No Time To Die (2019)
October 3, 2021 10:10 AM - Subscribe

In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
posted by chavenet (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's fun, it's wild, it's ridiculous, it's Bond.
Both shaken and stirred, with a twist.

(Apparently only comes out in the U.S. next week; It opened in Europe last week.)

BBC review roundup: No Time To Die: Daniel Craig's final Bond film gets five-star reviews
posted by chavenet at 11:55 AM on October 3


First film back in the cinema for me after lockdown and well worth it.

It’s not perfect but there are some great set pieces and it often seems to take pains to unapologetically be the bondiest bond film of all (quips, gadgets, martinis, massive villain base full of goons etc) while at the same time emphasising the loneliness and vulnerability in Craig’s portrayal.

Cut a half hour out of the middle and it’s the perfect bank holiday film.
posted by brilliantmistake at 11:29 PM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Well this was excellent. Well plotted and written. Some existential sniping at the British state. Some referential stuff but without beginning to outstay it's usefulness. Good performances from pretty much everyone, even the kid. Most of all, some really nice direction. Some scenes just do fancy stuff for the sake of it, the angles in the street when Bond gets out of his car in London for example, and the really nice use of light in the tunnels when they get to Safin's base.

The director also does this interesting thing where he puts the action in a shot right at the start of the shot, totally minimising the run up; there's a cut and it happens then there's the consequence but no build up within the shot. He's also good at doing this with jokes, hitting the punchline but not dwelling on it so avoiding any hint of cheese.

Going back to the referencing, there's still the old Aston Martin, which I disliked when they dragged it back for Skyfall, plus one freighted reference to ur-Bond that pays off but then the others aren't hamfisted. The reference to the 'You Only Live Twice' volcano baddy's lair is there but only visually and not played up.

Strong performances all round, Craig solid and Lynch good too, and we'll used, so far from Halle Berry the last time they tried for a spin off, very watchable and with definite potential as a breakout character.

If you liked any of Craig's previous Bond this is going to be worth seeing.
posted by biffa at 4:57 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Only three comments so far? I loved it even if it was a touch too long. I was even a little damp-eyed at the end. I did figure out the ending the second I saw him take the hair in her office but it was still a nice bit of plotting. I loved that all the women had agency and could take care of themselves and no one got fridged. A very satisfying end to a great Bond. I'm not sure how they can follow it though.
posted by octothorpe at 6:51 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


There were definitely enjoyable stretches, but it needed to come in under two hours, give its villain a vaguely comprehensible motive, and have a less bland heroine, especially if we're supposed to be fretting over her "secrets." I mean, I don't regret seeing it, but it was annoying to see them try so hard at some stuff and be so slapdash about other elements.
posted by praemunire at 12:31 AM on October 10 [3 favorites]


(To be fair, I don't know if the villain's motive got tinkered with at all because of the pandemic. Presumably there were rewrites.)
posted by praemunire at 12:32 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


The film was done before the pandemic and was originally scheduled for release in April 2020. They went back and did some CGI to update the phone versions because of the contract with Nokia but I don't think they altered anything else.
posted by octothorpe at 3:23 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


James Bond is such a strange character at this stage. We never know his age - but if we were to have been in his mid 30s in Dr No - then he would be in his mid-90s now. On-screen Bond has usually remained around mid-30s but has occasionally got older: as with Moore (who was 58 in "A view to a Kill") and Craig who is 53 now. So - he is a little like one of those world-weary vampire characters who has been around for centuries doing the same old thing while retaining a slightly variable amount of youth and some token modernisations of approach. This was an aspect that was perfectly parodied by Austin Powers - but here we still are even after another quarter century. As a written character, he is one deep mess at this stage.

So I think the approach of treating a James Bond film as a sort of opera - where the repeated musical and visual refrains are far, far more important than any niceties involving plot - seems to have been the way Fukunaga has gone here. And that is not a bad choice, I think. There is absolutely no way a film like this (which is to say a gloomy, logically incoherent screenplay running over 2 hours, involving stratospheric production costs and failing to properly develop the characters of any most of its expensive cast) would have made it to production without the huge momentum of the Bond franchise behind it.

My favourite gadget, by the way, was Q's neko chigura - home to his hairless cats - positively the only pussies in this film. You can buy one a bit like it if you are quick.
posted by rongorongo at 6:26 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I just got home from the theater. I agree with feeling that they could have clipped a little out of middle to tighten things up. Overall, it was probably one of the best Craig films. It did a great job of calling back to decades of Bond history while improving on one of the great weaknesses of the franchise, its treatment of women. I'd call it about average on its plot coherence -- I think that sometimes the writers try and get too clever by half -- but it was a lot more fun than "Spectre" or "Quantum of Solace". I appreciate that they tried to tie-up the Mr. White/Blofeld arcs even if it was really just kind of a mess. I even thought the opening montage and Billie Eilish's song were a cut above average.

