No Time to Die Review
I went to see No Time to Die on Friday afternoon. Here’s my spoiler-filled two cents…
No Time to Die is, for better or for worse, the most interesting film in the series. From the strangely bloodless gunbarrel to the hauntingly familiar song (to fans, at least) that plays over the closing credits, No Time to Die is a film that sets about subverting expectations at every turn.
No Time to Die comes across as very much a game of two halves. At times the film evokes the dry wit and fun confidence of the best of the Sean Connery era, such as when James Bond must partner with Ana de Armas’ alluring CIA agent Paloma to infiltrate a secret meeting in Cuba, or the early sequence where Bond puts the beloved Aston Martin DB5 through its paces on the dusty streets of Matera in the Italian hills. These scenes crackle with slick energy, snappy dialogue and well-directed action; in terms of pure enjoyment, this is some of the most straightforwardly enjoyable fare that Bond has seen since at least GoldenEye, backed by a suitably silly plot that takes in sinister genetic warfare schemes, treacherous American spies, planes that turn into submarines, henchmen with bionic eyes, and electromagnetic watches. On paper, at least, this is the most old-school and refreshingly tongue-in-cheek of the Daniel Craig films, and an unashamed throwback to the legacy of Roger Moore’s era. The nostalgic references to For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy only heighten this impression, as does Hans Zimmer’s effective score, which cribs when appropriate from a few of John Barry’s most notable compositions.
Yet this surface impression of glossy camp is let down by the jarring emotional punch of the film’s other elements. The central relationship between Bond and Madeleine is suffused with drama, and Lea Seydoux delivers a more charismatic and convincing performance than in Spectre. It’s no exaggeration to say that in the course of this adventure, Madelaine becomes as important a Bond girl to the history of the overall series as Vesper and Tracy; it’s an ambitious and grandiose character effort which works commendably well, and that’s no small feat either. This only serves to demonstrate how the character writing in Bond films has risen in quality during Craig’s tenure; Fukunaga, Seydoux and the writers deserve credit for the scope of Madelaine’s journey here. Christoph Waltz’s single scene as Blofeld, on the other hand, provides perhaps the most shocking and intense confrontation between Bond and his nemesis yet. Finally, Daniel Craig gives his best performance of his entire run here, flipping between cold brutality during the fight scenes, tender and lovelorn sensitivity during his interactions with Madelaine, and droll humour in the company of the MI6 regulars and Lashana Lynch’s intriguing new ally, Nomi.
The film isn’t without major- and arguably crippling- flaws, however. Rami Malek’s softly-spoken Safin is underused. He’s made out to be an extremely powerful and calculating figure, yet displays little physical threat and -despite some decent dialogue shared with Bond- lacks a truly strong sense of motivation behind his horrific plans. Some supporting characters, such as David Dencik’s villainous scientist, are played a little too broad for my tastes. The film is a little overlong. But by far the most controversial aspect of the film, from the perspective of fans, will be the ending. The decision to give Bond a child, and have him die in an act of heroic self-sacrifice, pushes the character into bold territory never before encountered by the Eon series. The question is; is it worth it? From a thematic perspective, having Bond sacrifice himself both symbolically and literally for the greater ideals of Queen and Country makes sense; in addition, forcing Bond into a protective, paternalistic role rather than that of a swaggering playboy makes his sacrifice more resonant and powerful. For some, Bond’s death counts as apt and well-earned character drama; for others, killing Bond makes for a dreadfully downbeat and pretentious final image for the Craig era. I can personally see both sides of the argument. In the context of the film itself, I’d say that the final scenes just about work on an emotional level; though they will probably have a divisive Marmite effect on the fandom for some time to come, and I can certainly understand why.
Ultimately, No Time to Die is a mixed bag of a Bond film; daring, emotionally complex and enjoyably thrilling in its action scenes, yet hindered by shallow antagonists and an ending set on shattering the conventions of the series. It’s certainly better than both Spectre and Quantum and Solace, but is too inconsistent to match up to Casino Royale or Skyfall. As it stands, No Time to Die is a unique, compelling but fundamentally flawed experiment in the series.
"The spectre of defeat..."
I think there are specialist websites for that 😉
I’ve been thinking about the Cubby quote. I can not believe he’d have killed Bond off for one minute. There was just no need for it
It's time to write about NTTD in more detail.
The PTS was impressive. The gunbarrel was good, I didn't miss the blood. Madeleine's mother seemed to have emotional problems and a drinking problem, not very strange given her situation in life. The scene om the ice was very good. My take is that Safin saved young Madeleine because she reminded him of himself when his family was killed by SPECTRE.
The scenes in Matera were also good. The movie gave Bond and Madeleine's relationship time to breathe, something we had to little of in SP. But we were also shown that not everything was right in the relationship. When the action kicked in again it's really well done. In this fight and in NTTD's action scenes in general we get a sense of urgency and danger that was largely missing in SP. Unless we count the motorcycle jump we don't get the jawdropping stunt we are used to in a PST. In fact we don't get a huge, spectacular stunt everyone talks about during the entire movie. Not in the traditional sense anyway.
