October 15, 2021 | LIFE | By Annie Knight | Photo by Sierra Romero
“No Time to Die,” the latest film from the James Bond franchise, has even more to offer than Daniel Craig’s sparkling blue eyes. This film is full of all the high stakes action sequences you would expect from a Bond film while also ending on a genuine emotional note. It serves as a proper send off for Craig, in his fifth and final Bond film, while hinting at exciting possibilities for the character.
James Bond has graced the silver screen a total of 27 times by seven different actors.
In this particular installment of the franchise, Bond has gone off the grid, living alone in Jamaica. However, when an old friend from the CIA needs Bond’s help to rescue a kidnapped scientist, 007 finds himself fighting a vindictive villain with a deadly new weapon capable of eradicating entire families, communities, and races with its DNA tracking technology.
The highest compliment I can give Director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s rendition of Bond is that it’s beautiful. Gorgeously lit shots constantly guild Craig’s face and the film is filled with stunning island vistas, spooky, fog filled forests, and spectacular sunsets that followed me home from the theater.
At the film’s close, I was left with the feeling that I was watching a high budget blockbuster in the theaters for the first time in a long time. This won’t be the last time, however, with high profile films such as “Dune” and “The French Dispatch” also slated to come out this month.
The film also had some amazing sequences from cinematographer Linus Sandgren (“La La Land”) featuring a constantly moving camera and plenty of whip pans that kept me in the middle of the action for the entirety of the film.
Another high point was Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack (“Interstellar,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Dune,” coming out next week) that increased the drama in just the right way. You can expect nothing less from a master composer who’s written for more than 150 films.
My favorite thing about this movie, however, was how self-aware it was. There were jokes littered throughout the script poking fun at the fabric of the character of Bond himself. My favorite exchange was “does he always have that effect on women?” followed by “50/50. It’s unpredictable,” after one of the most melodramatic push ins I’ve ever seen when Bond sees his past lover for the first time in five years.
It’s moments like these that made the film enjoyable and helped to soften the dated parts of the character of Bond. After all, it is hard to maintain the relevance of a character that was originally conceived as a hypermasculine womanizer in the modern day.
However, this film is an action movie and inevitably had its weak points. For starters, its two hour 43 minute runtime is not for the faint of heart. Its opening song, “No Time to Die,” by Billie Eilish doesn’t hold a candle to Adele’s “Skyfall.”
Not to mention, the depth of the villains was lacking. The Russian scientist who Bond helps to retrieve has one of the worst Russian accents I can remember to date. Additionally, the main villain of the film, Safin (Rami Malek), could have had a stronger motivation for his villainous ways.
To me, it seemed like he simply wanted to watch the world burn for the chaos that would ensue. This fell especially flat for me considering the terrifying implications of a weapon capable of ethnic cleansing that the film never really confronts.
Malek did what he could with the role, but you can only do so much with shallow writing. As a side note, Malek has one of the most terrifying stares I’ve seen in a villain and I hope he is cast as more bad guys in the future. Lastly, the film occasionally falls back on often trod tropes: the tragic hero, the femme fatale girlfriend, etc.
Despite these faults, the film closes in a spectacular fashion that left me emotionally impacted and celebrated Craig in a strong ending to his run in the franchise. While my friends that are huge Bond fans tell me that this is not the best Bond film, I felt that even if this is true, “No Time to Die” hinted at an exciting new future for the character.
Perhaps, the next Bond won’t be white and maybe won’t be a man at all. Who’s to say! There’s no time to wait.