Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quantum of Horror

There's a joke that starts with a James Bond film that doesn't have him shooting down the barrel of a gun until the credits. The punchline is Quantum of Solace. I really, really didn't think 007 could sink any lower than the absolute stupidity of Die Another Day and the impossible mis-characterization of Casino Royale. I need to stop underestimating Hollywood's ability to turn out high budget, myopic trash from ideas that had once been sheer and unending fun. I'm trying to find redeeming value in Daniel Craig's pathetic excuse for a suave super spy, but it's just not happening.

To start with, the plot of Solace just doesn't make any sense. It jumps and flies and runs and jumps and drives, and then it ends. I think it had something to do with secret organizations who dip their fingers into every pot and a quest for control of resources. Daniel Craig's sham of a Bond is caught up in the middle of it all as he seeks out revenge for Vesper Lynd's death in Casino Royale and somehow more or less accidentally saves the world from the shadowy wraiths who pull the strings and play kingmaker in every corner of the world. Again, I could be wrong, because often times the characters said things and cited information that there was no logical means readily available by which they could know them. When they said it, it was in the mist of perhaps the most confusing camera work I've ever seen, shifting back and forth and forth and back so much I can only assume director Marc Forster was deliberately trying to make sure audiences had absolutely no idea what was going on.

The confusion began in earnest with what had to be by far the worst main titles of any Bond, driven by a song that belongs in virtually any setting save for a 007 film. The titles seem to be a deliberate disassociation from previous Bonds, a disassociation that ends up being completely confusing and uninvigorating trash that leaves audiences glued firmly in bored reality. Reality really sets in when we watch Daniel Craig bring his own version of the Bond charm to bear against women even looser than any in Bond's past. There is no smooth talking sophistication or boyish appeal, there is in fact little more than what is in essence a "look into my eyes and fall into my bed" approach to Craig's ladies man.

Facing off against the boy toy that would are strange villains who revel in being murky and impossible to grasp, without virtually anything resembling motivation and dastardly plans that are only hinted at in the smallest of senses. There's no insane exposition, no death traps, not even any really scary super assassins, just dominoes that tumble in Bond's wake in fight scenes where the tumbling buildings have more fight in them than the combatants. There's no epic scale or breathtaking backdrops, just a lot of unstable insanity that is impossible to follow and ends just as abruptly as it started, with no satisfaction in the ending and nothing even closely resembling high stakes on which the world hinges.

I am in deep fear for James Bond's safety, the only redeeming value I can find is that from here surely Bond couldn't get any worse, could it? I'm not sure just how much faith I have left in Hollywood, having just endured a heartless agony with faintly compelling action sequences, terrible acting and even a few nonsensical attempts at commenting on world affairs thrown in for good measure, something all previous attempts at Bond had the good sense to know that Bond needs to be in a world all his own, one that is so extreme that it deserves better than to be mired in our senseless universe.

No comments: