Posted: 11/14/2008


Quantum of Solace


by Del Harvey

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The highly anticipated sequel to the 2006 re-boot of this long-running franchise is finally here. That’s the good news; the wait is over. The bad news is a little more complicated. And therein lies the problem. We like our anti-heroes to be dark and complex, but not too complex. And even that isn’t truly the problem here. No, the real problem is disappointment.

Casino Royale so successfully restarted the character and the franchise that we expected something with more depth and resilience than what we are given in Quantum of Solace. We expected a character who is tough and vulnerable at the same time. We expected a story that kept the stakes human and real, while taking them to a global level. You’d think with all the talk of global interconnectivity being tossed about by everyone from politicians to scientists to media figureheads that such a thing would be a minor accomplishment for a fictitious narrative. But, sadly, that is not the case.

Quantum of Solace provides lots of action scenes, but they are empty. Where Casino Royale was driven by the character’s purpose, Quantum’s action scenes seem well-timed and formulaic, and we are left staring at fireworks without any sense of celebration. Oh, sure… there are bad guys. And bad guys must be caught and punished, at any cost. But what happened to meaning and purpose? Didn’t we leave all of that two-dimensional stuff behind with Roger Moore and Pearce Brosnan? Isn’t that why they had to restart the franchise in the first place?

Rest assured this film will do well at the box office, and many viewers will drool over the explosions and bullet hits and stunts. But if this is the real re-boot of a major film franchise for what should be a truly dark and brooding character in the pantheon of spy films, then they just lost me as a future ticket buyer. And I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.

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