Movie Review: No Time To Die


From mgm.com (https://www.mgm.com/movies/no-time-to-die)

Disclaimer: There are spoilers. Read on only if you have already watched or never plan to watch the latest Bond movie — No Time To Die.


Typically I never read reviews or see trailers before I watch a movie, especially if I’ve been waiting for the movie for a while. Trailers are usually awesome and raise the bar. Why be disappointed after!

I followed the same policy for No Time To Die. Still, there was one leak. Someone said it was a bit of a drag. I was bugged. At 2 hr 43 minutes in length, it might be a drag, I thought! I lowered the bar.

But guess what? Call me a fan. Call me “I will be entertained by anything after 2 years without a theatre visit”. I did not find a single dull moment in the movie! I was surprised when the halfway break was announced. I felt we had just started warming up!


Why we love James Bond

Ok! Ok! Make that I. Why do I love James Bond? I am sure a lot of you have the same reasons. If there are others, feel free to add them in the comments! Maybe I am missing some reasons to love him!!

  • He is indestructible without wearing superhero garb. Heck, he is a smart, good-looking, suave Brit superhero in a suit.
  • He has an amazing sense of humor. The timing is always spot on.
  • He has style and class. Uff! All women secretly want to be a Bond babe. Either we don’t know it yet or just don’t admit it.
  • The way he says his name! Bond. James Bond. Oh. so. perfect!
  • Daniel Craig adds a few elements that heighten the fandom. The broodiness. Emotions simmering under the surface. Tough but human.

<sorry, I had to stop to wipe drool off the laptop>

  • And that signature Bond tune. When you hear it in a movie theatre with surround sound it is enough to make you weak in your knees with anticipation! It tells you exciting things are going to happen. You can’t wait. I watched No Time To Die two days ago and that signature tune is still looping in my head.

I love the whole package. The consistency and the predictability. The expectation of hearing, “One Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred” is half the pleasure. Never mind that the sentence has nothing romantic in it. Who cares. My breath hitches when I hear him say that regardless.

And I don’t want any of it to be skipped in any movie. Not the Aston Martin supercar, not the fascinating and magical gadgets, not those crisp suits regardless of the fight scenes, nope, we don’t want anything to be dropped or changed! We want it again and again. And again.


No Time To Die has it all

Every Bond movie has one iconic scene that sets the stage for the movie. In this one, pretty much 10 minutes into the movie, Bond is being chased by a bunch of goons on narrow streets in Matera, Italy. We know he is going to escape, but we still end up at the end of the seat holding on to our fragile hearts.

When Daniel Craig swings stylishly off the bridge holding onto the cable or rides a bike at supersonic speeds without harming the hair on any bystander’s head, you know you made the right choice to set aside 3 hours of your life for this! This is what you came to watch! Style and charisma and humaneness and raw masculinity all rolled up neatly and packaged into one visual and sensory journey led by one of your favorite Bonds! Oh, for the record, my all-time favorite Bond is Pierce Brosnan! Who can resist his twinkling eyes and impish smile! But Daniel Craig is pretty close!

No Time To Die has everything you expect in a Bond movie, and then some. It has something unexpected. James Bond professing true love to the character of Madeleine Swann. We know he has a large heart and is deeply attracted to several of his lady loves. But this one seems different. And everlasting.

You can stop reading at this stage and save yourself from spoilers. Escape while you can.

No Time To Die has a history that comes back to bite Bond. And in spite of the title that unnecessarily upped my confidence, in the last scene Bond stands on an island that is destroyed by missiles. We have to assume he died. I hated it. I cried. It was bound to happen. No Time To Die is the last of the 5 movies Daniel Craig had signed up for. Still! I can’t accept this!

And the last thing James Bond does before going down? Calls Madeleine Swann and tells her he loves her. And tells her she has created the most beautiful thing. What, you ask? A little girl! Yes! James Bond is the father of Madeleine’s cute little girl. Knock me down with a feather!


And that’s how they keep introducing subtle changes into each movie in the series and slowly changing the shape and form of the icon we love. From a cool, unflappable casanova who charms a new woman in each movie to a human superhero with love in his heart and a baby in his arms, James Bond has come a long way.

There was a bit of unrest (for me) when they introduced Lashana Lynch as the new double-oh-seven. A woman playing James Bond? Puhleaze! I almost left the theatre. The hubby managed to hold me down. But somewhere along the movie, she asks for permission to reinstate 007 back to Daniel Craig. I cried!


Clearly, I am easily excited. I clapped when Craig swung off the bridge. Tried to whistle when he pulled the trigger in that classic Bond pose within a circle. Laughed at his witticisms delivered with a straight face. Got super excited when his Aston Martin morphed into an armored truck and shot down all the enemies. Grabbed my kid excitedly when the plane that Bond and the new 007 were in landed on water and smoothly turned into a submarine. I don’t know where 2 hr 43 minutes went. It was not long. It was too short. And it was awful when he stood alone on the island ready to die. Resigned to his fate. Ugh!

I can’t believe we will never see Daniel Craig as James Bond again. I am sure the series will continue and will check all the boxes. But I still miss Pierce Brosnan. And now I will miss Daniel Craig. Sniff! Sigh!


It would be unfair to not mention Q, M, Moneypenny, and all the other usual suspects in a Bond movie without whom the luster goes down just a bit. Q looks older, M looks wiser, and Moneypenny looks sexier. And the song by Billie Ellish — uff!!

On a scale of 1 to 10, my rating for this superb entertainer is 8! I’d love to watch it again in the theatre! And that’s saying a lot. I rarely watch movies in theatres.


Addendum

I wish people would watch Bond movies like we watch Rajinikanth movies in theatres here. Fans react to every scene with great excitement. There is clapping and dancing, whistling, and screaming, well, and maybe some amount of mass hysteria. But watching a Rajinikanth movie in a theatre is an experience!

James Bond deserves that kind of fanfare! It ought to be a celebration!


Originally published on FanFare on Medium.com.

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