The pitch of the new James Bond movie No Time to Die is on a highly emotional level. It is not entirely that fast and stylish Bond movie with a flurry of gadgets. This being the last Bond film of actor Daniel Craig, we see the end of that story arch, and the emphasis is on closure on many levels. Thus, the movie feels a bit stretched out and a little too emotional. No Time To Die from Cary Joji Fukunaga is indeed a watchable film, but that expected emotional high is missing.
After the events in Spectre, Madeline, and Bond are together and having a great time. During their stay at Matera, Bond decides to visit the tomb of Vesper after Madeline asks him whether he could forgive Vesper. But that tomb visit ends up in the separation of Madeline and Bond. Years later, Specter attacks one of MI6’s secrets labs, and a bioweapon named Heracles is stolen from there. MI6 calls its best agent to take up the mission. Initially reluctant, Bond eventually agrees to take up the task and what happens in his efforts to seize Heracles is what we see in No Time To Die.
The emotional tone of this movie is almost similar to what we have seen in James Mangold’s Logan, which was the last outing of Hugh Jackman as the iconic Wolverine. That film, in my opinion, had a terrific balance. Fukunaga’s version of Bond is missing out on that balance. The idea to give an emotional depth to a character like James Bond was indeed an impressive thought. But there are so many things happening in the movie, and some of the twists in the tale feel very obvious. The hesitation to be a true-blue Bond film or to be an emotional drama is keeping the movie constantly in a space where you will want the film to change its gears.
In his last outing as 007, Daniel Craig captures the emotional side and the swagger of James Bond gracefully. Madeline, this time is in that constantly anxious space, and Lea Seydoux could pull it off neatly. Rami Malek doesn’t have ample screen time in the film, and the creation of that antagonist lacked finesse. The rest of the cast has a very sporadic time on screen, and somehow you don’t really get the feeling of a team operation happening.
Both Skyfall and Spectre had given the franchise a significant change in terms of visual grammar, and Cary Joji Fukunaga has managed to achieve a similar visual impact in No Time To Die as well. The set pieces in the movie have a more raw approach. If the script could have provided more sequences and events that created an adrenalin rush, it would have been a much better Good-Bye to Daniel Craig from the franchise, considering how he drastically changed the character’s image. Like I already mentioned, the story here is looking for closure of all the tracks it had opened in other films during Craig’s tenure. And thus, the balance is a bit off, and Rami Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin becomes almost an inconsequential character to the script because of the crowding of tracks.
I am not an ardent fanboy of the James Bond movies, but the franchise films have always excited me. So from that point of view, No Time To Die felt more like an average melodrama about an exhausted James Bond that tried to squeeze in action set pieces because people expect Bond to show off his gadgets and swagger. The kind of emotional impact a Logan or an Endgame (referring to Tony Stark) could create was missing in Fukunaga’s No Time To Die.
No Time To Die felt more like an average melodrama about an exhausted James Bond that tried to squeeze in action set pieces because people expect Bond to show off his gadgets and swagger.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended