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Quantum of Solace
Information about James Bond: Quantum of SolaceQuantum of Solace (2008, 5 years ago) is the 22nd James Bond movie by EON Productions and is the direct sequel to the 2006 (7 years ago) movie Casino Royale. Directed by Marc Forster, it features Daniel Craig's second performance as James Bond. In the film, Bond battles Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a member of the Quantum organisation posing as an environmentalist who intends to stage a coup d'état in Bolivia to take control of its water supply. Bond seeks revenge for the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), and is assisted by Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko (54 walls)), who is also seeking revenge.
Producer Michael G. Wilson developed the film's plot while Casino Royale (4 walls) was being shot. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis, and Joshua Zetumer contributed to the script. The title was chosen from a 1960 (53 years ago) short story in Ian Fleming's For Your Eyes Only, though the movie does not contain any elements of the original story. Location filming took place in Panama, Chile, Italy, and Austria while interior sets were built and filmed at Pinewood Studios. Forster aimed to make a modern movie that also featured classic cinema motifs: a vintage aeroplane was used for a dogfight sequence, and Dennis Gassner's set designs are reminiscent of Ken Adam's work on several early Bond films. Taking a course away from the usual Bond villains, Forster rejected any grotesque appearance for the character Dominic Greene to emphasise the hidden and secret nature of the film's contemporary villains.
The movie premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on 29 Oct. 2008 (5 years ago), gathering mixed reviews which mainly praised Craig's gritty performance and the film's action sequences while feeling that Quantum of Solace was not as impressive as the predecessor Casino Royale.
PlotThe movie continues immediately after the events of Casino Royale (4 walls) with Bond driving from Lake Como to Siena, Italy. With the captured Mr. White in the luggage compartment of his car, Bond is attacked by chasing henchmen. After evading his pursuers, Bond and M interrogate White regarding his organisation, Quantum. M's bodyguard, Mitchell, is revealed as a double agent and a traitor, attacking M and allowing White to escape; Bond chases Mitchell across Siena and kills him. Following a forensic investigation into Mitchell's apartment back in London, Bond heads to Haiti to track down and kill Mitchell's contact, Edmund Slate. In carrying out his objective, Bond learns that Slate was sent to kill Camille Montes at the behest of her lover, Dominic Greene, the chairman of an ecological organization called Greene Planet. While observing her meeting with Greene, Bond learns that Greene is helping the Bolivian general Medrano – who murdered Camille's family – overthrow his government in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of desert.
Greene has Camille escorted away on Medrano's boat to "sweeten" their deal, but Bond rescues her. Bond then follows Greene to a private jet, which flies him to a performance of Tosca at Lake Constance, Austria. Bond infiltrates Quantum's meeting at the opera, and a gunfight ensues in a restaurant. A bodyguard of Guy Haines, an advisor to the British Prime Minister, is killed, and M, assuming Bond is the killer, has his passports and credit cards revoked. Bond travels to Talamone, small Italian town in Maremma, to reunite with his old ally René Mathis, whom he convinces to accompany him to La Paz. They are greeted by Strawberry Fields, an MI6 field operative from the British Consulate, who demands that Bond return to the UK on the next available flight. Bond disobeys and seduces her in their hotel suite.
Bond meets Camille again at a fund-raiser being held by Greene, and they leave hastily together, but are pulled over by the Bolivian police. The police order Bond to open the luggage compartment of his vehicle, revealing a bloodied Mathis. As Bond lifts Mathis out of the vehicle, the policemen open fire and fatally wound Mathis, who dies in Bond's arms. After Bond subdues the police and deposits Mathis's body in a waste container, Bond and Camille drive to Greene's intended land acquisition and survey the area in a Douglas DC-3 plane. They are intercepted and shot down by an Aermacchi SF.260 fighter and a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter. They escape from the crippled plane by parachuting, landing in a sinkhole. While escaping the cave, Bond and Camille discover Quantum is blockading Bolivia's supply of fresh water, normally flowing in subterranean rivers, by damming it to double the price of water. The duo return to La Paz, where Bond meets M and learns Quantum murdered Fields by drowning her in crude oil. Believing that Bond has become a threat to both friend and foe, M orders him to disarm and end his activities in Bolivia, but he defies her and escapes.
Bond meets CIA agent Felix Leiter at a local bar, who discloses Greene and Medrano will meet at an eco-hotel in the Bolivian desert. Tipped off by Leiter, Bond evades American special forces attempting to kill him. Bond then sets out to the hotel where Greene and Medrano make the change in the Bolivian leadership. Bond kills the departing Colonel of Police for betraying Mathis, and sets off a chain of explosions in the hotel when a hydrogen fuel tank is hit by an out of control vehicle. Camille kills Medrano, and Bond captures Greene. After interrogating him, he leaves Greene stranded in the middle of the desert with only a can of motor oil. Bond drives Camille to a train station, where they kiss before she departs.
