Trying to fall in love with film again.

If No Time to Die is good enough for my Dad, it is good enough for me.

Story

After leaving active service, Janes Bond is brought back into the fold by an old acquaintance who leads him to a new enemy with a dangerous new weapon

The interesting thing about the story is that it feels old and new at the same time. Given that this is not the first time this kind of story has been told, you the viewer are already familiar with some of the story beats. However, 
the writers have crafted a story that has a lot of heart and takes Bond in a direction we are not used to with this character.

Acting 

At this point, we know what Daniel Craig is bringing to this character. After 5 movies and 15 years of playing this character, we know that he is going to be charming while also being cold-hearted.

However, he is an aged character. He is someone who has seen it all, and as a result of that, he is jaded and distrusting. And that informs all of his movements. 


While Léa Seydoux is a Bond girl, she doesn't feel like a plot device as much as previous Bond girls do. Now that is not to say that she isn't a plot device. but she adds more to the story than someone for James Bond to sleep with. Her performance is an emotional one closely linked to Daniel Craig's. They have really organic chemistry of people who have known each other for a while, which is not surprising given that they have known each other for almost 10 years. 

Rami Malek's Lyutsifer Safin feels like a typical Bond villain, a vendetta, mixed with a God complex. And I am not mad at it. Given that the last two villains have been slightly more extroverted,  Safin is quiet by comparison, and Rami Malek is the perfect actor to play a more composed and contemplative villain.

Lashana Lynch was the standout amongst the new characters, she feels like a breath of fresh air. Apart from the fact that we don't see many people of colour in this franchise, Nomi's resilience and no-nonsense attitude is a perfect counter to Bond. One of my favourite lines from her is said in the trailer and is the perfect way to sum up her character. 
If you get in my way, I will put a bullet in your knee. The one that works. 
I mean........ That's a mic drop moment if I have ever seen one.

As for the other supporting characters, they are good. You have seen a lot of them in previous movies and they deliver in this movie, much like the previous ones. None of the performances stood out to me except for Ana de Armas. I really liked her character's dynamic with Bond and I wished she had more screentime.


Writing/Direction

When it was announced that Phoebe Waller-Bridge was writing the script, there was a lot of excitement. To be perfectly honest, I am not that familiar with Fleabag so I can't say that I was excited but from what I have heard about it, the show is very cleverly written and I can see shades of that in this movie. 

I stated that the writers have crafted a story that has a lot of heart and it is true. The story feels decidedly human, more so than the previous one, and I think that is what makes the emotions in this movie hit closer to home. 

One story element I really like in this movie is James Bong being out of his element. The world around him is changing and he hasn't. There are times in where the man who always has an answer to everything doesn't. It makes the character human

Cary Joji Fukunaga had a bit of a herculean task, directing Bond 25, is a big task especially when it is the lead actor's last movie. This movie is monumental in so many ways, wrapping up a character's emotional arch while also bringing something new to the landmark movie in the franchise could not have been easy, but he pulled it off. 

This movie has a run time of 2 hours and 43 minutes. However, it never really slows down, even when the characters themselves do. I am not going to say that you are on the edge of your seat for the entire runtime. but you are engaged with the movie and the characters throughout.

I saw on the film's Wikipedia, that one of the producers, Barbara Broccoli said that No Time to Die would conclude several narratives from Craig's previous Bond films and "come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion" And that is a good way to describe this movie. 

CGI/Set Design 

If there was one word I would use to describe this movie, It would be 'sleek'. 

Linus Sandgren, the cinematographer crafted a beautiful-looking film.

The establishing and location shots are my favourite in the movie. No Time to Die has a lot of moving parts, but they manage to bring a sense of stillness.

While writing this review, I found out that the film was shot on film and while I am not going to sit here and say I saw a huge difference, I will say that the colour palette of this movie is more muted than we are used to. And that allows naturally lit scenes to pop.

In an interview with Cnet, he said,  

"We tried to work in that vein of enhanced reality. "Everything is just a little larger than life."

And the movie feels like that. Everything looks real while also looking extremely polished, and it's a nice look. 

There is also a really fun ode to the gun barrel sequence that made my parents and I smile.


Score/Soundtrack 

When it was first announced that Billie Eilish was singing the theme for No Time to Die, this was my reaction
 


However, I can admit when I'm wrong because I really liked the song No Time to Die. Given Billie Eilish's penchant for slower songs that lean Mr towards sad, it is a perfect fit really. It is moody and dramatic, a perfect fit for the start of the film.

I was surprised to find out that the film was composed by Hans Zimmer, and I don't mean it in a bad way. What I mean by that, is that I thought Thoms Newman returned to score after Skyfall and Spectre.

One thing about scoring a film franchise like this is giving the film its own auditory identity while creating something that is familiar to the audience. Namely the iconic James Bond theme. It is sprinkled throughout the movie but never feels overused and repetitive. It has an impact and when it appears on screen and you know what something epic is about to happen.

Overall Thoughts

My Dad has been a fan of this movie franchise from the beginning. He is 60 years old and has been watching these movies since he was a teenager. That is what I mean by the title. He's hypercritical of every single Bond movie that comes out and he really liked this movie. From the way, the story was told to the way it ended. He thought it was a good ending to Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond, and even said this when we left the cinema. 
"He was actually a very good Bond."
And I agree. I really like the direction the filmmakers took this character. When you look at Bond in Casino Royale and in No Time to Die, they feel the same while feeling very different. There is a maturity to this character that wasn't there before. And as someone who is a fan of the franchise, it is nice to see the character grow and mature as you do.

I have waited for this movie for over a year and after countless reschedules due to the Pandemic, I do feel like this movie was worth the wait. It was everything I want in a Bond movie wrapped up in a sleek and aesthetically pleasing bow.

Comments