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Quantum of Solace(2008)
James Bond returns in this thrilling, action-packed adventure which starts shortly after Casino Royale ends. Betrayed by the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. On a nonstop quest for justice that crisscrosses the globe, Bond meets the beautiful but feisty Camille, who leads him to Dominic Greene, a ruthless businessman and major force within the mysterious “Quantum” organization. When Bond uncovers a conspiracy to take control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, he must navigate a minefield of treachery, deception and murder to neutralize “Quantum” before it’s too late!
For more about Quantum of Solace and the Quantum of Solace Blu-ray release, see Quantum of Solace Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 8, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright
» See full cast & crew
Quantum of Solace Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 8, 2009
Contrary to what most every major critic in America has stated, the 22nd Bond film, "Quantum of Solace" (2008), isn't a disaster. It certainly isn't as good as its predecessor, but, at its core, it is just as entertaining and sharp-looking. In a variety of ways, the film also introduces a far more believable James Bond who is as vulnerable as we, normal human beings, are.
Directed by Marc Forster (The Kite Runner), Quantum of Solace picks up where Casino Royale left off. Bond (Daniel Craig, Layer Cake) and M (Judi Dench, Chocolat) interrogate Mr. White (Jasper Christensen, The Inheritance), who reveals to them that Vesper, Bond's last girl, was manipulated by a secret organization with powerful allies around the world. Knowing nothing about the organization Mr. White mentions, M orders Bond to find out more and report back to her. The story then takes us to Haiti where Bond meets the beautiful Camille (Olga Kurylenko, The Ring Finger), a woman on a mission to eliminate a high-ranking Bolivian official (Joaquin Cosio, Love, Pain and Vice Versa) responsible for her father's death. As luck will have it, the Bolivian is about to meet Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), who is one of the top men in the secret organization Mr. White talks about in the beginning of the film. We also learn that they are planning a coup d'état that will allow Dominic and his people to control over 60% of Bolivia's water resources, and secure the presidency for his Bolivian partner. Things get really complicated when Bond also discovers that the CIA as well as a close adviser to the British Prime Minister are involved with Dominic's organization.
It is true that Quantum of Solace isn't as good as Casino Royale. The two films are scripted very differently and executed in a manner that emphasizes different aspects of their main protagonist's character. In Casino Royale Bond has retained qualities that we have come to associate with the famous secret agent during the years – he is smart, always one step ahead of his opponents, focused on his mission and impossible to resist (at least as far as strikingly beautiful women are concerned). In many ways, Bond is in a league of his own.
In Quantum of Solace we are introduced to an entirely new Bond who talks and acts like most of us do. In fact, even though Bond again manages to defeat his opponents, he isn't overly impressive; for long periods of time he actually looks hurt and jaded. Unsurprisingly, unlike what many critics have stated, it isn't Casino Royale where Bond looks human, it is Quantum of Solace where we see that he isn't a sophisticated killing machine but a human being.
Bond's new girl, Camille - played by Ukrainian supermodel Olga Kurylenko, who has been on many arthouse aficionados' radar since her acting debut in Diane Bertrand's The Ring Finger (2005) - is definitely a successful addition to the long list of beauties 007 has been involved with. Her lines are not always as polished as they should have been, but, for the most part, her acting is natural and pleasingly unpretentious.
Mathieu Amalric's contribution, however, is notably disappointing. While the Frenchman is always impressive to look at in French productions, in Quantum of Solace he struggles with his part. Dominic, the character he plays, does not match Bond's intensity at all and, more often than not, he is very unconvincing.
Technically, Quantum of Solace doesn't disappoint. Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer does a terrific job of capturing the beauty of the exotic locations where the action takes place and, logically, the film manages to bring back the sense of adventure some of the early Bond films introduced. This being said, the camerawork is indeed quite wild – there are endless pirouettes, zooms and cuts that could have been toned down a little. In the grand scheme of things, however, Quantum of Solace maintains exactly the same type of tempo we witnessed in Casino Royale.
Quantum of Solace Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox-UK.