Bond goes to Kazan, Russia, where he confronts Vesper Lynd's former lover, Yusef Kabira. Yusef is a member of Quantum who seduces high-ranking women with valuable connections, getting them to give up government assets as ransom for himself in fake kidnappings where he is supposedly held hostage. He is attempting to do the same with Canadian agent Corinne Veneau, even giving her the same kind of necklace he gave Vesper. Surprising them at Yusef's apartment, Bond tells Corinne about Vesper and advises her to alert the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. As Bond is leaving Yusef's apartment he is confronted by M, who is surprised that Bond did not kill Yusef, but rather left him alive for questioning. M reveals that Leiter has been promoted by the CIA, replacing Beam. And that Greene was found in the desert, shot dead with 2 bullet holes in is head and with motor oil in his stomach. Bond doesn't volunteer any information on Greene, but tells M that she was right about Vesper. M then tells Bond that MI6 needs him back and fully reinstates him as an agent. Bond walks off into the night telling M that he never left. As he leaves, he drops Vesper's necklace in the snow.
DevelopmentIn Jul. 2006 (7 years ago), as Casino Royale (4 walls) entered post-production, EON Productions announced that the next movie would be based on an original idea by producer Michael G. Wilson. It was decided beforehand the movie would be a direct sequel, to exploit Bond's emotions following Vesper's death in the previous film. Just as Casino Royale's theme was terrorism, the sequel focuses on environmentalism. The movie was confirmed for a 2 May 2008 (5 years ago) release date, with Craig reprising the lead role. Roger Michell, who directed Craig in Enduring Love and The Mother, was in negotiations to direct, but opted out because there was no script. Sony Entertainment vice-chairman Jeff Blake admitted a production schedule of eighteen months was a very short window, and the release date was pushed back to late 2008 (5 years ago). Neal Purvis and Robert Wade completed their draft of the script by Apr. 2007 (6 years ago), and Paul Haggis – who polished the Casino Royale (4 walls) script – began his rewrite the next month.
In Jun. 2007 (6 years ago), Marc Forster was confirmed as director. He was surprised that he was approached for the job, stating he was not a big Bond movie fan through the years, and that he would not have accepted the project had he not seen Casino Royale (4 walls) prior to making his decision: he felt Bond had been humanised in that film, arguing since traveling the world had become less exotic since the series' advent, it made sense to focus more on Bond as a character. Born in Germany and raised in Switzerland, Forster was the first Bond director not to come from the British Commonwealth of Nations, although he noted Bond's mother is Swiss, making him somewhat appropriate to handle the British icon. The director collaborated strongly with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, noting they only blocked two very expensive ideas he had. The director found Casino Royale's 144 minute running time too long, and wanted his follow-up to be "tight and fast...like a bullet."
Haggis, Forster and Wilson rewrote the story from scratch. Haggis said he completed his script two hours before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike officially began. Forster noted a running theme in his movies were emotionally repressed protagonists, and the theme of the picture (wallpaper) would be Bond learning to trust after feeling betrayed by Vesper. Forster said he created the Camille character as a strong female counterpart to Bond rather than a casual love interest: she openly shows emotions similar to those which Bond experiences but is unable to express. Haggis located his draft's climax in the Swiss Alps, but Forster wanted the action sequences to be based around the four classical elements of earth, water, air and fire. The decision to homage Goldfinger in Fields's death came about as Forster wanted to show oil had replaced gold as the most precious material. The producers rejected Haggis's idea that Vesper Lynd had a child, because "Bond was an orphan...Once he finds the kid, Bond can't just leave the kid."
Michael G. Wilson decided on the film's title Quantum of Solace only "a few days" before its announcement on 24 Jan. 2008 (5 years ago). It was the name of a short story in Ian Fleming's anthology For Your Eyes Only (1960, 53 years ago), although the movie is otherwise unrelated. Daniel Craig (33 walls) admitted, "I was unsure at first. Bond is looking for his Quantum of Solace and that's what he wants, he wants his closure. Ian Fleming says that if you don't have a Quantum of Solace in your relationship then the relationship is over. It's that spark of niceness in a relationship that if you don't have you might as well give up." He said that "Bond doesn't have that because his girlfriend [Vesper Lynd] has been killed," and therefore, "[Bond is] looking for revenge...to make himself happy with the world again." Afterwards, Quantum was made the name of the organisation introduced in Casino Royale. Craig noted the letter Q itself looks rather odd.
During filming, after the strike ended, Forster read a spec script by Joshua Zetumer, which he liked, and hired him to reshape scenes for the later parts of the shoot, which the director was still unsatisfied with. Forster had the actors rehearse their scenes, as he liked to movie scenes continually. Zetumer rewrote dialogue depending on the actors' ideas each day.