I think Billie Eilish's title song is perfect for the movie and the title sequence is also very satisfactory. Next we get Bond's retirement in Jamaica, the break-in the labratory and a beleagered and regetful M after keeping the Heracles project going. Heracles is Hercules in the original Greek. He killed his family after being stricken mad by the gods and takes upon himself his great labours as punishment. The name of the project wasn't picked randomly.
I'm not sure about outing Q as gay. I'm not really interested in who M, Tanner, Moneypenny or Q sleeps with. But it's just a throwaway line and gay people are starved when it comes to positive representation in movies, maybe especially in Bond. The mission in Cuba was fun and action packed, but maybe relying to much on gunplay. Paloma is just what Craig's Bond needs: A fun, though and light-hearted Bond girl. When did we last get one of those? She was wearing a skimpy dress and high-heeled shoes that must be very impractical for an action-packed mission. Top marks! It was also an interesting twist to have MI6 and CIA in direct competition and Bond working for the Americans. Felix Leiter's death was at least much better handled than Mathis' death in QoS.
Madeleine's re-introduction and the visit to Blofeld in prison was great. The way Blofeld is introduced in a way that felt new. Both characters are better in NTTD than in SP. Killing Leiter, Blofeld and SPECTRE in one movie and after so little time would've normally been a big mistake, but it works because Bond dies at the end.
I like Nomi and the interplay between her and Bond. I was very worried Bond would die and Nomi was alive and still 007 at the end, triggering parts of the audience being convinced she's the next James Bond. At least she gave back the 007 designation, a wise choice.
Next Bond goes to Norway (hurrah! 😁 🇧🇻). The little girl would've been a huge mistake in a normal Bond movie, but again Bond's death makes it acceptable. The audience loved it when the child watched Norwegian TV, nearly the only absolute proof they were in Norway. This movie offers children more time and attention than all the other movies combined. The only other time Bond even spoke to a child was back in TMWTGG. The Atlantic Road looked great. In fact I think all the locations were great, with Norway, the Carribean, Norway, Italy and Safin's Island looking very distinct. The fight in Norway (Scotland) is well-handled and energetic, but again no incredible stunts. Google Maps on Bond's phone is only visible for a second or two, but it clearly shows Madeleine's cabin is in my part of the country.
The battery is nearly flat, so I'll continue later.
For me the biggest disappointment was that the constant trailers and teasers showed almost all of the big action scenes and stunning shots so by the time you see it in the cinema it’s lost impact entirely. Lesson to self.
Not sure if someone already answered but there was a question in a previous post about Vesper being buried in Italy….it looks to be a family tomb.
After second viewing the list of names on the tomb door have the family name Saviano. But the name above Vesper’s is “Saviano xxx Lynd”. The xxx was an Italian word I don’t remember.
"Not sure if someone already answered but there was a question in a previous post about Vesper being buried in Italy….it looks to be a family tomb."
Worth mentioning that Vesper is said to be buried in France in Fleming's OHMSS, and Bond considers visiting her grave...so another nice Fleming reference in NTTD there too.
Watched the movie last night. I think the Matera, Cuba and Norway scenes were very well made, but I was bitterly disappointed by anything that happened on Safin's island, including of course the ending. Killing off Bond was completely unnecessary, and it could have been done in a less definitive fashion anyway, leaving it to the audience's interpretation.
I also feel like the DNA-specific chemical weapon is a bit far fetched, and I'm a bit puzzled as to why Primo, who was acting as a Spectre henchman in the pre-title sequence, then is part of Safin's criminal organization, considering that the latter hated Spectre for sterminating his own family?
In my opinion, this movie rates 4th out the 5 Craig movies, only because the storyline was stronger than Quantum of Solace's.
100% agree with leaving it to the audience’s interpretation
@SpectreOfDefeat Good review, as always.
No Time To Die was released here in South Africa yesterday, and I saw it for the first time last night. As it is surely the most unusual Bond film ever I found myself having great difficulty digesting what I saw, so I made a simple list of likes and dislikes after the screening last night and decided to sleep on it before attempting a review. Now that I’ve done that hopefully I can cobble together a few words to describe my initial reaction to the film. Past experience tells me that my opinion is likely to evolve significantly with subsequent viewings, so I have no idea at this point where it might eventually land in my ranking of the Bond movies.
I’ll start by discussing some of the things I really enjoyed in the film and leave negatives for the end. So beginning at the opening pre-title sequence, which I thought was an all round terrific series of scenes. From the eerie horror of the flashback opening to Madeleine’s childhood (and I was impressed with young Madeleine’s taste, having The Wrong Trousers playing on the TV), to the romantic introduction to Matera, Italy and the violence that ensued there, it was all terrific stuff. Seeing Bond and Madeleine in the Aston Martin DB5 driving through spectacular scenery was classic Bond, and the callback to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was both nostalgic and foreboding. Bond also visits Vesper’s grave, which is a little connection to the novel of OHMSS, where we are told that Bond makes annual visits to Royale-Les-Eaux and the grave of Vesper. This moment (with a nice reprise of David Arnold’s Vesper theme) is punctured by sudden and stunning violence (a very effective moment) and from there the action for the rest of the PTS is excellent. , with some impressive stunts particularly with Bond on the motorcycle. The DB5 having miniguns behind the headlights is also Bondian absurdism of the highest order. The very lengthy pre-titles ends on a somber note, and I really enjoyed the transition into the main titles featuring Dr. No style dots.
