Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Remember Casino Royale? Of course you do. It was a fantastic reboot of the Bond franchise, cutting away the camp of the later Brosnan movies, and Daniel Craig creating the definitive Bond by sweating, bleeding and being hit on the balls a lot. It could've used a bit of trimming, but overall it left me really excited about Bond for the first time in a really long while.

Quantom of Solace completely pisses that away.

Let's pause for a brief wanky beret moment. Closure is the act of observing the parts but perceiving the whole. Filling in the blanks. Everytime you move between panels in a comic, or an edit happens in a movie, you're relating the frames spatially and temporally, as well as extrapolating from the visual elements in the frame. This takes brain power, and audience involvement. Knowing how to use it is absolutely key in visual storytelling.

At some point, someone had the idea of making more agressive use of this, sacrificing clarity in favour of getting in close and giving a more impressionistic view of action sequences in the hope that it would increase audience involvement. And you know, people complain about shaky cam a lot, but I'm fine with it when in the hands of a skilled director. Remember the Tangiers chase in the Bourne Ultimatum? Ten minutes of Bourne running after Desh, Desh closing in on Nikki, and the audience completely pinned to their seats.

Marc Forster is not a skilled action director. So he just throws a bunch of frenetic edits of moving bits at the screen, without little regard for establising spatial relation, in the mistaken hope that we'll mistake the confusion for excitement. There's a particularly egregious sequence kicking off the film, a car chase where it's fucking impossible to make out who's chasing who until it's over and you realise that Bond was in the car in the front becasue he's still moving and the car behind crashed.

This is a problem when the movie is 90% action. It's even more of a problem when the script gives the action sequences little purpose other than being loud, noisy padding.

Oddly for a movie that literally picks up an hour after Casino Royale, it has little interest in what made that movie good, or the fraught emotional state Bond was in at the end. Oh, there's some lipservice about how angry and hurt he is, but anytime there's danger of a real character moment, the movie panics and hurtles along to the next action sequence as if slowing down would put it in danger of being accosted by rape-goblins.

It's a real pity, because Daniel Craig is still as great in the part as ever, Judi Dench is in fine form, and Olga Kurylenko is a good Bond babe, but the script doesn't put them to good use. The only weak link among the principals is Mathieu Amalric as the hilariously ineffectual and unmenacing villain.

It's not worth writing off the rebooted franchise completely yet, but they'll have to do a lot better next time around.

At least it's better than Max Payne, which has an appealing performance by Kurylenko for all of her five minutes of screentime, and then goes back to being completely useless, lumpen pap. You'd think it wouldn't be too hard to get a pulp tale of revenge for murdered loved ones up to acceptable standards, but alas, the video game movie curse struck again.


Marina said...

Bra Sören, bra! Vi hade samma känsla. Speciellt flygaction-scenen var olidlig för mig.

Jag må vara ett kvinnschovinistiskt svin, men jag tycker fan i mig att han sku ha kunna fått ihop det lite mera med sin bondbrud. Seriöst. Han kunde ha dränkt sin sorg, eller nåt. MAN KUNDE HA FÅTT IN DET I MANUSET. Alltså en bond som inte ÅTMINSTONE grovhånglar med sin bondbrud. Det känns nästan lite för långt från konceptet. *halvseriös*


Marina said...

pierce brosnan gör hudproduktsreklamer som alla andra avdankade botox-tanter i övre medelåldern... nog är ju Daniel Craig fortfarande myhyhycket bättre bond. En halvkass film förgör ju inte det faktum.

SH said...

I princip tycker ja faktiskt att de var ett helt vettigt val att inte ha Bond att hoppa i säng med Kurylenkos Bond brud, medan han använder sex för att manipulera Fields å få henne att göra som han vill. Kurylenko är för målmedveten för att låta sig distraheras av Bonds välformade, fasta, glänsande kropp, hur mycke svett som än rimmer längs hans magmuskler, eller hur små hans badbyxor är...

...var var jag?

Just ja, att han använder sig av sex exklusivt som ett verktyg betonar att han e en rå och känslokall jävel. Problemet e bara att Question of Salami har för brått att komma till nästa explosion för att orka bry sig om att utveckla Bonds karaktär, så de lämnar bara å hänga som nån oviktig bakgrunds detalj.