2021, Movies

No Time to Die (2021, Cary Joji Fukunaga)

I don’t quite no what to do here because I must admit that I have only seen Skyfall and Spectre once each. And I have very little memory of either, except the vague impression that I didn’t like them, and that they were going the way Bond movies always go near the Bond’s run, getting sillier. But then I supposedly gave both of them a 7/10. So that doesn’t track. (Upon review of my review the Spectre rating appears to have been a mistake.) And I really don’t know how fair I can be to this movie without watching all the Daniel Craig Bond films again and, well I’m just not doing that.

MASSIVE SPOILER at the bottom of this review.

The film gets off to a bad start. One of my biggest pet peeves in films is when people hold their breath under water for too long and in this film it somehow happens twice. (Once in Norway! In the winter!!!) The second scene seems to recall an earlier Bond film, which is not the first time the Craig Bond films have referenced themselves, a very different vibe than previous Bonds. Anyway, the opening sets up one of the more annoying aspects of the film, which is that Malek is supposedly significantly older than Seydoux. They are 4 years apart. Cast a different actor?

The plot holes get bigger when we learn that Bond is “off the grid” living in…what amounts to mansion in a town in Jamaica. (As Jenn said, he appears to be collecting a pension.) M doesn’t want Bond involved but has sent an agent (I won’t spoil who) to find him. It makes a lot of sense. Later, we learn that Seydoux is apparently commuting from Norway to London every day. I exaggerate slightly. (There was something else really bad but I can’t remember it now.)

Things pick up once Bond returns to London. Actually, they briefly pick up in “Cuba” (Jamaica) but then there is that whole underwater thing so they really do pick up when he returns to London. For a while, I was quite entertained and quite happy that the film appeared to be avoiding the endless stake-upping that is unavoidable in movies series in the 21st century.

There is kind of a stupid car chase in “Norway” that doesn’t make a lot of sense if you think about it too long but which ends with a fairly effective action set piece. And don’t think too hard about that helicopter flying halfway across the world. But, on the whole, I thought things were moving along swimmingly for a Bond film.

MASSIVE, GIGANTIC SPOILER

And then we come to the end. There have been a lot of Bond movies, 27 to be precise. This is the only film to decide to kill him off. I don’t know why they chose to, but they did. And it’s a decision I might respect if they hadn’t handled to unbelievably melodramatically. It takes guts to (temporarily) kill off a character who has been in 26 other movies and never (actually) died before. (Or perhaps it takes arrogance. Or perhaps it takes an actor refusing to ever do this again. I don’t know.) But Hans Zimmer doesn’t do subtlety and the score only makes the whole martyr for mankind thing more cliche and overdone than it already was.

It’s this ending that really reminds you how interminable this movie is. Infected, it seems, by 21st century serialized action film bloat, there is just way too much film here. And too much of it is not effective enough.

And this makes me sad because I think I would have liked a much shorter film, with a less melodramatic ending, more than the last few of Craig’s Bond films. Alas.

5?/10 with potential future adjustments for when I re-watch some of the other films.

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