Quantum of Solace Blu-ray review

Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko in Quantum of Solace
Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko in Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace has been thoroughly criticized as being nothing more than the fourth Jason Bourne film, rather than James Bond 22. It seems most people were expecting the more classic Bond that Casino Royale hinted at resurrecting. I am in total disagreement with the majority I guess, in thinking that taking Bond back to his gritty roots was a good thing. I respect that producers of the Bond series continually push the limits of the character, exploring new ways to present his continuing saga onscreen. I enjoyed Quantum of Solace, save for some of the jittery camera work.

I think what most people forget is that both ‘Royale’ and ‘Solace’ are essentially origin stories, and the violent nature of Bond’s character is totally inline with the early Bond stories by Fleming, many of which have been collected and re-released by Titan Books, in a graphic novel format. While Daniel Craig may not be as dashing and suave as other Bond actors, he brings a fresh take on the character, as an outsider bound by his own set of moral standards, seeking revenge.

Quantum of Solace Blu-ray disc coverQuantum of Solace doesn’t compare with Marc Forster’s cinematic gems The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland or Monster’s Ball, however, what the director brought to the table was a sense of dramatic storytelling that never glorified the violence, but made it more realistic. How would a man respond to seeing the woman he loves die a horrible underwater death, moments after realizing she betrayed him? What does that do to him physically and mentally? These questions are explored with the character’s handling of many situations throughout ‘Solace’.

Picking up almost immediately where Casino Royale left off, the film opens with James Bond in the middle of a car chase through Italy. He’s transporting Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to a secret MI6 location so that M (Judi Dench) can interrogate him about the mysterious Quantum organization, which is responsible for the death of Bond’s lover, Vesper Lynd. When Mr. White manages to escape with the help of M’s own bodyguard, two things happen. MI6 realizes how powerful Quantum really is, and an angry Bond gets a fire lit under his ass to kill everyone involved with Vesper’s death. And he sets out to do just that.

He travels to Haiti hoping to learn more, and meets Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a beautiful Bolivian agent who’s using environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) to exact her own revenge on General Medrano (Joaquín Cosio), who killed her father when she was a child. Both Bond and Camille have scars, only her scars are physical, having watched as Medrano burned her family alive, while she watched in horror.

Soon Bond learns that Greene is also a major player within the Quantum organization, and has a sinister plan to reinstate General Medrano as dictator of Bolivia and take control of the country’s water supply.

‘Quantum’s’ predecessor Casino Royale may well be one of the best modern action films ever lensed, with incredibly inventive sequences like the parkour chase in Madagascar and the sinking building scene in Italy. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace doesn’t have the scale of scenes like ‘Royale’, however the film plays an important role in continuing the reinvention of a character that represents the standard in action/adventure cinema.

I have been reading some articles over the past few days, that Tony Gilroy – who directed Michael Clayton and the recently released Duplicity, and co-wrote the scripts for the Bourne movies – is on the short list to direct Bond 23. What I wouldn’t want to see, is Bond turning completely into Jason Bourne. We’ll see where the series goes next. I’m sure most of us will be in line to find out come opening day.

Bonus Features
I was surprised at the lack of depth in the bonus material on the Blu-ray release. There were so many featurettes released online, leading up to the film’s premiere, I figured there would be a more thorough treatment on the disc releases. But, like the film, the featurettes are cut fast and hard.

  • Another Way to Die music video – I thought this was an enjoyable video. Jack White and Alicia Keys both look great, and play well together.
  • Bond on Location – This making-of featurette contains a series of interview with various crew members, discussing the project. It’s by far the best piece of bonus material on the disc.
  • Start of Shooting – This light featurette goes behind the scenes of the first days of shooting, as the cast and crew traveled to Italy, Austria, Chile and Panama, shooting the film in reverse.
  • On Location – As shooting continues, the crew heads back towards Pinewood Studios in the U.K., to shoot the interior scenes, and complete principal photography. This short featurette goes hand-in-hand with Start of Shooting, but neither are thorough. Hopefully, there will be a “Special Edition” to look forward to sometime in the future.
  • Olga Kurylenko and the Boat Chase – This featurette was entertaining to watch, but like most of the segments on the disc, was too short. It revolves around the staging of the boat chase, soon after Bond first encounters the agent Camille (Kurylenko) in the Bahamas.
  • Director Marc Forster – This profile of German director Marc Forster follows his career, and talks about this film, and his other projects.
  • The Music – This featurette discussed the music of Quantum of Solace – specifically, composing the score.
  • Crew Files Behind-the-Scenes – This is another profile segment, which focused on other cast and crew, consisting of a series of video diaries profiling the various the various talent involved with the project.
  • The bonus features are rounded out with the Theatrical and Teaser Trailers.

I would have enjoyed an audio commentaries and some deleted scenes, especially since the film’s cut at such a fast pace. I figured there would be tons of material left on the cutting room floor. There was also recycled footage in a few segments, shown two times. That was overkill.

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, Joaquin Cosio