Nowadays, I believe there is an unofficial motto being bantered about Hollywood:

“If it’s broke – reboot it.”

I think we can all agree that it worked for the Batman franchise, and after seeing QUANTUM OF SOLACE, the 22nd James Bond movie, I can say decisively that flipping the reboot switch has worked well for the 007 franchise as well.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE begins about twenty minutes after the final moments of CASINO ROYALE. After a spirited car chase through the Italian hills, James Bond (Daniel Craig) opens the trunk of his Aston Martin and removes the bound and gagged body of Mr. White – the man most directly responsible for the death of Vesper Lynd (the lovely lass 007 fell in love with during CASINO ROYALE). As M (Judi Dench) begins interrogating Mr. White, he aludes to the organization he works for. “We’re everywhere” he says “and you don’t even know we exist”. Indeed no sooner has he said that, than is he killed by one of his own men posing as an MI6 operative.

A forensic investigation send Bond to Haiti, where he picks up the trail of Dominic Greene(Mathieu Amalric). Greene poses as an environmental businessman, but is a man of interest to every intelligence agency in the world. On his arm, for a while anyway, is Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko). Montes is hellbent on getting to Bolivian General Medrano, a business associate of Greene to avenge her family, murdered by his regime.

While MI6 tries to keep Bond on a short leash, worried that he’ll go rogue in attempts to avenge Vesper’s death, he continues to disobey command and direction, making a beeline for Greene and his associates in Quantum. After learning of their existence during a scene backdropped by the opera Tosca, he sees the threat they pose to Bolivia, and the world. He’s hellbent on taking them down, whether M approves of it or not.



This is the sort of movie that needs to be measured by a few different standards at once. It’s a good film. It’s a solid action flick. It’s a great 007 movie…though one that isn’t quite as great as CASINO ROYALE. The idea of Bond vengefully pursuing his love’s killers is an interesting play. This of course is the man that audiences have spent twenty movies regarding as a heartless playboy…a man who can change women on his arm like changing trains. To see Daniel Craig with anger and sadness in his eyes as he defies orders is a side of the character we’ve never seen before.

Many of the classic Bond touchstones are present – the cars, the black tie affairs, and the girls with the clever names (Miss Strawberry Fields, if you please). However, like CASINO ROYALE, the handy gadgets have been left out. It’s a good idea, since it tends to ground the stories a bit more, and makes them slightly more plausible (only slightly mind you). Hell, even the shaken-not-stirred martinis have been set aside by a new concoction of Gordon’s, Vodka, Lillet, and a lemon peel…though they are of course still shaken.

I believe that the re-booting of the Bond franchise has made them more accessible. Many movie-goers had grown weary of the double-entendres, the endless arsenal of gizmos, and the plots bent on world domination. If they hadn’t grown weary, chances are they never really got them in the first place. The stories now feel more like anti-terror missions, and their corporate villains feel like more of a threat. As in CASINO ROYALE, QUANTUM OF SOLACE gives a wink and a nod to the movies that have come before, but is clearly moving in a new direction.

Top marks need to be given to director Marc Forster, who is easily the best director in many years that the franchise has handed the keys over to. He gets taut performances from Craig and Dench, and works especially well with Amalric to create a very despicable villain. The franchise will always have certain expectations, and likewise certain drawbacks, but with the second successful film in a row on screens now, it’s clear to see that the reboot has worked well. Bring on the next instalment.

Matineescore: ★ ★ ★ out of ★ ★ ★ ★
What did you think? Please leave comments with your thoughts and reactions on QUANTUM OF SOLACE.