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Quantum of Solace (Blu-ray Review)

12 Mar, 2009 By: John Latchem

Street 3/24/09
Box Office $168.4 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.
Stars Daniel Craig, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright.

The 22nd James Bond movie is not the worst in the series, but it may be the most underwhelming. Quantum of Solace is a technically proficient thriller that covers all the bases fans have come to expect from a Bond film, but in many respects it feels as if it’s just going through the motions.

The story is a continuation of the excellent Casino Royale, and as a piece of the bigger puzzle it holds up better, with Bond (Daniel Craig) investigating the shadowy organization that drove the events of the first film, while at the same time seeking a measure of revenge for the death of his lost love.

The tone and spirit of the film also carries over from Casino Royale, which may be working against it. Where the idea of a reboot seemed fresh before, now it seems like more of the same. James Bond has never really needed a character study — he’s an archetypal hero molded in whole and unleashed upon his enemies. The origin doesn’t matter, just the results.

What makes Bond such an idol is the degree of pleasure he seems to derive from his job, but Craig’s Bond doesn’t seem to be having any fun at all. Quantum of Solace is probably the darkest Bond since 1989’s Licence to Kill, which also dealt with a revenge motif.

The single-disc DVD includes just the music video for the movie’s horrible theme song, “Another Way to Die,” by Jack White and Alicia Keys, while the two-disc and Blu-ray versions add behind-the-scenes material culled almost entirely from video blogs already available at the movie’s Web site.

That makes this one of the laziest special editions I’ve ever seen. What’s missing? The disc could have used an in-depth examination about connecting the plot points of this movie to the last one, probably a short feaurette about the significance of the title (which comes from a Bond short story by Bond creator Ian Fleming), and of course commentary and deleted scenes.

As an archive of the Quantum of Solace Web site, however, it gets the job done, and as a chronicle of the production, the featurettes are effective. Repurposing the ready-made content is a smart move for now, but it probably means a true deluxe edition will see the light of day just before the debut of the inevitable next movie.

Quantum of Solace is a portrait of a franchise at the crossroads. Will it continue down this road of manufacturing “Bourne” style techno-thrillers, or will the producers re-inject some of the fun of the earlier movies?

All I know for certain is that James Bond will return. And so will his fans.

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