Author Topic: NO TIME TO DIE: Daniel Craig definitely exits the James Bond franchise Spoilers  (Read 134 times)

Offline perc2100

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NO TIME TO DIE, the latest in the nearly-60 year history of James Bond on film, had a HUGE burden on its shoulders.  Not only did it have to wrap-up plot threads of previous Bond films (especially SPECTRE), but it also had to give Bond actor Daniel Craig a proper, dignified farewell that fans would appreciate.  Add in the fact that NO TIME TO DIE was the first big Hollywood film delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Actually, it has quite the history of postponements:
* Nov. 2019 (pushed back after original director Danny Boyle left)
* Feb. 2020 (moved originally due to COVID issues in Asia, a huge movie market nowadays)
* April 2020 (COVID)

Heck, Daniel Craig was the LAST guest on the last normal Saturday Night Live in March 2020 (complete with a sketch that made light of COVID masking/social distancing protocols) until October 2020!

But all of that is just fodder: all that really matters after the long delay is "does the movie succeed."

I think the answer is a resounding...sometimes, but maybe not often enough.

Let's start with the good:
There are some great action set pieces in this film.  Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (most notably of the brilliant BEASTS OF NO NATION film and the impeccably wonderful "True Detective" first season) really shines with the action pieces.  The film has a great opening sequences that first showcases the history between bad guy Safin (what a great bad guy name! played by Oscar-winner Rami Malek) and Bond lady-friend Madeline (Lea Seydoux, from SPECTRE) before cutting to Bond being set-up by...someone...when visiting the grave of Vesper Lynd immediately following Bond's capture of Blofeld post-SPECTRE).  Great set-up to intro the villain, and an even cooler shootout/chase in the hills of Italy! 
There is also some real nice cinematography.  While SKYFALL is the modern Bond gold standard in that department, with best-in-the-business Roger Deakins doing an impeccable job of creating mood with beautiful imagery, NO TIME TO DIE has some awesome scenes and shots as well.  There's a flashy shot in a chase through a large tunnel that everyone is talking about, as well as some cool stuff earlier: a chase sequence with Bond trying to rescue a Doctor, as well as said Doctor being kidnapped.

And while this film is packed with characters (First James Bond movie to feature all the characters of Q, Felix Leiter, Miss Moneypenny, and M since THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS from the 1980's), Ana de Armas (Craig's co-star from KNIVES OUT) as CIA Agent Paloma is amongst the best.  Sadly, most of the other characters don't have a ton to do though Jeffry Wright as Felix Leiter is clearly having a ball and gives his all.  Also added to the mix is new 007 Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch.  She does well with what she has, but is sadly not given a lot to do.

And that's where this film has its biggest missteps.

In trying to wrap-up plot threads from multiple movies, AND including all of Craig's (living) co-stars/characters in his last hurrah, AND giving Craig a good sendoff, the film feels a bit bloated and lacks a lot of nuance.  Not to mention, it feels like a pretty big retread.  We have Bond once again starting the film off-the-grid in semi-retirement being recruited/thrust back into action (this time he goes with helping the CIA rather than his own MI6).  We have the personal connection to the bad guy.  We have the "Bond visits a bad guy he put behind bars that leads to high drama."  Add in the appropriately creepy bad guy who's inexplicably well-financed but doesn't have a lot of motive and Bond mistrusting his superior, and the film feels more "been there/done that" than seeing something new and exciting.  So many great actors are given so little to do: my biggest hope is some of the newer ones (Paloma or Nomi especially) will be more featured in future films.  Of course, after SKYFALL I had the same thoughts regarding Moneypenny, but she's once again now relegated to M's assistant rather than the badass field agent we saw in action in SKYFALL.  And this Bond film is content w/just rehashing Bond tropes, but now rehashes MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE tropes by having Q an integral part of Bond's final big mission via operating computers & directing bond via headset radio (note: I'm not complaining that Ben Whishaw has more to do as M, as he is quite great in the role and I was happy to see him used more - it's just impossible at this point for me to feel this is fresh after several M:I films doing similar with first Ving Rhames and then Simon Pegg).

One of the bigger problems for me, however, is the distinct lack of chemistry between Craig and Seydoux.  Their relationship is the crux of the entire film, and I never once thought they were actually physically attracted for each other.  It's wasn't terribly awkward, just merely unbelievable.  Once a kid is added into the film, it started feeling a little problematic (also, the kid didn't exactly have a great acting range, though she's young and I wasn't put off by her).  Between that, and the 'Big Bad' Lyutsifer Safin (note: what an incredibly awesome Bond Bad Guy name!!) not being introduced into maybe halfway into the film, and NO TIME TO DIE feels more compulsively bloated than organic storytelling.

That all being said, it's not a _bad_ Bond film.  Craig's tenure as the character has been solid at worst, flat-out great at best, depending on your tastes.  His first foray as the character, CASINO ROYALE, had so much work to do to bring the character into the new age, and he rose to the occasion and made Bond not only exciting again, but relevant.  His later sequels run the gamut of "solid/OK" (QUANTUM OF SOLACE, which is one of the lesser films but still serviceable) to flat-out brilliant (SKYFALL is absolutely one of THE best Bond films of the 25 movie run).  I appreciate the actor gets a definitive farewell in NO TIME TO DIE, and the ending legit leaves me incredibly curious to see where the franchise goes from here.  I'll get into that in a more spoilery post later.

For now, I guess I'll say this is mostly entertaining if one doesn't think too much about the problems.  There is some great action, and new additions of the new 007 (and some fun comedy of the confusion with Bond and Nomi at MI6 headquarters and when people broadly refer to '007' and both of them turn attention) and CIA Agent Paloma were both joys to watch.  Any Bond fan will be compelled to see this if they haven't already, and I think even the casual Bond fan will be entertained here (I wouldn't necessarily say that about QUANTUM).

Offline NCDS

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I called the ending really early in, which of course bothered me.  Over all though I was entertained.
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Offline darkron9

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NO TIME TO DIE, the latest in the nearly-60 year history of James Bond on film, had a HUGE burden on its shoulders.  Not only did it have to wrap-up plot threads of previous Bond films (especially SPECTRE), but it also had to give Bond actor Daniel Craig a proper, dignified farewell that fans would appreciate.  Add in the fact that NO TIME TO DIE was the first big Hollywood film delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Actually, it has quite the history of postponements:
* Nov. 2019 (pushed back after original director Danny Boyle left)
* Feb. 2020 (moved originally due to COVID issues in Asia, a huge movie market nowadays)
* April 2020 (COVID)


And that's where this film has its biggest missteps...

/quote]

Perc2100 I agree with all of your missteps especially the chemistry between between Craig and Seydoux. 

Otherwise, I found it an enjoyable film.  Good job to Daniel Craig!


Offline perc2100

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I called the ending really early in, which of course bothered me.  Over all though I was entertained.
I thought wouldn't it be cool if they actually
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but didn't think Eon Productions would have the guts to do it!  I thought the 'Bond
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thing was also telegraphed early as well: more of an "of COURSE that's
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thing.

I do admit that my brain is often spinning while watching movies, often guessing (and second guessing) plot points and whatnot.  I think that's why when a movie genuinely either takes me by surprise or makes me so caught up in character moments that I don't care about plot tropes I'm legit excited