Quantum of Solace Editing / Cinematography

DavidWebbDavidWebb Somewhere
in Bond Movies Posts: 20
I know I'm not alone on this, and perhaps it has been discussed here in the past, but does anyone else find the editing (more in some scenes than others) to be almost unbearable at times in Quantum of Solace?

I have my issues with that movie for more reasons than just the editing specifics, but seriously ... its like they went to bloody town in the editing room of that film. A great example of what I'm referencing is the beginning foot chase scene. Though I actually quite like the final moment of a sleight hand from Bond, the cinematography (which I'm sure it would be decent if not for the hack-job done in the editing room) and editing of that scene do not pair well at all as is the case in a lot of other scenes. Recalling it, I got a little sick from my eyes attempting to adjust every time the screen cut to a new angle - which it did... A LOT.

I'm not sure about the general consensus in this community, but I personally find it rather dodgy and quite bad.

How about everyone else?
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Comments

  • Posts: 4,031
    It bothered me when I saw it first, but second viewing was much better!
    Now?...........I wouldnt have it any other way!
    And QOS is in my top 10, and a recent watch of it hasnt altered that, sublime Bond movie, so much to enjoy in it and the editing doesn't bother me at all!
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 5,134
    It’s atrocious. And the pacing is so rushed there’s nothing to savor.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    edited November 5 Posts: 366
    The initial section was a bit of a sensory overload in the cinema on first viewing, because no one was expecting it and on a big screen, out of nowhere, it really did have that 'bullet from a gun' effect that Forster said he was looking for. Obviously looking to outdo Bourne at the height of the quick cut-shakeycam era. But it was only that frantic initial section that had that effect and it was much reduced on repeated viewings, when you knew what was coming. And I've never had a problem with it on a tv screen at all. Some of the moving camera and upside down viewpoints in the rope and scaffolding fight between Bond and Mitchell were pretty stomach lurching, but it wasn't bad editing - with those scenes and the initial car chase, it was intentional. Forster was trying to put the viewer in the car with Bond or have us a bit disorientated through seeing things happen at the same time as Bond himself saw them. He did succeed in doing that, although you could argue that if the director has to explain what he's doing in interviews, then he's failed to communicate it in the actual film itself. I wouldn't go that far - I just see it as a nice little extra once you recognise what he's up to. The only other thing I'd say about the actual editing, as opposed to the length of some scenes (because who doesn't want more of Bond and Mathis on the plane or Bond and Felix in the bar or Bond and Fields anywhere!), is that some of the location shots could've been a bit more generous. Not that it detracts, because I love QOS as it is, but some lengthier location shots would've been good for atmosphere.
  • Junglist_1985Junglist_1985 Los Angeles
    edited November 4 Posts: 411
    Agree with the above statement… I’m actually perfectly fine with the editing style, as it’s really just a few scenes and it fits well with both the tone of the film and Bond’s psyche. However… Lengthier location shots, let the music play a bit longer, let the film BREATHE a little bit…. would go a long way! I wonder if such footage exists.

    Regardless, QOS sits comfortably in my top 10 (usually around #8). Gets even better with time.
  • AceHoleAceHole Belgium, via Britain
    edited November 4 Posts: 1,725
    Didn’t work too well on the big screen - as nauseating as The Bourne Supremacy.

    But QoS has since grown on me and I love several sequences, as well as many of the lines
    Oddly, I now find it more rewatchable than the plodding SF
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    edited November 4 Posts: 366
    I love The Bourne Identity - but I don't like either of the sequels. Ironically, Alexander Witt was the Second Unit director on Identity and Casino Royale, but for QOS they hired the bloke who did Second Unit for The Bourne Supremacy! Ah well... Loved your QOS appraisal in the other thread, by the way, AceHole - good one.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,014
    I’ve never seen a Bourne film, but kind of want to check them all out.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    edited November 5 Posts: 366
    The Bourne Identity is a genuinely great film, but it was so influential that it's been copied literally dozens of times since. All these years later, you might not get much sense of how fresh and different it was in 2002, because so much of what made it different has turned up in lots of other films since and those things are now commonplace. Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson and Lee Tamahori went to see The Bourne Identity during the making of DAD and apparently came out afterwards thinking they were dead in the water and needed a major change of course! But definitely give it a go - a classic assassin/spy movie.
  • marcmarc Universal Exports
    Posts: 1,656
    DavidWebb wrote: »
    I know I'm not alone on this, and perhaps it has been discussed here in the past, but does anyone else find the editing (more in some scenes than others) to be almost unbearable at times in Quantum of Solace?
    Yes, I do.

