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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Jimmy B.

Well I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Much has been written about the latest instalment of the James Bond franchise, Quantum Of Solace, and a lot of it has been negative, so last night The Demon and I decided to see for ourselves.
I felt that the director wanted the plot to be slightly ambiguous right from the start, leaving you wondering for a good portion of the film where Bond's loyalties really lay. None of this really matters though, as at it's core it's just a good old fashioned thriller.
What it definitely isn't is a James Bond film, not in the traditional sense anyway, although this probably says more about my age and less about the film.
Bond films, like the Carry On films, were stand alone works that didn't rely on the audience having seen the previous film to follow the plot. They featured aristocratic and extrovert villains who almost always intended to take over/destroy the world, they featured gadgetry that, to my mind at least, always seemed pointless, let alone far fetched or futuristic and they always had a dastardly plan that could only ever be thwarted by an undercover spy who everyone knew and whose sole talent seemed to be his ability to get his end away with almost any woman he met.

Fantastic stuff.

Quantum Of Solace on the other hand, like Casino Royale before it, brings Bond bang up to date. The days of fat Chinese butlers with hats that could take your head off, tall men with metal teeth and guns made of precious metal are long gone, as they should be, this is Bond 2.0 after all, but I can't help mourning the loss of the comedy.
James Bond films always had moments that played for laughs, never delivered better than by Roger Moore, but NeoBond has none of this.
Daniel Craig himself is perfect as the agent for the 21st century and certainly does his bit to take Ian Fleming's character to places that no Bond has been before, having a conscience being one, but I can't help feeling sorry for any actress who plays a bond girl, they are instantly forgettable and totally disposable. When the improbably named Strawberry Fields, played by Gemma Arterton, bites the dust, I found myself struggling to remember what she looked like.
The rest of the film has its faults of course. It's quite short at only 106 minutes and product placement by the Ford Group is absolutely rife, but as I said right at the start, I enjoyed Quantum Of Solace, helped in no small measure by watching Casino Royale on Friday afternoon before heading off to the cinema, but lets be clear . . .

Bond is dead.
Long live Bond.


Jaggy said...

Hmmm, not sure I agree with you on this one. They could have just left Bond out of it and substituted A. N. Other as the secret agent and nobody would have noticed.

At least I beat Steve to first post for once.

Inchy said...

Jaggy - Yes they could have, but if that agents name is Bond, James Bond, then your film is guaranteed to be a success worldwide, no matter how good it is.
The bottom line is that the gentleman spy of old just can't work in the 21st century and Bond had to evolve. I think they've got it just about right.
As for Steve, I'm starting to get a bit worried.

Eostre said...

Long legs, red hair, and a tiny little trench coat, these are things that keep Ms. Fields' memory alive in my mind.

I miss the smug little quips and Q, but over all I adore new Bond. I empathize with his brittle control fire under ice thing much more than I did with the whole charming bordering on smarmy thing of previous Bonds.

Regrettably I went with my mother who kept asking my what was happening every two seconds, it was jarring and kept pulling me out of it.

Craig is quite the hottass, in a moment of confusion, I think I wanted to Go There. It might have been the grey silk suit.

Inchy said...

Eostre - Surely Daniel Craig can have no bigger compliment than "just for a second, you converted me".
You should mail his management company and let him know!

I also found myself equally deriding and applauding Miss Fields bizarre decision to wear a trench coat and knee-length leather boots in the heat of sunny downtown La Paz in Bolivia. Like me, I'm sure you considered her to be naked underneath, as all good Bond girls should be.

Steve said...

Totally agree. Craig is the best thing to happen to Bond since Connery and Dame Judy is a joy to watch too. You're right about the Bond girls - it seems they are disposable in another way now - but then most people around Bond get blown away. The only one you can rely on to survive is Bond. The loss of Q and the gadgets is no loss at all in my book - they were frequently used as cheap and obvious plot devices and the story moves better without having to rely on them.

Inchy said...

True, Steve.
I think the worst one was Pierce Brosnan lying on the back seat of that 7 Series BMW throwing it around a multi-story car park by remote control.

I've tried driving remote control cars, they have a bloody mind of their own.

Charlie Mingles said...

I like daniel craig in other things (layer cake, our friends in the north etc) but I just cant take him seriously as bond. he just looks too .. gay.

if they ever make an openly gay bond - hes the man. Until then -they should have gone with clive owen.

Rol said...

Still not seen it... but though I agree with you about the loss of certain essential Bond qualities, I'm sure they'll be back. These things go in cycles, and I have no doubt that next Bond after Craig will be more Moore than Bourne.