Quantum of Solace appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the movie boasted an excellent transfer.
Virtually no issues affected sharpness. I saw a sliver of softness in some wide shots, but those instances remained minor. The majority of the flick looked distinctive and concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred. Both edge enhancement and source flaws also remained absent.
With its mix of exotic settings, Quantum featured a wide, dynamic palette. The colors consistently appeared lively and bright, with very good reproduction. Blacks seemed dark and firm, and shadows showed nice clarity and delineation. Overall, I felt very pleased with this terrific presentation.
In addition, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Quantum proved to be quite satisfying. As one expects from a Bond flick, the soundfield opened up in a dynamic manner. The many action sequences used the five channels well, as vehicles, gunfire and other elements fleshed out the room in a compelling manner. The track used the surrounds in an involving way and made them active partners in the mix.
Audio quality always seemed strong. Speech came across as crisp and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music sounded lively and full, and effects were well reproduced. Those elements seemed consistently accurate and dynamic; low-end was tight and deep. All in all, this was a more than satisfactory soundtrack.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the DVD release? The Blu-ray boasted mild improvements but didn’t blow away the DVD. Yes, the picture looked tighter and the audio was a little more dynamic, but don’t expect a night and day difference.
Among the extras, we begin with a 24-minute and 46-second program called Bond on Location. It presents comments from director Marc Forster, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, 1st assistant director Michael Lerman, production designer Dennis Gassner, casting director Debbie McWilliams, Panama extras casting Ana Endara, 2nd unit director Dan Bradley, DC-3 pilot Skip Evans, Marchetti pilot Steven Hinton, helicopter pilot Cliff Fleming, executive producers Anthony Waye and Callum McDougall, location manager Martin Joy, observatory director Andreas Kaufer, ESO director general Tim De Zeeuw, aerial coordinator Mike Woodley, ultimate arm driver Dean Bailey, stunt coordinator Gary Powell, Italy line producer Guido Cerasuolo, and actors Daniel Craig, Gemma Arterton, Mathieu Almaric, and Olga Kurylenko.
As expected, the show looks at locations and the issues that came with the various spots. The focus allows for side topics like stunts, cast, and a few other bits, but mostly we learn about aspects of the locations. Inevitably, some fluff appears, but the majority of the show offers an interesting look at the challenges related to shooting a Bond flick in exotic locations.
Info about the early days of the production shows up in Start of Shooting. During this two-minute and 55-second piece, we get remarks from Forster, Craig, and Wilson. The short featurette shows a little of what the crew did on the first day of production but mostly just serves as an overview of general movie-making bits. It’s too brief to tell us much; it’s just promotional material, really.
More footage appears via the three-minute and 12-second On Location. It features remarks from Forster, Wilson, Bradley, Evans, Kurylenko and Arterton. This one acts like little more than a very quick sliver of “Bond on Location”. Like “Start”, it’s a promo piece without much value.
Olga Kurylenko and the Boat Chase runs two minutes, 14 seconds and includes statements from Forster, Kurylenko, Powell, and Craig. This one focuses on the new Bond girl and her stunt work. As with the last few, it’s awfully short, but a few decent tidbits emerge.
For additional notes about the filmmaker, we head to the two-minute and 45-second Director Marc Forster featurette. It gives us info from Forster, Craig, Arterton, Almaric, Kurylenko, and Wilson. All involved tell us of Forster’s greatness. Yawn.
Under The Music, we get a two-minute and 36-second piece with composer David Arnold and musicians Jack White and Alicia Keys. Expect a few minor thoughts about the score and theme song but don’t anticipate anything memorable.
Crew Files breaks into 33 short pieces; taken together, they run a total of 46 minutes, 15 seconds. Across these, we learn a little about various members of the crew. They cover Panama City location manager James Grant, Panama extras casting Ana Endara, 2nd AD Toby Hefferman, DP Roberto Shaefer, Mexico aerial unit pilot Cliff Fleming, production sound mixer Chris Munro, Mexico aerial unit DC3 pilot Skip Evans, executive producer Callum McDougall, European Southern Observatory director general Tim De Zeeuw, Italy line producer Guido Cerasuolo, Bond girls hair/makeup Naomi Donne, Go-Camera operator/rigger Pat Daily, additional unit director Simon Crane, unit nurse Jeanie Udall, first AD Michael Lerman, supervising art director Chris Lowe, stuntman Ben Cooke, Bregenz Festival artistic director David Pountney, 2nd unit production manager Terry Bamber, casting director Debbie McWilliams, Ultimate Arm Camera driver Dean Bailey, actor Anatole Taubman, picture vehicle supervisor Graham Kelly, SFX supervisor Chris Corbould, make-up designer Paul Engelen, supervising sound editor Eddy Joseph, editors Rick Pearson and Matt Chesse, title shoot directors Ben Radatz and Tim Fisher, VFX designer Kevin Tod Haug, singer Alicia Keys, composer David Arnold, and music video director Paul Brown.
Woof – that’s a lot of people to cover in a fairly short amount of time! These short pieces originally ran on the movie’s website, and they act as mini-blogs. Each participant tells us a little about his/her job, and we see footage from the shoot. I like the breadth of the information, but the absence of depth makes the clips less than enthralling. Still, they give us enough interesting material to merit our attention.
The presentation features a music video for “Another Way to Die” by Alicia Keys and Jack White. It remains to be seen where the song will end up among the history of Bond themes, but right now I think it’s pretty good; it clearly falls below the best but it’s stronger than many of its siblings. The video isn’t particularly interesting, though I’m glad it largely eschews the usual movie clips.
The disc opens with a few ads. We get promos for Valkyrie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Australia. The disc also includes both teaser and theatrical trailers for Quantum.
After three screenings, it’s too early for me to rank Quantum of Solace among its Bond brethren in a definitive way. Right now, however, I place it at the bottom. The movie simply lacks any of the qualities that we desire in a Bond film; instead, it provides a forgettable, generic action flick. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and audio as well as a decent collection of extras. I can’t complain about this release, but the movie offers a serious disappointment.
If you don’t already have the DVD of Quantum, the Blu-ray is the way to go. It’s only worth a double dip, though, if you really like the film. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great, but so does the DVD, so it’s an expensive upgrade for those who already have the DVD.
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of QUANTUM OF SOLACE