    In Bourne on the other hand, the editing doesn't detract much from the movies, for me. I usually dislike hand-to-hand combat anyways, but in Bourne, those are embedded in much better movies than QOS, imo.
  • Posts: 1,646
    While it can be a tough experience for some, one of the things I appreciate about the QoS editing is it gives the frantic feel of being caught up in the action and what the participants must be feeling. So much can happen lightning fast and your instincts and reflexes are working overtime to get you through it.

    I'm glad they took a chance and didn't just settle, although I get it's not for everybody.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    Posts: 11,754
    Some of the editing is annoying: during the PTS; Mitchell fight on the scaffolding; boat chase. The cinematography, camera angles, and a few transitions between shots (e.g. Mathis in the dumpster fading into the vehicle) are excellent.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,958
    BT3366 wrote: »
    While it can be a tough experience for some, one of the things I appreciate about the QoS editing is it gives the frantic feel of being caught up in the action and what the participants must be feeling. So much can happen lightning fast and your instincts and reflexes are working overtime to get you through it.

    I'm glad they took a chance and didn't just settle, although I get it's not for everybody.

    Just like Tosca, in fact. ;)
  • QBranch wrote: »
    Some of the editing is annoying: during the PTS; Mitchell fight on the scaffolding; boat chase. The cinematography, camera angles, and a few transitions between shots (e.g. Mathis in the dumpster fading into the vehicle) are excellent.

    Over time, I came around to really enjoying the editing in parts of the film that had initially disoriented me. In fact, I now find the opening car chase to be pretty masterfully edited all around, especially with Arnold's slam-bang "Time to Get Out" accompanying.

    The one part of the film I still wish had been edited much differently is the Palio chase. It moves by much too fast for me, and I'm not a fan of the (as far as I can tell) pretty random cuts to what's going on at the race while Bond is chasing Mitchell. Also, the part where Bond leaps from the balcony to the roof of the moving bus and from there to the next rooftop seems like it was a pretty cool sequence, but you don't really see much of it in the final edit.

    But everyone seems to have different ideas of which parts of Quantum's editing they like and which they don't. Some really like the way the Palio chase was edited. So I guess I'm just glad that the majority of the film's editing works for me.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,976
    Mitchell's escape is too much for me. But that's it. Things get better from there. But yeah, that sequence is "weird". It's cut up frenetically, to the point where I'm unable to distinguish between people, objects, things that happen. And it's a very pretentious sequence, with all the intercuts to the horse race and the flags and looks on people's faces, almost as if these serve the purpose of heavy-handed metaphors or something.
  • edited November 5 Posts: 559
    It works fine for the excellent vehicle chase that opens the film... except that the bad guys' cars should have been white and red. (This would reduce any confusion some people experienced with the scene to almost nothing.)

    The rooftop chase/scaffold battle -- which had the potential to be a franchise highlight -- is utterly ruined by the Cuisinart editing, unfortunately. RUINED.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,014
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    Mitchell's escape is too much for me. But that's it. Things get better from there. But yeah, that sequence is "weird". It's cut up frenetically, to the point where I'm unable to distinguish between people, objects, things that happen. And it's a very pretentious sequence, with all the intercuts to the horse race and the flags and looks on people's faces, almost as if these serve the purpose of heavy-handed metaphors or something.

    Really! I love that sequence. The moment where Bond reaches the top of the belltower is cinematographic Bond bliss, IMO. And, of course, the climax of the chase still creates a lot of tension.
  • DavidWebbDavidWebb Somewhere
    Posts: 20
    Before I go to bed (I know it's quite late haha) I would like to say that I watched a little over half of the film to rewatch and see if I like it anymore than I did the previous time(s). To be honest, I do kind of appreciate it more, but the opening foot chase is still very much nauseating. I think the camera work and editing can be approved in a lot of ways in many scenes -- however, I actually liked the contrast between the kitchen and the opera this time, it's very nice, really!

