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Movie Review

Quantum of Solace a.k.a. “James Bond 22,” “Bond 22,” “007,” “B22,” “James Bond 007—Ein Quantum Trost,” “QoS,” “A Quantum csendje,” “Zrno utehe,” “Zrno utjehe”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Thriller, Action, Adventure, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
November 14, 2008 (wide—3,400 theaters)
DVD: March 24, 2009
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

NO RIGHT OR WRONG? Are we living in a moral Stone Age?

SPIES in the Bible

ENVIRONMENT—Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer

What is man's responsibility to the environment? Answer

Previous James Bond motion pictures

Casino Royale (2006) (movie review)

Die Another Day (2002) (movie review)

The World Is Not Enough (1999) (movie review)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) (movie review)

Featuring: Daniel Craig
Casino Royale,” “Munich,” “The Golden Compass

Olga Kurylenko
Hitman,” “Max Payne

Judi Dench
Casino Royale,” “Notes on a Scandal,” “Die Another Day,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents

Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, David Harbour, Jesper Christensen, Anatole Taubman, Rory Kinnear, Tim Pigott-Smith, Joaquín Cosio, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Jesús Ochoa, Glenn Foster, Paul Ritter, Simon Kassianides, Stana Katic, Lucrezia Lante della Rovere, Neil Jackson, Oona Chaplin, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Rachel McDowall, Raffaello Degruttola, Tracy Redington, Laurence Richardson
Director: Marc Forster
Producer: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, Danjaq, Eon Productions, United Artists, Barbara Broccoli, Callum McDougall, Anthony Waye, Michael G. Wilson
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“007”

“This is not your mother's James Bond.” Indeed, Bond has often swung like a pendulum from straight drama (“From Russia with Love”) to absurd action (“Die Another Day”); from melodrama (“On Her Majesty's Secret Service”) to high camp (“Octopussy”), from great (“Spy Who Loved Me”) to bad (“License to Kill”). How you feel about the previous five Bonds will probably say a lot about whether or not you will enjoy the latest Bond. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I preferred Roger Moore the best. I liked having a Bond with a conscience and a light sense of humor. However, after the absurd “Die Another Day,” Daniel Craig's Bonds have swung the pendulum back to the other extreme. Some say that Bond is now imitating the Bourne films, and they are right. Ironic that Bond, who was once imitated, is now the imitator. Obviously, fans of Bourne will like this film… fans of the traditional Bond with gadgets and such will be sorely disappointed (there are NO gadgets in this film).

“Quantum of Solace” begins where the last film left off. After the death of his girlfriend, James Bond captured “Mr. White” who was behind her death. The opening scene shows Bond escaping Mr. White's allies and bringing White to interrogation at MI6. Soon, MI6 learns that he is working for a “new” secret organization (presumably the return of SPECTRE, although the film never identifies it). Bond then sets out to unearth the organization, but is torn between his desire for revenge and his duty. He eventually pursues his leads to Bolivia, where the enemy is staging a coup in return for profit. Along the way, Bond leaves a trail of carnage and dead bodies (both foes and allies alike) which might make even the most die hard Bond fan cringe.

Cinematically, Bond is not only following the Bourne films in terms of plot and style, but in its directing, as well. “Quantum of Solace” uses the old “shaky camera” technique that is supposed to make the action look more fast paced and realistic, but really just makes it hard to follow and annoying. It is sometimes hard to discern whose foot was chopped with the axe or which car is being smashed. Fortunately, the director does not get carried too far away with this technique. In most other respects, Bond looks like Bond, save that he has no gadgets, drinks no shaken Martinis, there is no Q, no Moneypenny, and never says “Bond, James Bond.”

“Quantum of Solace” attempts to delve into the character and psyche of Bond—a man who is a professional assassin and seems to lose everyone he cares about. Does he become a cold blooded killer, or is he driven by duty? We are never quite sure. Certainly this could be a great subplot and could explore the nature of man much as “Batman Begins” did, but, in the end, we never feel that we have learned anything about Bond, except that he kills and that he pretends not to care about anyone (even though we suspect he does). The film never takes full advantage of this subplot, and it seems almost a cover for the barrage of violence that packs the film.

