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Not bad...not bad at all!
I saw this here in my home town last night, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I hadn't been expecting much, to be honest (the trailer does the film a disservice), but I was really taken with what they did, considering they had to make it on a smaller-than-intended budget (no WETA Digital/Industrial Light & Magic, folks). The story was very compelling and it had some great performances, including Jim Caviezel as the hero. Mr. Caviezel was excellent, and I wish we saw more of him, he's like a rock in this picture. But the rest of the cast are every bit as good: Sophia Myles, John Hurt, Jack Huston – brilliant! The trailer did something of an injustice to the cinematographer Pierre Gill, with it looking rougher than the badger's proverbial. This bears no relation to the finished product, which is so beautiful as to be jaw-dropping, and then some. And, while SPIN VFX is no WETA or ILM, their work was great enough that I didn't miss them (although the baby Moorwen wasn't as good as the big one). All told, it was a great film that is much better than the crummy marketing and support would suggest. Give it a go and, on this score, I can't wait to see what all you guys do next!
Quantum of Solace (2008)
it's a bust, not a must.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE put bluntly, it's a bust, not a must.
Firstly, let's deal with what I like about it. As you may know, many of the trademarks (clichés IMHO) of the series do not make an appearance here: none of this Bond getting the girl at the end and all that malarkey, and that's perfectly fine with me: I thought it had gotten kind of boring and, given that they're in a period of reinvention with Bond, it was time it got dropped. I am also pleased that they've carried on the development of Bond as a much more complicated human being, and one that lives more by his skills and not his gadgets again, I very much welcome this, for this is how Bond movies used to be (FROM Russia WITH LOVE, etc). I also think that getting Mathieu Amalric as the baddie was inspired, and Daniel Craig continues to impress with the role of Bond.
Doing fine, aren't we? But, wait, keep reading. Marc Forster (MONSTER'S BALL, EVERYTHING PUT TOGETHER, THE KITE RUNNER) is very good when it comes to the likes of those films, but I think a Bond movie was a change of pace too far, and the producers unwisely gave him his head on this one. For example, one of the things I love about the series is its high visual class and richness, and I am bitterly disappointed that this has been cast aside in favour of something akin to a 16mm TV documentary fine for Jason Bourne, but not James Bond. Herr Forster chose to use his usual DoP, Roberto Schaefer, instead of guys like the excellent Phil Meheux or Alec Mills, both of whom have considerable experience of the Bond series, and know what needs to be done on these kind of gigs. Schaefer doesn't, 'nuff said! And that's just the tip of the iceberg
There's worse to come: the plot is as clear as crude oil, with some scenes having the feeling of being edited to confuse you still further. Nice, eh? But the scenes with Giancarlo Giannini are what really take the biscuit, especially his death scene, which produced audible tittering in the audience, as Daniel Craig cradled him in his arms. It rivals Jake Gyllenhaal's declaration of unrequited love to Heath Ledger in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN as a masterpiece of unintentional comedy. How sad. Add to all this the crap song by Jack White and Alisha Keys (!), MK12's uninspiring title sequence, etcetera, and you have my biggest disappointment of 2008!
Stay sane, stay away!