    Anyway, I hope this thread continues.

    Signing off at 0244 GMT.
  • edited November 5 Posts: 6,092
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    Mitchell's escape is too much for me. But that's it. Things get better from there. But yeah, that sequence is "weird". It's cut up frenetically, to the point where I'm unable to distinguish between people, objects, things that happen. And it's a very pretentious sequence, with all the intercuts to the horse race and the flags and looks on people's faces, almost as if these serve the purpose of heavy-handed metaphors or something.

    "Pretentious" is indeed how I feel about that sequence. It does feel like they were trying to produce some kind of metaphor by cutting between Bond and Mitchell running and the horses, but it's an awfully clunky one and who knows what it's trying to say anyway?

    Maybe it's hard to judge these things when you're in the editing room. The gunfight at the opera follows a similar approach yet works marvelously.
  • edited November 6 Posts: 456
    I like the content of QoS. I like the acting, visuals, action and the themes of the story. But the editing doesn't show those things well.

    It is one of the biggest budget Bond films, yet it feels like one of the cheapest Bond films. All of the dollars spent, don't really show up on screen.

    I think this film could easily be on the top half of the Bond films with better editing, but as it is, no.

    It's a shame because I would put Quantum of Solace in the upper half of Bond films solely if it had better editing.

    It's like the equivalent of cooking a nice dinner, with wine and a slice of cake for dessert. Except throwing all of those thing in the blender and having to drink it as a milkshake.

    Yes, the ingredients are all still there, but it's just not appealing to consume.
  • edited November 6 Posts: 456
    For those saying "I watched it 4-7+ times and I've grown to appreciate it".

    Keep in mind that 99%+ of the population, this is not the case. They watch a movie once.
    They might watch a movie a 2nd time if they really like it, but not if they felt like it was an average film at best on their first viewing.

    It is nice when you rewatch a film and pick up on things you didn't before. But enjoying a movie shouldn't be contingent on rewatching it.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited November 6 Posts: 19,976
    M16_Cart wrote: »
    For those saying "I watched it 4-7+ times and I've grown to appreciate it".

    Keep in mind that 99%+ of the population, this is not the case. They watch a movie once.
    They might watch a movie a 2nd time if they really like it, but not if they felt like it was an average film at best on their first viewing.

    It is nice when you rewatch a film and pick up on things you didn't before. But enjoying a movie shouldn't be contingent on rewatching it.

    I agree, @M16_Cart!

    Too often people refer to the book on which a film is based or to freeze-frames, commentary tracks, deleted scenes and such when excusing a film for what it neglected to convey. But that's not the natural way to watch a film. I shouldn't have to read "the book" in order to grasp what the film is about. I'm usually fascinated by extra information that can provide some clarity, but that never "helps" the film be better than it is. "Read the book" can be good advice to people who want more out of a film, but it shouldn't be an argument for why someone "didn't get the film". If the film didn't tell me, then it's not really a part of the film.

    Slightly more challenging is the debate about "multiple viewings". True, most people probably don't re-visit films that often, and certainly not films they "didn't get" the first time around (because that usually leads to a negative assessment of the film, meaning they probably won't ever be inclined to watch the film again.) But some films are so heavy on subtext, metaphor, "hidden layers", that re-watching the film can pay off. Also, there's so much to take in sometimes that multiple viewings are required to see, hear and experience it all. I'm thinking about Blade Runner, Inception, Tenet, 2001: A Space Odyssey, even Casino Royale. And yet, rewatching a film shouldn't be mandatory. It's great if an awesome film turns even more awesome with several viewings, but what about a "mèh" film that turns into an awesome film overtime? "You should see this film! But see it more than once and then give me your opinion." Hm...

