Bond films feature larger-then-life villains who almost always have some sort of clear and diabolical transnational plot to bilk/enslave/destroy humanity. Bond films feature various kinds of spy gadgetry usually including but not limited to watches and vehicles. These are reluctantly distributed to Bond and he proceeds to get them shot up. Bond movies also have clear bad guys/assassins/henchmen with unusual abilities that make them an exciting challenge.
It takes more than a character named “James Bond” to make a Bond movie. It takes more than a couple measures of the Bond theme, a Walther PPK, and a boss named “M”. By many measures QoS could just as easy been called “Fred’s Secret Service Adventure”.
The producers have rebooted the franchise, but in doing so have lowered it to the level of any other spy action film. They have stripped it of its unique character. I know the winks of the Connery era and the over-the-top characters from the Moore area are in the past. However are even the grand but understandable machinations of the Brosnon era done for?
The one-liners used to be pithier, the cars cooler, the thugs thuggier, and even the girls.., ah, girlier. QoS might as well be another shaky-cam Bourne sequel. Just replace the hard to follow action with a hard to follow plot. It was not really about Bond stopping anything, but rather one man’s journey through grief and revenge.
The cynical obtuse plot had something to do with the stereotyped CIA selling out, MI-6 selling out, and corrupt South American officials selling out. Bond pursued for his own reasons and not to save the world or much of anything.
Aside from a camera phone, QoS‘s Bond is equipped no better then the character was in 1962’s Dr. No. That is 45 years true believers! The average Brazilian Security Service agent today is equipped better. In trying to make Bond “real” and “gritty” they have in a way made it more fake.
The action scenes were inconsistent. The hand-to-hand combat and foot chases were more followable than the vehicular chases which seemed to leave out connecting shots. The result left you asking questions like, “What was the other end of that anchor connected to?”
Judi Dench’s M is the only vestige of Bondiness left. She did her usual “iron lady with a soft heart for Bond” role well enough. She was given a few good lines and an extra scene or two beyond tradition.
Years ago and for a long time Bond fought against the evil organization “Spectre” usually headed by mastermind villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This movie may be attempting to launch a new organization for Bond to fight, Quantum. If that is the case, that is one good thing to come out of this film. I wish them luck. I suggest getting some sort of mysterious schemer to head it up. Someone we can focus on and point Bond at.
If you will see any ambiguously titled film as long as Bond is in it you may find this film entertaining. If you have stronger feelings about the Bond franchise (or want a more comprehensible plot) you will find this film lacking.