New on DVD: Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace marked the 22nd film that featured the infamous Agent 007 on the big screen but it's not up to typical standards.

In his second Bond picture, Daniel Craig (Bond) travels to Austria, Italy and South America. Despite his nonchalance in the last instalment, Bond is still set to avenge the death of his beloved betrayer, Vesper. In addition, he and M (Judi Dench) uncover a complex and dangerous organization with their fingers in many pies. His mission leads him to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless businessman conspiring to gain control of one of the world’s most important natural resources. Bond’s path is also crossed by Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman with a vendetta of her own.

The newest chapter in this decades old epic shifts the focus from Bond’s suave, clever demeanour to fast-paced action sequences. It’s a highly noticeable and unwelcome change. The first 20 minutes of the film speeds through three different breakneck scenes: a car chase, foot chase, and hand-to-hand fight. Furthermore, filmmakers are very fond of using parallel editing when cutting the action sequences, creating analogies with a horse race and an operatic performance. It’s somewhat grating. Finally, even the CGI in some of the scenes is perceptible.

The dynamic between Bond and M is as energetic as ever. M is too attached and forever protective. Bond reciprocates entirely despite his recklessness. They exchange quips and provide the very minimal comedic relief throughout the movie. On the other hand, Bond’s consistent and isolated solemnity is understandable but much less entertaining.

The Bond girls are uniformly beautiful but less forceful than their predecessors. Strawberry Fields’ (Gemma Arterton) role is minimal and Bond’s seduction is even less conspicuous, denying audiences a thorough display of his charm. Conversely, Camille is much more his equal, which is a gratifying trait in a Bond girl.

The two-disc DVD locates most of the special features on the second disc but the “Another Way to Die” music video pairing Jack White and Alicia Keys is on the first. Featurettes running about 3 minutes each explore the start of shooting, the location, the boat chase, director Marc Forster and the music of the film. There’s also a 25-minute featurette showing the various locations at which the film was shot. Finally, 60-second profiles of 34 of the crew members round out the bonus features.

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