Wednesday, September 29, 2021

No Time To Die Review: Daniel Craig's Bond Has A Strong And Fitting Farewell

Release date: October 8, 2021
Running time: 163 minutes
Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ana de Armas, with Jeffrey Wright, with Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes as "M"

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.

No Time To Die continued to wait until movie theaters had opened, with the justification that this is a movie you should see in theaters.  And they were right about that.  Right from the start, No Time To Die grabs you with its intense action, amazing sound, and Daniel Craig as 007.  The film is a worthy return to the theaters and if you are comfortable being back, it is a good reason to return.  the story has Daniel Craig coming out of retirement to save the world, your typical Bond story except he is a little more rebellious in his older age.  But the world of 007 has evolved and so have the entities involved.  I liked the intrigue between the various organizations as they both tried to stop this disaster from happening without really working well together.  And the film also lets you revisit some old plot lines and characters that we know and love.  

And speaking of characters you know and love, No Time To Die reunites us with some old ones and introduces us to some fresh faces.  Daniel Craig is the perfect bond, with his good looks and quiet confidence.  You also have Jeffrey Wright returning as Felix, Ben Whishaw returning as Q, Ralph Fiennes as M, and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny.  But you also have the introduction of some new characters, most enjoyable of which was Ana de Armas as a young agent that helps Bond during an earlier part of the mission.  She had a disarming mentality and a fun oblivious confidence that was a great start to this film.  And Seydoux returns as Madeleine for a more substantial role in the Bond saga. 

But you’re coming to Bond for the action and No Time To Die has that in spades.  From the car chases, to the gunfights, to the hand to hand combat, this is the Bond that you’re waiting for.  The action is intense and varied, but this also has the new aspects of Daniel Craig feeling his age.  This was introduced in Skyfall (I think) but as this film also has aspects of Bond coming out of retirement, you’ve also got him taking bad hits and trying to shake it off.  And the sound, wow this movie has some amazing sound.  You’ve got explosions, sounds that are muffled because of explosions, gunfire, and some really great scenes in various vehicles.  The soundscape is amazing and something that you really should see in theaters.  Maybe it has just been a while, but hearing the muffled sounds from inside a cockpit really reminded me what it was like to be back in theaters.  

But whereas the action and sound and characters are all great, the story is where Bond is let down.  It’s not terrible, but it has some plot holes that feel like they should have been addressed.  The main villain just doesn’t feel like much of a menace, and his connection to the story is too tenuous.  And his actions progress the story but it also feels like some aspects are bolted on for the overall film.  I imagine some of this is due to editing as the film is already a very long one, but it was just something that felt noticeable.  At the end there were certain motivations that I was unclear about, and aspects of the villain and character's past that were left unanswered.  

No Time To Die is a solid return to the theaters, with intense action, amazing sound, and the Daniel Craig Bond you know and love.  

Watch it.

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No Time To Die is in theaters on October 8, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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