It’s hard to speak much about the main titles right now, because there is so much imagery going on in them and I will definitely need multiple viewings to take it all in. I enjoyed the song, and to quickly comment on the music in general, I think that the score is enjoyable at times but also forgettable for large sections. As is sometimes the case with Zimmer, the bits I enjoy listening to the most is when he is using pre-existing music like in Dunkirk and here where he quotes Barry and Arnold. It feels a bit like cheating, to draw so much on Barry’s best Bond score (arguably) but I particularly enjoyed the sombre version of the OHMSS theme in the scene with Bond and M near the middle of the film. I was also relieved and delighted that Zimmer didn’t neglect the traditional James Bond theme as some feared he might. Sure, he Zimmered it up a little bit but I do like his version, especially with the guitar work of Johnny Marr.
After the title sequence and the attack in London, I really enjoyed the Jamaica-Cuba segment of the film. Even though Bond is in retirement when we see him in Jamaica, this still felt like classic Bond territory to me. The lifestyle which harkens back to Fleming’s own time in Jamaica, and the re-introduction of Leiter contribute to this. Much has been made in the publicity about Jamaica being the spiritual home of Bond, and I felt this worked very much in the film’s favour. The introduction of the ‘new 007’ Nomi into the film was handled very well I thought. I like how she played the part of a local, and then swiftly shifted from her cover into her own persona (and neatly subverting the Rosie Carver wig gag from Live And Let Die at the same time). I enjoyed the bar scene with Felix, again reminiscent of Dr No, and then the sojourn to Cuba feels like the sort of escapist action with slick humour that one normally expects from a Bond film. Zimmer also does some of his best, and most original, work in this section. Paloma, played by Ana De Armas, is a memorable character, although little more than a cameo and it is a pity that there probably won’t be any space for a reprise of her role in a future film as the series has become quite obsessed with continuity in the last 10 years or so. I somehow don’t think that Judi Dench straddling both the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig eras would be considered acceptable now. The ending of this section on the boat, including the death of Felix, is played out well and I felt it was a fitting end to Jeffrey Wright’s version of Leiter. It’s a pity that he wasn’t given more screen time in the Craig run, but what we did get was memorable, and he now has the distinction of being the first actor to appear as Leiter in three films.
In the next section Bond returns to London and to MI6. There are some more classic Bond elements here. The Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights makes a welcome return, and I liked the portraits of previous Ms hanging in the hallway, a nice continuation to the portrait of Bernard Lee which could be spotted in The World is Not Enough. I was particularly pleased to see that the often forgotten Robert Brown’s portrait was clearly visible. In fact I don’t even remember seeing the Bernard Lee painting on my first viewing, but I presume it was there on screen. I’ll look out for it second time round. Many Bond fans (myself included) have repeatedly complained about the recurring trope of Bond going rogue in seemingly every film of late. Well in this one he comes in from the cold, so to speak, and returns from retirement to be a double-oh once again...In effect inverting the trope.
The reprise of Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld was good, and I think it improved my overall impression of his take on the character. The same goes for Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann. Both were a bit underwhelming in Spectre, so I’m glad they got to come back and build on their characters. The way that Blofeld communicates with his Spectre operatives, while appearing to MI6 to be some sort of gibbering madman talking to himself, is rather funny.
After some good action in Norway, the final section of the film takes us to the lair of the villain, Safin, and this section has one foot in the world of classic Bond, and another in a whole new world for a Bond film - A place where the rule book of what is normally supposed to happen in a Bond film simply doesn’t apply. Firstly, Bond now has familial attachments - a daughter who appears in the Norway scenes. This is certainly a first for the Bond films (although there is some literary precedent for this). In addition, the way the final act of the film ends is iconoclastic to say the least. Bond dying at the end of this film is clearly a controversial move by the filmmakers. I doubt many fans, if any, would say they are pleased that this is the way the film (and Craig’s tenure as Bond) ends. On the other hand, there are clearly many fans who are really angry about. I am okay with it, but would have preferred Bond’s fate to be left a little more ambiguous. A couple of Ian Fleming novels end with Bond’s fate hanging in the balance, or presumed dead. But Fleming’s Bond always returned from the near death situation in the next novel and I would have preferred this film to have ended with Bond not quite so definitively dead.
To end off I’ll just quickly say what some of my other negatives were. Firstly, the gunbarrel. I know it’s not that important to the film itself, but I wish that there could have been a Craig film that did the opening gunbarrel shot ‘as we know it’. Spectre came the closest, being the only one which replicated the look of Maurice Binder’s original, but even that one messed with it in other ways that I didn’t enjoy. NTTD’s gunbarrel is probably my least favourite of all. The opening animation of the dots begins with a weird transition from the Universal logo, and then no blood runs down the screen after Bond shoots. Why?!?
