Be warned. The following is both spoilerific and quite the rant. Because I am furious. If I ever meet the director of Quantum of Solace, I will slap him for messing up this movie so thoroughly I will never sit through it again.
See, I love James Bond. Seeing James Bond movies (or rather, being sent to bed after the teaser and before the credits) is one of my earliest memories. It's part of my consciousness, part of my life's blood. Yeah, I may be a girl, but I never wanted to be a Bond girl (with the exception of Fiona (Luciana Paluzzi) in Thunderball, because she is made of more awesome, as the kids these days are fond of saying, than all the other Bond girls put together). No, I wanted to be a spy like Bond himself. I grew up with Sean Connery, put up with Roger Moore, cheered on Timothy Dalton, even liked George Lazenby, politely loathed Pierce Brosnan, and fell completely head-over-heels in love with Daniel Craig. Casino Royale was so damned good it actually pushed Sean Connery aside and gave me a new favorite Bond. Who'd have thought that'd ever happen?
I have invested many many hours in Bond's company, watching those films, waiting for marathons on tv growing up, etc. I have spent lots of good money on repeat viewings in the theater, soundtracks, DVDs, books, posters, and pictures, and never regretted a single penny. So, yeah, I'm a big fan and I take Bond movies personally.
Take away the director, and Quantum of Solace would be an okay movie. Not great, but still good. It's flawed -- the new characters are undeveloped and just a bit cliche, plot is sloppy and unfocused, bad guy lacks a truly interesting agenda, but Bond and M and Felix help offset that. I probably would have seen it again, probably would have bought it when it came out on DVD. But no... someone gave control of the camera over to this jackass who made every action scene (and 98% of the rest of the movie) nothing but extreme close-ups and non-stop moving camera so much that I couldn't tell what the hell was happening. I actually gave up trying to figure out who was who and what they were doing in a couple scenes. It was giving me a headache, and I no longer cared. I know dancing camera work is en vogue right now, but do these people ever try and watch the movies they make? I mean, for real?? Mr. Forster, sir, the exciting part of a car chase is you know, people in one car chasing people in another car. With guns. And traffic. All that danger, excitement, and how's our hero going to get out of it in one piece. And it's a funny thing, but we kind of need to SEE the goddamned chase it to appreciate it. I know, I normally am not a swearing type of girl. This is how furious I am at how this director made this movie hell to sit through. It only has an hour and forty-five minute running time too. Where Casino Royale zipped by so fast I couldn't believe it was over (and it's about forty minutes longer), this sucker felt about three-hours long. At least. If I owned a watch, I would have been checking it constantly. I came *this* close to actually getting up and walking out. Only Daniel Craig kept me in my seat. I still love him and still think he's the best Bond, but please, please please, somebody get a director like Martin Campbell back for the next one. Someone who will actually back off, frame his shots, stop jerking the camera around and cutting the scene every two seconds, stop being all weirdly artsy at the wrong times, and let us see what's going on. Thank you.
Oh, and the next time you use opera? Don't add a weird extra bit and chop up the music so stupidly. Yeah, you do have people out here in the audience who happen to know opera quite well. (But I should add that despite that, watching the action/fight part of that scene with Tosca playing in the background was sheer heaven on the big screen and my favorite part of the movie.)
Speaking of music, I will add that I thought David Arnold's score for Casino Royale was great. It had some really nice themes, gave that film back more of a John Barry feel, and the music actually supported the film. This score? Quite the letdown. No themes were developed, it was mostly a jumble of notes... but then that pretty much sums up the movie. A big fat jumble of nothing.
I think I'm feeling old, or maybe just old-fashioned. I'm really not a hard-to-please viewer. I'll tolerate a lot of stupidity in movies. But this... nope. When I can't even figure out who's shooting at who in an action film, you've lost me. I guess there's a reason I don't go to the movies anymore, why I prefer watching DVDs of movies made before I was born.
And now, I'll go console myself with Joel McCrea and Buffalo Bill (after I get my word count... must remember -- work first, reward second).