Sunday, November 02, 2008
QUANTUM mechanics Pt. 1
Although the new James Bond film QUANTUM OF SOLACE has opened throughout much of the world (and is breaking box office records in Britain), it doesn't open in the U.S. until Nov. 14. So although I saw it at an early screening last week, and have much to say about it - and questions for others who've seen in - I'm going to stay spoiler-free and hold off on writing about it at length until it opens here.
In the meantime, a few quick thoughts:
+ This is the shortest Bond film ever, at one hour and forty-six minutes. And though many of the films have suffered from bloated running times (the otherwise-excellent CASINO ROYALE being a good example), this one feels like it could have used another good 15-20 minutes of story. Not only are the plot and various location changes hard to follow, it's so packed with action sequences - shot in hyperkinetic BOURNE style - that you never get a breather. The action is almost non-stop, with characterization, style and humor sacrificed along the way (and just what is the villain's plan after all?). Most of the dialogue in the film is actually contained in the most recent trailer. And though the chases, fight scenes, shoot-outs, etc. are well-choreographed, the editing is so ADD-addled that it's hard to parse exactly what's going on, where the combatants are in relation to one another, and who's doing what to whom.
+ Daniel Craig is - again - great. And I say now without reservation, best Bond ever. Though he has little dialogue in this one, he seems weary and battle-hardened, as if he's feeling the psychological toll of all that's going on around him. With that battered face and laser-blue eyes, he communicates a lot while saying hardly anything at all.
+ It has one of the best main title sequences of a Bond film since the days of Maurice Binder, miles above the one in CASINO ROYALE. The new title song, "Another Way to Die" from Jack White and Alicia Keys, is serviceable, although it still makes one curious what the Amy Winehouse track sounds like.
+ The Aston Martin DBS returns briefly in the opening chase sequence and, unfortunately, is left much the worse for wear by its end.