Trust any Bond flick to take you on a speedy tour of the known world and "Quantum of Solace" does indeed thrust the viewer from the rooftops of Siena, Italy to the civility of London to the slums of Haiti to the new Opera House in Vienna (for a visual treat in the new production of "Tosca," though all must wonder why the backdrop of a thirty-foot-high opening human eye has much to do with 19th Century opera) then back to Siena and on to Bolivia. All along the way Bond struggles to forget Vesper, his love from "Casino Royale."
Unfortunately, I try to see the face of Vesper Lynd in my mind’s eye but the only shimmering image I can recall quickly morphs into Diana Rigg, the educated beauty who played Bond’s wife Tracy Bond, nee Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo who is murdered by Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the only Bond film (1969) starring George Lazenby when they appeared in "On Her Majesty’s Secret Service," and back when the Bond movies offered civility, in addition to thrills--not to mention movie stars with memorable faces.
In fact, it’s M, deliciously played by Judi Dench, who is the star next to Bond’s tough new persona as evidenced by Daniel Craig. Also missing is the wit often evidenced by previous main title sequences and I just cannot belive that somebody out there could have written a better theme song than the one tuned into here.
The plot is also convoluted and don’t leave your seat for either more popcorn or a visit to the restrooms or you will find you are more confused than ever. But in case you miss the Bolivian village sequence, let me inform you that it’s all about hoarding water (not oil, gold, or diamonds) as Dominick Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a faux environmentalist who attempts to make money by leading corrupt back-water countries to ruin by destabilizing whatever currency they have and whatever passes for their national mineral treasures. If things continue the way they’re going in the USA, we’ll be one of Greene’s next victims.
Frankly, the funniest banter occurs in the first fifteen minutes of the movie after M has been shot and most of her staff wounded by a renegade member of her staff. "You heard him say they have agents everywhere, didn’t you?" queries Bond as M replies: "I thought that was all hyperbole."
Unfortunately, I yearn for better manners, and have high hopes that Bond will return in the next movie with just a bit more dash and bit less of brute force, not to mention a lot less hyperbole.