Yesterday I went to the movies to watch the new Bond (Quantum of Solace). I’m an avid Bond-fan, having seen every Bond movie up to date (I think) and regularly watching re-runs on TV. I was already skeptical after the last Bond movie (Casino Royale) but figured it was a one-time deviation from the usual plot and atmosphere.

James BondWell, it wasn’t. First of all Quantum of Solace continues the storyline which started in Casino Royale. That doesn’t have to be bad thing per se, but the way it was done in the lastest installment certainly is. I won’t spoil the story for those of you who haven’t seen it yet or plan to watch it on DVD (good decision by the way). Let me just get to the core of my criticism:

Quantum of Solace is a solid action-movie but a bad Bond-movie.

Why? Because it’s not like the other Bonds. The last movie just had one gadget, this one had exactly none. There is no Q, no Miss Moneypenny, no british charme and very little of the swiftness and elegance of a secret agent free of any personal interest who moves through circles of international crooks with his Walther in one hand and a martini and/or pretty girl in the other. The villain is not someone with a crazy scheme to take over the world from his spacestation but just a dumb guy with a fake accent solely driven by money. No battle-scenes with two opposing teams of divers.

This all means that the storyline is getting more “realistic” if you will, more down to earth and believable. Bond smiles less, shoots more and gets worked up because one of his girls suffered the inevitable fate of winding up dead (Hey, that was one movie ago, get over it Bond! Whatever happened to Mr. Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang?).

Some people might think this is a good change, as it goes with the time and modernizes the character of Bond. I disagree. When I watch Bond I don’t want a realistic account of international crime and the people involved in it. I don’t want believable human emotions. I want friggin sharks with friggin laser beams attached to their heads! If I want any of the above I’ll go and see a movie from the Bourne-triology (which at least has believable action sequences).

The soundtrack was good though, and the opening credits were still there (thank god).

Why not to watch it in a movie theatre

This is the second part of this post and it doesn’t just apply to this movie. I’m not a big fan of the big screen, for numerous reasons. But yesterday I discovered that not even the supposed technical superiority is a reason for going there anymore. Rest assured I watched it in a big and professional screening room with a huge screen and loud (not impressive, but loud) sound-system, so I expect that their equipment is top-notch. Here’s the thing: Whenever there was fast motion I couldn’t make out who was chasing whom or even who the bad guy was.

James Bond

This sucks big time. Just seeing some dark blurred movements and the occasional gun flash isn’t good enough, especially when you can see it just fine watching it at home. Of course it’s also a problem of movie-makers today, but I can tell you that it really spoiled the experience for me. The contrast and brightness is no match for any screen in my home as well. The sound-system, as mentioned, wasn’t impressive but just loud. Watching movies with little camera movement and without action sequences might still be fine, but for everything else cinema seems really unfit. I don’t even want to get started on cinematic trailers for other movies where all you see are quick fades of about a hundred cuts which are separated by bright flashes. Almost made me close my eyes.

Last but not least, and I can’t repeat it often enough, try to avoid the synchronized version (german in this case). The voice of Bond was even ok, but everyone with a foreign accent sounded like a cheap version of a sex-hotline. Of course with this Bond you won’t miss any wordplays or jokes because there simply are none…