Quantum of Solace
There was once a time when Bond films didn't try to make sweeping moral judgments concerning the state of the world's economy, the environmental movement or the effects of intertwined international trade and the consolidation of industry. Why? Because it’s enough to make even groups of tie-wearing nerds at conferences who pay to hear about such things tear out their hair in agony. If there's one thing that the first Star Wars prequel proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s that Jar Jar Binks should be decapitated and George Lucas fired into the center of the sun – oh, and that trade agreements make for the driest possible plots that only the loneliest of high school economics teachers could find interesting.
I'm going to spoil things right from the start and tell you that Quantum of Solace is about water. That's right, water. Basically, the bad guys are stealing water and viewers are treated to the occasional shot of villagers in some undisclosed location gathered around a dripping faucet that of course is somehow tied into an international cabal of dastardly water thieves. I don't know why I never thought of extorting the obviously rich governments of the third world by controlling their water supply, but then again, I only have a fifth grade education. Part of me was extremely disappointed that something as inane as water became the focal point of a Bond movie. I mean, Bond is supposed to be about maniacal villains executing ridiculously elaborate plans, and in my mind that means stealing something much more exotic, like whales or Iceland. Given that this was the 22nd Bond film, it is no surprise that by now the franchise has finally run out of ideas. Most of those coffin nails were hammered through during the Dalton years. Then somebody bought a nail gun by casting Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist, naming her after a national holiday and forever desecrating the image of Ursula Andress rising up out of the waves in her Dr. No. bikini.
And why have compelling Bond villains gone the way of the Yugo? Vaguely European dudes who wear open shirts and probably high five other dudes at Scorpions concerts don't really scream ‘world domination’. Dominick Greene’s (Mathieu Amalric) lack of scar, mechanical limbs or superhuman strength summed up Quantum of Solace perfectly – a film which traded the escapist fantasy of absurd secret agent mayhem for the gritty realism of a post-Tarantino action film, executed in the most humorless way possible. Even Pierce Brosnan knew that an important part of the Bond image was grinning like an idiot as some prime piece of pussy slowly lowered itself onto his shaft of justice. What's the point of having a leggy Russian model in the film if Bond doesn't repeatedly penetrate her during the scene where they are both tumbling to their deaths after jumping out of a vintage airplane? A Bond film without misogyny is like Christmas without two black eyes and a stocking full of broken promises – it doesn't happen at my house. And they could have at least given her a memorable name to replace the plain-vanilla moniker of ‘Camille’ – something like ‘Foxy McMeatcurtains’ or ‘Julia Crabharbor’.
If you love James Bond films, Quantum of Solace is going to leave you cold. If you love watching metrosexual guys parade around in expensive clothes through expensive hotels, then this is a three Kleenex movie. You have been warned.
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