- Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
- September 28, 2021 (Royal Albert Hall) / September 30, 2021 (UK) / October 8, 2021 (US)
After leaving active service Bond is recruited by the CIA to find a missing scientist behind a stolen weapon.
I have enjoyed the James Bond films since I was a kid. There were great villains and a good guy trying to save the world. While not perfect, he was a hero you largely wanted to be like. They were escapist fun filled with action about a hero that was always in charge of the situation and better than the best. That ended with the Daniel Craig era.
And here we are at No Time to Die. One of the things they also had going for them was they opened with a good action sequence that more or less tied into the rest of the narrative. Here they open with Bond on what amounts to a vacation. It takes what feels like forever to get to a point of action.
Then again what can you expect when the title character is on his last legs. He is at the end of the line trying to go just a little further. Here as in all the other Craig films James Bond is very nearly a has been and running on fumes.
And why is the hero incapable of doing much on his own? There is very little Bond can do in No Time to Die on his own. He always needs someone to help him. Getting here to there or fighting the bad guys, he can’t do it on his own and needs somebody to lend a hand. That is a common trope in modern film. The hero is incapable. They are not even much of a leader and capable of gathering people around them.
One thing that bothers me is that once again the plot connects to Bond on a personal level. The scheme by the villain needs to be central in the film with anything involving Bond secondary. If it somehow connects to James Bond specifically or tangentially that’s fine but when the villain’s plot becomes secondary to James Bond’s personal and emotional issues, then you as a viewer begin to wonder why he is even employed in the service. He would be a major security risk and quite possibly a very ineffective agent if all these issues the British government has to face connected to him. Even in a fictional world that stretches credibility.
Safin (Rami Malek) was just underwhelming here. He did not come off as dangerous at all-and he killed somebody in a flashback! He was more of an angry child than a villain with a serious plan.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service gets referenced at a few points in this film. Mostly through the use of the line “We have all the time in the world” or variations there of as well as Louis Armstrong’s version of the song “We Have All the Time in the World” that is played in whole or part. Maybe this was unintentional but the plot of that film is also referenced in the plot of this film. Here it’s a disease that can target people. In the former it was a disease that targeted crops.
SPOILER ALERT! No Time to Die has been out on physical media for a little bit so if you don’t know that sorry to ruin it for you. But there is more coming. I went into No Time to Die knowing full well Bond was going to die. Not my favorite decision but if done incorrectly it could’ve been quite effective. Instead I was just left with a big ‘Meh.’ About halfway through the movie it became obvious what they were doing. And it did not bother me. I have been invested in these films since the 80s and I just did not care. How bad does the execution of a film have to be to accomplish that?
Billie Eilish has quite possibly one of the worst Bond songs ever. Not that I have been particularly impressed with the Craig themes. The music is good, but I don’t understand what she’s saying. I know this is a thing many people say about her music. Just get somebody that can clearly enunciate.
I really wanted to like this movie. I wanted to think “Not my favorite type of finale but it turned out okay in the end.” But I can’t. As a fan of the original run and finding none of those elements here I find nothing to embrace. Bond is not much of a hero and the film as a whole lacks that fun that permeated the original run. It is very much a downbeat film and we get enough of that in real life.
If you like the original James Bond films, then No Time to Die is not for you. If you’re a fan of more downbeat and less fun cinema, then you’ll probably enjoy this. But I won’t recommend it. Go for the older Bond instead.