This leads to the moral question. This is not a film for young children at all. Parents should take the PG-13 rating very seriously. The violence is heavy and includes multiple knifings in the leg, back and shoulder. There is a scene where an axe is flung and stuck in someone's foot (shown in detail), and many other shootings and acts of violence are seen throughout the film. Blood is not withheld from most of these scenes. There is also a scene where a rape is apparently taking place (shown in brief, unclear clips intercut against violence). We hear about rape and torture, and one scene shows a photograph of a horribly mutilated man. There at least a dozen foul words including the s___ word, and there is nudity in the film. Most of that nudity is seen in the title sequence, which Bond fans are doubtless familiar with, but the outlines of women are much more clear, and Bond does have sex with several women, although the sex is off-screen. Another scene shows a nude woman laying on the bed after being murdered and covered in oil. Why oil? Well, that too is a departure for Bond, because James Bond, ironically, has finally become a political animal.

It is no small irony that in the past 40 years Bond avoided being too political. Even when they were fighting Communists, it was always rouge Communists and never the official Soviet Union (remember everybody's favorite Premier in the Bond films?). Now, Bond is political, and that politics involves America and the CIA actively assisting terrorists and Marxist dictators in exchange for oil, allegedly because “we are running out of oil” in the world. We then see some corporate conspiracy thrown in, as well. We hear Bond's allies telling us that “it is harder and harder to distinguish between right and wrong,” and others bluntly say that there is no right and wrong. This might even be considered the eco-Bond film.

Now, fans of Bourne or serio-violent action-dramas will doubtless love “Quantum of Solace.” It is certainly well constructed from a technical standpoint, but it seems to have departed too much from the traditional Bond and is starting to venture into politics. It is no small irony that in an age of terrorism, Bond is depicting America as assisting terrorism.

Daniel Craig is certainly leaving his mark as the most melodramatic of all the Bonds. Whether that is good or bad, I leave to the viewer to decide.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—While not as groundbreaking as its predecessor “Casino Royale,” Quantum is effective as the next high octane Bond go-round. In this movie, Bond is more of the atypical, womanizing action stud he's renown for—more akin to M's previous wish for a dispassionate “killer.”
The major differences between the two Craig reels are stark and bear semblance to the gap in momentum with Pierce Brosnan's debut in Goldeneye vs. his subsequent Bond performances. Goldeneye was a smash. It revived an otherwise dead franchise; it gave the world a new suave leading man for the role of Bond. But every sequel got progressively worse to the point of redundancy and staleness. I fear Daniel Craig's legacy will follow in the same footsteps—a banging start that quickly snowballs. Watch Quantum and you'll see I needn't spell it out for you.
Now, the biggest contrast between Bond 2 years ago and now is any shred of humanity felt and showed in the last film is gone, replaced by serial action shots and excruciatingly rote dialogue. Perhaps it's intentional, a device to take the draw off Bond's humanness in favor of his impartiality towards taking lives. In the process though, the scripting breaks down and trods on beaten action plotlines. Gag me. As if Jason Bourne hadn't already capitalized on any new frontiers in the genre.
The upshot to this flick is the opening. It's a duet with Alicia Keys and Jack White of the White Stripes. It's catchy and funky in a retro way. It suits the long lineage of 007 pop rock ballads. Another upshot is the continuity. Most Bond pieces, if memory serves, are standalone tales of international espionage brouhahas. Quantum picks up right where Casino leaves off. Nice.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jacob Keenum, age 22
Positive—I will admit that the story kinda lost me, but the action was some of the best I have ever seen. If you liked the last Bond movie, then you will also like this one. It is better than the Bourne movies and nothing like the old Bond movies with all of the silly gadgets, constant implied sex, etc. I don't remember any language, but the violence is everywhere. The only real sex content was the opening song like most bond movies with the dancing silhouettes. There was a scene where he kissed a woman on her bare back and the scene cuts away with the assumption that they slept together. I cannot watch commercials on TV without seeing this type of stuff. The movie was great and the action was non stop.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Brad, age 37
Positive—With “Casino Royale” in 2006, I was among the many people who finally saw Bond returning to a form which stayed more true to Ian Fleming's original concept; a Bond who was real and was not always aided by gadgets. A Bond who was not super-human and did suffer at times. Sadly, “Quantum of Solace” has slightly returned Bond back to his super-human self and in doing so taken away some of the realism that Daniel Craig finally brought to the franchise in 2006. Perhaps it is just the curse of being a sequel to an already excellent film that marred QOS's potential, or perhaps any other number of things. Regardless, I believe QOS has taken Bond a step backwards.

