No Time to Die is everything you would expect from a James Bond film. Plus a little more. The movie is full. Full of story, full of action, full of expectations. The new cinema adventure contains enough unique material to go down in history as a ‘special’. Daniel Craig wasn’t lying when he said that No Time to Die contains elements that have never been seen in a Bond film before.
With every new Bond adventure, the question is again: what will be added to the already quite broad universe of the film series? Sometimes it’s just a few lines, sometimes a new chapter. No Time to Die is a completely new book in that regard.
Some new elements were to be expected, they had already been leaked. Other things were more a matter of hope, and part of that has also come true.
It stays as vague as can be, and I feel like I’m circling a hot mess, but any hint can be just one too many. And that would be a real shame.
An attempt at an explanation of the film. Without spoilers of course.
The fact that this film is different from other Bond films starts with the gun barrel, which fortunately has been in the right place in the film since last time. The searchlight with which this opening sequence always begins is formed from the Universal logo. That is nice, but has the disadvantage that you do not quite get into the old familiar atmosphere. The atmosphere of a Bond film the moment the dots roll across the screen.
The gunbarrel itself has become a unique example for the fifth time in a row. And most striking: this time there is no blood involved. We are, as it were, sucked into the first scene.
The pre-title sequence that follows is the longest ever. That is not surprising for a film of 163 minutes. I suspect it will take at least 20 minutes for the opening titles to appear. The opening sequence is in two parts and flows logically from the first part into the second.
Especially the first minutes are special for a Bond film. The second part is more what we are used to from 007 – Nincs idő meghalni teljes film opening, so a lot of action. In the meantime, there is also a lot of information that we have to absorb. It is useful here if you know a little about the Bond films with Daniel Craig.
When we arrive at the opening titles after a rollercoaster of action and emotion, a new gem by Daniel Kleinman awaits. The title designer surpasses himself. The themes from the film are all beautifully designed. In addition, a number of bends to classic opening titles such as Dr. No and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service . Since I’ve seen the film in both 2D and IMAX 3D, the only thing that justifies 3D is Daniel Kleinman. Furthermore, this effect does not add anything to the film. But that aside.
After the solid introduction, it’s time for ‘the great threat’ on which the rest of the film has to live. As was already known at the presentation of Bond 25, once in the distant past, a scientist is kidnapped, after which James Bond springs into action.
Swedish actor David Dencik makes this devious doctor Valdo Obruchev a joy to watch. He snarls and whines and thus has the laughter on his hand. His contribution throughout the film is also not small.
A smaller role is reserved for Ana de Armas as CIA agent Paloma. The scenes in which she can be seen are set in Cuba and really splash off the screen. Everything she does is touching. De Armas imparts a charming nervousness to her role — this is her first major assignment.
Then a variety of returning characters can be seen. In particular, the role of Madeleine Swann, the first Bond girl to return, is essential. Ralph Fiennes as M looks stern again and again proves to be a great successor to Judi Dench (note the paintings of the old M’s at MI6, even Robert Brown is included). We meet Ben Whishaws Q in a private situation, which is simply something different than a laboratory.
After an absence of two films, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) is also back. The last time we saw him in Quantum of Solace (2008) it was a grumpy bear whose scenes were stolen by the much cuter David Harbour. Felix is more in his element this time.
Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) gets to join in again, this time as Belmarsh’s Hannibal Lecter. It’s nice to see him for a while. As a figure in the background, he comes into his own better than as the main villain in the previous film.
On the new guard we have Lashana Lynch as 00 agent Nomi, a character I can’t get enough of, or I just don’t like her that much. Except in that scene where everyone is in M’s office and ‘the great threat’ is revealed. Something is bothering her there and she knows how to play it out very nicely.
Rami Malek as Safin pops up throughout the film. That is not given to every villain. Safin is thoughtful, to the point of being scary. He is always one step ahead of Bond and, although not physically, is a constant threat.
And then Daniel Craig, James Bond himself. The most layered Bond of all 007 actors. He’s been good since his first appearance in Casino Royale (2006). The penultimate film showed his character a slightly lighter tone, which he continues in No Time to Die . There are definitely some nice one-liners in there. Another time he comes comically with a single glance. In addition, as we are used to from him, he is sometimes downright hard. His emotional side also gets plenty of attention this time. It must be a satisfying feeling for a Bond actor to be able to play a variety of emotions. Despite the fact that many action scenes have a lot of superman luck, he does look like a real person.
Whether we will miss him as James Bond is the question after fifteen years and five films. I think Craig has been able to tell a nice complete story with his Bond films. An approach that its predecessors could only dream of. It’s been nice, time for a fresh James Bond.