Quantum of Solace Marc Forster

Quantum of Solace Marc Forster
Having reenergized the floundering 007 franchise with, of all things, a remake of the original story, Casino Royale, Daniel Craig ushered in a "new" James Bond, one that made us quickly forget about the smarmy ennui Pierce Brosnan slipped the character. But the success of Casino Royale set unfamiliarly high expectations for Craig's second film, and Quantum of Solace left many critics feeling disappointed — and not just because of its unfriendly title. Picking up just minutes after Casino ends, Quantum finds Bond on the hunt for vengeance for the death of his love. After a hit on M (Judi Dench) is diverted, Bond finds a path that leads him to Austria, Italy and Bolivia, where he and token femme fatale Camille (Olga Kurylenko) uncover a plot by a ruthless ecologist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Using his influence, Greene manipulates the C.I.A. and the British government and strikes a deal with a high-ranking military general that involves overthrowing a Latin American government in exchange for what seems to be a useless plot of land. The first Bond movie to be an official sequel, Quantum doesn't waste time getting to the action with an amazing car chase, which has nothing to do with the plot. It does set the pace for a real thrill ride but in exchange for the rush the essence of 007 is sacrificed. While Craig maintains his laddish, hulking spin on the character, Forster's idea of what makes a great Bond film involves stripping him of his sexual magnetism and Englishness, and giving him a Jason Bourne urgency instead. And for a revenge flick, the payback doesn't exactly reach that sweetness or iciness one would imagine pumping through the veins of someone with a license to kill. Perhaps that has to do with Forster, a director with more of a sensitive touch (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland), who also fails to give Greene any villainous depth (i.e., a fluffy cat, a steel-teethed henchman, or a diabolical plan). And while it's so easy to pick apart Quantum, it still has Craig taking care of business, as well as some truly thrilling moments, making it miles better than anything Brosnan was tied to. Unfortunately, the extras fare even worse than the film. All that is offered is a series of featurettes, none of which offer anything more than some superficial looks behind the scenes. "Bond on Location" is the best of the bunch, jumping from country to country to show how the exotic globetrotting of our hero sets the tone and mood for the thrills. It also shows how Craig really does man up and perform stunts most leading men would never consider. Other featurettes include Kurylenko discussing the boat chase, one on Forster and the music — answering why Jack White and Alicia Keys would ever get together — which are all far too brief and half-assedly presented. This set is unnecessary as a two-disc release can be. (MGM)