October 12, 2021

Random Musings: No Time to Die

Daniel Craig’s James Bond had his last vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) this week with No Time to Die, and I didn’t have a chance to cover everything I wanted to in my review. Here are some other thoughts I had about the film that didn’t quite fit into the review — and keep in mind, there are major spoilers ahead.

  • The opening scene was excellent. It sets about giving Craig’s Bond an actual story arc by tying up his feelings for Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale before descending into the first of many heart-racing action sequences that No Time to Die presents us with. There were times that I contemplated if it was still the opening, seeing as how long it was, but I suppose it was appropriate in a nearly three-hour movie.
  • Billie Eilish’s theme song is great and all (in fact, I’ve enjoyed it since it debuted in February 2020), but somehow it didn’t seem to match the opening credits sequence in the epic way that previous Bond songs have. Lyrically, the song is perfect, but I’m just not sure how well Eilish’s vibe melds with the Bond credits aesthetic.
  • I wouldn’t mind seeing Lashana Lynch or Ana de Armas in a spinoff, set in this universe. I’m sure Amazon is hard at work on multiple projects as we speak.
  • The deaths of primary characters were perfectly set up, and served as a welcome bit of finality for Craig’s bond. Of course this is the first time that James Bond has died or had a child, and no other Bond has received quite a well-executed farewell as Craig’s. Even in spinoffs or potential sequels (perhaps featuring Ana de Armas or Lashana Lynch), there is no way he can return, barring any prequels — but that’s not really Bond’s style. Plus, he sacrificed himself, which fits in with his character arc and a thematic go-to for major protagonists. Tony Stark, eat your heart out.
  • The death of Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter was unexpected, but I understand the reasoning story-wise — he’s presented as Bond’s CIA equivalent, and their stories run parallel to the bittersweet end.
  • I quite enjoyed the serialization of Craig’s Bond run — every villain from Casino Royale to Skyfall was somehow connected to the Spectre organization, and everything comes to a head in No Time to Die. References for the dedicated viewers are always appreciated, and No Time to Die did not disappoint in that department either. Unfortunately, this comes along with some retconning of backstory (more specifically, Madeleine Swann’s) that doesn’t work as well in hindsight. This is a minor quibble, though — there’s a lot more to love here than there is to be disappointed by.
  • Speaking of disappointments: the inclusion of Christoph Waltz as Blofeld for a mere scene (plus a cameo appearance earlier on) was discouraging. When I heard that Waltz played the man behind Spectre, I had high hopes, and when his role in 2015’s Spectre was a let-down, I thought they would make better use of him in No Time to Die. Unfortunately, he’s really only there to tie up loose ends, and my hopes for the perfect Bond villain in Craig’s era were dashed.
  • Rami Malek never really did it for me as Safin. I mentioned in my review that it was difficult to separate him from the performer, as Malek doesn’t really do anything special with this character that I haven’t seen him do before, but his intentions are also thinly-veiled and very mustache-twirly. I will say, though, his villain plan involving a genetic virus was eerily prescient, considering the movie was filmed a full year before the pandemic began. Virus plots are nothing new, but there might be something to be said for fact that it’s happening now. Also, when are we going to get a Bond villain that isn’t an eerily calm, wide-eyed male?

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