Future tech and an unexpected development wrap up Daniel Craig’s final Bond movie. With fireworks everywhere too, of course.
No Time To Die Synopsis
After the events of SPECTRE, Bond travels to Italy with Madeleine Swann, only to be ambushed by the remnant forces of Blofeld. Five years later, Bond is approached by Felix Leiter to retrieve a rogue scientist and while the mission is successful, a macabre development sees the deaths of all of Bond’s adversaries. Through Swann, Bond and MI6 then learn about Lyutsifer Safin, a bio-terrorist utterly determined to destroy SPECTRE. Safin’s weapon of choice also poses an unprecedented threat to the entire world. A horror that even Bond might not be able to neutralise.
I’ve never reviewed a Bond movie, have I? And so I’ll go a bit longer and more personal with this one.
For me, my encounters with Britain’s most kickass spy began when I was 14, with not the movies but with the books. Fascinated by the soundtrack and title for From Russia with Love, I binged on the Ian Fleming books for over a year. After which, of course, I caught every opportunity to watch the movies.
Note, these were in the 80s, VHS and TV era. It wasn’t exactly easy to get hold of a Bond movie. Having one featured on TV was a big treat.
Jump forth to the 90s, i.e., the Timothy Dalton era, I was still a fan but by then, it wasn’t lost on me that the whole concept was more than a little ill-suited for the post-Cold War era. (Just imagine Bond being the target of a #metoo campaign too, one started by Moneypenny) Studios and producers obviously realise for from this decade onwards, the stories shifted into a world that was less the battleground of countries but more that of covert organisations. In other words, MI6 and the world it represents versus terrorists.
Oh, one more thing. When Daniel Craig’s run began with Casino Royale, there was the declaration about returning the franchise to more realistic grounds. If you’d remember, Ben Whishaw’s Q openly declared they no longer do “exploding pens” in Skyfall.
Highlighting the above for I think Q, and the franchise in extension, more or less gave up on this “gritter,” “more down to earth” direction. As a wrap-up for the Daniel Craig era, No Time To Die gleefully returns to the days of Batman gadgets and vehicles. The whole airborne nanobot DNA device is firmly within the grounds of DC/Marvel storytelling. If you think Icarus from Die Another Day was over the top, well, Safin’s little devil goes several steps further. It’s probably at a fraction of the cost as well.
To be clear, it’s not an awful reversal. Instead, it playfully yet respectfully honours the entire franchise. Concurrently, the action scenes, while still fiery, hints at a 007 nearer to the end of his career. Everything in a package then projects the strong hint of a swansong. A satisfying conclusion of all that has been since 2006.
Coming to villains and actual story, I regret to say Rami Malek’s mumbles and stares are unlikely to earn him a place amongst the most memorable Bond villains. Sorry, even Christoph Waltz’s brief appearance outshined Malek’s scenes in every way. The development/unfolding of the big doomsday conspiracy also trips and loses much steam beyond the Cuban chapter. Here, I’d go ahead and share that the “threat” doesn’t even come across during the final bits. The whole fracas felt to be Bond’s personal misadventure.
But enough of my musings and rambles, and onto the big question. The one all of us with weaker bladders are so concerned with! Is No Time To Die, as the final Bond movie for this era, worth the near three hours watch?
Well, to be honest, other than an explosive need to use the restroom towards the end, I didn’t really feel it was that long. Stumbling as some parts of the conspiracy were, there wasn’t a draggy feel too. Naturally, enough action kept me glued to the screen throughout.
Add to which is a certain interesting development. I didn’t expect this. I felt it perfectly laid the premise for the conclusion too. More importantly, this development seems to suggest an unusual turn for the Bond franchise down the road?
Speculation about such a possible change will retain me as a 007 fan for more years to come. And that is perhaps the greatest strength of this epilogue.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.