15 years ago, Quantum of Solace almost destroyed the reputation of Daniel Craig’s James Bond before the actor had even made an impression on fans.
- Quantum of Solace was Daniel Craig’s worst James Bond movie and almost ruined his reputation as 007 due to its cluttered, confusing plot and lack of humor.
- Quantum of Solace was also Craig’s lowest-grossing Bond movie, earning less at the box office compared to its predecessor, Casino Royale.
- The production of Quantum of Solace suffered, resulting in a lack of a cohesive script and clear vision, which contributed to the film’s messy storyline and uneven tone.
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Not only was 2008’s Quantum of Solace Daniel Craig’s worst James Bond movie, but the outing almost ruined his reputation as 007 before it was even established. James Bond seemed to be in a tricky situation back in 2005. 2002’s Die Another Day was a campy misfire and a disappointing swan song for Pierce Brosnan’s winking, self-aware take on 007 — and the franchise seemed to be out of touch with the prevailing culture. Hardened, brooding spies like Jason Bourne made James Bond look like a goofy caricature, and the dark tone of post-9/11 blockbusters made Bond’s adventures seem outdated.
Fortunately, 2006’s Casino Royale was a bruising, brilliant debut for Daniel Craig’s edgier, more serious Bond. Casino Royale’s James Bond backstory allowed the franchise to redefine 007’s entire aesthetic, dropping the outlandish gadgets and smarmy one-liners in favor of a darker tone and bloodier action. However, all of Casino Royale’s hard work was almost undone by the next movie in the series. Released 15 years ago, Quantum of Solace remains the worst of Craig’s Bond movies and arguably the biggest misfire in the franchise since Moonraker. While most of Quantum of Solace’s production problems were unavoidable, the movie’s disastrous reception was still almost enough to ruin Craig’s Bond.
Quantum of Solace Is Daniel Craig’s Worst James Bond Movie
Casino Royale’s Sequel Was Cluttered, Uneven, And Too Self-Serious
2015’s Spectre is probably the second-worst of Craig’s Bond movies, but that uneven outing is still far better than the dour, confusing Quantum of Solace. Ironically, Quantum of Solace had one of the best Bond movie premises in decades, as the outing sees its lead going up against his employers when MI6 is infiltrated. While this is exactly the sort of unadapted James Bond story that the darker novel series is full of, the plot didn’t work. Not only was the internal corruption storyline hard to follow, but the geography of the movie’s story was borderline incomprehensible. Bond flitted across the globe, but the stakes were never clear.
Similarly, the idea that any of 007’s confidantes could be a mole should have been thrilling, but it ended up becoming confusing. Without a solid set of supporting characters like M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny for the franchise to rely on, Quantum of Solace felt more like a cluttered Bourne clone than a 007 outing. To make matters worse, Quantum of Solace was Craig’s least funny Bond movie, but the story was full of the sort of high-concept ideas that only make sense in a more heightened, cartoonish film. For example, Bond discovering his love interest killed by an oil bath was played completely seriously.
Quantum Of Solace Was Also Daniel Craig’s Lowest-Grossing James Bond Movie
Quantum of Solace Couldn’t Match Casino Royale’s Box Office Performance
Since Casino Royale brought the franchise back both critically and commercially, Quantum of Solace should have been bigger than its predecessor. Instead, it was a step backward, earning only $589 million on a budget of $200 million (via Box Office Mojo). By contrast, Casino Royale made a more impressive $605 million on a budget of only $150 million (via Box Office Mojo). Skyfall got the series back on track, but it took a four-year absence from theaters before viewers were ready to get invested in Craig’s take on 007 again. Moreover, Skyfall needed to bring back some of the franchise’s goofier, campier elements to revive the series.
Skyfall’s villain was much goofier and more over-the-top than Quantum of Solace’s bland antagonist, and the movie’s set-pieces were more explosive and far-fetched than Craig’s earlier Bond outings. While Craig’s acclaimed tenure as Bond saw the series taking the character more seriously than ever before, Quantum of Solace proved that this approach could go too far. Everything from the decision to pick up immediately after Casino Royale’s ending to the total dearth of humor in the script could have been a daring attempt to double down on the preceding movie’s dark tone if it weren’t for the inconvenient fact that Quantum of Solace just wasn’t very good.
Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall are currently streaming on Prime Video.
What Really Went Wrong With Quantum Of Solace
Multiple Screenwriters Messed Up Quantum Of Solace’s Production
Originally, screenwriter Paul Haggis, director Marc Forster, and producer Michael G Wilson were set to write the script for Quantum of Solace. However, although Haggis claimed that he completed a draft of the script before the 2007-08 WGA strike began, the movie lacked a cohesive storyline or clear vision throughout production. The biggest thing that went wrong with Quantum of Solace was the movie’s lack of a clear script and storyline. Work was delayed by the strike, but the filmmakers opted to begin production regardless. This resulted in Forster rewriting scenes with Craig on set during filming. To make matters more complicated, Forster also borrowed elements from a spec script.
Forster hired this script’s screenwriter, Joshua Zetumer, to work on set after the strike ended. As a result, Quantum of Solace was still being rewritten daily as the movie was filmed. This resulted in a messy, chaotic story and uneven tone that soon made the film infamous among fans of the franchise. Craig later regretted his part in reshaping the movie, admitting that Quantum of Solace’s production was a mess. Fortunately for the creators of the franchise, Skyfall bringing back some of 007’s campy elements was enough to salvage the series in the years that followed.
How Daniel Craig’s James Bond Came Back Stronger After Quantum of Solace
Skyfall Salvaged Craig’s Bond And Made Him Even Better
Skyfall is one of the all-time great Bond movies thanks to its tonal course correction after Quantum of Solace. The best idea in Quantum of Solace could have worked if the movie had a lighter, funner blockbuster tone, but its dour writing sank the story. In contrast, Skyfall had an outrageous villain, a peek into Bond’s backstory, a killer opening, and even a tragic ending that set the stage for No Time To Die’s shocking dénouement. Killing off M proved that Skyfall was still a darker, heavier Bond movie, but its action-packed story showed that this version of 007 could also be fun.
Where Quantum of Solace was unclear and uneven, Skyfall had a straightforward revenge story. Where Quantum of Solace tried to make ambitious points about geopolitics, Skyfall leaned into Bond’s personal history and his relationship with M. Ultimately, while Quantum of Solace felt like it wanted to be an installment in the Bourne series, Skyfall succeeded as a James Bond movie by embracing the elements of the franchise that were considered corny and contrasting them with a darker, more grounded tone.
Source: Box Office Mojo