Also the endless gunplay became a bit much for me, especially in the final act. It felt very much like a Bond video game where you run around shooting endless villainous minions, and I’ve always felt that there is something a bit off about those sort of Bond shoot-em-up games.
The last negative I will mention is that although Madeleine Swann is better fleshed out in this film, she and Bond are still not really convincing enough as a romantic couple to hold up the immense emotional weight that this film and Spectre have placed on their relationship. The callbacks to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and “all the time in the world” don’t quite feel fully justified. Their relationship is not a patch on the on-screen romance of Bond and Tracy in OHMSS, even with George Lazenby’s limitations as a dramatic actor.
So to sum up. Even though I was expecting Bond to die at the end, No Time to Die managed to be a very surprising film. Despite having so many classic cinematic Bond elements and a good number of references to the literary Bond it feels so different to a ‘normal’ Bond movie that it is very hard to even think of it as being a part of the series. Maybe the passage of time will soften the harsh blow of its shattering of the conventions. Or perhaps its ‘odd one out’ qualities will make it ultimately feel like a black sheep in the series. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service took multiple decades to achieve its current status as a popular favourite and a shining example of how great a Bond film can be. Only time and multiple viewings will tell how No Time To Die’s legacy will look in the future.
My rating of this film is 4 stars out of 5.
@Golrush007 A balanced review, can't agree with all of it, but well constructed.
A good time in London with friends for the cast and crew screening
Thank you all, it was great to spend time with you 😘
Nice pics, Pete.
Cheers Chas x
I‘m in a really strange mood right now.
Ever since Craig confirming his return, I was anticipating this movie.
Then 3 years (or 6 years since SP) have passed. Filled with rumors, first hints of casting, the press conference, the shoot and the promotion.
Then Covid hit and delayed this for a good 1.5 years. Multiple marketing campaigns, hundreds of stills and trailers were released & got me hyped every time.
Especially with the last couple of short trailers and clips, I was certain, we‘d FINALLY have a classic Bond again that fells like 1962-2002 again. Every single shot led me to believe that.
So of course I was excited like a kid on X-mas last Thursday. Time flew by, but my mind wasn’t exactly blown away by the movie.
The movie would have been solid if there weren’t two main plot lines: Daddy Bond and of course him f*cking dying.
The latter hit me hard. It defeated the whole purpose or essence of Bond. Integral to EVERY movie was him narrowly escaping (the most outlandish) death scenarios and saving the word. Now he just stands there and gets blown up. This feels so surreal, I still haven’t processed it. But I can say it is a bloody stupid move.
Since Casino, we followed the emotional journey (whether we wanted to or not) of this lone wolf trying to find his place in the world and striving for inner peace. Bond overcame the betrayal of Vesper, being obsolete, the death of M, Blofeld‘s attacks, losing his second big love, having a child. He was tortured, beaten up and disavowed constantly but always came back. But only to f*cking die himself?
I kinda feel betrayed as a Bond-fan right now. This isn‘t just like criticizing things I didn‘t like, them doing that is fundamental.
My opinion of SP immediately increased exponentially bc at leat that was (in some shape or way) a Bond-movie. He‘s on a mission that he accomplishes abd drives off into the sunset with the girl.
NTTD has it‘s moments:
Things I don’t like (besides the aforementioned):
• Safin was made up as being super creepy and dangerous - he‘s just boring
• scenes don’t feel fleshed out, i.e. the Norway forest scenes: he quickly gets rid of the jeeps by just raming them one and they just fly over cliffs…, quickly „decapitates“ the motor cyclist and shoots Ash -boom- scene over.
• they weren‘t sure were to go with certain characters. Valdo for example: throughout the whole movie he‘s played as this soft moron that just talks (funny) bs all the time for laughs. The he‘s also this megalomaniac scientist who wants to destroy the world and dies horribly in acid?! Doesn’t fit.
• You do can tell the „woke“ aspects (even though there are maybe just two): Bond calls Nomi noticably often 007 so that it comes across as forced because of what‘s going on in the real world with gender and ethnical politics. As if they were to say: „ Look, our 007 is a black woman now. We‘re so progressive“. Again, didn‘t mind her having his number, it‘s a logical point but it was just rubbed under your nose
• Everybody said they were going to tie up all loose ends of the Craig-era. What exactly? The only thing still sort of ongoing was maybe the SPECTRE-organization and they gased the entire lot including Blofeld in like 5 mins of screentime…
• Didn‘t understand why Bond and M hated each other that much. Really came out if nowhere.
• You have a movie called „No Time To Die“ and your franchise‘s main character dies. What?!
Still, as of now I wish they HADN‘T done this movie ans ended his era with SP which would’ve suited the character and his journey in life way better.
Guess now we know whose side Danny Boyle was on.
I so hope they FINALLY get their head straight for B26, drop all of the soap opera elements, the stunt castings, the politics, the depression and go back to what we had 1962-2002.
THAT was James Bond.
Edit: I also hope that something within the fan community changes.
Meaning that more people become interested in discussing the actuall movies. Because since SP, it feels as if everything centers around Bond‘s wardrobe. Especially because of the „influencers“.
