Thursday, March 26, 2009

DVD review: "Quantum of Solace"

It’s one of the better Bond flicks, but after the game-changing debut of Daniel Craig as Agent 007 in “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace” was bound to seem something of a letdown.

Craig’s menacing, decidedly shtick-free take on James Bond still provides plenty of feral energy to the 22nd film in the franchise. And there are some nice character scenes between Craig and Judi Dench as M, where the boss shows some motherly feelings toward her rogue agent. But they seem more like interruptions between the giant action set-pieces.

The plot picks up right where “Casino” ended, with the capture of a member of the nefarious Quantum syndicate responsible for the murder of Bond’s lady love, Vesper. Bond digs further into the shadowy international cabal, even defying his British and U.S. spymasters to continue the hunt. It leads him to the seemingly benevolent Dominic Greene, an environmentalist businessman with plans to take over a South American country’s energy reserves.

Olga Kurylenko makes a memorable impression as Bond girl Camille, with her scars and sultry smile. But French actor Mathieu Amalric just isn’t very intimidating as Greene. In their final showdown, the burly Craig and pipsqueaky Amalric are so mismatched it looks a hobbit taking on an NFL lineman.

The two-disc DVD has a moderate amount of extra features, although it can be a bit repetitive as they use the same material in more than one of the seven featurettes, which total about an hour.

Craig and director Marc Forster are full participants in the extras, with Craig offering that his second Bond shoot was much more physically demanding than the first. One extra provides short clips from literally dozens of crew members, from the cinematographer to the set nurse.

Also included are two trailers and the theme song video with Alicia Keys and Jack White. Sorely missing, though, is a commentary track.

Movie: B
Extras: B-minus

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