Friday, November 14, 2008

QUANTUM mechanics Pt. 2 (spoilers)

Spoilers ahead for the new Bond film QUANTUM OF SOLACE, so if you haven't seen it yet, STOP READING...

After seeing an advance screening a couple weeks back, I posted that, although I enjoyed the movie and think Daniel Craig is the best Bond yet, I found the whole thing way too action heavy and lacking exposition that properly set up what was going on.

So here are my questions for those of you who've seen it:

+ Is M shot during the interrogation in Italy? It appears she is, but she then seems fine in the next scene. What happened?

+ After Bond engages Mathis' help, they're traveling overnight on what? A boat? A plane? How does Mathis - a CIA contact with a shady past - merit a private plane complete with sleeper compartments and private bartender?

+ Is Agent Fields naked under that trenchcoat when she meets Bond at the airport? If so, why?

+ What exactly is Greene's plan? Did the Bolivian government not know there was a huge lake in the middle of the desert? If not, how did the Quantum people know? And what exactly were they doing? Damming up the lake to reroute the water to where?

+ I get that the painting-a-woman-in-oil bit is an homage to GOLDFINGER, but in the context of this film, what's the point? What message are they trying to send? Why kill her in the first place? And why oil? And what exactly are the logistics of drowning a full-grown woman in crude oil, painting her with it head to toe and then successfully depositing her body in a room in a luxury hotel with no one seeing it, and no traces left of how she got there?

+ Why does that hotel in the finale go up like it's made of gunpowder and gasoline, all from a single motor vehicle accident in the underground parking garage? And what are those "Hydro" canisters on the walls?

And finally:

+ Who shot Mr. Greene?

Answers, more questions, and general opinions welcomed. What did you all think?

And as an addendum, this illustration, commissioned by Ian Fleming in 1957 and representing his vision of what Bond looked like. It was done as preparation for a series of London Daily Express comic strips adapting the novels, though this particular art was never used, and was dismissed by the eventual strip artist. John McLusky, as being too "outdated" and "pre-war."


Anonymous said...

nice article

Dave White said...

I don't have answers for the oil girl question (I wondered that myself), but I think the rest can be answered. I took it that Quantum shot Greene. The water wasn't found because it wasn't looked for (in fact Bond and the girl found it completely by accident). Quantum seemed to find it because they seem to be able to find every thing at any time any where. (Lazy writing? Probably... though my guess is it has more to do with the editing of the movie to cut it down to really short lengths.)

My other comments can be found here:

pattinase (abbott) said...

I thought the water wasn't found because you needed to be at the lower "cave" level to see it. Four of us differed on the other answers. Only one of us thought M was actually shot, the rest that she dived out of the way. I really liked it and it's because I have nothing invested in James Bond being a hero. My brother, who does, didn't much like it. It didn't have all the tags he looks for either.
We thought the people he squealed on came after him and put the bullets in his head.
But a lot of the definitive answers were probably edited out as Dave suggests. Or just not there.

Wallace Stroby said...

At one point in the film, you sees pipes that are supplying locals with water slowing to a trickle and then running dry, one guesses, because Quantum dammed the underground lake. But how secret could it be if all the locals were already using it as their water supply?

More questions than one action film can support, I guess. It would be interesting to see a longer cut of the film with a few more character moments and a little more exposition.

As far as the ending, I think you sometimes need more straightforward narrative filmmaking to make it pay off in terms of being suspenseful and exciting. Compare the hotel finale in QUANTUM with the end of GOLDFINGER, which is long and drawn out by comparison. There's the raid on Fort Knox, the arming of the atomic bomb and the fight with Oddjob, all of which keep ratcheting the suspense up. It's very deliberately paced and you know what's going on at every point and who's where geographically. And even though you know Bond will survive, the editing and direction still make it a nailbiter, even after you've seen it many times.

Dave White said...

References... I felt:

Bond holding Greene by the hair felt a lot like the blonde guy lifting Pierce at the end of Tomorrow Never Dies.

The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond holding the guard off the corner of the roof trying to get information. Moore did the same to a fat bald guy.

I'm blanking on the references to the other movie, though there was a big DAF early in the film. I just can't remember it. License to Kill had Bond beating up other MI6 guys.

Maybe it wasn't obvious references as opposed to re-doing of certain scenes. Early in the plane scene felt very familiar to me to Thunderball when they find the nukes using a helicopter.

Dave White said...

I also thought the Bond mentioned there were several other dammed lakes that couldn't be used, and that's why that lake was so important.

Dave White said...

But, they talk so fast in those movies, I really have to see it again to get the full gist of the plot.

And wow that plane scene was shot phenomenally.