They shouldn't have killed Bond. That's just **** stupid, I'm sorry.
Other than that, the film was brilliant. For now I rank it as the 6th best bond movie of all time, but part of me simultaneously wants to put it at the bottom for killing bond. It's the most idiotic thing that's ever been done in a bond film. I actually am really angry about it.
But the worst thing, for me, is that if Bond has just survived, then we would have a bloody excellent bond film.
I'm not bothered about him having a daughter, that doesn't anger me, but killing him off is too far. It was extremely emotional though, don't get me wrong, but they shouldn't have gone there. Or they should have at least teased his death, only for him to somehow return at the end. I don't know how mind, but that's not our bloody job. They shouldn't have killed Bond. I have no idea how they're gonna come back from this.
I also hate the film's title, which is bland as hell. I was really hoping the title would relate to the film, but nah, it doesn't, it's just a terrible title.
Heracles, The Poison Garden, or The Garden Of Death would have all been a million times better.
Now that my rants out of the way, here are the positives:
In conclusion, I love the film but am simultaneously angered by it. What a strange feeling.
Anyway, from here on out, let's have some FUN bond movies again. Though honestly I don't think there will even be another bond movie for a LONG time...
Let's continue. Bond and Nomi get picked up by a planet on Ørland air base, one of Norway's 1.5 fighter jet bases. I don't know where it was filmed, but Bond's pronounciation wasn't half bad. A plane/submarine is a return to traditional Bond values, but also not because of the CGI. Safin's island was really good set, a welcome return to villans with large bases in big sets. The villan even has a plan that's threath ending the world, another core tradition for James Bond. But how and why did Safin go from wanting revenge on Blofeld and SPECTRE to wanting to kill large parts of the world's population? This is never explained properly ... or at all. I actually liked Safin as a villan. He's distinctive and creepy. I don't think it was explained how he survived getting shot in the heart by mini-Madeleine. Like many of us I assumes his heart was on the other side like Dr No, but I don't think it was mentioned at all.
I liked how the writers updated the Garden of Death from YOLT, I've wanted this for years. I actually posted the idea here in AJB of a genetic weapon that can target spesific groups of the population years ago. I can't say it's a bad villan's plot then, can I? What I do dislike is Nomi's one-liner before she kills Waldo (a cartoonish henchman). "You know what time it is? ..... it's time to die!". Most of the dialoge in NTTD is really good, but this is more fitting for Steven Seagal than a Bond movie. The fight in Safin's base is a very well made gun fight, but it's just a gun fight. A big, spectacular stunt would be better.
Now the biggest stunt - Bond's death. If they were to really kill Bond, this is the way to do it. It's for the greater good and he knows he can't save himself because that means he kills the people around him. But there were other ways to do it. Nomi could sacrifice herself by opening the blast doors. Her motivation? She's infected and if she survives all black people get killed like Waldo wanted. While she opens the blast doors, Bond gets a big boss fight with Safin before he escapes with Madeleine and their daughter. This solution also fixes the problem of all the people who still belive she's "the next James Bond". Another solution is making Bond's death open to interpretation. Is he dead or isn't he? Bond can't be infected if this was the solution.
Bond's death also means we need a new Scooby Gang. We can't have Ralph Fiennes and the rest of them grieving for Bond in NTTD and merrily working alongside the next 007 in Bond26. It's a shame since I liked them and wanted to see them for decades to come. James Bond's death was well done, but was it the right thing to do? I doubt I'll ever decide.
The movie is very well made technically. Colours, cinematography, music etc. was great. The acting too. Madeleine and Blofeld were better characters this time. The action was better than in SPECTRE, but needed more memorable stunts. Especially stunts we haven't seen before in the many trailers. This movie will be debated forever in AJB and elsewhere. I look forward to it.
The film is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!! as for the ending.
Bond films are individual films, but they are also part of a series, as such you can't make films about a character that is dead.
and they can not for ever more make preqils, as 2021 will become amchent history,as well.
so as Spock would say in Star Trek. The only logical couse of action open to Eon productionsin in the future is to say
JAMES BOND DID NOT DIE AT THE END OF NO TIME TO DIE.
First of all: it's great to see posts from members who haven't posted much before, perhaps especially new members. 😁
Second: I agree with Barbel that we need a thread or even a sub-forum about where Bond goes next. But if we do that now the members who haven't seen NTTD yet will understand what happend in NTTD. Even if we call it something pretty neutral we'll have to label it "spoilers", and that's a spoiler of sorts itself.
Do you want to maybe revisit some of the comments here.
Why do they constantly reference OHMSS? Doesn't that simply remind us that OHMSS is a much better film?
Who wants to spend three hours with a manically depressed Bond? Am I missing something here? I'd rather go to the dentist than sit through this film again.
Why does Ralph Fiennes play M like an imbecile in this film?
Why does M use the f-word? Aren't Bond films supposed to be family entertainment?
Why is M's office so small?
Why is Nomi so poorly written? You could remove her from the film and it wouldn't make any difference.
Why are the jokes so bad? "Eye-opening."
