Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quantum of Bondness


A lively evening in a party. A lady in a red noodle strap sipping wine at the bar. A man approaches in a black tuxedo, looks at her with piercing (soul searching?) blue eyes.

MAN: Bond. James Bond.

The lady turns, puts on a bored look.

LADY: Lost. Get Lost.


Nobody could have said that to a Pierce Brosnan. Not after those, "hmm, are you free tonight, then how about a ride in my Aston Martin" looks. But to the blonde, rustic, crash-boom-bam parkour-gang Daniel Craig? Well, the unthinkable might just happen. Someone in a red noodle strap might just turn her back and ask him to get lost. The reason... guessed... you can't distinguish between Danial Craig in "Quantum of Solace", Matt Damon in " The Bourne Ultimatum" and Van Damme in "Universal Soldier". After all the years and all the research that has gone into how James Bond was concieved and positioned, Daniel Craig is a 'never ending fighting machine' and stops at that. The quantum of bondness that has characterised the franchisee over the years is no longer there. At least for the first two movies "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace".

Those of us, who tried saving some dough during schooldays from the weekly pocket money for a first row ticket to "Goldeneye" and then proudly fished out some more from the first month's salary for the gold class tickets of "Die Another Day" - "Quantum of Solace" is a tad different. There are craftily orchestrated action sequences, "Another Way to Die" sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys for the titles, breath-taking chases (in all kinds of vehicles), lively parkour, listening to information exchange in theatre auditoriums and hardly any witty exchanges. Yes, that's Bond. Blonde and unrecognisable to the core. 'Quantum of Solace' takes off from the premise where 'Casino Royale' ended. Bond, driven to madness and characteristic violence from the death of Vesper, is desperate to find out the face behind the betrayal. He travels from London to Paris to Haiti and finally to Bolivia to find the truth about the power-hungry General Madrano and Dominic Greene - the man who runs the mysterious organisation called Quantum. He has the beautiful Agent Fields (who ends up dead and swathed in oil after a ten minute screen presence) and the revenge-hungry Camille (Olga Kurylenko) for company.

Of course, there’s a rock-solid reason for this new Daniel Craig starring working-class Bond character. Bond isn’t Bond yet. He has just been promoted, he has tried to leave his job once, he has been suspended once and he’s about to enter the world of cold-hearted killers, business giants, megalomaniacs and environmentalist turned villains. He’s still the idealist who ignores his key result areas and tries to correct the big picture. He avoids red tape; he eliminates people who come between him and the cause and even gives MI6 a tough time in controlling him. Bond in his induction years is what gives “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” the only reason to justify their selection of Craig as the timeless spy. Bond is more human, more emotional, prone to mistakes and a total ram-into-everything character who goes a roundabout way to find the truth and leaves behind a trail of blood. We weren’t used to such a Bond, were we?
What happened to the chauvinistic, smooth-talking, well-attired double agent who won hearts simply because of his politically incorrect actions?

We are used to a Bond who loves his Martinis, his gadgets and his women. Even if we imagine that Craig is going through is ‘growing up’ years, then what makes him decide to have Agent Fields in bed, someone who’s already on his side? Of course, Craig is a ‘confused’ Bond, yet to grow up and yet to convince the audience that he is good enough to handle the gadgets and the women. As a consequence, what you are stuck up with is a man who jumps roofs, breaks into every building possible, kills without provocation and tries to imagine ‘M’ as the mother figure in his life. There’s no Q, no gadgets, no ‘shaken, not stirred’. Is it “Bond with an Oedipal Complex?” “Bond who has grown up watching Rambo movies?” We are not so sure.

“Quantum of Solace” has its moments, and scores over a lot of movies because of its breath-taking action sequences.


All set and done…

Pierce! We’re missing you man… at least till Craig grows up!


misti said...

Haven't seen QOS yet but I liked Casino Royale and loved Daniel Craig. No, make that 'luurved'(just as Woody Allen had explained to Diane Keaton ages ago). I promise to leave a comment here once I've seen QOS but right now, I don't care if the movie sucks, if it's not Bond enough blah long as I get to check out Craig, you won't have me complaining. He's way too hot for anything else to amount to significance of any sort.

Varun said...

Haven't seen the fact, haven't seen ANY bond film EVER. But still...loved the review...for its neatness, clear motive and usage of phrases...and the way it recounts history of Bond character and lists the grouses.