bond genre whilst respecting what audiences have always loved about their favourite misogynistic, alcoholic, gadget-wielding, all-action hero.
I'd read that this ('Q o S') film was 'action-packed', but this didn't prepare me for the visual diatribe that followed. It starts off with a car chase, shot so close up, I assume to drag you personally into the action, but what happens is that you lose perspective of what is going on: your brain doesn't have time to register what it's seeing. And this is the films major flaw: so many choppy shots that keeping up with what the hell is going on is futile. All these stunning locations and no time to take it all in.
It is an incredible waste of talent and missed opportunities, tying up loose ends with gaffa tape rather than a neat bow. Daniel Craig is an amazing actor, completely mesmerizing no matter what film he's in (much like Johnny Depp, Michael Caine, Kathy Bates, Judi Dench etc) yet this doesn't allow him to get any further into the Bond psyche. Ok, we know he's heartbroken, we know he wants revenge, but that's it. For the whole film. He famously performed a high quota of the stunts in this film himself and, to be honest, he needn't have bothered: the film is shot in such a way that you can't tell its him anyway.
This film is basically a Bourne film, flimsily repackaged: for what reason, I do not know. And I don't like the Bourne films: 'Oh I wish I could remember who I am but, ooh! I appear to be a weapons expert! And a kung fu master! And I can speak 87 languages fluently! And I can remember how to drive! And I bet I'm shit hot at knitting too!' Oh fuck off, Bourne, you smug git!
When I watch a Bond film, I want to see a film that's loud and proud of itself: cocksure and eager to please. It needs an emotionally-stunted central character, lots of big explosions, scantily clad, beautiful ladies (if Bond is beautiful himself, like Craig, like Brosnan, like Connery, we don't mind), ridiculous gadgets and gizmos hidden in mundane objects, crazed madmen with elaborate plans to rule the world, Aston Martins, (NOT BMW's or Fords), Saville Row tailoring, and a clear sense of its own absudity. I don't want gritty realism ('Q of S' is incredibly violent: loads of bloody punch ups and death) I want escapism, pure, shiny, simple and fun. So come on, Bond People! Sort it out! Give us what we want, plus something we'd never expect!
By the way: they should have used this theme tune:
Rant over: back to my crafting...