Saturday, October 9

No Time to Die Review


No Time to Die

Dir: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Starring: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Billy Magnussen, Christoph Waltz, Ana de Armas, and Rami Malek

2 h 43 m

 

With a delayed release due to the pandemic, the newest James Bond film "No Time to Die" makes its long-awaited arrival in theaters this week. Regardless of the ups and downs from its predecessors, James Bond films are exciting popcorn fare and will always remain intriguing due to the 60-year movie history of the character and franchise. This newest 007 film is the final outing for Daniel Craig's portrayal of Bond. Craig's five-film incarnation of the character emphasized the construction of the MI6 icon from Ian Fleming's novels. 

 

With his stoic mannerisms and rugged good looks, Craig portrayed Bond as imperfect, arrogant, and untrusting. Notably, Craig's James Bond is the only version in the entire franchise to offer a look at the spy at the start and end of his tenure in Her Majesty's Secret Service. That makes "No Time to Die" all the more poignant, even if the highlight of this newest adventure owes more to Daniel Craig's efforts than it does to its challengingly mediocre script that clocks in at a staggering 2 hours and 43 minutes.

 

James Bond (Daniel Craig) has left his days as an active spy for a simple life in Jamaica. Though, for an agent as prolific as Bond, the world will always be in desperate need of his specific skillsets. The island paradise is short-lived when a friend from the C.I.A, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), arrives to ask James for help. The mission involves the rescue of a kidnapped scientist who has developed an airborne biological weapon that can target people by their DNA. A mysterious villain (Rami Malek), who connects to Bond's past foes, is also chasing the weapon, forcing Bond to save the world one more time.

 

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga introduces "No Time to Die" as many 007 films have done in the past, with an impressive action sequence. Fukunaga's opening moments are exciting, with a car chase that displays all the gadgetry and death-defying stunts that have come to define the franchise. But Fukunaga, amidst the gunfights and chase moments of the opening, takes time to establish a somber tone, one where Bond's attempts at love and happily-ever-after are interrupted by foes looking to even the score. James leaves his newest love interest Madeline Swann, played by the intriguing Léa Seydoux, on a train once the smoke clears. Billie Eilish's opening theme sets the framework for Bond's emotional complications that will endure through the film. 

 

Once this opening scenario concludes, "No Time to Die" settles into the typical clichés, elaborate and elegant shootouts, and globe-trotting chases that define a 007 franchise. The unusual part of all this fanfare is that none of it feels incredibly unique. On a few occasions, the developments, like the seemingly unnecessary and unfortunately uninteresting villains played by the returning Christoph Waltz and new addition Rami Malek, don't have the urgency needed to push the story forward. This oversight could be attributed to a script written by five authors. However, in small sequences and dialogue moments, co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge's comedic genius can be felt in the writing. 

 

The bulk of the heavy lifting for the film lies in the capable hands of Daniel Craig's performance which shines brightly throughout the film. A cameo from Ana de Armas, playing an operative in training, is a welcome humorous highlight. Lashana Lynch plays Nomi, an MI6 agent who clashes with the idea of the old 007 coming back. Jeffrey Wright, who always does something interesting with his characters, offers support as James Bond's only friend. While Léa Seydoux, who provides a mysterious quality to her performance, is underutilized but good whenever paired against Bond. 

 

"No Time to Die" has a few highlights that will satisfy and check the James Bond formula boxes with fun. While the adventure for Bond may not be as intriguing as past films, Daniel Craig's performance keeps the movie exciting and proves that his portrayal of James Bond should be regarded as one of the best in the franchise.

 

Monte's Rating

3.25 out 5.00

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