First, I want to preface that I absolutely loved Casino Royale. I had expected not to like it, being skeptical of Daniel Craig and the apparently trendy substitution of Texas Hold'em for Baccarat. But the movie was fabulous, easily the best Bond ever, and a long-overdue retooling of the franchise. In comparison, the campy Roger Moore 70's Bond movies are almost embarassing.
All that said, I was disapointed in Quantum of Solace. The movie was entertaining and worth the price of admission, but two aspects really hurt the movie for me:
- The directors have adopted the currently popular edgy filming style of action sequences which involve lightning quick cuts and jerky camera pans (used in the Bourne movies, for example). The style really increases the confusion of the moment, and has its place in creating tension and giving a first person feel to the action, but it gets tiring and confusing after a time. Compare the opening chase sequences in this movie to the absolutely fabulous chase scene through the construction site near the beginning of Casino Royale. I thought the Casino Royale sequence was much a better, but I must admit I am a big fan of long tracking shots over quick cuts, so I guess your mileage may very. There was one shot I thought really cool in the new movie. Bond and mystery villain #3 or 4 fall through a glass ceiling, and you fall with them POV-style.
- The movie seems to be a return to the WTF-style plot of a lot of modern action movies, especially sequels, that put one-upping the action sequences of the previous movie over having a coherant plot. I don't mind twists and turns, but in the end, all the motivations have to make sense. I mean, how many mystery guys can Bond chase, kill, and then say, well, I guess we'll never figure out who that guy was. The early parts were like the Seinfeld version of action movies -- they are not about anything, they are just chase scenes. And, I still don't understand why the bad guys in QoS are doing what they are doing. Its another one of those "spend a billion dollars in a vast conspiracy to make $100 million" Bond villain plans. In contrast, Casino Royale was anchored to what I think was the best Ian Fleming book, and it stuck close to the book. Even when it deviated, for example with the shift from bacarrat to Texas Hold'em, it actually improved the plot, as it shifted to a game that at least involves some skill.
Update: I feel I need to clarify one thing. I am a huge fan of the old Bond movies. Goldfinger, Thunderball, Diamonds are Forever, Goldeneye -- all great. Despite my comments above, I even like most of the Roger Moore films, though you have to take a different approach to them. But the formula was tired. The Survivor formula was hugely popular at first, but in season 9 or 10 or whatever, it's just done. You either are repeating the same tired cliches, because you feel locked into a formula by your fans who will get pissed (as they did with Casino Royale) when you violate the formula, or you fall into the trap of trying to top yourself with goofier and goofier plots. I actually thought the series was dead around about View to a Kill, but Pierce Brosnan really brought new life to the series for a while.
Update #2: Tigerhawk has similar thoughts