    QoS is a special case for me. My first two viewings of the film let me down. I complained about not enough content and cuts that left me wondering what I had seen. It took me several viewings to find the content that was hidden behind the wallpaper and deconstruct messy cut-jobs in order to see who's who and who's doing what. Now, QoS is one of the better Bonds for me. Without those multiple viewings, I'd probably still be ranking the film much lower. So all in all, I'm happy for those multiple viewings, but I understand that a film should not have to come with instructions to see it once, then again, then again, then again and then form an opinion.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    edited November 6 Posts: 366
    Yes, this is what I meant when I said that it could be seen as a failing that Forster had to explain in interviews that the car chase was like it was because he wanted to put the viewer in the car with Bond or that the chase and fight with Mitchell were done that way because he wanted the viewer to see things unfold at the same time that Bond did. Maybe he should've made sure that people got that without having to be told? Some directors like to add in these little layers for their own amusement and I suspect that Forster might be one of them.
    I've never grasped the complaints about not being able to follow what was happening, though. I get that some people might not like the quick cuts and the amount of shakeycam and, fair enough, that's personal preference, can't argue with that. But even if you didn't like the way it was done, it was easy enough to follow what was actually happening, though, wasn't it?
    Similarly, I'm always surprised when people say that they didn't understand the plot or what the relationships were between particular characters or what their motivations were. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Mind you, I've seen QOS literally a couple of dozen times at this point - maybe I'm kidding myself and some stuff seeped in only gradually, but my brain thinks my current grasp of it is the one I had on first viewing?! Who knows - selective memory and all that!
  • Posts: 915
    Yep.The editing and camerawork is terrible in this film.As Mark Kermode said in his review,it’s as if the entire movie was directed by the second unit director.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 179
    The cinematography is documentary-like. There are virtually no glamor shots or big, showy establishing shots of anything, and the lighting is extremely naturalistic. This probably has as much to do with Forster's style as Roberto Schaefer's. Overall I think it works well.

    The editing is another matter. It's not just the action sequences, the whole movie is over-edited and employs a montage style that sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Almost every shot in the movie could use an additional half second or so at least. In the first QOS trailer there's a shot of the Alfa Romeo chasing Bond's Aston with the gunman shooting out the window that lasts longer than the actual shot in the film.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,976
    I agree with @slide_99 that the film is over-edited--well, mostly. It's not always a problem for me, though. In some cases, I might even go so far as to say that the editing lends the film a unique style.

    There's one scene in particular that always springs to mind. M, Bond and Tanner are walking down a corridor in the MI6 building. Suddenly--blink and you miss it (BAYMI)--a random guy shows up telling "mum" he has something to show her. Tanner says "not interested" but the party follows the man anyway. Next, we are forced to swallow down an avalanche of hyperspeed dialogue about money stacks and leads and clues; mouths exhaust words so fast, I had trouble keeping up the first time. M says it well: "that's pretty thin"; yes, it is, but the chain of reasoning is being uncoiled so rapidly, it's practically impossible to assess the credibility behind the clue-hopping. Meanwhile, that dreadfully impractical collection of unspooling bars, windows, pictures and numbers--BAYMI--they picked for a "professional" computer interface, keeps distracting me even further from the words actually spoken. Then--BAYMI--we get a microsecond of Bond looking at something with a stern face, and before long we're in Haiti, going after this guy Slate, for reasons. What happens next, is more BAYMI; in fact, it's a relentless sequence of BAYMI moments: the 'Bourne' fight with Slate, something about briefcases--"get in"--a hand in a purse--one mouth speaks--blank sheets of paper--a gun--"that's not very nice".

    Wait, what?

    It really took me more than one or two viewings to figure out how we logically went from the "mum" guy at MI6 to the Caribbean, and from there to Austria. Stuff happens, but between every two frames, five others seem to be missing. I'm looking at the locations, listening to the music, enjoying Craig's performance, all the while trying to make sense of the plot, but the film won't allow an all-in experience. The final cut of QoS feels like a concentrate, like a broth they left boiling a bit long; now it's too salty and too viscous. This is the shortest Bond film of them all. There was a lot of room to slow the pace down a tad and give us a chance at consuming all the goods at once. Now I'm practically forced to replace my blood with Red Bull if I am to make any sense of the film...

