The Screening Room
THE STUDIO GATE
I had to watch the latest Bond movie twice, "Quantum of Solace," to make sure I
wasn't missing something. Following in the tire tracks of the fantastic 2006
Bond re-boot, "Casino Royale," "Solace" doesn't quite capture the intricate
storyline and toughness of that picture.
“Quantum of Solace" is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. This is a review of
It might be unfair to compare the two Daniel Craig as
James Bond films. Unfortunately, "Royale" raised the bar very high. After
seeing that film, I sat there and said, "Wow!" It takes a lot for a movie
these days to impress me, but that film reinvented the Bond mythology and
took it to a new level. Bond was back, and he was exciting to watch.
"Solace" opens with an exciting action sequence with Bond battling the bad
guys on a road with hairpin turns. We soon discover that this is a
continuation of "Royale." Bond is ticked and ready for revenge at all costs.
That's where the film lost me. Bond is normally cool under pressure. He's
not a revenge seeker. A good or great Bond movie has a solid plot and a
villian worthy of Bond's mission. This movie has none of that,
I do understand that this is essentially an extension of "Royale" -- the
second half of that film, if you will. But if both movies were combined into
one 3 or 4 hour epic, the second half would fall flat.
Daniel Craig surprised a lot Bond fans with his version of the Sean
Connery/George Lazenby/Roger Moore/Timothy Dalton/Pierce Brosnan spy
character. He brought some of the grit of Connery back to the role, while
adding his own persona. He is a good Bond. Yet in "Solace," we're given a
one-dimensional Bond. He's expressionless and too cold. This isn't a Bond
movie you warm up to.
I can sort of buy Bond's ticked off for the death of his honey in the last
movie, Vesper (Eva Green). She was hot and there was some chemistry between
her and Bond. But the cheeky charm of Bond is that he'll find and bed
another woman! No time for grief! We never saw a Bond grieve after Lazenby
did in the underrated "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). It wasn't
The villains in "Solace" aren't anything to email your friends about.
Evilness aside, there's nothing really memorable about Dominic Greene
(Mathieu Amalric), other than his appearance reminds me of Roman Polanski in
The Bond girls, as usual, are still pretty and hot. Olga Kurylenko has the
looks, but doesn't have much depth to her character. I liked that Eva Green
had some spunk to her Vesper character. Kurylenko, unfortunately, is more
eye candy here.
On the positive side, the film runs quickly and the action scenes, like
almost any Bond film, do hold your interest. Bond films are known for their
precision stunts and clever camerawork. My issue with this film, in
particular, is that it seems the filmmakers are relying on digital effects
too much. It's not to say that other Bond movies didn't rely on then-current
effects technology or some poor rear projection work. But I suppose I'm
saying I miss the practical stunts and real world action. This film does
have that, yet I felt I could pinpoint the visual effects work too often.
The Blu-ray is nothing short of stunning in every regard. It looks and
sounds fantastic. The picture is rock solid without looking too over done.
Craig's blue eyes pierce the screen while Kurylenko's bronze tan shines.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is very powerful, sending your speakers
into hyperdrive. I found myself turning down the volume a bit just so I
didn't disturb my neighbors! As a preference, I prefer an uncompressed PCM
audio option on Blu-ray discs, but the DTS-HD tracks are very good. There's
plenty of bass action when appropriate and dialogue is clear.
Some Bond fans will enjoy "Solace," while others won't find it as
entertaining. I'm in the latter camp on this one. Though not the worst Bond,
it doesn't rank up there for me as high as "Casino Royale" has for the more
modern Bond flicks. It isn't as bad as "License To Kill" (1989), either.
This is so-so Bond.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © Danjaq LLC. All
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse
An "ok" Bond outing
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench,
Music video, behind-the-scenes and more
The stunts are still awesome!
Aspect Ratio (2.39:1)
DTS-HD MA 7.1
BLU-RAY RELEASE DATE
March 24, 2009