I am utterly impressed with the treatment Fox-UK have provided for the latest Bond film. Contrast here is impeccable, clarity simply stunning and detail very, very pleasing. The color-scheme is also terrific; yellows, greens, reds, blues, browns and blacks are rich yet quite natural looking. This being said, I did not detect any traces of disturbing DNR-manipulation. In fact, there is quite a bit of healthy grain that I was able to see throughout the film. Furthermore, edge-enhancement and macroblocking are not an issue of concern either. In fact, I was very impressed with the nuanced look of the 1080p transfer (the desert scenes in particular look fantastic). Finally, the actual print is simply immaculate – you won't see any debris, occasional scratches, or stains. To sum it all up, Fox-UK have delivered a fantastic Blu-ray transfer that will surely impress Bond fans looking to add Quantum of Solace to their film collections. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" release which you won't be able to play on your Region-A PS3 or SA. In order to access the content on this Blu-ray disc, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free player).
Quantum of Solace Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The following audio tracks are available on the UK release of Quantum of Solace: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Castellan DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1 and English Descriptive Audio 5.1.
The audio treatment the latest Bond film has received is superb! The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is both powerful and incredibly nuanced. The rear-channels are very active, the bass powerful and punchy, and the dialog crystal clear and very easy to follow. What separates this specific Blu-ray disc from other releases that we have awarded with a high score in recent months, however, is the nuanced presentation (and I am not referring to the impressive bass, the strong surround activity, etc). What I mean by this is that the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track reveals terrific balance; from the rain falling down on Bond's car to the massive hotel explosion in the desert, the audio is indeed incredibly rich. This being said, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings to report here. Finally, 20th Century Fox-UK have supplied optional English HOH, German, German HOH, Castellan, Castellan HOH, Italian, Italian HOH, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles (for the record, the subtitles appear inside the image frame).
Quantum of Solace Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There are a number of interesting supplemental materials on this Blu-ray disc. Alicia Keys & Jack White's music video "Another Way to Die" is first (this is the original cut of the video). "Bond on Location" focuses on the exotic locations that were selected for the film (from the Atacama Desert in Chile to the streets of Panama City). "Start of Shooting" chronicles the shooting history of the 22nd Bond film. Marc Forster and members of the cast and crew also talk about the enormous pressure of producing a film as likable and successful as Casino Royale. "On Location" focuses on the importance of the exotic locations Bond films are traditionally known for. "Olga Kurylenko and the boat scene" is a short segment where we learn more about the newest Bond girl and her role during a few of the key action scenes. "Director Marc Forster" is another very short segment where members of the cast and crew talk about the enormous pressure of living up to the expectations set by Casino Royale. They also focus on Marc Forster's vision of the newest Bond film. "The Music" is where we learn more from composer David Arnold about the soundtrack of Quantum of Solace (Alicia Keys and Jack White also share their thoughts on the theme song for the film). "Crew Files" is divided into three small sections where Michael G. Wilson, James Grant, location manager – Panama City, and Ana Endara, extras casting – Panama talk about their contribution to the film. Finally, this Blu-ray disc also contains the theatrical teaser as well as the theatrical trailer for Quantum of Solace (for the record, the extras on this Blu-ray disc are not in standard-def PAL).
Quantum of Solace Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There is a lot to like in Quantum of Solace if you approach it with the right state of mind. Unlike Casino Royale, Mark Forster's film reveals a James Bond who is notably vulnerable, at times even surprisingly weak – I liked that. What I disliked about Quantum of Solace was its chaotic story with the generally ineffective secondary characters in it. This being said, the Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of 20th Century Fox-UK, looks and sounds fantastic. I sense that somewhere down the road we will see a SE of some sort, but, the current presentation is very much of top-notch quality. Recommended.
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Quantum of Solace Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Bond Films Scheduled for UK Blu-ray Release - February 18, 2009
MGM Home Entertainment in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced that they will bring the James Bond films 'Moonraker', 'The World is Not Enough', and 'Goldfinger' to Blu-ray on March 23rd in the UK to accompany the Blu-ray release ...
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