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A direct sequel to CASINO ROYALE, QUANTUM OF SOLACE ($40) is a lean, mean and compact James Bond adventure that falls somewhat shy of the heights achieved by its predecessor. Of course, I don’t want to give the impression that QUANTUM OF SOLACE is in any way a bad movie, because it is far from it… However, QUANTUM OF SOLACE does play like an extended denouement to CASINO ROYALE, coming across as somewhat anticlimactic in its story. Of course, QUANTUM OF SOLACE does have a number of strengths, chief of which is Daniel Craig’s performance as James Bond. Craig is indeed a James Bond for a new generation; he proves himself a darker, grittier iteration of the character, relying on physicality instead of gadgets. Where CASINO ROYALE showed Bond to be akin to a remorseless killing machine, QUANTUM OF SOLACE cracks the façade and allows the character’s well-concealed humanity bleed through. This second installment allows for a more well rounded depiction of the character that ties in nicely to what Craig displayed in the first go round.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE picks up the story moments after CASINO ROYALE ends, so it will definitely work to one’s advantage to plan viewing the two as a double feature. Stung by both betrayal and grief, QUANTUM OF SOLACE opens with Bond’s professional agenda seemingly tainted by the aspects of the personal. Capturing the man responsible for the death of his lover, Bond delivers him to a safe house, where we soon learn that his previously unheard of criminal organization, dubbed Quantum, has highly placed individuals everywhere… including inside MI6. Bond’s investigation into Quantum leads him to the doorstep of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a supposed philanthropist, whose international dealings are just a smokescreen for Quantum to gain control of critical natural resources. In his quest to take down Greene, Bond is joined by a lovely young woman named Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who has an agenda all her own. The cast of QUANTUM OF SOLACE also features Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, David Harbour and Jesper Christensen.

MGM Home Entertainment, through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, has made QUANTUM OF SOLACE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is really superb and does not disappoint in any way. Image sharpness is pretty terrific, plus the picture boasts a highly dimensional appearance, as well as coming across in a very film-like manner. Fine details, such as individual hairs and imperfections in the actors’ skin appear fully resolved. Colors are restrained and seem to become more and more subdued as the story plays out, but the flesh tones usually seem realistic. Blacks are inky, while the whites are completely stable. Things appear slightly contrasty in places, but the image never appears blown out. Shadow detail gets top marks. A fine film grain is present and maintains an organic quality for the presentation.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As action movie soundtracks go, this is as good as it gets. The sound design is highly aggressive, with excellent implementation of all the outlying channels. Sound effects whip, zip and ricochet all over the sound field, while the film’s key car chase is the biggest, loudest, wildest ride one is likely to take while still seated in their home theater. Fidelity is quite excellent, with both the music and effects being presented with stunning clarity. The bass channel, is highly percussive and ground shaking. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Portuguese, Korean, and Mandarin.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Featurettes include Bond On Location (twenty-five minutes), Start Of Shooting (three minutes), On Location (three minutes), Olga Kurylenko And The Boat Chase (two minutes), Director Marc Forster (three minutes), and The Music (three minutes). Next are the Crew Files, which offers up thirty-four crew profiles with a forty-six minute total running time. Closing out the supplements are a Music Video for the song Another Way To Die by Jack White and Alicia Keyes, as well as the film’s Theatrical Trailer, Teaser Trailer, plus Bonus Trailers.

While not quite as impressive as CASINO ROYALE, QUANTUM OF SOLACE is a solid Bond adventure that cements Daniel Craig’s position as the James Bond for a new generation. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent, even if the supplements are on the light side. Recommended- especially as the second half of a great Blu-ray double feature.



Quantum of Solace [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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