DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Daniel Craig as JAMES BOND
    Olga Kurylenko as CAMILLE
    Mathieu Amalric as DOMINIC GREENE
    Judi Dench as M
    Giancarlo Giannini as MATHIS
    Gemma Arterton as STRAWBERRY FIELDS
    Jeffrey Wright as FELIX LEITER

    Rated PG-13
    Studio: MGM

    Directed by: Marc Forster

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A rare direct sequel to its predecessor, “Quantum of Solace” picks up only moments after “Casino Royale” ended. James Bond (Daniel Craig) is hell-bent on finding the people responsible for the death of his beloved Vesper. The film opens with him interrogating a prisoner only to find out that the organization behind her death has infiltrated the highest levels of MI6.

Soon, Bond takes matters into his own hands, tracking down the people behind the mysterious Quantum organization. This global presence has its hands in everything – from the banks to natural resources. Bond goes rouge in order to go after Quantum, and along the way he gets help from the beautiful but troubled Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who is out for revenge herself.

First and foremost, this is a Bond movie, so I will enjoy it on a very basic level. Over the years, I have learned to adore the Bond films as guilty pleasures – even the lousy ones (and you know who you are, George Lazenby!). When Bond was reimagined in 2006 with Daniel Craig in the hot seat, I was hooked. Craig continues to make a great Bond, embodying the rugged scoundrel style that Sean Connery set forth in “Dr. No.”

This film is a much simpler film than previous efforts. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but the movie isn’t as widely stretched as other stories go. Not based on any of Fleming’s books, this new Bond stays true to the series’ flavor and scope.

The action sequences are the highlights of the movie, providing some brilliantly orchestrated chases (on foot, in cars, over water and in planes) I’ve seen in a while. Marc Forster, who normally directs more subdued and intellectual movies, makes a fine transition to the big budget action film.

Finally, as a huge fan of the Bond girls over the years, I found both Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton to be perfect in their roles. Even Judi Dench as M, while not exactly a Bond girl, is a strong female foil to Craig’s Bond.

Even though I appreciated the simpler plot without such a sweeping and complicated ruse by the villain, the story did seem a bit thin at times. What the viewer has to realize is that Mathieu Amalric plays an atypical Bond villain in Dominic Greene. He’s just a MacGuffin that gives Bond an excuse to go rogue and hunt down Vesper’s killers. At its heart, “Quantum of Solace” is a revenge story with Bond seeking the dish best served cold, and the bad guys just are unfortunate enough to get in the way.

When this film was released in theaters, there was a lot of discussion as to whether it was attacking American interests, considering the CIA were in bed with the Bond villain. I didn’t really have a problem with this, which may have been because it puts the Bond villain as an environmentalist, and that just tickles me that a major motion picture would take that step. The only downer I saw in this angle was that Felix Leiter, who was a great sidekick chum in “Casino Royale” went a little too dark, presumably because he didn’t like where the CIA was heading with Greene.

The double-disc DVD comes with an impressive assortment of special features. The feature disc just offers a music video of the “Another Way to Die” theme for the film, which is at least worth a gander for the fetching Alicia Keys.

The real gold is on the second disc, which has several hours of behind-the-scenes material. Featurettes include “Bond on Location,” “Start of Shooting,” “On Location,” “Olga Kurylenko and the Boat Chase,” “Director Marc Forster” and “The Music.” There are also dozens of crew files that spotlight the many different jobs on the production – from the visual effects designer to the unit nurse.

Bond fans... at least those who are okay with Daniel Craig as the new Bond.

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