'Come with me,' says Marc Forster's camera, 'and I'll show you the Romantic world of beauty and bestiary.' He does the same in the Bregenz sequence, one of the more remarkable scenes in the whole canon, where, his sabotaging of a villains' conference achieved, Bond escapes in violent slo-mo to the backing of the opera Tosca (Tosca, one mustn't forget, is a story of a political agent who's life is saved by a woman who eventually kills herself).
Forster has taken on too much though. Not only a sequel to a previous film, it also has to be a Bond film with all its trappings. The danger signs are there is the stylised opening, which reminds one of Lee Tamahori's aesthetic single-mindedness which squeezed out a coherent, aggregated narrative.
Who knows? Maybe Forster would have pulled it off were it not for the Hollywood writers' strike. It's a film of add-ons, characters, episodes and props that one glimpses out of 007's peripheral vision. Daniel Craig can't carry it alone this time and gets very little help from Mathieu Amalric's sleazy, thinly substantiated Dominic Greene. There might have been some mileage in reuniting with Giancarlo Giannini's Mathis but this reunion is effected too easily in the light of the Casino Royale betrayal and inexplicably concluded.
Tropes are repeated from other Bond films. Shirley Eaton's death-by-gold becomes Gemma Arterton's death-by-oil, so poorly staged that it requires a cross-faded insert to show us the body. I thought her costume (a full length camel mackintosh unaccessorised and concealing her dress) was a disaster at first - now I see that it's her character, Fields, trying to pretend to be a spy. Without the extra lines this idea isn't just dead, it's distracting. The final showdown in a 'desert hotel' shows us a single member of staff, like the risible scene in The Man With The Golden Gun where Scaramanga's Phuket lair is manned by a single henchman. At least Scaramanga had a charismatic manservant; Greene's (impossibly called Elvis) has a wig and a mince.
The end of Quantum Of Solace is almost identical to the end of the Bourne Supremacy. With its on-board camera work of the car chase it opens like it too. What happens in between is the result of too many demands on too little resources. Occasionally looking good is no substitute for being good.