I was hoping that they'd reveal than Bond's "new" number was 005, it would have been a nice callback to the older movies given the eventual fate of 005s and, well, Bond himself.
posted by wintermind at 3:54 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


James Bond is such a strange character at this stage. We never know his age - but if we were to have been in his mid 30s in Dr No - then he would be in his mid-90s now. On-screen Bond has usually remained around mid-30s but has occasionally got older: as with Moore (who was 58 in "A view to a Kill") and Craig who is 53 now. So - he is a little like one of those world-weary vampire characters who has been around for centuries doing the same old thing while retaining a slightly variable amount of youth and some token modernisations of approach. This was an aspect that was perfectly parodied by Austin Powers - but here we still are even after another quarter century. As a written character, he is one deep mess at this stage.

I think that you can say that about the previous Bond films but the Craig run has Bond age pretty much in real time. Casino started basically from scratch and introduced Craig as a newly minted 007 and this one is the end of his character. It doesn't have the continuity of the MCU but it's much more coherent film-to-film than any of the old Bond movies. Spectre was made five years ago and they mention in this film that the events of that film were five years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 4:21 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Funny how even after so many films, the most memorable James Bond villain of the Daniel Craig era is Baron Zemo.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:21 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Why can't Bond use the magic watch Q provided to incapacitate the nanobots?
posted by carmicha at 2:54 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Because Q said that you can't cure the nanobots.
posted by octothorpe at 6:50 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


Why can't Bond use the magic watch Q provided to incapacitate the nanobots?

There are like fifteen different ways in which the problem might be solved, including, yeah, the EMP on Bond's wrist. I guess life in which you couldn't boff a willing Lea Seydoux for even a year or two of research is just not worth living.
posted by praemunire at 8:26 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


The whole ending wouldn't work if the nanobots were curable.
posted by octothorpe at 11:39 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


On James Bond, new and old. With spoilers.

An excellent essay from Osita Nwanevu at Gawker. [With spoilers!]
posted by chavenet at 12:20 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


On the whole I thought this movie was better and less stupid than Spectre but in retrospect the whole plot, nay the whole era of the franchise's ending hinging on magical nanomachines, might really make this the most offensively dumb Bond of the era. It's especially a shame because the movie doesn't really run out of steam until they reach the island.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:22 PM on October 14 [2 favorites]


The whole ending wouldn't work if the nanobots were curable.

Yes, yes, I get it, but when you're having the main character of the franchise commit suicide, the contrivances should be a little less obvious.
posted by praemunire at 2:02 PM on October 14 [2 favorites]


the EMP on Bond's wrist

Powerful enough to do what it did…. But also, how exactly did his radio and earpiece work after he set it off as well?

Yeah, definitely a bit contrived.
posted by rozcakj at 8:05 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


the EMP on Bond's wrist
Powerful enough to do what it did…. But also, how exactly did his radio and earpiece work after he set it off as well?
Q's hairless cats: shy but notorious for their engineering brilliance say "just trust us on this, rozcak, we've got this covered"
posted by rongorongo at 9:14 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


They did Lashana Lynch's character wrong. She walks around in a huff after snarking about 007 (she should be channeling "don't give a fuck about the old dude").....! Later she voluntarily gives up her 007 title - why? She becomes the frikkin' babysitter for swann and kid at the end!
I mean she does some nice killin' but she's always 2nd fiddle to bond, despite her being younger and more elite. Big thumbs down for that from the writers.

The whole vibe and writing was off, it just felt....stilted & super cringey in parts. What the fuck was the motive of Lyutsefer (jeez what a dumb name) with the fucking nanobots and who were they trying to kill (apart from "lots of people", even M was like "the usual stuff"). For that matter, why did they kill spectre?

The 2 noobs revealed as elite assassins -Anna de Armas as a "aw shucks i guess I kllz them all" was particularly good. Liked the titles with Britannia's shield cracking.

I really liked both the framing of the shots and the cinematography - utterly spectacular even by bond standards.

Overall, tho a serious B- from me.
posted by lalochezia at 7:39 PM on November 12


(OK I understand why lyutsefer wanted to kill spectre cos of his famil, but all of them? people that were in accounting or the charity section?)

also:“Do you know what time it is? Time to die!”. gaaaaah
posted by lalochezia at 7:46 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


I noticed the emp earpiece thing too.

