No Time to Die (2021) Film Review *potential spoilers*

Rating 12a
Length 2h43
Release 30.09.2021
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga
About James Bond is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica after leaving active service. However, his peace is short-lived as his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, shows up and asks for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond on the trail of a mysterious villain who’s armed with a dangerous new technology.
Moon: no sighting
Where to Watch: Still in cinemas

First Thoughts/ Trigger Warning

So it’s finally here. We all thought MGM was holding off for that ‘return to the cinema’ so more people felt safe going. Tenent certainly reinforced this with its lacklustre box office.
Having seen No Time to Die, are we not certain it was the subject content (a hijacked bioweapon) that was the cause for hesitation?!
They certainly made the right choice, had they kept with their November 2020 scheduled release, the film might not have been the escape that Bond usually provides.

The Good

  • I’d forgotten about the humour and witty dialogue in Bond. This was up there with some of humour in Casino Royale. Not all of it hits the mark for every “What’s with the Book of Moron?”, there’s a cringe inducing ” do you know what time it is? …. Time to die!” but when it works, it is amazing.
  • I absolutely loved the use of sound when Bond is deafened by a bomb. As someone who is partially deaf, this really brings to everyone’s attention how difficult it can be. I know it’s not a new thing and I’ve certainly seen tv shows use this effectively, but this really did stand out as it was giving the audience a vulnerable spy.
  • Massive shout out for the Hugh Dennis cameo! Who doesn’t love Hugh Dennis?! Made my night and reminded me that this will forever live rent free in my head.
  • Felix! I love Felix. His relationship and interactions with Bond have always been my favourite part of the Craig era.
  • Lashana Lynch is the perfect 007. After all, its only a number. I love how the film acknowledges the ‘concerns’ and dismisses them completely. My only issue is that Lynch is underused. I, for one, would love to see a continuation of her story.
  • The entire Cuba sequence is wonderful. From the action, to the music. It is a chuck of Bond perfection. My favourite moment is the reunion of Daniel Craig with his Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas. Mainly for the fact that Bond asks her to turn around while he changes. I find it so endearing and weirdly charming that there’s this reversal of the norm for this sort of scene.
  • They made Q gay! Oh my heart soared (after I rewound to confirm what Ben Whishaw had said). No outing, no big fuss, just conversationally gay! THIS is exactly how LGBTQ+ should be in films.
    And, just as a side note. I want his house… and his cats.
  • Dad Bond is awesome. There’s a massive change in Craig’s performance once he even suspects that the young girl is his daughter that certainly, for me, put him at the top of the list for the most developed Bond in the franchise. There’s certainly a move away from the toxic masculine persona of the past and I’m pretty certain we wouldn’t have got that without Craig.

The Bad

  • The ‘prologue’ was a hefty 23 minutes, the longest in the franchise. I’m not sure what it was, but it put me completely on edge for all the wrong reasons.
    The prologue for me was also a little unclear. I didn’t have subtitles, so perhaps I missed the girl being called Madeline, but visually there wasn’t enough to state that it was a flashback. (Yes, there was a Tamagotchi. However, I’ve seen them for sale recently so that didn’t stand as a marker. There was also Barney on TV. While I know Paw Patrol is the cartoon of choice, that does not mean Barney is not watched around the world?!)
  • I’m still uncertain about Ralph Fiennes as M but that might be my dislike of Spectre.
  • Naomie Harris deserved so much more from this franchise. She is utterly wasted as Moneypenny.
  • I don’t like the legacy storylines. Yes, our way of consuming media has changed and now lends itself to over arcing storylines. However, I miss the self contained story. I love Bond, I didn’t like Spectre so I’ve only seen it the once. However, this instalment required a refresher (my own fault to be fair, a kid I was teaching did tell me this and even gave me a recommended Youtube video so I was up to speed) to really keep up with the story.
    I had convinced myself that the gravitas of Christoph Waltz, that he was from a much earlier film but couldn’t quite place him. It distracted me quite a bit, and I feel it would do the same for other viewers.

The Ugly

  • I know Bond has always been full of clichés, but I really had hoped the problematic ones would be vanquished by now. I’m of course talking about disfigurement and disabilities being used to signify an antagonist, villain or henchman. No Time to Die gives us two; Lyutsifer Safin and Primo (who is also credited as ‘Cyclops’).
    • Safin is brandished with scars (more on his shitness as an antagonist later); a bit of research *after* the film informs me these were caused by a bioweapon used to kill his family. The very fact that I missed the sole line that gives us this knowledge shows how gratuitous it is.
    • Cyclops is given the name for a reason; he has one eye. One he can see out of at least. While I understand the purpose of the bionic eye as a plotting device later in the film it’s this disables = other that’s problematic. Plus, the GCI on that bulging Stargate-glow eye is shit.
    • James Bond, on the other hand, should look like human swiss cheese yet all I saw was what might be Daniel Craig’s appendix scar. What the fuck, is the franchise literally telling us scars = bad person?! Fuck off!
  • There is such a dependence on CGI in this outing. Most will not have noticed, but it really isn’t going to stand up to repeated viewings. Looking at the location list makes me wonder why this is the cast too; many sequences look like they’ve taken place on a green screen studio set.
  • The nanobots confuse the fuck out of me for two reasons:
    • If Madeline was related to Blofeld, why didn’t the nanobots given to her kill her? We’d seen how they reacted to the other dude’s family at the funeral. Also, why we’re on that, how thoughtless and callous was that scene given the current climate?! Who the fuck kisses the corpse of someone who died of a contagion? Hell, who has an open casket?!
    • I know there needed to be a no known ‘cure’ for the plot, but what about the EMP?! Surely that could have neutralised the nanotech?! I know, I know, both are theoretical inventions so they have artistic licence, but fucking use logic on them (one kills electric, one *runs* on electric). Also, Q tells James to us the EMP and then wonders why they’ve lost radio connection?! I have these questions and I went in with my brain switched OFF!
  • Safin is a shit bad guy! Like, literally the worst. Don’t get me wrong; Rami Malik does a grand job with what he has to work with, and he creeps the fuck out of me. HOWEVER;
    • Killing members of Spectre, I get. Wanting to kill Blofeld; get it. Global rollout; why now?! Money? Revenge? Thanos Fan boy? Give me something that explains why. Honestly, I’d have had him only plan as far as killing Blofeld then have him either auction off the product, or have the mad scientist take control.
    • Why the fuck did Safin save Madeline in the flashback, not kill her when he sends her to assassinate her father to then kidnap her? It feels all so convoluted and … bullshit!

Final Thoughts

It’s not the best, but it is by no means the worst.