Can "Quantum of Solace" still be called a real Bond-movie or just a conventional action film?

Analysis of the film's framework, its plot and special characters

Akademische Arbeit, 2017

27 Seiten


Table of content

1. Introduction
1.1 The James Bond franchise and its exceptions
1.2 Annotations

2. Examination
2.1 More than just a story – the framework
2.1.1 The first impression – title, title song and title sequence
2.1.2 Unerring: the gun barrel sequence
2.2 Principal element – the plot
2.2.1 Serial character
2.2.2 The storyline’s structure
2.2.3 Characterising expressions
2.2.4 References to other 007 movies
2.2.5 The final clash
2.3 Good, bad, Bond – the different characters
2.3.1 007 – licence to kill
2.3.2 Target: the evil rival
2.3.3 His darling Moneypenny
2.3.4 Attractive, armed, amazing – the Bond girl(s)

3. Conclusion
3.1 To sum it up
3.2 Personal opinion

I Bibliography
i Primary literature
ii Secondary literature
a) Print
b) Web pages
c) Videos
d) Dictionaries

II List of illustrations

1. Introduction

1.1 The James Bond franchise and its exceptions

James Bond is not just any action hero. He is the one that already fought against the most threatening villains in 24 movies over the last 55 years. Over this half century only six actors had the honour to play this popular character and of course every single one of them had a different understanding of its personality and thus varied its defining character traits.[1] Although some of the films have been liked better by the viewers than others, they all were highly successful regarding the box-office and thousands of reviews.

Several books and essays deal with the topic of how this exceptional story of success is working. Obviously there must be a Bond-formula that guarantees the films´ fame. This means having some particular features around these movies or specialties in the plot which are well received by the public – independent from time. They appear in nearly every single movie whereas other pieces of the story and the film`s framework are occasionally replaced without any losses in success.

Yet, there are clearly certain exceptions not following suit, such as the 22nd film Quantum of Solace (2008). It is a perfect example for a part of the franchise that does not match with the traditional ways of producing, directing, filming and acting in a typical Bond-film. As a result, the opinions about its quality were heavily controversial after its release in October 2008. Some wrote the film “lacks any wit, ironic or otherwise”[2] and even talked about a “licence to bore”[3] whilst it was on top of the US box office.[4].

Anyway, having watched the film it cannot be denied that there were too many aberrations from the approved Bond-formula to just let the matter rest. Many critics agreed that there is an unarguable similarity with the Bourne-films.[5] Others are even sure that “Bond is dead”[6]. When only looking at the movies superficially one might hardly consent, but it is definitely worth taking a closer look at these assumptions and the major deviations from tradition. Inevitably the question comes up whether Quantum of Solace can still be called a real Bond-movie or just a conventional action film. In the following, this term paper will analyze that question by taking into account the film`s framework as well as its plot and special characters.

1.2 Annotations

Before analysing the respective aspects of the movie, I would like to bring some points about this term paper´s conditions of writing to the reader´s attention. Due to the limited frame of this work it is impossible to take a close look at every detail of this quantitatively immense topic. Therefore, it was necessary to eliminate certain aspects. Among them are not only the traditional elements of a Bond film still appearing in Quantum of Solace, as this paper is not compulsorily comprehensive regarding that point, but also few of the characters, like e.g. the side-villain General Medrano or Q, as these are considered as less important than the mentioned ones.

Lastly, while doing the research for this study, I had to observe that getting information about the background of Quantum of Solace and the James Bond-formula in general turns out to be relatively complicated. In particular, sources not free of charge had to be neglected due to limited budget.

2. Examination

As mentioned before, the worldwide popularity of the James Bond films is undeniable. The movies´ special nature has partly developed over time but is also based on the first movie whose style was kept up because of the audience´s positive feedback for Dr.No (1962) . Mainly responsible for several elements of the Bond films´ special making are some crew members from the first episode, like for example production designer Ken Adams. With his individual style and ideas, he sustainably influenced the settings and locations for all the 007 movies. Another important name is John Barry whose recognizable theme accompanies every movie until today. However, not only the formative starting time is crucial for the unique character of the franchise, as James Chapman determined.

“[…] it is the combination of all these elements – the production values, the visual spectacle, the pattern of repetition and variation, the Britishness and the internationalism – which accounts for the distinctive style of the Bond films.”[7]

Umberto Eco already took a closer look at that phenomenon when Ian Fleming´s books´ became more successful. With the release of the films more and more people, such as James Chapman or Christoph Lindner, started to wonder about the remarkable story of success and began to state that not only the original books but also the filmic adaptions had to follow a very detailed Bond formula. Therefore, the challenge is to identify and explain the aberrations in their occurrence in the 22nd instalment in order to judge whether Quantum of Solace completely lost the Bond-film-character or just modified it.

