"Quantum of Solace" Continues the Rebirth of James Bond
|"Quantum of Solace."|
"Quantum of Solace" was not a particularly successful James Bond film. Oh, it undoubtedly made the studio and producers money and paid the actors quite handsomely. However, critically, it was a major failure. The production was troubled, with bad weather causing trouble and injury on set. The theme song was horrendous, the less said about that the better - but, for verification, see if you can find anyone, anywhere who thinks the Jack White (of The White Stripes) and Alicia Keys song "Another Way To Die" was a top Bond song. Everything about the film was a struggle, with nothing going smoothly. Daniel Craig, though, continued his heroic recreation of the James Bond character in the vein of Sean Connery, and the formula continued working because the formula always works. The problems ultimately led to a long interregnum until the next film (in the James Bond universe, a four-year gap is a very long time which usually signifies some major issues behind the scenes), and there was some question of whether the series would survive at all.
In several of the film posters for "Quantum of Solace," Craig is seen walking through devastation, manfully contemplating what he must do in solitude or with a female companion. In other versions of the poster, all that is seen is Craig's shadow, another attempt to de-emphasize Bond that began in the Pierce Brosnan era. Of course, in that shadow we can see James Bond waving his gun, prepared for action, with all the implied menace that an inhuman silhouette can convey - but no Bond, no girls, no villain, no nothing. All these gazing-off-into-the-distance shots, sometimes with a Bond car in the background, almost made Bond come across as the Knight Rider.
However, "Quantum of Solace" was very important to the franchise. The Bond publicists were building a brand, or more accurately re-branding James Bond, brick by brick, and that takes time. They faced strong resistance from that part of the fan base which had grown accustomed to the girly-man image which had infested the Pierce Brosnan film posters. The payoff of this foundation-laying did not come with "Quantum of Solace" itself, but rather with its successor. "Skyfall" would eclipse all of its predecessors in terms of critical and financial rewards because of the hard work recreating the character that had been done in "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace."
But this was not "Skyfall." "Quantum of Solace" was a time-filler, a placemark, little remembered not mourned when it was gone. There simply wasn't any overarching theme to play up. The advertising sometimes even focused on series regular Dame Judi Dench, who plays "Q" - a rarity in a Bond poster, the reason being that there weren't any other dominating figures such as a Goldfinger or a Blofeld to focus on. See if you can ever find anyone who thinks that "Quantum of Solace" is their favorite Bond film - that's not very likely.