Quantum of Solace opens ten minutes after chucking out time at Casino Royale with a car chase that’s a million miles away from those of creaky old Roger Moore. Once upon a time you could lay money on a Bond film including a chase sequence where a clapped out old vehicle containing a clapped out old couple would be passed furiously by Bond + girl in a fully Q’d up sporty number, and then a few minutes later re-pass the smouldering wreck of same to general hilarity. Not so in Daniel Craig’s universe.
In QoS the emphasis is on grit rather than wit. It’s definitely Bond: a scattering of gadgets, cars, M, scenery and girls leaves you in no doubt. There are even some scenes classically reminiscent of the days of Connery, except without the hats. But this is a Bond post-Bourne: the pace about ten times quicker, the action about ten times more active, the direction about ten times as bewildering.
The product placement needed only neon pointy signs to be more obvious. A certain manufacturer of rubbish phones receives so much visibility I was expecting a “magical tracking system and impossible photo enhancement service sold separately” caption in some scenes. But that’s part of the fun.
Bond himself is a miserable git throughout; I suspect they cut a scene where he phones the Samaritans. We see more of Dame Judi M Dench’s home life than we ever did, or indeed wanted to, in the days of gruff old Bernard M Lee.
To me the film feels like the second in a trilogy, though I appear to be in the minority on that one. There are a few lines that suggest it, nothing overblown, just a hint. Bond will of course return in any case. Whether the producers choose one of the remaining unused Fleming titles I sincerely doubt; I believe they are Risico, The Property of a Lady, 007 in New York and The Hildebrand Rarity. Elements from some of those stories have been used in plots of previous Bond movies, but very few movies have stuck to the original story so that’s not a problem. (Quantum of Solace is an original Fleming title, but the story wasn’t about spying at all and barely includes Bond.)
My guess is that they’ll continue to reintroduce some of the “classic” Bond elements in the next film. Q is due a reappearance, though I’d rather he wasn’t John Cleese. I’ll see if I can make some time in my busy schedule. I eagerly await the offer from Barbara Broccoli or any of her vegetable friends.
Avaragado’s rating: one packet of smokey bacon crisps, and one cheese and onion