Back to Bond… James Bond

I just finished watching Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back. Guess what — Quantum isn’t a bad movie.  The problem was that it was the second half of a movie that got broken into two parts.

Quantum seems to pick up like one day after the end of Royale, but for viewers two years had passed and by then we’d forgotten a lot of the details.

Bond is killing his way through people as he tries to find out who was behind Vesper’s death, but his rage and obsession don’t make a lot of sense if you don’t have a fairly detailed memory of Casino Royale.  His casual use of women leading to their deaths and M’s reaction again only has meaning when you think about Bond’s confusion over Vesper — did he love her or did he hate her, is she the bitch that he labeled her or the love of his life?

The death of Rene Mathis with Bond cradling the man in his arms (I’m wondering if they copied it for the end of Skyfall where Bond is cradling M?) has no meaning or emotional resonance unless you remember that Bond erroneously accused Mathis of working for the bad guys in Casino.

The final scene of the movie has no impact emotionally or intellectually unless you remember that Vesper betrayed Britain to protect the man she loved.  She believed he was a prisoner and she acted to protect him.

Now we get to the end of Quantum and discover that the man Vesper loved worked for this shady Quantum organization and used his charms to seduce female agents.  We see him doing it to a Canadian agent and handing out the lover’s knot necklaces (which was such a telling symbol in Royale) like popcorn, but again if you don’t remember the necklace Vesper was wearing and her love for this man then the scene is just confusing.  Who is this guy?  Why should I care?

I did feel like the theme was muddled if not down right contradictory.  With the young hispanic agent Bond is encouraging her to take vengeance on the corrupt police chief and find closure, but then he doesn’t kill Vesper’s duplicitous lover.  Maybe because all the deaths that Bond has dealt throughout the money haven’t brought Bond closure and peace?  Then why did he suggest it for Camille Montes as a way to lay her ghosts to rest?

I’m not saying Quantum is a great movie, but it is when compared the mess that was Spectre.  Why on Earth did they think it was a good idea to have all the Bond antagonists from Royale, Quantum and Skyfall be the puppets of Blofeld?  I digress.  I think if you make Casino Royale and Quantum a double feature you’ll be pleased with the result.


2 Responses to Back to Bond… James Bond

  • Raymond Low says:

    Hi Melinda,

    I completely agree. You really need to remember the details of Casino Royale to appreciate Quantum of Solace. I suppose the writers thought it would be a keen idea to thread all the films together and have it all lead to Blofeld. Perhaps they were so married to this idea it painted
    themselves into corners leading to the confusing Spectre.

    As for the man Vesper loved, one can only assume his days are numbered. Certainly word will spread among the Intelligence community and his usefulness as a seductor will end. But, it would have been more fitting if Bond had exercised his licence to kill.

    Going back to Spectre — the one thing I’m still muddled about is why did Bond grab the ring from the baddie at the start of the film? Has he seen this ring before? Did the baddie demonstrate the ring had some significance? To me, it seemed stealing the ring during the helicopter fight was odd and out of place. And for Q to scan and read DNA from the ring seemed magical given how the ring was handled. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief — but c’mon — this is asking too much.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m trying to remember. I sort of blotted Spectre from my brain, but when M left the message for Bond wasn’t there a image of the octopus or something? If they intended to aim for Blofeld and Spectre then I’ve lost a lot of respect for the producers. Going back to the campy Bond stuff was such a bad choice. It was the gritty feel of the earlier movies, and Craig’s acting skills that brought me back to being a total Bond lover.

      It seems like Vesper’s gentleman friend has now been captured by MI-6 and will sing like a birdie so I didn’t mind Bond not killing him. M had read him the riot act on killing people before they could be questioned and how his murder spree led to the death of the young agent.

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