The hit James Bond action flick Quantum of Solace speeds its way onto DVD and Blu-Ray this coming Tuesday, March 24, 2009 in a two-disc special edition. The follow-up to the immensely popular reboot Casino Royale finds us with a new director, an angrier Bond and of course a new set of Bond girls, and the combination is a bit of a disappointment.
While perfectly fine as a non-stop action movie, Quantum lacks the craftsmanship and character development of its predecessor, which was honed by the direction of Martin Campbell. Marc Forster, having never directed such an action film before, was an odd choice to helm the follow-up, and his style is largely a poor knock-off of Campbell’s direction. Funnily enough, in one of the special features on the DVD, Forster explains that his approach is to just “throw everything on the screen,” which explains the lack of deleted scenes – and the senseless barrage of action in the movie.
Nevertheless, if you go in expecting a more standard James Bond action flick rather than something as well done as Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is entertaining enough. To complement the film, the DVD has plenty of special features – but most are as shallow as the movie itself.
In addition to the theatrical trailers and the Alicia Keyes music video, the second disc comes with six featurettes that focus on various aspects of the filmmaking. The featurettes include a 24-minute “Bond on Location” documentary and others that focus on the start of shooting, the locations, Olga Kurylenko and the boat chase, director Marc Foster and the music. While there are some nuggets of interesting facts to be found here, especially in the “on location” piece, the featurettes feel primarily promotional in nature versus informative. Several are spliced with an interview with Daniel Craig that was clearly intended to sell the pick to audiences.
As referenced earlier, the interview with Marc Forster references how he liked a lot of things that were pretty much universally panned by credits, like the improper ratio of action to story and Forster’s approach to presenting. I always get a kick out of hearing directors get all excited about things that really aren’t that exceptional.
Of course, you could just skip all of these featurettes and go right onto the Crew Files, which contain 45 minutes of interviews with various members of the crew and cast. Those previously mentioned featurettes pull most of their content from these interviews, and presented in a raw, more direct format, feel more insightful and less promotional. Frankly, MGM wasted their money making nice-looking featurettes when they could have just given us these interviews and be done with it.
Quantum of Solace isn’t a terrible movie, but compared to Casino Royale, it pales in comparison. Since the screenwriters didn’t change from one film to the next, the blame deservedly falls on Forster’s shoulders. As far as the DVD goes, the bonus features aren’t very good and should not factor into your decision to buy.