BitDepth 659 - December 23

Daniel Craig and Keanu Reeves star in expensive films with slim stories...
A quantum of story...please

Gentlemen, Mr Spielberg would like to have his first contact scene back now.

Perhaps I'm being a bit churlish in the midst of the holiday season with an expectation that movies might endeavour to tell a story or even to make much sense.
The newest James Bond outing,
Quantum of Solace, takes the promising actor Daniel Craig and underutilises his skills in the service of making a stealth clone of the Transporter series.
The film, which follows directly on the rebooting of the long running spy series in Casino Royale follows a hurt, angry Bond on a mission of vengeance for the loss of his lady love Vesper Lynd.

It is, in fact, the first direct sequel in the series and an opportunity to extend Craig's remarkable first outing in the role across five hours worth of storyline, but nobody seemed to know what to do with the opportunity.
Director Marc Foster offers Craig a one-note motivation, fury, for his second assaying of the role and while the film moves fast, it fails to offer any depth.
There's a story of sorts bouncing aimlessly around in QoS, a bit of villainy more typical of multinational conglomerates than the vividly mad schemes of the typically over the top Bond nemesis.
No gold bullion or nuclear missiles for Dominic Greene, no, this oily little man who fights like a manic girl is after the water in the fictional armpit nation of Bolivia. Call him Dr No H20.

Small tale, big guns
Still, there's hope for the future in the scheming of Quantum, an ephemeral consortium of evil with the invisibility of Al Qaeda and the greed of Halliburton.
From the second it begins with a screeching of tyres and chatter of machine gun fire, Quantum of Solace barrels along mercilessly, pushing Craig through bone crunching calisthenics that make you wince with their verisimilitude.
But this Bond outing didn't require someone capable of the nuances that Daniel Craig has delivered in previous films and in the unusually rich
Casino Royale.

The tragedy of Quantum of Solace is that for this Bond outing, Jason Statham would have done just as well and the promise of Casino Royale demanded a better finale than this.
The trailers for the remake of
The Day the Earth stood still offered an equal measure of hopefulness for the prospective cinemagoer, but if you've seen that collection of clips, then you've already seen everything worth viewing in this hapless film.

Klaatu boredus solido
original movie was groundbreaking in its day; a thoughtful science fiction cautionary tale of a spacefaring Jesus figure who brought warning of the consequences of mankind's worst tendencies. At a time when silly flying saucer movies were landing regularly in cinemas, the film arrived with resonating impact.
The core of the original premise is still there, Keanu Reeves arrives as Klaatu to warn mankind that it hasn't been listening to Al Gore and if they can't watch a bloody slideshow then they deserve to be extinct.
Well, he didn't say that, but it might have been more interesting if he had. At every step, the new film tries and fails to fill the footprints of its predecessor.

Reeves pulls his emotionless waxy pallor shtick out one more time (and no, he doesn't say the line), Jennifer Connelly weeps regularly and Jaden Smith, Will's son, channels his father's worst excesses on Fresh Prince. Pretty much the coolest thing in this new Day is the revamped Gort, which metamorphoses from the cool old robot shape KITTed with a ruby cyclops eye into a cloud of nano bugs that strips everything it descends on.
Gort strips a stadium and an eightwheeler container truck, but spares Kathy Bates' grumpy Secretary of State, Connelly and Smith, which only proves that merciless alien technology isn't always smart enough to really save us from ourselves.
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