I will not say this film was a bad Bond film. In comparison with some previous Bond flops (“Die Another Day” or “A View to a Kill”), this one still shines in comparison. However, what “Casino Royale” brought to the franchise in terms of making Bond human, this one has taken away

I would still argue that Craig is the best actor to portray Bond since Sean Connery, and is still the closest representation of Fleming's original concept. Sadly, as the reviewer mentioned, this film suffered many flaws (some more minor annoyances) that held back its full potential.

The camera work is awful, the shaky action-cam “Bourne” style really does take away from the action rather than add to it. Part of the excitement of a Bond action sequence is the ability to discern what is going on rather than trying to guess who is hitting whom and which car is actually being hit.

Another disappointing feature, that may only upset die-hard Bond fans like myself, is the less than dramatic title sequence. Bond movies generally begin with an exciting sequence (which this one has) followed by a dramatic entrance into a fitting song (“Live and Let Die” a good example). The song then normally ends very dramatically preparing the viewer for the excitement to come. The quiet piano notes played at the end of the song merely left me feeling somewhat cheated.

Granted this is all nitpicking. If you want to see a Bond film that, while mediocre, still holds its own within the franchise then I would still highly recommend the film. If you want to find closure from “Casino Royale,” you may find some, though likely not as much as one would expect.

As the reviewer mentioned, QUANTUM, has been created as the new SPECTRE, and it is likely we will be seeing more of this organization in future Bond films. While this offers some interesting speculation, the lack of closure in this film seemed somewhat disappointing.

For Christian viewers, my advice is to be discerning. The movie earned it's PG-13 rating, and in reality had less offensive content than many PG-13 movies these days. Expect a good dose of violence, some implied sex, nudity in the form of a woman being covered in oil (a la “Goldfinger”) and the usual title sequence (which does show a bit more than usual). Language is actually a little more pervasive than previous Bond films in that the “S” word is heard at least twice amongst other mild swears.
I would advise all Christian movie-goers to search within your own personal beliefs and conscience to determine if a movie is right for you. Fans of previous Bond films can expect the usual from a Bond film.

If you are a Bond fan, you should see this movie. If you are new to Bond, try watching “Casino Royale” first. If you like “Casino Royale,” try some of the better, older Bond films such as “For Your Eyes Only,” “From Russia with Love” or “Goldeneye” (Brosnan's best). While QOS isn't anything groundbreaking, it still fits well into a franchise that is sometimes known for its ups and downs. Sadly, for fans of Daniel Craig, this film may be his “down;” though not do to his ability. Craig still holds his own as an excellent actor portraying one of the most iconic characters in cinema history.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Chris Byers, age 23
Positive—This is, in my opinion, better than the previous Bond movie, Casino Royale, and is possibly the best Bond movie so far. Incredible action and once again, great acting by Daniel Craig in this a fast-paced, well written film. Just opening scene is worth the ticket price to see this movie in theaters.
The action is just as intense as previous 007's so use your discretion whether or not your kids should see this one. But I think this is the cleanest Bond by far, with very little sexual content as compared to previous Bonds, and less swearing.
If you like action movies, whether or not you are a Bond fan, this movie is for you. The filming is incredible, and the action will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire movie. A must-see for any action junkie.

