Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reconsidering "Quantum of Solace": Jack White & Alicia Keys "Another Way To Die"

I spent the last several weeks working through all of the Bond films in chronological order. It made for a great time and I reckon' that some enterprising film professor could construct a class around that theme given all of the advances in technology, script evolution, and social attitudes that are well captured in each of the films. However, designing a course that cool and stimulating would be asking too much from modern higher education methinks.

Bond reels, regardless of overall quality, bring different redeeming assets to the table. Some have incredible opening sequences or title tracks, some have plots that are halfway worthy. Most have a decent sense of style. However, that is the subject of another screed.

It's funny what stays constant and what evolves as time marches on. Sean Connery still reigns supreme, while Roger Moore, with a handful exceptions, becomes almost unwatchable. Although it is well known in most circles, there is little doubt that Daniel Craig is nipping at Connery's heels for top dog in the Bond pantheon. Yet, since Connery set the stage and standard so well, toppling him from his perch will be near impossible, even for a man who executes the role with as much grit and talent as Craig.   When I was a whelp, I used to love the Roger Moore films, especially Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me. The defect in that judgement can be chalked up to the ignorance of unrefined youth and an obtuse obsession with space lasers and a Lotus that transforms into an attack submarine. Now it is challenging to sit through those films without to aid of some bourbon or gin. The acting is non-existent, and the plots ans writing are thinner than low-grade toilet paper. Lazenby benefits from a one of the best Bond babes, Diana Rigg, and Dalton and Brosnan get passable grades for their respective contributions, although Brosnan's film felt like video games at times towards the end of their implementation.

Casino Royale changed my whole understanding of the Bond universe and re-ignited my passion for the series in ways that even surprised me. Initially, I didn't like Quantum of Solace on account of its frenetic action sequences, which can induce an epileptic fit, if watched with too much focus. However, upon a second reviewing, Quantum really has a great plot (for the most part), and builds substantially off of the expectations established by Casino Royale. Having been introduced to a new global force, "Quantum" and leaving the sub-plot of Mr. White open, the audience is excellently ingrained into a compelling story arc. Sadly, MGM bankruptcy leaves the future of the franchise and its production schedule in doubt.

All that being stated, Alicia Keys and Jack White do a decent job with the title track, "Another Way To Die." Strong, innovative, and appropriate, it isn't the best Bond title song, yet, it gets better with each listening.

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