    ... Well, that's not true, of course, because I've seen the film so often, I managed to piece it all together long ago. And since I have, I can relax and choose what to focus on when I'm watching these scenes nowadays. But when you think about it, the times the film allows us to reposition ourselves in our seats is when Bond recruits Mathis, and then again when Bond got intimate with Fields, and then when Camille talks about her past to Bond, right after they smacked down together from the aerial battle. As the film progresses, it finds room to breathe more frequently, but it takes half the film for that first gasp.

    I will say this: QoS offers some of the most beautiful moments of the Craig era for me. Bond's evening driving through the puddles of Bregenz is a delightful example, accompanied by some of Arnold's best music. Too bad it's all over so fast. They chose a certain style for QoS: a serious Quantum of Speed. You won't fall asleep because the film forbids it. I have come to appreciate it for what is there, but I still regret all the rushing. It's the antithesis to We Have All The Time In The World. QoS operates under the impression that we don't, that we have somewhere else to be soon, so we're going to make it quick. Shame, because what is there, on the screen, is pretty good and surprisingly beautiful. I wish I had more time with that.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 366
    Daniel Craig said he knew that they couldn't show Bond using amphetamines the way that Fleming showed it in the books, 'but inside I know I'm doing that' - maybe the QOS editing was an attempt to externalise Bond's speed use!? ;)
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 6,586
    slide_99 wrote: »
    The cinematography is documentary-like. There are virtually no glamor shots or big, showy establishing shots of anything, and the lighting is extremely naturalistic. This probably has as much to do with Forster's style as Roberto Schaefer's. Overall I think it works well.

    I love the cinematography as well. Though there are a number of establishing shots that I would consider to be glamorous and big. The opening shot sweeping across Lake Garda, the reveal of Siena, Bond approaching Mathis' villa. All breathtaking shots that are worthy of inclusion in any list of great images from the series.

    But I digress to agreeing with your overall point and would wager that people's consistent overlooking of Schaefer's work has a lot to do with how it was edited. There's actually not a whole lot of shakey-cam in there but the rapid-fire editing has seemingly created that impression for a lot of people.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 179
    slide_99 wrote: »
    The cinematography is documentary-like. There are virtually no glamor shots or big, showy establishing shots of anything, and the lighting is extremely naturalistic. This probably has as much to do with Forster's style as Roberto Schaefer's. Overall I think it works well.

    I love the cinematography as well. Though there are a number of establishing shots that I would consider to be glamorous and big. The opening shot sweeping across Lake Garda, the reveal of Siena, Bond approaching Mathis' villa. All breathtaking shots that are worthy of inclusion in any list of great images from the series.

    But I digress to agreeing with your overall point and would wager that people's consistent overlooking of Schaefer's work has a lot to do with how it was edited. There's actually not a whole lot of shakey-cam in there but the rapid-fire editing has seemingly created that impression for a lot of people.

    You're right, I forgot that big, sweeping shot of the villa.

    The shakycam only appears during the action scenes because they weren't filmed by Forster's team (him, Schaefer, and editor Matt Chesse) at all, they were shot by Dan Bradley and edited by Richard Pearson, the Bourne guys. The rest of the movie is shot traditionally. Apparently that's par the course for Bond. I remember reading how roughly half of DAD was actually shot by its second unit since there was so much action in it.
  • Posts: 456
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    Too often people refer to the book on which a film is based or to freeze-frames, commentary tracks, deleted scenes and such when excusing a film for what it neglected to convey. But that's not the natural way to watch a film.

    Yes, QoS is guilty of this. A lot of the plot is pieced together by reading wikis, posts on the forum or interviews from the actors.

    Also, watching this movie involves rewinding scenes to see what happens; it's not really a short movie if you have to keep rewinding it or rewatching it.

    All of this stuff takes you out of the experience. It breaks the 4th wall. A movie is supposed to be immersive and take you for a ride. With QoS, the viewer has to do all sorts of steps just to get a coherent product.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    edited November 7 Posts: 11,754
    I think some of the editing is clever though - that which hides nice little (if unimportant) details we can spot on repeated viewings. Like when Bond throws the can of motor oil at Greene's feet. A split second before the shot cuts to the close-up of the can, we see it bounce of Greene's injured left foot. On my first few viewings, it looked like it just hits the ground on the full.
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