18 November 2021

"I told you what you wanted to know about Quantum" — looking back on Quantum of Solace

18 November 2021

"I told you what you wanted to know about Quantum" — looking back on Quantum of Solace

A bowler hat? A mechanical arm? Nah, let's give him an arts and crafts hobby and an apple

An old wives' tale has been knocking around since the late noughties. Apparently, if you watch Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back, Quantum is a great Bond film. I can confirm that's a load of old tosh.

Continuity had never been the Bond series' strong point. There are tons of continuity holes, such as the chopping and changing of Felix Leiter. Plus, the adage of why Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Quantum was a direct sequel to its predecessor for the first time in Bond history — set only moments after Casino ends. Something to get excited about, right?

The film's production was a rushed and confusing mess. Quantum has dull villains and earsore of a title tune by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Directors, including Martin Campbell, turned down the job with the release date pending.

From November 2007 to February 2008, 12,000 film and television screenwriters went on strike. The strike sought increased funding for the writers compared to the profits of larger studios.

Scripts for Quantum were discarded, with new ones being made up during the filming. Daniel Craig and Marc Forster chipped in. A great Bond Craig may well be, but a screenplay writer? Forster's directing of the film is a trainwreck. It feels like he's trying too hard to make James Bond Jason Bourne.

The average length of shot in Quantum is a staggering two seconds. Among the frantic editing and rapid pace, what feels like a million things happen simultaneously. The action fails to build excitement because the viewer doesn't know what's going on.

Did you notice that traitor Mitchell shoots an innocent bystander in the Sienna rooftop chase? Probably not.

When the old Italian lady bemoaning her dropped fruit is one of the two highlights of the film, you know you've got problems.

Does M get shot? Looks like it.

How does Bond throw that boat off course by throwing what looks like an anchor? No idea.

What's Dominic Greene's plan? Don't care.

Forster only had to look at On Her Majesty's Secret Service or For Your Eyes Only for inspiration on directing a car chase/action. Giving villains a deformity or killer bowler hat may be old hat these days, but Dominic Greene gets an arts and crafts hobby plus an apple to eat.

If you can make your way through Quantum, you may notice Marc Forster was hell-bent on incorporating the four elements: water, earth, fire and air.

He spoke about it a hell of a lot in interviews. He also said:

"I can't make a film thinking about an audience and how to please them. I can only think about the Bond film I would like to see".

Well, Marc, maybe you should have thought about the audience more. Quantum of Solace may be the Bond film you wanted to see, but it was the Bond film most of us didn't.

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