Why are there no spectacular stunts?
Why could no one come up with a better third act than the usual control room nonsense?
Why is this film so long? Did it really need to be three hours?
Why does Daniel Craig give such an eccentric performance in the Bond/Blofeld scene?
Isn't the start of the film with the retired Bond in the West Indies a reprise of Skyfall?
Safin is a rubbish underwritten villain.
Craig was a bit long in the tooth for this one. Did we really need five blooming films worth of Daniel Craig? Seriously?
I like the Aston Martin machine gun sequence but for heaven's sake give the Aston Martin a rest now. Give the next Bond a different car or something.
So, in his rather short espionage career, Craig's Bond retired twice and then got blown to smithereens by some missiles? Wouldn't that make him a bit of a rubbish secret agent?
Who cares about Madeleine Swann? I could barely remember who she was. And yet, the entire story assumes that we DO care about Madeleine Swann. Léa Seydoux has even fewer facial expressions than Daniel Craig.
Why do the theme songs in the Craig films always have to be so dreary?
The end is stupid but I honestly didn't care by that point. I just wanted the film to end.
They should have ended the Craig era with Spectre. At least that film gave his character a nice ending.
I‘ll never understand how a movie with trailers that good could have tanked that bad…
Poor Danny Boyle... He wrongly got some flack at the time and yet he seems to care about the legacy of Bond more than the producers. I can only dream of what he might've given us!
Here is a short review of someone who started watching Bond when Casino Royale came out.
I absolutely loved it. The ending wasn't the only emotional moment for me to be honest. As soon as I heard the very first notes of the Vesper Theme next to her grave I instantly begun shaking. It wasn't about the moment being too emotional or even making sense at this point - it was about the nostalgia and knowledge it's been 15 freaking years. It was like an Avengers Endgame level of easter egg and it teared me up a bit.
In my opinion Bond's death makes sense here. Safin wasn't definitely the greatest villain out of the 5 movies but he was the only one that truly left James in a situation where he couldn't win, it tops M's death in Skyfall for me. He had either a choice to live the rest of his days knowing he will never be around the only people he loves or die instantly with the knowledge they're safe. Safin said something about life having meaning when you leave something behind - James left a beautiful daughter who will be growing up safe and maybe won't become a gun for hire in the future.
I understand other guys, saying this is not a Bond movie. Bond doesn't die, Bond is not a dad - but for me it absolutely makes sense. Ever since CR came around, Craig's movies were not about making them basing on a "Bond template". It's not about getting the girl, having a shootout and driving into the sunset every single time. It's a tale of a spy who was growing up without any parents and who just wanted a normal life somehow, which he did get in the end - just with the cost of his own existence. Bond's arc is absolutely tragic but I love that they didn't make it a happy ending. Again - it kinda makes me think about Iron Man's arc in Avengers. Bond was a professional killer who was doing girls for fun, driving fast and gambling with his life whenever he could and he liked it. He was a lone wolf, he didn't care about anything beyong "queen and country". But in the end he became someone who sacraficed himself for the good of the woman he loves and his daughter. It wasn't just about saving the world, it was about saving his family and for me it's just beautiful, sorry. So I understand the concerns but I feel the overal direction and ending fits the Craig tenure perfectly.
Obviously I'm sad as hell as James Bond was my role model. I was growing up without a father so I needed him, to be someone I can look up to. Have his confidence, style etc. Now, despite the fact that I wasn't a Bond fan for over 3 years now and went see this movie thinking I couldn't care less, I'm heartbroken. I feel like someone very close to me died but left a beautiful legacy. It will be very hard for me to be a fan of the next Bond because of the impact Daniel Craig had on my own life.
On the side note, I loved that the 00's here were truly terrifying in action. Not sure if anybody else feels that way but both Nomi and Bond looked super fast, clever, strong - be it Nomi shooting the electricity pole pretty much right away to distract two police units or Bond killing four of Safin's henchmen from a very hard position in a nanosecond. I really admired that, they really seemed like the top of the ladder of special military units.
Music was good but not great. The only song that stands out is the last one naturally, Zimmer did a great job however with implementing cues from other movies into this one.
In summary, i'm satified. Great send off and great ending of an era for me, personally.
Same feeling here.
> A lot of good scenes!!
>... but so much poor explained plots, miss opportunities or missing links... Etc without even talking about the ending.
Here, just my opinion on one of the miss opportunity (and from far, not the worst):Nomi.
She was also indeed a disappointment... I love mission done by two agents (Alec, Wai-Lin, or even Jinx in DAD) but here Nomi does not do much actually...
- fight against Bond in Cuba
- get the Eye
- solve nothing
- arrive too late to help Bond exept offering him a ride
- does everything to look cool and bad ass. But it looks too much and not like British "bond style" cool spy. Wtf was this drift at the airport with the Aston Martin? Not really needed...
- I really like the infiltration scene!! Really nice moves and together-job!
and then... Not much actually
- baby-sit the scientist
- get triggered by a racist provocation and kill the scientist cold blood!.. Wtf again ? Is she a trained professional? A super spy? A 00? But she cannot control herself?
