On Oct. 8, the latest James Bond franchise film “No Time to Die” was released. It bristled with energy right out of the gate even though it had been waiting to play in theaters for over a year.
“No Time to Die” is an oddly situated film. Originally slated to hit silver screens across the globe in April 2020, it had to be pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic similar to its theater-mates such as Denis Villanueve’s upcoming “DUNE.” This is for good reason, as not only did postponing the film keep moviegoers safe, it also saved Eon Productions millions.
Despite this being the last film that Daniel Craig will play as Bond, living up to the previous installment’s jaw-dropping box office earnings of $880 million will be no small undertaking. Only time will tell if audiences shell out for the big-budget flick.
There was some drama regarding who would helm the $250 million dollar effort. After “Skyfall” and “Spectre” director Sam Mendes made his exit, the studio courted potential directors such as Villanueve and Christopher Nolan before settling on Danny Boyle. This appeared to be a misstep, as Boyle parted ways after six months back in 2018 due to creative differences regarding the script. American director Cary Joji Fukunaga was then tapped for the role and managed to wrap principal filming back in October of 2019.
Despite his age of 53, Craig looks good in his last appearance as Bond, and the well-rehearsed fight scenes are dynamic and work to great effect.
Jeffery Wright reprises his role as Felix Leiter, and the two actors play off each other well. Although the script is a little lacking, their chemistry is clear. Craig is also joined by Ana De Armas, playing the character of Paloma, and Lashanna Lynch, playing Nomi, MI6’s replacement 007. There is some playful banter between Nomi and Bond throughout the film, which is fun to watch. Arma’s Paloma is a quirky character, one who elicits some clever one-liners from Bond, and with any luck it’s a role we’ll see reprised in Bond’s next iteration.
Rami Malek tries his best to keep the film engaging as the main antagonist, but the character is just a stereotypical Bond villain with a loose sense of motive.
At the end of the day, it’s all good fun when it comes to a classic Bond action movie; none of the A-list actors miss their mark for more than a scene, the production quality is good because it’s expensive, save the rare flaw which looks horridly out of place and the script needs a little help.
The director seems to pick locations characterized by what is fast becoming a tiring aesthetic: industrial architecture consisting of cement, glass and exposed metal pipe. There are pretty shots amongst the bland, but overall, the cinematography lacks vision. These qualms are somewhat superficial, but what really brings the movie down is its runtime. The lengthy 2 hour and 45 minute runtime really starts to wear the viewer down. Lots of needless, straightforward dialogue and many useless expositional scenes could have been cut from the back half of the movie.
It is certainly a well put together film in the first half and does what it should by giving Craig a proper send-off. Had more care been given to narrative, it could have been something a little more attention-holding.
Oct. 25, 2021 Correction: First paragraph “last” was changed to “latest” as “No Time to Die” is not the last Bond film anticipated in the franchise but with actor Daniel Craig specifically.