Tuesday, November 25, 2008


So we went to watch Quantum of Solace last night. I have to say I liked the film but it was definitely not as good as the first Daniel Craig James Bond flick. I really like the idea of the series reboots that have been happening – taking a familiar property and updating it to reflect current trends, culture and technology. And the 007 Reboot with Craig is no exception. I like that it’s less goofy and a darker type of story than before but they really missed a few key points in this one.

First of all, one of the things that made Casino Royale so good was the personal connection the audience could make with Bond. I could buy into the relationship he developed with Vesper and could see the pain that he went through because of it. It allowed for empathy with an otherwise brutal character. In this installment they failed to build any empathy and instead Bond comes across as a cold unfeeling robot. He was supposed to be driven by fury but it seemed instead like he was driven by.... i don't know. Accounting? Boredom? Whatever it was, it was NOT seething rage.

Second of all, the video editing was not as good. The fight scenes were speeded up to quickly and combined with jumpy camera work make them very difficult to follow. I was rarely able to work up a sense of peril in the fights because I couldn’t’ hardly tell what was going on.
Third of all, to many plot important points took place off screen. I mean isn’t this a big budget film? Don’t they have enough money to do the actual plot exposition ON SCREEN? Having a character casually toss off critical plot points as something that had just happened off screen is not a good way to tell a story.

Fourth of all, this story is VERY closely related to Casino Royale. In fact, the beginning of this film is set one hour after the end of the last. I didn’t know that. I didn’t figure out all the connections between this story and the last one until the film was almost over. If you are going to rely so heavily on something told that way I expect a “previously in James Bond” type recap at the beginning. In fact, a 007 film seems perfect for that, they could have used the traditional opening segment to gently remind viewers what happened in the last film that is important to this film. Then they could do the 007 shoots the circle thing and start whatever song they have for the opening credits. Instead the developers just assumed that we all watch Casino Royale at least every other month and would surely still remember all the details of that film

Fifth of all, they failed to use the 007 Theme music properly. They teased at the theme several times during the course of the movie but never actually PLAYED it until the ending credits. It’s a classic theme for a reason. It should get more than token reference during the film
Now, having said that it’s still a good film and I’m glad we went to see it. I can recommend it as a fun show just that they let me down a bit. I might have liked it better if I had recently seen the first Craig film and had those details fresh in my mind- in fact I probably would have liked it a lot more had I kept in mind the tragic ending of that film as his motivation for this one – instead of trying to remember exactly how that all fit together while watching this one.

Like I said before I like the reboots of these classic shows. I think the 007 reboot is working, especially the first film and I’m very interested to see what they continue to do. I think the Batman reboots have worked extremely well – especially Batman Begins, but Dark Knight was also successful in my mind. I really like the BattleStar Galactica reboot and even considering the middle of the third season I think it’s a very successful restart of a classic series. I think the Fallout 3 game I’m playing is an effective reboot if you will of a classic game. In each of these cases they have adapted the classic elements with modern techniques and, in the case of the movies and shows, more believable characters.

One reboot I’m really excited about is also related to last nights movie. One of the previews shown was for the upcoming J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek. I admit, that I shouted “whoohoo!” in the theater as soon as I realized that they were playing the Trek preview, and also yelled “Yeah!” when the line “I’m James Tiberius Kirk” was delivered. If you haven't seen that preview I highly recommend the Star Trek link above. You can see it there.
This reboot looks very exciting and I’m thrilled to think about more human and less “rick bermaned”, to coin a phrase, characters. The thing that made Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn such a good film was the story telling and the character interactions. They were real and believable there, and I have high hopes (and the preview doesn’t dash them) that this reboot will feature more believable characters. Characters that are MORE loveable BECAUSE of their foibles and not less.

I suppose time will tell but in the meantime I’ll keep hoping and keep rooting for the makers of the series reboots.

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