Monday, November 17, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The fact that this is a good movie is overshadowed by how disappointing it was. Casino Royale, while not great, was the best Bond movie in a long damn while, and really seemed to set the stage for a new and improved Bond series. It seemed like they had a lot of new ideas for the series, but it looks like I was wrong. Unless you count "shamelessly rip off the Bourne movies" as a new idea.

I could nitpick a bit about the writing, the plot, and the supporting characters as all being a step down from the last movie. I'm not going to, because while not great, it's all serviceable. And the movie is certainly entertaining, you get you're money's worth, you aren't bored, all in all it's a respectable Bond movie.

No, my big complaint here is the action. It seems like a lot of cool stuff was going on, but I couldn't tell, because it's all shot and edited in what almost seems to intentionally be the least coherent style ever.

It's an attempt to ape the Paul Greengrass style of the Bourne sequels, only the filmmakers don't do it properly. Yes, Greengrass had his crew shake the camera around a lot, and then edit a lot of shots in rapid succession. But he also had them shoot the subject from a far enough distance that we could clearly see what it was, and then edited it all in a clear manner that worked to help establish the geography of the action scene, and establish all the participants' locations in relation to each other. Some of the action scenes in Quantum of Solace feel like little more than series of incoherent, shaky-cam close ups. Half the time I couldn't tell who was who or what exactly happened until several seconds after it was over.

Some isolated moments are good, especially a fight scene in a small hotel room, but a lot of the major action sequences are a wash. This might play better on DVD on a smaller screen, I think the human brain might be able to process and understand the visuals a little better. That could explain how a bunch of professionals managed to work on this and not notice how hard to follow much of it was, they would have edited the film on a smaller screen. But until I watch it at home and potentially come to a newer appreciation of it, I can't fully endorse an action movie that lacks good action. Even if the rest of the movie is decent.

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