Quantum of Solace (Blu-ray) (2008)
|Year Of Production||2008|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Marc Forster|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Quantum of Solace is the first direct sequel in the James Bond film series. Unlike it's lush and romantic predecessor, QoS is very much a hard driven, revenge film. It's often dark and brooding, and contains surprising emotional depth. Despite being stylishly a little derivative of the Jason Bourne films, QoS is more than just The Bond Ultimatum, and its more than just a good sequel, it's a great Bond film in its own right. With exotic locations, thrilling action scenes, and outstanding stunt set-pieces, QoS always looks and sounds fantastic in high definition, with DTS-HD Lossless Master Surround Audio.
"The name's Bond, James Bond".
The character of super-spy James Bond was created by author Ian Fleming (1909-1964) who, like his fictional character, led a colourful life which included being a British Spy; and like Mr. Bond, he was also a Commander in British Naval Intelligence. While Fleming's novels and the Bond movies often have a very tenuous relationship, one cannot easily discount the rich material that Fleming provided for the Bond universe. While the Bond film scripts were to differ greatly from Fleming's stories, the central characters, style, and swagger of the Bond films is all still Fleming.
However, from the start, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli wanted their Bond movie series to appeal to a wider audience than just Fleming's readers. As a result, Bond became less of a cold-blooded killer, with a licence to kill provided by the UK Government, and a far more charming, suave, and witty gentleman. Indeed, early Bond Director Terence Young took matters even further and infused the character with a thoroughly debonair and dashing charm, also arming him with a fierce intelligence and an impeccable taste in clothes, wine, food, cars, and exotic women.
With Quantum of Solace, there are now 22 official Bond films, and three unofficial ones, most notably Never Say Never Again (1983). As with it's predecessor Casino Royale, the character of Bond in QoS returns to the brooding loner presented in the original novels by Fleming, who saw his debonair secret agent as a bit of an educated thug - a rogue and a gambler. Bond is far from the indestructible superman armed with the fancy tongue-in-cheek gadgets that we seen in the earlier Bond films. This Bond frequently displays fear, panic, and pain. We see him disheveled, bleeding, bruised, and sweating. He gets captured, beaten, tortured, and humiliated. It makes his triumphs and the film's climax all the more satisfying.
In 2006's Casino Royale, Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli not only re-invented James Bond, but they have made him far more interesting, grounded, and relevant for the 21st century. Gone are the puerile double-entendres, which were funny forty years ago. Now, Bond relies more on his instincts, strength, and skill, and far less on gadgets. Like the excellent, Batman Begins, Casino Royale discarded all the baggage of the previous films, and enjoyed a fresh start, making his return a sort of Bond Begins.
Quantum of Solace is the first direct sequel in the James Bond series. The story it picks up moments after the end of Casino Royale. Screenwriters Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have Bond (Daniel Craig) hell-bent on finding and punishing the people responsible for the death of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). After interrogating the sinister and mysterious Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), Bond and M discover the vast criminal network, Quantum, has infiltrated even the highest levels of MI6. Constrained by orders and process, Bond goes rogue and takes matters into his own hands, ruthlessly tracking down the people behind Mr. White's Quantum organization. Along the way Bond gets help from the beautiful but damaged Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who is also out for her own revenge.
Daniel Craig is the sixth actor to have played Bond in the official films. His predecessors include the former Aussie soldier George Lazenby, the unflappably dapper Roger Moore, the rugged and cheeky Sean Connery, the playful and debonair Pierce Brosnan, and the sulky and wooden Timothy Dalton. Most agree that Craig, who is now in his 40s, is the best Bond since Connery, and he brings a fresh Steve McQueen-like toughness, arrogance, and icy determination to the role. Following the outstanding critical and commercial success of his debut, Craig now looks at ease in his second outing. Whether he's scrambling across the tiled rooftops of Siena or commandeering a motorbike on the streets of Haiti, Craig brings a lot of physicality and emotional depth to Bond - balancing flashes of sadism with humanity, sometimes with just a facial expression. Craig's muscular frame provides the appearance of someone who could easily kill with his bare hands. He has the look of a guy spoiling for a fight, and he usually finds it. Craig carries off the fight scenes with the most brutal authenticity since Lazenby.
The supporting cast for Quantum of Solace are also great: Judi Dench makes her sixth appearance as M, and again provides a strong and at times, even scolding, performance as Bond's pragmatic boss. She and Bond are wary of each other. She fears his tendency to act instinctively and impulsively, and he strains at the leash of authority she tries to collar (and occasionally choke) him with. Following David Hedison, Jeffrey Wright has become only the the second actor to play CIA Agent Felix Leiter twice. Wright brings a lot of presence to this small role, and I hope to see more of his character in future Bond films. Giancarlo Giannini returns as Mathis, and Gemma Arterton also makes a great contribution in small role. Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Greene, and as with Munich, he reminds us why he makes such a great understated villain. His restrained sleaziness and cruelty is especially apparent in his scenes with Olga Kurylenko.
In most of the previous Bond films there is a recognisable and well-loved formula: We have a pre-title, over-the-top action sequence that is distinct from the rest of the film. This is followed by the title sequence with Bond theme song and nude silhouettes of girls dancing. Then Bond flirts with Moneypenny, gets instructions from M, and toys from Q. Finally, Bond heads off on his new mission armed with fancy gadgets, cool one-liners, and plenty of cheesy innuendo.
