Last night I went out with my wife and some friends to watch QUANTUM OF SOLACE. I was so excited. But when the movie ended, I was totally unsatisfied. There was no release. Nothing. It just ended.
There was lots of great stuff in it. Love the character and style of this new bond. Loved CASINO ROYALE, but this just didn’t work for me. My diagnosis has two parts.
MINOR ISSUE: clarity in story. The chase scenes were so choppy I couldn’t get a feel for what was going on so I could worry for Bond. All I did was get sick to my stomach. Part of the way through I told my wife I was going to write death threats to the freaking director. Who in the world thought that was a good idea? It doesn’t mimic battle etc. In battle you are HYPER alert and focused. Your world doesn’t turn into chaos.
But it was more than the chase scenes. There were times when I did not know what was going on. Why was Bond going to his friend from movie 1, why was he watching that guy pick up a bag at the play, why was he going to the party, etc.?
If he’d shared any of his plans, I could have gotten worried when antagonistic forces thwarted him. As it was, I was just watching him do stuff and only realizing at the end what the goal was.
The basic principle of suspense is to let me know what they need to do and why they need to do it, then let me worry as I see the operation fall apart. Or let me know the danger and see them walking into it. But time and again they didn’t provider the viewer with the necessary information in this movie.
MAJOR ISSUE: ineffective story structure. I think for a film to build to a huge climax and release, the hero has to find himself in more and more desperate circumstances. His situation has to become darker and darker until we see no way out for him. By the end of act 2 his plans etc. should all be in shambles. He’s out of options.
In this Bond I rarely felt he was in danger. Yes, there were some fight sequences which were tense, but he never ended up in worse shape afterwards. We got messages that he was being framed for murders, but I never really felt the screws tightening on him. So it never got darker and darker for him.
His plans seemed to only be delayed, not destroyed. In Casino Royale, his car is wrecked and he’s taken captive and is going to die. He loses. In this one, nothing. Even when his plane is shot down going out to the desert, it’s just a delay. They walk to the bustop and are soon back on track.
There might be another point about something being at stake. The water grab is a great idea, but we’re talking a 50 year plot. It’s not THAT urgent.
I think they could have done more by playing up the revenge/mystery of the last one. Yes, have the water grab, but make this personal to him. He’s searching for the answers to who was behind his lover’s death. Why not?
Then get the villain, the US CIA, and the British hunting him down with real resources. He evaded everyone fairly easily in this one. He’s running FROM all these forces, barely one step ahead, until he gets caught by them. And it’s one of Green’s guys in the CIA or something like that who captures him. So he’s totally screwed. Then have the Black CIA officer do something to spring him. He’d probably have to die for it.
I’m sure there are more and better options. But do something so that Bond is running for his life, FAILS, then pulls it out. Not chasing down the bad guys one by one with relative ease.
Just one option. Thoughts?