- baby-sit bond family, leaving bond do the job alone
- stay on a rock with bond family without even proposing to come back to help or pick up bond
- once Bond non return seems clear, she does not even offer to take care of bond family
I'm writing this review hot off the back of having seen the film today and before having read any other reviews, either on this site or in the media - so forgive me if I say things already said a thousand times!
Let's start with the movie's greatest stunt: the death of Double-O Seven!
Actually, Craig-Bond's demise was the logical place to go for our leading man's swan song in the role. To have instead re-run the theme of a death of the woman Bond loves would have seemed tired and reactionary - after Vesper and Tracy - so it's a relief to see Madeleine Swann survive with her daughter. Really, the only way convincingly to have exploited again the Bondian legacy of a 'We Have All The Time In The World'-style tragedy was indeed to bump off the man himself: the right choice was made.
As afficianados will know, the death of Bond is not entirely without precedent in texts of Bond. The conclusion of Fleming's 'From Russia With Love' memorably leaves Bond poisoned by Klebb, presumably to death, as he pivots on his heel and crashes head-long to a wine-red carpeted floor; of course, Fleming had second thoughts and gave OO7 a further lease of life for subsequent novels! There's also a precedent, in Fleming, for Bond leaving behind a child he's fathered. As Bond resurfaces, mind wiped, from 'You Only Live Twice' into 'The Man With Golden Gun', he loses out on the simple family life with Kissy Suzuki which could have been his future. But more significant than esoteric Bond references is the point that the cinematic climate is right, today, for shaking up established pop genres with stories about paternity and the death of heroes: the 'Star Wars' franchise was there before Bond, allowing Han Solo to be killed off, on screen, by a son who'd turned to the Dark Side, while Luke Skywalker transcended his corporeal self to become the spiritual stuff of legend. Not to mention the death of Iron Man in the MCU!
The ending of NTTD is, perhaps, presaged as early as in the gunbarrel sequence, where Craig-Bond fades out of the teloscopic sight after having fired his shot. That's the first point at which I wondered whether this movie would mean curtains for Bond as well as goodbye to Craig. Near the beginning of the movie, Bond's line about having "all the time in the world" and the extended musical quotation of John Barry's beautiful instrumental of the song of that name were both heavy hints that there was tragedy in store; yet when Madeleine survived the gunfire on Bond's car (the shattering glass of the windscreen NOT signifying her death, as it had Tracy's in OHMSS), the possibility that the tragedy in question would finally turn out to be Bond's death, and not hers, was kicked further into touch. That possibility seemed to open still further when the film-makers showed willing to kill off other iconic characters, namely Leiter and Blofeld, whose "Die, Blofeld, die!" exit (again, channelling Fleming's 'You Only Live Twice') certainly serves the arch-villain better than, for example, being dangled about in a bathosub or dropped down an industrial chimney.
"James Bond Will Return". So proclaim the end titles, meaning we can look forward to another re-boot and the franchise living on. As Barbara Broccoli has said recently, it's too early to think about what that future might look like. Interestingly, there's one bit of fan service in NTTD which anyone so inclined could cite to support a theory going about that 'James Bond' is itself just a code name used by a succession of different MI6 agents: I'm referring to the film's double take on a painting of Robert Brown's M in MI6's headquarters, alongside a portrait of Judi Dench's M. Although the Dench-M from CR, QoS and SF obviously belongs within the continuity of the Craig-Bond films, Brown-M does NOT obviously belong: he was Moore-Bond's M, and Dalton's too. And so (the argument might go) if Brown's image is now being appropriated to the continuity of the Craig films, such appropriation might as well apply, also, to all 'the former 007s'. For me, that whole 'James-Bond-as-code-name' theory is and remains silly in its attempt to impose an overarching continuity on the history of the franchise. At a long stretch, the code-name idea might just work for multiple Bonds but it's completely implausible to think that it could also apply to, say, the different Leiters or the different Blofelds. No; CR was a hard re-boot. And the next Bond film will have to be a hard re-boot, too.
For me, the Robert Brown reference was simply a nice touch for the fans, perhaps also inviting a reading of certain parallels between NTTD and Brown's last Bond movie, LTK: for some of the time, Bond is working independently of MI6, but with the clandestine support of Q and Moneypenny; Logan Ash, whose name perhaps echoes Truman Lodge, is very much in a Killifer role, betraying Leiter with catastrophic consequences and meeting his end at Bond's hands, being no more Bond's "brother" than Killifer was Leiter's "old buddy". (Incidentally, it's interesting that, alongside Jeffrey Wright's black Leiter, Logan Ash, his treacherous partner, somewhat channels the appearance of Fleming's WASP Leiter, a Texan with straw-coloured hair.)
I really enjoyed the first sequence of NTTD's pre-title sequences (in the plural) - with its eerily masked, homicidal home invader, Safin, menacing the young Madeleine. This sequence deliciously wrong-foots the audience by immersing us in the trappings of a horror film, more than a Bond film. Indeed, it would have been a courageous choice to go for a (not entirely unprecedented) Bond-less PTS and to bring in the main titles straight after the climax of this creepy opening sequence in Norway, but I guess Eon felt that they needed to delay the titles until after we'd seen at least some conventional Bond action too (including Craig busting his ankle?) That said, the traditionalist in me approves of the fact that the Aston Martin's gadgets, saving the day before the titles, do not significantly exceed those first used way back in GF and TB.