My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jake, age 18
Positive—Ka-boom! Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat. A car priced slightly under $100k flies down the side of a mountain with two similar cars in hot pursuit. And the driver? Why, if it isn't that delightful Mr. Bond. “Quantum of Solace” is not what you would expect in a James Bond movie. More like its predecessor “Casino Royale” than “Goldeneye,” Bond is cold, hard, and lacks in witty British humor while he's blowing away bad guys. No gadgets. Gunfights, knife fights, yes. But no gadgets. No super-bases. For the first time ever, a Bond movie is actually… feasible.

I felt like I was watching Jason Bourne's cousin. The cinematography was similar to “…Ultimatum.” Not a lot of moments when the girl of Bond's dreams (read: for one movie) is almost killed, but is rescued at the last moment. Maybe we see a slight flashback in a scene were Bond and a female British agent are in a room alone. “Would you help me find the stationary?,” in Bond-speak is, “Would you like to have casual sex?.” Needless to say, the next several seconds of the movie is somewhat lascivious, but to move on, there's not a lot of that in this movie.

Bond is rough, violent, and again, cold. He has never minded killing people, but he's never gone out of his way to show no human emotion, either. Old Bond would grab a bad guy, ram his head against a wall, and demand the whereabouts to the secret Soviet nuclear base. New Bond just shoots the guy and checks the apartment for ID.

Is this new Bond bad? I personally don't think so. A lot of my friends disagree with me. Bond is no longer a comical, fantasy spy, he is now a real person. A real person with real feelings of regret, emotion and duty. Thumbs up on “Quantum…”.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—James, age 19 (USA)
Neutral

none

Negative
Negative—Very Disappointing. My husband and I took our 13 year old son to see this movie and were disappointed. The days of the old James Bond are gone. No gadgets or great Bond one-liners. Anyone who loves the original Bond movies will be disappointed in how far this movie is from those. This movie was nothing but a shoot em up, blow em up modern action film with lots of violence and killing. I wish we would have saved our money. If it wasn't advertised as a Bond movie—I may have enjoyed it more. Just don't go expecting the Bond movies of old.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Christina, age 37
Negative—This was one of the worst movies ever. There was no plot other then who ever got in the way of the main actor (Daniel Craig)
he killed them… I would say it is not even worth renting don't waste your money like we did : (soooo bad it was so grueling to sit through bad bad bad is all I can say.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Mary, age 40
Negative—The plot is poor, Daniel Craig is a weak Bond, and the moral content is terrible. I am a huge fan of the “Bourne” series and action thrillers in general, so I decided to give this a shot. Don't bother, it's boring and inappropriate. Don't take the kids, and for that matter, don't take the adults.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Chris, age 19
Comments from young people
Negative—not good movie at all… this movie had way to much hype, but really its one of the bad Bond movies. I'm not a huge fan of 007, but out of the few of them that I've seen, this one was terrible, it had no plot and the Bond actor was terrible with no emotion, or anything… I didn't like it at all.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Matt, age 14 (Canada)
Positive—Now I am not a true Bond fan. I didn't enjoy the classic fancy gadget, one-linder Bond movies. I am more of Jason Borne fan, the fast-paced, action filled movies. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this film. Sadly most action movies now must drag out sexual scenes and spend 20 minutes showing someone get shot and bleed-out on the ground. This film on the other hand let you knew something sexual occoured but didn't sit there and have you watch it happen. Also James didn't have any relationship with the main “Bond Girl” in this film. She was his partner, nothing more, which is a step in the right direction showing women as important as men. The violence was kept to the generic shooting/stabbing present in most action films and was not drawn-out. It was kept to a realistic level, if you get shot you obviously bleed, but that doesn't mean you end up all over the wall. I would give this film 4.5/5 stars which is high compared to the 1.5/5 Casino Royale deserved.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Darr, age 14 (USA)
Negative—…I am a huge fan of James Bond, but this movie made me want to cry. It’s terrible. It’s like a Jason Bourne movie mixed with the worst movie in the world. Don’t watch it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Tito, age 12 (Mexico)