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Quantum of Solace November 10, 2008

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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The final frame of Casino Royale hinted that Bond would return to his more traditional ways after a much welcome “reboot”. I was a bit apprehensive about that happening for I never was a fan of James Bond….my kind of agent is more of a Bourne or Hunt. Quantum of Solace has Bond turn starker and darker and that’s reason number one why it appealed to me instantly. But the same reason seems to have further alienated old time fans who despite being forced to acknowledge the awesomeness of Daniel Craig have nevertheless expressed their displeasure towards this flick.

QOS is (almost) a sequel to Casino Royale for Bond is still unable to get over the betrayal and subsequent death of Vesper (Eva Green). His current mission is to nab Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) – who heads a big business called Greene Planet and is part of a shady organization named Quantum – currently involved in staging a military coup in Bolivia with the objective of taking over the country’s natural resources. Since everything to do with Vesper was linked to this organization, Bond’s motivations are different than what his boss M (Judi Dench) wants them to be. There is also Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who has her own axe to grind with the leader of the coup.

In the midst of all this Bond gets to do practically every kind of action sequence you’d expect to find in a film (and not to forget – he ain’t taking any prisoners). There are car chases, bike chases, boat chases, plane chases, foot chases and some cool hand-to-hand combat thrown in. The building-to-building foot chase was the pick of the lot – it seems to have been inspired a bit from The Bourne Ultimatum. But here the shaky camera moves took away some of the zing. I had a tough time trying to figure out what was happening during the action scenes. Still, it won’t make you fail to notice the brilliant and elaborate stunt work (a majority of them CGI free). There isn’t much happening plot-wise so it is mostly the action which drives this one.

Marc Forster – who has handled diverse genres before tries his hand at his first full-fledged all out actioner. Though as a sequel it isn’t as engaging compared to its predecessor, this one’s still a treat for action junkies. The climax action piece and the title sequence are the only things which I found below my expectations. Daniel Craig floored everyone with his previous outing as Bond and here he takes the character to a new level. Just go and watch him set the screen on fire. Olga Kurylenko is quite good too but the same can’t be said about the other lady (Gemma Aterton). Mathieu Amalric’s plays the typical French villain you might have seen umpteen times.

The franchise seems to be poised really well at this juncture leaving everyone speculating in which direction it’ll be headed next. But as long as I get to see Craig as Bond (and maybe Paul Haggis writing it) it doesn’t really matter.

The Golden Compass January 28, 2008

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Honestly, I think this is one of the better fantasy movies to have come out in recent times but because of it’s lukewarm box-office response (given it $180 million budget) the producers have not yet decided whether to go ahead with the sequels….since it’s meant to be a trilogy based on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”. If the sequels are not going to be made then watching this film should be a worthless pursuit because all that happens in this flick towards the end is that the stage is set for the real story in the sequels (very similar to the kind of climax in “The Fellowship of the Ring”).

The plot is pretty interesting involving parallel universes (which reminds me of a ridiculous Jet Li film called “The One” that featured the concept of multiple universes). In the universe where the film is set people have accompanying souls (called daemons) in the form of talking animals. A certain Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) starts to investigate other “parallel universes” and the “dust” which allows communcation between them against the wishes of the establishment called Magesterium. This “Magesterium” was supposed to represent the “Church” and hence was the cause of controversy in the book and was the only reason this movie had a little pre-release hype. Anyways, going back to the story there is this girl Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) who sets in search of her friends who were “gobbled”; along with a mysterious lady Coulter (Nicole Kidman). Lyra’s quest and the way it’s related to Lord Asriel’s is what the rest of the movie revolves around.

This one is not fast paced as you’d like to expect from a fantasy/adventure flick but I found the plot quite interesting which made me overlook certain other aspects. The visual effects are as expected in a movie like this. Most of the screen time is given to the cute protagonist Dakota Richards who does really well to carry the film on her shoulders. As I said before you might want to watch this once you get the news of the sequels being confirmed otherwise you’ll end up with more questions than answers (for which you’d have to read the books!)