Billie Eilish's theme song has grown on me over recent months, and I think it's apt for the film. While Kleinman's titles design is not his most original or inspired, I at least appreciate the fan service in his use of the dancing DN microdots. One let-down is that the DB5 in his sequence, crashing down to earth, looks rather too much like a Corgi toy! Had a brave choice been made to place the titles directly after the Norwegian 'horror' sequence, Kleinman would have done well to pull a 'Maurice Binder/ Sheena Easton' and cast Billie Eilish in his sequence: the singer's look in her official video for 'No Time To Die' is, after all, pretty much in the vein of a young Madeleine Swann... And I trust Eva Green gets an extra fee every time her image is re-used in a Craig-Bond film!
For me, the film drags for a while after the titles, but I get a definite lift when Paloma teams up with Bond. In fact, I wish we'd been afforded more time with Paloma. If the film overall is rather dour and ponderous - a criticism that could be levelled at the Craig-Bond films in general - Paloma brings a welcome touch of Mary Goodnight-style cutesy kookiness to proceedings while also proving herself more than competent as a kickass agent in some John Wick-lite action fare. Craig seems to enjoy bantering with Paloma a little and I can only concur with his farewell comment to her: "You were excellent!" The Cuban sequence is notable, too, for what I think is Michael G. Wilson's fleeting cameo as a party guest. Is it just me or does a supporting actor, an extra - cast as another partygoer for an appearance immediately after Wilson - bear a striking resemblance to the late, great Cubby Broccoli?*
As for Nomi, actor Lashana Lynch is right when she speaks about her character as a positive representation of a woman of colour with agency. Nevertheless, if truth be told, Nomi's role is not much more progressive than, say, Wai-Lin's in TND, back in the 90s; it's actually a less substantial part. Yet it's cool when Nomi suggests to M that he re-attribute her OO7 code back to Bond, shrugging it off as just a number; and it's a moment of triumph when she kills Obruchev after his goading remark about racial genocide. (Obruchev reminds me of both Boris of Goldeneye and Koskov of TLD - a slippery, treacherous, comically awkward character, with a Borat voice, who gets his well deserved comeuppance.)
A special mention must go to Lisa-Dorah Sonnet, the young actor who plays Madeleine's child, Mathilde. She looks like she could be Craig-Bond's daughter and she gives a fine performance in all her scenes, including the dark stuff with Rami Malek.
The death of Bond at least provides for a touching final scene - a send-off from the franchise, in all likelihood - for the assembled current iterations of M, Q, Monepenny and Tanner. This team are thereby better served than were, say, Brosnan-Bond's accumulated MI6 regulars, who never did enjoy closure (aside from Desmond Llewelyn in TWINE and, eventually, the post-Brosnan Judi Dench). Viewing NTTD today - as I did - in the London BFI IMAX cinema, I got a buzz from spotting the IMAX cinema itself in the film, in the long shot of the Southbank, immediately before that final gathering of Mallory, Eve, Q, Tanner and Nomi.
NTTD's macguffin about a contagion deadly to families was awkwardly prescient in a movie conceived and produced pre-pandemic, and the island setting with a garden of poison utilises a heretofore by-passed element of Fleming, again from 'You Only Live Twice'. It's a shame that some of the shoot-outs in the villain's lair seem video-game-by-numbers, and that the movie's blue rinse palette (admittedly a step up from the urine yellow which dominated SP) is rather overbearing in the movie's more tech-y sets.
When it comes to Bond music, Hans Zimmer is no David Arnold but some of his cadences echo John Barry (set-piece quotations from Barry's OHMSS score aside); his compositions are highly atmospheric and out-class Thomas Newman's score/s for SF and SP. How lovely that Louis Armstrong's classic Bond song is played at the end and that, accordingly, Barry's name is included in the final credits. (I still miss Barry. For me, no Bond movie since TLD has ever quite sounded fully 'Bond'.)
Overall, NTTD is a good, entertaining Daniel Craig Bond film, though imho it's not as classy as Craig's debut OO7 movie, CR, and it's probably not as good as SF. Certainly a better sequel to SP than QoS was to CR, NTTD is more satisfying than SP and it has none of the flaws of QoS. A worthy finale for the Daniel Craig cycle of Bonds - even in the judgement of this reviewer whose heart remains true to the purely bump-a-reel thrills of Bond in the 60s and 70s!
*Edit: on a second viewing, I note that the supporting actor appearing immediately after MGW at the party is, in fact, someone closely resembling Orson Welles (CR67's LeChiffre)! It's the guy after *him* who I'd thought had the look of Albert R. Broccoli about him; now I think perhaps not so much...
@Shady Tree a lovely thoughtful closely observed and obviously heartfelt review. Thanks.
Curious who that tool is on the last pic just on the very far right 😡