‘No Time to Die’ review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

It feels like it took forever for this film to get released. “No Time to Die” was set up to be the conclusion to Daniel Craig’s “James Bond” series. It was one of the most hyped-up films from last year, and My family and I binged watched all the previous Bond films. But then fate dealt humanity a bad hand when the COVID-19 pandemic rolled in and it was repeatedly pushed back on the release schedule. Now after over a year of waiting, the movie is finally out, and people can see how Craig’s Bond hangs up the pistol and tux.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is back and has since left active service at MI6, officially retiring from his role as agent 007. However, he is called back into the game when one of his allies from the CIA, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) reports that his archenemy/half-brother Ernst Stavro Blofeld may have been involved in stealing a dangerous weapon from one of MI6’s labs. This forces Bond to go back into the field, eventually reconnecting with his love interest Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) from “Spectre”. Along the way he works with his old allies including the head of MI6 M (Ralph Fiennes), his secretary Money Penny (Naomie Harris), gadgets expert Q (Ben Whishaw, as well as newcomer Nomi (Lashanna Lynch), the new 007. If that wasn’t enough, a new villain by the name of Lyutsifur Safin (Rami Malek) steals the weapon and plans to use it for his own diabolical means.

The latest continuity of Bond films has been seen as one of the best reboots to a franchise to have come out in the past few decades. Unlike the previous Bond films, Craig’s series stood out because it focused on the character in a new light, kept itself grounded while still having a few campy moments, and told a continuing story with each movie connecting to the next one. 

First, we got “Casino Royale” which is directly connected to “Quantum of Solace”. Then we went straight into “Skyfall” where the events of that film directly affected the characters. Then we saw “Spectre” establish new plot threads which finally come full circle here in “No Time to Die”. As you can imagine, this movie had a tough job of tying together multiple storylines and giving each of them a fitting conclusion.

 Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

The actors as with most Bond films are great and a ton of fun. Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond actor. The reason is that while he still retains the character’s base traits from previous incarnations, this version of the character feels more fleshed out as it allows him to express more character. So to see this movie knowing it’s the end of this series is a bit bittersweet. 

In an interesting turn of events, we’re now at a point in the series where the character, much like the film itself, knows that this is his last adventure. Thankfully, there was never a moment where I felt the actors were phoning it in or not giving it their all. In fact, the film is very clever with how the film handles this tone. For example, Bond is not 007 for a majority of the movie as that role was passed down to Nomi after he retired. It’s smart the way they handled this aspect as it’s not done to drag one side down. When you get down to it, it’s not important as Bond is Bond with or without his signature number.

The action sequences are done extremely well here. The opening chase scene that was shown in the trailers is worth the price of admission alone. You have people shooting from moving cars, swinging off bridges, and racing through crowded streets. A lot of it is done on camera which gives so much authenticity to these scenes. Daniel Craig is a pro when it comes to handling these scenes despite the number of injuries he’s accumulated over the years. It’s films like this that show how you can still do physical action set pieces with actual people in front of the camera.

The plot is a familiar setup that people can catch on to pretty quickly. But given today’s circumstances, it might feel a bit too familiar. Without giving anything away. The main threat in the film revolves around a pathogen that can infect people who are genetically close to one another. I know the film was made before the COVID-19 pandemic, but I understand if there are people out there who see the connection. Despite this, I never felt it was included as a way to spread a message or force in any political mindset. I just think it’s a big coincidence.

The film has a lot going for it, but there are a few elements that I see as good but not great. For example, Rami Malek as the villain services the story well. He has a creepy look, a distinct identity, and even has a direct connection to Madeleine. But at the same time, I don’t put him up there with Le Chiffre from “Casino Royale” or Raoul Silva from “Skyfall”. Though this is more personal preference as a lot of my favorite Bond villains are not cat stroking madmen in evil lairs.

I will say that this film is the best conclusion to a Bond series that I’ve seen. Mainly because all of the other ones left on an okay or even bad note. But when I walked out of this film, I felt completely satisfied. It gave Bond fans what they wanted, while also taking chances with its story. Are there elements that felt a little weak? Yes. But, people don’t go to these movies to see high art. They want to see one of cinema’s most famous characters go on high-stakes missions with surreal elements. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails


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