I really like the new direction taken by the long-running Bond series of
movies that began with Casino Royale. Gone was the smirking,
self-lampooning Bond, replaced with a Bond who's all business when it comes to
the spy game and a genuine action hero. The biggest question I had with A
Quantum of Solace was which Bond would show up. Thankfully it's the new
Bond, and he looks like he's here to stay.
In A Quantum of Solace, an international corporate magnate leads a shadowy
organization of industrialists with a penchant for affecting the course of
nations in order to further line their bank accounts. They've set their
sights on cornering the market on one of the world's precious but dwindling
resources (it's not the one you think it is), and only Bond can put an end to
their schemes. In practice, though, the film never really seems to commit
to its central plot conceit, and instead focuses more on the internal turmoil
faced by Bond in the wake of the death of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.
Yes, Bond is another marcher in the long parade of conflicted heroes served up
by Hollywood these days. There's a lot of brooding on Bond's part, and
this leads MI6 to think that Bond has become a loose cannon of a rogue agent (is
MI6 ever happy with Bond?) and to try and bring him in from the cold.
Hopefully, this is the end of the brooding Bond and A Quantum of Solace has
allowed him to get it out of his system. When not focusing on Bond's state
of mind, the movie has a lot of excitement going for it. The chase scenes,
fights, and narrow escapes are all amazingly choreographed, and let Bond shine
as the super-agent that he is. Bond fans will appreciate the film, but the
plot will leave others a bit confused or with a somewhat unsatisfied feeling.
As a Bond fan I enjoyed it (except for the mess of a theme song turned in by the
overrated Jack White), but I hope that Bond trades in some of the brooding
for bravado in his next outing.
After watching the movie on Blu-ray, it's very obvious that Bond is meant to
be enjoyed in high definition. The film features some amazingly
choreographed action sequences (including an action-packed car chase before the
opening credits even roll) and the sharp vivid picture really brings them to
life. The sound has been expertly mixed and the HD sound puts you into the
middle of the action - it's hard not to feel your adrenaline surging as
Bond works his violent magic.
As for special features, you get a collection of short behind-the-scenes
featurettes that are pretty much your standard fare and probably would have been
better off as a single, more cohesive piece. My advice: don't buy the Blu-ray
for the features but do buy it for the fantastic picture and sound quality.