2.1 More than just a story – the framework

A film franchise having worldwide success longer than 55 years must comprise certain elements making them unique and appearing in every single edition of the series, not only in a film`s plot but also in its framework. James Chapman found out that “Ingredients such as the opening gun barrel motif, the visually inventive title sequences and the ‘James Bond Theme’ have become institutionalised to such an extent that, without them, a Bond film would not feel like a Bond film at all.”[8]

2.1.1 The first impression – title, title song and title sequence

One important part of a movie is probably even too obvious to be noticed properly: its title. The 2008’s edition of the 007 saga is called “Quantum of Solace” which is an unusual and even mystical name. It indicates that somebody is looking for and likely even getting this measure of comfort at the end. As James Bond is the film`s protagonist it can be interpreted as his deepest desire after the death of his love Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006). For Abigail de Kosnik it is clear that “Bond’s solace is that his mother needs him, that he has a home with her, and that he has an importance in her family that will never diminish.”[9]

The title usually appears during the movie in some way, like for example in Goldfinger (1964) as the villain´s name. In Quantum of Solace the only connection is the very rarely used name of the organisation “Quantum” which threatens the world peace. Moreover, it is normally connected to the title song which can be confirmed in Goldfinger, too. However, for the 22nd movie the song is called “Another Way to Die” and therefore again is completely different. The phrase “Quantum of Solace” can never be heard during the song and, vice versa, “Another Way to Die” is not linked to the movie. Anyway, the title song is sung by the American singer Jack White, who also wrote the song, and Alicia Keys. Thus, they are the first duet to perform a Bond-theme in the 007 history. Apparently, they do not match very well as some identified the song to be “an abysmal cacophony of incompatible musical idioms”[10]. The British singer Amy Winehouse was originally planned to be the next Bond-song performer, but later substituted by the duet. Some constitute that this is linked with the process of Americanisation in the franchise and was done out of fear not to fit to the mainstream-ideas.[11]

Yet, one detail about the song is in line with the traditions. As always, it accompanies the title sequence which lists all parties concerned. Quantum of Solace `s title sequence was designed by the American design house MK12.[12] While Marc Forster, director of the 22nd instalment, had already worked with their team, like for example in The Kite Runner (2007),[13] it was the first time that an external agency and not somebody from the film crew designed the sequence.[14] However, in its style it surprisingly resembles the scenes created by Maurice Binder, title designer in the first Bond films. He used naked women, basic shapes and a classical design, which was kept up by MK12. The font with which the names and words are written was “created from scratch [and] modelled around the perfectly circular O’s, which were originally meant to symbolize bullet casings.”[15] The names of actors and crew do not merely appear and disappear again but get built step by step: “Seemingly random sequences of vertical strokes and circles appear and are subsequently completed to form words and names.”[16]

In conclusion Quantum of Solace has an unusual title and title song, too. The lacking connection, in particular between the theme and the film, is one of the most significant aspects. Using the title of one of Ian Fleming´s short stories of the collection “For Your Eyes Only” also is a rather doubtful decision since its content is totally different.


[1] See Mannsperger, Georg. “,,James Bond will return": Der serielle Charakter der James Bond-Filme.” Reutlingen, 2003. 04 July 2017. <>. p.41

[2] Child, Ben. “Reviews roundup: what critics thought of Quantum of Solace.” 20 October 2008. 05 June 2017.

[3] Child, Ben. “Reviews roundup: what the critics thought of Quantum of Solace.”

[4] See Child, Ben. “Quantum of Solace blasts new Bond opening record.” 17 November 2008. 05 June 2017. <>.

[5] See e.g. Borcholte, Andreas. “Durchgeschüttelt, ungerührt.” 29 October 2008. 05 June 2017. <>.

[6] Catania, Alessandro. “Bond. Just Bond. Transforming Daniel Craig 007´s (Un)Popular Narratives into High-Pop Entertainment.” Frenk, Joachim and Christian Krug. The cultures of James Bond. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011. Print. p.93

[7] Chapman, James. “A licence to thrill.” Lindner, Christoph. The James Bond phenomenon. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009. Print. p.116

[8] Chapman, James. p.113

[9] De Kosnik, Abigail. “M Stands for Mother: James Bond and Freudian Family Romance in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.” Frenk, Joachim and Christian Krug. The cultures of James Bond. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011. Print. p.156

[10] Scott, A.O. “007 Is Back and He´s Brooding.” 13 November 2008. 05 June 2017. <>.

[11] See Keilholz, Sascha. “Ein Quantum Trost.” 28 October 2008. 05 June 2017. <>.

[12] See Peters, Yves. “MK12 Create Custom Type for Quantum of Solace Title Sequence.” 19 December 2008. 16 August 2017. <>.

[13] See Peters, Yves.

[14] n.p. “James Bond.” 15 September 2017. 26 September 2017. <>.

[15] Peters, Yves.

[16] Peters, Yves.

Ende der Leseprobe aus 27 Seiten


Can "Quantum of Solace" still be called a real Bond-movie or just a conventional action film?
Analysis of the film's framework, its plot and special characters
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Jessica Mantel (Autor:in), 2017, Can "Quantum of Solace" still be called a real Bond-movie or just a conventional action film?, München, GRIN Verlag,


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