Standing up for 'A Quantum of Solace'
Am I the only James Bond fan who doesn’t hate the name of 007’s next movie (starring, left to right, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Daniel Craig, and Gemma Arterton)? I’m starting to think so, after scanning the reactions to today’s announcement that the franchise’s 22nd entry will be titled A Quantum of Solace. The way bloggers are crying foul, you’d think the Broccoli family had served them some sort of vicious personal insult. “[I]t’s so bad we think we might cry,” spat Hecklerspray’s Stuart Heritage. “Worst Bond title ever? It makes no sense. It sounds like a blancmange,” hisses the U.K. Guardian‘s Xan Brooks. “What in god’s name were [the] producers thinking??” wept Best Week Ever’s Dan Hopper.
I get that this is an easy target — and each of those posts, to be fair, is pretty funny. Still, I gotta say, I really think A Quantum of Solace (which was originally the name of an obscure Ian Fleming short story) is a cool-sounding name for a brooding action flick. So what if it’s hard to figure out exactly what it means? (An advanced particle physics allusion? Some Victorian ethical concept?) Maybe it’s just the geek in me talking, but I dig it. The phrase A Quantum of Solace is lean, smart, mysteriously menacing — just like Craig’s Bond. And what’s the alternative? Heritage, perhaps inadvertently, proves my very point when he sardonically sums up the typical Bond film-naming process: “Everyone knows that all James Bond movie titles should be based on a popular saying with the word ‘Die’ where the word ‘Live’ should be.” Whatever its flaws, A Quantum of Solace is definitely way better than whatever lame proverb-puns the producers could have dredged up.
This still leaves the crucial question raised by EW’s Jeff Jensen in an email earlier today: “How’d you like to be the songwriter assigned to write a classic Bond theme song using THAT title?” Jensen suggested, tongue in cheek, that Radiohead or A-Ha might be up to the challenge; meanwhile, Slezak independently nominated Bond-theme all-star Shirley Bassey for the job. (I’m going to stick to the safe middle ground here and beg for a Shirley Bassey-Thom Yorke duet, with keyboard fills by the dude from A-Ha. Make it happen, MGM!)
But forget theme-song complications. (It’s not like Chris Cornell’s song for the last Bond movie was called “Casino Royale,” folks.) Let’s stick to the important issue: Did anyone else besides me actually get more psyched for Bond 22 when they heard what it’s going to be called, or am I all alone on this one?