By: Eoin Friel
Plot: In No Time To Die, Bond has left active serviceand is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Review: *MINOR SPOILERS ENSUE* After various delays thanks to the Covid pandemic Bond is finally back in Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007. So has it been worth the wait? Simply put, no. I’m still trying to process what I just watched but as a lifelong James Bond fan I can only imagine that Ian Fleming must be turning in his grave.
I was enjoying the first 40 minutes and there were some slick action scenes but then decisions were made with this movie that will divide the fanbase the way The Last Jedi did. I’m actually struggling to form coherent sentences here without spoiling anything but I now totally understand why Danny Boyle walked away from this movie.
As others have said this is far too long at nearly 3 hours and it felt it; the pacing was sluggish at times and the action just wasn’t memorable (or often) enough. As I said above it had its moments especially in the first half but it then felt like director Cary Joji Fukunaga and Barbara Broccoli especially wanted to close the book on this franchise. There were several twists and many will think this was bold filmmaking and I suppose it was but I am sick of seeing my childhood heroes getting disrespected by modern Hollywood. There is SO much more I want to say but I must not spoil anything…
The story continues on from where SPECTRE left off and references a conversation that was had in said film about a visitor to Madeleine’s house when she was a child. I liked the connection and it’s been interesting to see a Bond series of films with a connecting arc which is something rarely done in the franchise before. Rami Malek was underused and lacking in threat as Lyutsifer Safin but he gave a strong performance. The trailers made Lashana Lynch’s character Nomi look like she was going to be especially obnoxious but she was actually fine and had some decent banter with Bond. Léa Seydoux is more fleshed out this time as Madeleine but Christoph Waltz was wasted as Blofeld and you have to wonder why they even brought the character back just to treat him like that.
Casino Royale remains Craig’s best outing as 007 but I’m not sure I will want to watch any of Craig’s films again after this. I get that it is for a modern audience so it’s more somber but I do miss the days of gadgets, double entendres and basically the sense of outrageous fun that the franchise used to have. There were a few moments of humour but there was no sparkling dialogue that you’ll quote later.
Hans Zimmer’s score is sublime with references to some classic Bond themes and Billie Eilish’s title song is perfect for the tone of the film so it has grown on me.
Many have said that the only way to do Bond in the future would be to actually have it set the 60’s which I used to agree with but I think perhaps it’s time for Bond to hang up the tux as M said in Goldeneye “you’re a relic of the cold war” and it’s hard to see Ian Fleming’s James Bond find a place in the modern world.
Overall, No Time to Die is a Bond movie you’ll never forget but whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. Try to see it before the twists get spoiled and if you liked the movie then good for you but I am still trying to get over what I just watched.