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    5. James Bond vs. Unions: How the 2007 Writers' Strike Stirred ..


    James Bond vs. Unions: How the 2007 Writers' Strike Stirred Quantum of Solace

    'We screwed up': Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace Credit: Karen Ballard

    Quantum of Solace is the only Daniel Craig Bond movie that I like more than Daniel Craig – more than the vast majority of people, in fact. For years, Craig had a sour opinion of his second outing, generally seen as a disappointment after Casino Royale, with an undeniably weaker plot and new characters that didn't bring much.

    Before checking, I assumed that Quant had the lowest score on Rotten Tomatoes of the five Bond films that Craig received – he scored a very mediocre 64 percent – when in fact this honor is completely rightfully belongs to Spektr (63 percent). In any case, we are far from a fairly uniform critical admiration for Casino Royale (94%) or Skyfall (92%).

    The reason why Craig considers QoS inadequate, whether we agree with him or not, is simple. Mark Forster's film was rushed into production ahead of the latest WGA writers' strike, which lasted from November 2007 to February 2008. As such, it is often used as an example of the impact these strikes can have on films running in front of the cameras using scripts that don't dot all the t's and i's. During the current one, there are many shoots in this category that cannot afford the luxury of waiting.

    “At Quantum, we were f_____,” Craig said simply in 2011. “We had the bare bones of the script, and then the writers went on strike and there was nothing we could do. We couldn't hire a writer to finish it. I tell myself never again, but who knows? I tried to rewrite the scenes, and I'm not a writer.”

    The actual timeline looks like this. Pre-production was in full swing in the fall of 2007 when the strike began to loom, but the script still needed some serious work. In fact, the second part of filming for the Palio in Siena had already begun in August of that year, before anyone knew how the episode would fit into the plot.

    Forster, Craig and their producers named Paul Haggis the supposed white knight – Hollywood's most in-demand writer. at the time for his parallel work on Million Dollar Baby, Car Crash, Flags of Our Fathers, and Letters from Iwo Jima. Haggis, who rewrote Casino Royale, sent out the polished script in half the time, which landed in Forster's mailbox just two hours before the strike was called.

    At the time, the director claimed that what Haggis gave them would do: “It's a script that I can film,” he told The New York Times, relieved. But we know from Craig's remarks that it was still sub-optimal, as they moved from place to place in the following months, from Madrid to Panama, Chile, and elsewhere, stopping at Pinewood for in-house filming. (An additional scheduled shoot at Machu Picchu had to be increased due to a combination of weather and budgetary issues.) Due to the exact release date of November 14, 2008, and a post-production schedule that grew more difficult by the day, reshoots were cancelled. table.

    Craig's point is that the film was left to fend for itself, had to be made up on the fly, and that almost fatally damaged it. I have a different opinion: the quality of sitting in the pants written throughout Quantum of Solace makes it oddly stand out among his Bond outings, and often in a good way. Take the pre-credits action – ditch the usual stand-alone prologue and instead jump right in at the very moment that Casino Royale stopped to let Bond's anger and grief over Vesper Lind's death turn events into a flyer. This was not courtesy of Haggis or the usual scribes Neil Purvis and Robert Wade. Craig said that he and Forster came up with the idea: “It was never supposed to be as big a sequel as it was, but it ended up being a sequel.”

    Incompetent resourceful: Daniel Craig in the movie “Quantum of Solace”. Image Credit & Copyright: Susie Allnutt

    “We got away with it, but nothing more,” he added in the same interview. I think the very feeling that Quantum is on the brink of disaster, but getting away with it, gives it a nerve impulse. Also, if the status quo without a writers' strike means that the scripts for Ghost, No Time To Die, and even (sorry) Skyfall are very often tedious—with their chatty lulls, sly jokes, and the tedious duty of showcasing everyone surviving Bond character… iverse – I might even take a hit. (Don't quote me at the WGA on this.)

    Forster had a hell of a job connecting all those dots. While some parts of the film do fall short, especially in the final act (perhaps without Machu Picchu?), some of his decisions were inventive. It wasn't until he realized that there was a labyrinth of Roman tunnels and cisterns below Siena that he figured out how to get Bond out of the car chase into the streets of Siena during the Palio – through a trapdoor – and from there onto the city's tiled roofs. for a breathless pursuit of rumbling verve.

    As he falls through that glass dome into the art gallery, Craig's stunt double accidentally fell off the scaffolding, which inspired Forster to change the script: instead of having them run outside, the fight between Bond and double agent Mitchell (Glenn Foster) ended up 007 got tangled in the ropes as he reached for his gun. It took even more effects shots than originally planned, but they were worth it – all the pulleys and oscillating beams in this Rube Goldberg's dodgy scene make it one of the most satisfying hand-to-hand fights in the entire Bond canon. /p>

    Complaints that the editing (by Forster regulars Matt Chess and Richard Pearson) were annoyingly dizzy and needlessly jittery were flooded with numerous complaints. Personally, I love it, just as I love what Paul Greengrass (a definite inspiration) was doing at the time with the second and third Bourne films. It takes you by surprise.

    Bourne-style Bond: Quantum is largely based on the films of Paul Greengrass. : Karen Ballard

    This is by far the most Born Bond – a mistake for many – but I like the change of tactics this time: he works on instincts, and he does not have time to go deeply into what the villains are up to. (Again, an approach that a well-worn script practically needs.) Just point it at one of the bad guys and it will growl and lash out. This is Bond, palpably bruised by the events of the previous film, the one who knocks over six vodka martinis in one run. He is the one who is shaken, not stirred.

    While Quantum may deviate from tradition in many ways, it does deal a few blows to reverence. Dennis Gassner's production design (particularly inside eco-speculator Dominic Green's dainty desert retreat) marks a welcome return to Ken Adam's modernist extravagance. Or take the fate of Gemma Arterton's generally ungrateful Strawberry Fields, drenched in crude oil rather than the gold paint that Jill Masterson got in Goldfinger.

    Where vengeful Bolivian agent Olga Kurylenko fared only marginally better, Green, played by Mathieu Amalric, is a petty villain who fits the film—more of a shady politician than a brilliant genius. (He claims to have modeled his acting after Nicolas Sarkozy and Tony Blair.) Another good idea for Forster was to increase Judi Dench's screen time and boost M's overall role here, preparing her for Skyfall.

    He's shocked but not excited: Craig as Bond and Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields

    Quantum often makes do with flash and speed, but it's capable of satire: the meeting of the Specter cabal during a haute couture production of Tosca makes it clear that only people who can afford opera tickets rule (or destroy) the world. This sequence culminates in a gambit bordering on the avant-garde when the audio cuts out and we are plunged into a trance-like gunfight written by Puccini.

    At just 106 minutes, this is perhaps the shortest of the Craig Bond films, which Craig himself would probably write off as running out of steam or not having enough material for a full feast. Perhaps that is why, but there are also silver linings. I think it's more like a Bond novella – short, poignant, written in a hurry, but carrying a punch between the larger parts.

    This is a side mission that 007 completes by seeing the color red while too glowing with animus to refuse or slow down. For these reasons, I think this is Craig's best performance of the five – pure tendons and aggression, no smugness. Something about this turmoil played into his strength, however narrowly he remembered how he experienced it. Should Casino Royale still be Craig's favorite? Great. It's far from shorty: it's the only underrated one.

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