But earlier in the movie, during that great Spectre setpiece, how horrible it would have been to have 10 or so VIPs die off at your big fancy party from an unknown pathogen and then everyone who runs to the front of the building gets summarily murdered. It kind of crossed the line beyond spycraft after a few minutes.
posted by Catblack at 2:10 PM on November 13


As a capstone to Craig's Bond, couldn't ask for terribly more.

A little shoot-ey for a Bond film, maybe they're gunning for another 'GoldenEye 007?'

The EMP thing. Eh, yeah. But it depends on the voltage of the wrist EMP and how much shielding there is in the earpiece. If the watch could remotely turn off the earpiece or at least disconnect the antenna before it went kablooey maaaybe. But the entire sequence was super contrived.

Rami Malek had presence.
posted by porpoise at 7:03 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


watched this last night. in a lot of ways this was one of the better modern Bond films at all. the opening, and first 1/3 or so are really strong, and very different in tone and story than the canonical movies. but its TOO.LONG. no Bond movie needs to be 2.5+ hours. I got a little bored. all told though, its rises above the very low bar and is entertaining and satisfying.
posted by supermedusa at 11:06 AM on November 14


the really nice use of light in the tunnels when they get to Safin's base

agreed, that was really nicely done
posted by supermedusa at 11:07 AM on November 14


Bond was literally toxic to a woman. That's an interesting route to go, if nothing else. Wikipedia tells me that Phoebe Waller-Bridge was a screenwriter and I wonder if that might've been some of her influence (and thank goodness, no matter who wrote it in).

I watched this streaming and took a day break at about the 1 hour mark -- it would've been a lot to watch in a theater, I think (I tuned out at nearly every action sequence) but works for pandemic movie life.

I don't normally care about the theme songs at all but kind of dug this one.
posted by curious nu at 7:14 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


I don't normally care about the theme songs at all but kind of dug this one.

For those not aware of it, this might be an appropriate place to post the credit sequence from Spectre with the soundtrack unsuccessfully submitted by Radiohead - for context see "How Radiohead Wrote the Perfect Bond Theme". Somehow I like to think the choice of Billie Eilish's song may have been an attempt by the producers to make up for that. Lots of technical detail about how there is "right way" to write a great bond theme within.
posted by rongorongo at 5:49 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry to say I thought that was a terrible movie. I'm a fan of Daniel Craig, the recent Bond movies, and all the silliness that comes with Bond. I don't care at all that the EMP doesn't make any sense. But there's a limit to what I can tolerate and this film went over it.

Some of the elements worked. The set pieces and locations were mostly fine, although the strange concrete lair at the end seemed sort of jumbled. (Actual location: the Faroe Islands for the exteriors, buildings and interiors do not exist. The cast never even visited the place.)

The big loss to me is Rami Malek. He's such a great talent. How could they have squandered him so badly? I left the film with no idea what his motivations or story really was. Other than that he's disfigured, which clearly makes a person evil (along with possibly being the wrong ethnicity). It could have been a great character, the line where he tries to convince Bond he's just like him was kinda poignant. But instead he just mumbled a bunch of badly written lines and had a poorly realized poison garden (so much lost potential!) and it all just did not work for me.

The other big loss was Lashana Lynch, the new 007 agent. She was fantastic. And her writing sparkles, I particularly like that she has the same reckless competence that Bond does. But she's left doing fuck-all in the movie. Like lalochezia says, her role at the end of the movie as a babysitter sure didn't work well. Given the years-long drama of who the Bond replacement might be and whether it might be a woman, or a Black person... Here we have an awesome Black woman literally playing 007. But clearly as a supporting character. It didn't sit well.

That's all my personal reactions. This thoughtful Gawker article is a good bit of cultural criticism and the weaknesses of this film and the odd place Bond plays in our contemporary mythology.
posted by Nelson at 7:33 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


I think it's more interesting as a cultural artifact than a film. I rewatched it yesterday but bailed just before they arrived at the island.

Lea Seydoux should send roses to the costume & makeup department, as she looked just fantastic throughout.
posted by praemunire at 9:26 PM on November 21


Given the years-long drama of who the Bond replacement might be and whether it might be a woman, or a Black person... Here we have an awesome Black woman literally playing 007. But clearly as a supporting character. It didn't sit well.

She felt less like a character and more like an outline - completely underwritten, and a damned shame because the bits she GOT she killed.

On the whole I enjoyed the film, definitely the "most bond" of the Craig bond films (which have taken an interestingly slow journey from Bourne to Bond over their course).
posted by coriolisdave at 10:28 PM on November 21


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