Even James Bond Can Mess Up an Action Scene: A Lesson in Film Geography

I think few would dispute that the Daniel Craig reboot of the Bond films saved the franchise, but that doesn’t mean it’s been all perfect filmmaking since. This great video essay examines why even probably the most famous action franchise can mess up action scenes.

Before you watch the analysis below, watch the opening car chase scene from “Quantum of Solace” shown above. I’ll wait. Now that you’ve watched it, how did you like it? Can you tell me exactly what happened? If you’re feeling a little confused or underwhelmed, it’s not your fault. This great analysis from Patrick (H) Willems discusses why the opening scene is so problematic, with the main issue being a lack of clear geography, which renders the scene a confusing jumble of fast cuts and unclear circumstances:

As Spielberg said: “I can create suspense if the audience knows where all the players are and what all the stakes are.” The problem is that if the audience has to devote too many cognitive resources to figuring out what exactly is going on, their suspension of disbelief is destroyed and watching the scene becomes a tedious exercise instead of a thrilling immersion. It’s an important principle to keep in mind when working on a film. 

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