MusicDavid Arnold, who composed the scores for the previous four Bond films, returned for Quantum of Solace. He said that Forster likes to work very closely with his composers and that, in comparison to the accelerated schedule he was tied to on Casino Royale (4 walls), the intention was to spend a long time scoring the movie to "really work it out." He also said he would be "taking a different approach" with the score. Arnold composed the music based on impressions from reading the script, and Forster edited those into the film. As with Casino Royale (4 walls), Arnold kept use of the James Bond Theme to a minimum. Arnold collaborated with Kieran Hebden for "Crawl, End Crawl," a remix of the score played during the end credits.
Jack White of The White Stripes and Alicia Keys (12 walls) collaborated on "Another Way to Die," the first Bond music duet. They had wanted to work together for two years beforehand. The song was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee; White played the drums while Keys performed on the piano. The Memphis Horns also contributed to the track. White's favourite Bond theme is John Barry's instrumental piece for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and he watched various opening credit sequences from the series for inspiration while mixing the track. Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse had recorded a demo track for the film, but Ronson explained Winehouse's well-publicised legal issues in the preceding weeks made her "not ready to record any music" at that time.
ReceptionReviews for Quantum of Solace have been mixed to positive. Of the 238 reviews listed on Rotten Tomatoes, 65% are positive, with an average rating of 6.1/10. However, only 32% of selected notable reviewers gave it a positive write-up, with an average rating of 5.5/10. Metacritic calculated a score of 58 out of 100 from 38 reviews, indicating a "mixed or average" response. Critics generally preferred Casino Royale (4 walls), but continued to praise Craig's depiction of Bond, and agree that the movie is still an enjoyable addition to the series. The action sequences and pacing were praised, but criticism grew over the serious and gritty feel that the movie carried over. An article published by the Independent movie Channel remarked the contrast between Quantum and Casino Royale's reception came about because the American mood had been lightened following the election of US President Barack Obama, and the emotional Bond who recognises his moral ambiguity had become inappropriate to audiences.
Kim Newman of Empire gave it 4/5, remarking it was not "bigger and better than Casino Royale (4 walls), [which is] perhaps a smart move in that there's still a sense at the finish that Bond’s mission has barely begun." However, he expressed nostalgia for the more humorous Bond films. The Sunday Times review noted that "following Casino Royale (4 walls) was never going to be easy, but the director Marc Forster has brought the brand’s successful relaunch crashing back to earth — with a yawn"; the screenplay "is at times incomprehensible" and the casting "is a mess." The review concludes that "Bond has been stripped of his iconic status. He no longer represents anything particularly British, or even modern. In place of glamour, we get a spurious grit; instead of style, we get product placement; in place of fantasy, we get a redundant and silly realism."
The Guardian gave a more positive review, rating it as 3/5 stars, and was particularly fond of Craig's performance, saying he "made the part his own, every inch the coolly ruthless agent-killer, nursing a broken heart and coldly suppressed rage" and calling the movie "a crash-bang Bond, high on action, low on quips, long on location glamour, short on product placement"; it concludes "Quantum of Solace isn't as good as Casino Royale (4 walls): the smart elegance of Craig's Bond debut has been toned down in favour of conventional action. But the man himself powers this movie; he carries the film: it's an indefinably difficult task for an actor. Craig measures up."
Screen Daily says "Notices will focus - rightly - on Craig's magnetism as the steely, sexy, murderous MI6 agent, but two other factors weigh in and freshen up proceedings: Forster's new technical team, led by cinematographer Roberto Schaefer and production designer Dennis Gassner. And the ongoing shift of M, as played by Judi Dench, to front and centre: the Bond girls fade into insignificance as she becomes his moral counterpoint and theirs is the only real relationship on screen." The review continues, "Bond is, as has been previously noted, practically the Martin Scorsese of the BAFTAs: 22 movies later, with grosses probably close to the GDP of one of the small nations it depicts, it's still waiting for that Alexander Korda award. The best Casino Royale (4 walls) could achieve was a gong for sound. Will this be the year that changes its fortunes?"
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times, who praised the previous film, disliked Quantum of Solace. He wrote that the plot was mediocre, characters weak and that Bond lacked his usual personality, despite his praise for Craig's interpretation of the role. Throughout his review, he emphasised that "James Bond is not an action hero," and also criticised the lack of a fantastical villainous lair and the Bond girls' names not being double entendres. Roger Moore, the third actor to play Bond in the films, continued to feel Craig was a "damn good Bond but the movie as a whole, there was a bit too much flash cutting [and] it was just like a commercial of the action. There didn't seem to be any geography and you were wondering what the hell was going on." Some writers criticised the choice of Quantum of Solace as a title. "Yes, it's a bad title," wrote Marni Weisz, the editor of Famous, a Canadian movie publication distributed in movie theatres in that country, in an editorial entitled "At least it's not Octopussy."
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