As with Casino Royale, with Quantum of Solace some of the recognisable elements of the Bond universe are present, but many are missing or significantly altered. For example, we have a nod to Bond girls of past with the character Strawberry Fields. Also, the opening titles of QoS are a slight return to the iconic work of Maurice Binder, and there is also a surprise visual reference to Goldfinger. But many iconic elements are missing, such as the famous introduction, "Bond, James Bond". While there are still sun-drenched exotic locations, we also get a lot of gritty, horrible ones. Bond does get to race around in an Aston Martin, but it's not equipped with missiles or an ejector seat. The car's appearance also begins and ends in far from shiny showroom condition. There are a few gadgets in the movie, but none are over-the-top, and most relate to the film's frequent product placement. Nowadays Bond has to fight (or think) his way out of a tough spot - no jet packs, invisible cars, or laser-beam watches to help him. The very recognisable James Bond Theme composed by Monty Norman and John Barry is again only noticeably used at the film's conclusion, and once again I don't believe Barry's catchy 007 theme, used regularly during Bond action sequences since From Russia With Love, is heard at all. The famous gun-barrel opening has been significantly altered and now appears at the end (not the beginning) of the film, and the recurring characters of Moneypenny and Q are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps most importantly, as with Casino Royale, in terms of villains, there's no cat-stroking megalomaniac, hell-bent on world domination, assisted by cartoon-like henchmen. The fate of the world is never at stake with these current Bond films, which remains a notable change from past plotlines.
Furthermore, in Quantum of Solace, director Marc Forster of Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, and The Kite Runner, often seems to have Daniel Craig playing another JB - Jason Bourne. For example, consider the opening car-chase sequence that's cut up into so many jagged and dizzying close-ups that it ends up being equally thrilling and confusing. This disorienting visual style of the Bourne films seems to be no accident or coincidence, as Forster has recruited some of the key talent from the Bourne films, such as editor, Rick Pearson, and Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum stunt and action scene designer, Dan Bradley.
However, despite being stylishly a little derivative of the Jason Bourne films, Quantum of Solace is a great Bond film in its own right, and a worthy follow-up to the excellent Casino Royale.
With excellent cinematography, amazing action set-pieces, and wonderful locations in Haiti, Austria, Bolivia, and Italy, there is much to enjoy visually in Quantum of Solace.
Quantum of Solace is presented with a high definition transfer, having been authored in 1920 x 1080p. It has been encoded using AVC MPEG-4 compression. The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in a native widescreen 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.
The sharpness of the image is excellent throughout, for example the depth and detail in the crowd scene at 7:37. The black level is also excellent, with true deep blacks. The shadow detail is perfect, for example, the dimly lit interior during the interrogation scene at 10:25.
Colour is a very important aspect in this film, and it is used extensively in the story telling. Again we are treated to slightly desaturated, cold and gritty locations, contrasted with sun-drenched exotic locations. The transfer exhibits a beautifully saturated colour palette, with accurate skin tones.
This is obviously a recent print, and although some scenes are a little grainy, there are no problems with MPEG, Film-To-Video, or Film Artefacts.
Seven sets of subtitle streams have been recorded for this disc, and the English subtitles are accurate.
This is a BD-50 (50 GB Blu-ray disc), with the feature divided into 28 chapters.
The film's sound design is excellent, and the DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio provides a great home theatre listening experience.
Originally released theatrically with Dolby Digital, dts, and SDDS audio, there are four audio options on this Blu-ray disc: DTS-HD Lossless Master 5.1 surround audio (48kHz/24-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), and Brazilian Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on the default English audio, but occasionally the accents of some of the actors make the odd word of dialogue difficult to understand.
As mentioned above, the very recognisable James Bond Theme provided by Monty Norman and John Barry is only noticeably used at the film's conclusion, and I don't believe Barry's catchy 007 theme, used regularly during Bond action sequences since From Russia With Love, is heard at all. Rather, the orchestral score is provided by David Arnold, in his fifth Bond outing. The film's great title song, Another Way to Die, is the first Bond title song duet, and is performed by The White Stripe's Jack White and Alicia Keys.
The surround presence and LFE activity is intense. The surround sound mix is dynamic and is used to help carry the score and provide ambience and surround effects throughout. There are some great directional effects, with panning between speakers which places the viewer in the middle of all the action.
At times this is an intense and bombastic LFE track, such as during the film's many explosions.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a number of genuine and interesting extras. Unless stated otherwise, they are all presented in high definition with stereo audio:
As with other Blu-rays, the menu options can be accessed while the film is playing.
Trailers play when the disc is loaded, but they can be individually skipped:
Trailers - Quantum of Solace
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Our Quantum of Solace Blu-ray is identical to the US disc - it even has the US FBI anti-piracy warning at the beginning. But in a minor point, I much prefer the cover to their BD.
Quantum of Solace maintains the more grounded and gritty approach of its predecessor, and is a thrilling film and wonderful home theatre experience.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent.
The extras are genuine and interesting, and happily presented in high definition.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|