Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Quantum of Solace

November 23rd, 2008

Geoff, Kyle and I walked down to Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo last night to take a gander at the latest James Bond flick. Though I have been a big fan of Bond movies in the past, I hadn’t seen one since The World Is Not Enough, as that film (and the previous, Tomorrow Never Dies) left something of a bad taste in my mouth. I still consider GoldenEye to possibly be the best Bond movie ever made, so it was disappointing that they couldn’t keep up the momentum. The later Brosnan films went heavier on the action and lighter on the comedy, which didn’t really feel very Bond-ish to me at all, so I wasn’t in a hurry to see it through to its logical conclusion.

Okay, I’m done with the Bond film name-dropping now. Quantum of Solace was a great film! Perhaps somewhat ironically, it was the turn to more serious storytelling that won me over. The movie portrayed a more inexperienced 007, but also a more passionate one, a more believable character with faults and moments of realistic clumsiness. Bond can make mistakes! I also found it amusing that the Bond girl with the stupid jokey name was the one to get killed early on. I was afraid I’d have trouble following a direct sequel film without seeing the previous, but I think I would have been okay even if I hadn’t read Casino Royale. A fine flick that sheds all the old clichés to deliver a solid compelling story! That’s what I would say about Quantum of Solace if I were the kind of person that writes movie reviews. Thank goodness I am not.

“Come on man!” I hear you protesting, “We must know what trailers preceded this movie you saw last night!” I do apologize for keeping you waiting. On the bright side, with this post several months after the last HUR, there’s no trailer overlap!

Seven Pounds
I had absolutely no idea what was going on in this trailer. Apparently Will Smith sells his house to some lady at the beginning, and then… no, seriously, what the hell was going on? The trailer seems to make allusions to there being seven different stories intertwined around Smith’s character, but gives no real sense of how anything is connected. Or which parts were even different stories. Anyone want to provide some input on this? Did it make any sense to you? Points for ORIGINALity are vastly cancelled out by generic vague boring trailer clichés.

The International
Stop the presses! Clive Owen plays a guy that shoots guns and protects a lady?!? It’s an odd typecasting, but I suppose it works for him. Make sure you watch this one for a glass-breaking shootout scene that would seem to exceed every glass-breaking shootout scene ever made before. In terms of how much glass is broken. That building looks like it was designed to be shattered by Clive Owens’ bullets. Hooray for more ORIGINAL screenplays!

Star Trek
Hooray for trailer #2! Whereas the first was basically the biggest tease in the world, the new trailer delivers some genuine content. Zachary Quinto was a brilliant choice for a young Nimoy-alike, even if I keep thinking he’s going to kill Kirk and steal his woman-seducing powers. Simon Pegg’s Scotty clip, though brief, gives me additional hope for a better film than *shudder* Nemesis. Finally, J.J. Abrams has proven himself to me with the amazing success of Lost, so I’m extra-pumped that this will breathe some much-needed new life into a dying franchise (thanks a lot, Enterprise). Of course it’s an ADAPTATION and a PREQUEL, but it’s also friggin’ Star Trek! I’ll go see it in theaters like I have every other one since Generations.

Yes Man
Wait, didn’t Jim Carrey already star in a silly comedy wherein he was forced to respond differently to situations, with supposedly hilarious results? I wish I could label this as unoriginal based on its similarity to Liar Liar, but luckily I don’t have to! It’s based on a 2005 biography of the same name! ADAPTATION. Also stupid-looking.

Bedtime Stories
Adam Sandler is doing kids movies now? For Disney?! I thought his whole appeal was his crude adult humor, and I can’t imagine he gets to do much of that in a Disney film. Instead he’s being surrounded with lavish CGI dream sequences. At least he gets sprayed in the eyes with flame retardant. ORIGINAL, though none of the storytelling segments appear to be anything but derivative. Also: was that music from the Back to the Future Part III score in the western story? Why yes it was.

The Day The Earth Stood Still
Color me very wary. I am a huge fan of the original film; it’s rare that science fiction stories are told so seriously as they were in that brilliant allegory. While this movie looks like a perfectly solid sci-fi experience, it would seem to bear little resemblance to its predecessor. The potential destruction of Earth appears to be happening in the movie, whereas the original gave warning of dire consequences if our ways were not altered. I suppose you need action to sell tickets. I probably will go see this REMAKE, mostly because Keanu Reeves makes me crack up whenever I even think about him.

Welcome back to movies, Tom Cruise. Can’t say I missed you. Despite his presence, if we have to have ADAPTATIONs, at least they chose an interesting true story (the 20 July plot, specifically). I was amused to find that this story has been retold in movie form many times before, but hey, maybe there’s something new to add to it. Maybe they pull off the assassination this time! *fingers crossed*

TOTAL: 57.14% 4/7

As of a November 22nd screening of Quantum of Solace at Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo, CA, Hollywood is geared for a season of 57.14% unoriginality. Not a bad ratio at all, and beyond that, I might even go see a few of these! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rent Casino Royale. Thank you, Daniel Craig, for renewing my faith in the Bond franchise!