Sunday, November 14, 2021

Stubs - No Time to Die

No Time to Die
(2021) starring Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Based on James Bond by Ian Fleming.  Produced by Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli. Run time: 163 minutes. United Kingdom/United States Color. Action, Espionage, Romance.

After its release was rescheduled due to COVID, No Time to Die, the new James Bond film, finally made it to screens. The final film to star Daniel Craig, this is in many ways a different sort of Bond film and one that was well worth the wait.

While the film was originally released in theaters in the US on October 8, 2021, this reviewer waited for its streaming release on November 12, 2021. While I looked forward to seeing the film, I looked forward far less to the exposure to COVID. The film would have played better on a big screen, they all would, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made.

There is enough of the usual that most James Bond fans should be satisfied. In addition to the “Bond, James Bond”, and the stirred not shaken martinis, the film has its share of exotic locations, international intrigue and, of course, a madman villain who wants nothing more than power and, of course, world domination.

007's Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and James Bond (Daniel Craig).

But there are new things as well. There is a new 007, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), but she is not, as originally feared, taking over James Bond; 007 is just a number after all. There really isn’t a Bond girl in the traditional sense. Ana de Armas as Paloma comes closest to that role, but while she looks good in the role and she and Bond might share kills, they don’t share a bed.

Ana de Armas as Paloma, not a Bond girl.

And Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann isn’t really one either. She is a true love interest of the super spy. During Daniel Craig’s run as Bond, there has been one other, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in the first film Casino Royale (2006). But the Madeleine Swann character, recurring from Spectre (2015), seems to take it one step further. If Bond was to settle down, it would be with her.

Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, love interest not Bond girl.

The cast is pretty good all around, with Christoph Waltz reprising his role from Spectre as the head of that criminal organization. But he is a minor character, as the new Bond villain is Lyutsifer Safin played by Rami Malek, the actor who made a splash as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). While Safin wants revenge on Spectre, he wants to take it out on the entire world. Like all Bond villains, he seems to have an endless supply of money, men, and gadgets, but is never a true match for Bond. However, this one does manage to take the stuffing out of him.

Daniel Craig goes out with a bang in his final Bond appearance.

Daniel Craig makes his final appearance as Bond and he certainly goes out with a bang. We see more emotion out of the character than we normally associate with Bond, though Craig’s run has shown the development of the character to be still somewhat stuck in the past, but not as far as some assume. There is something eternal about Bond and it has and should survive the cast change. Daniel Craig has grown in my estimations as Bond; though no one will surpass the original Sean Connery, he might be second on the list. He was certainly a tougher version, read that more muscular take, he also has proven to have more range than many of his predecessors.

The film plays like a finale of sorts but after the credits, there is still a sense that it will regroup, if not all together reboot, with the familiar “James Bond Will Return”. And, when it does, I’ll be there and hopefully back in a theater.

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