No Time To Die:"Shaken and disturbed "
You know him. Bond. James Bond. Vodka martini; shaken not stirred. 007; licensed to kill. Villains such as Goldfinger, Oddjob and Jaws. Femmes fatales such as Vesper Lynd and Tiffany Case. Moneypenny. Exotic locations. Aston Martin. Gadgets. Walther PPK. M. Q. You know the traits, mannerisms, and style surrounding the most famous film spy.
We also know the actors, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, who have deemed to play Bond in guises from the sardonic and sartorial to the ultra-masculine. Is there anything new or changed in the Bond universe?
Daniel Craig clearly thinks there is a worthwhile reason that he has reprised his incarnation of Bond in No Time To Die, his last foray into Bond films. It can be taken for granted that profit is an overriding incentive. There is more to Daniel Craig’s iteration of Bond than the number 007. Craig imbues Bond with a sense of pathos. His Bond is not just the suave, debonair and dispassionate British spy who reeks of the British Establishment and overcomes worldwide threats while seducing women at his whim. Don’t be mistaken. Craig’s version of Bond definitely exudes masculinity, right down to his handsome, carved British stiff upper lip.
Bond. James Bond.
This is not to say you won’t get the standard Bond conventions. In No Time To Die, you will get more Bond than you bargained. Daniel Craig's swan-song as James Bond is a bag full of Bond. There are villains by the handful, including the maniacal Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz)— Bond's arch-nemesis from the master criminal organisation SPECTRE, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) and the unrelentingly murderous Cyclops (Ali Benssalah); femmes fatales Paloma (Ana de Armas) and licensed-to-kill agent Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who inflict lethal force with efficiency without swooning at Bond's sculptured torso; gadgets aplenty from machine-gun-enhanced cars to deadly magnetic wristwatches; the usual pack of government agency representatives, M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Wishaw), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright); and significantly, Bond’s true love, Madeleine (Léa Seydoux).
Nomi, Bond, Paloma, Cyclops, & Safin
There'a also the ever-present stunning wardrobe worn by friend and foe alike. Even the combat gear looks like it came from a haute couture collection. Of course, Bond also delivers many charming and witty one-liners for the delight of fans. Many of them sound like they could be titles for another Bond film.
Official Trailer No Time To Die (Eon Productions)
There are so many people, places, villains, agents, love interests and villainous plans to destroy humanity and civilisation in No Time To Die, that Bond, at times, retracts from the limelight. Rather than being thrust into centre stage, Bond steps back as the retired Commander Bond who has aged and switched his cool, super-spy countenance to a more sensitive and impassioned person. That explains why it takes 2 hours and 28 minutes to unfold and then refold the storylines. Perhaps this is a fitting exit for Daniel Craig as Bond. Perhaps it might also be a tad too long.
You get the gist of No Time To Die because it’s based on plotlines from previous Bond films in the franchise. Briefly, an evil super criminal, Safin, exacts revenge against Bond and those he holds dear, Madeline and her daughter Mathilde (Lisa-Dorah Sonnet), while ensuring Bond’s emotional connections are stripped bare. Safin doubles down on Bond’s frailties by executing a plan to cripple humanity using a deadly pathogen.
Bond’s salvation from loneliness and hard-edged, ruthless licensed-to-kill secret agent is softened by his meaningful relationship with Madeleine. Their closeness echoes the connection between George Lazenby’s Bond and Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Unsurprisingly, it will take James Bond to save the world. But at what cost to himself and his loved ones.
James & Madeleine
For Bond fanatics, seeing No Time To Die is a fait accompli. For audiences who enjoy action packed sequences and semi-heroic feats of daring in order to save the world, No Time To Die hits the mark. For movie-goers who see Bond as a relic of privileged British government institutions, a ruthless killer and a womaniser, then No Time To Kill will hold little interest, although it should be said that Daniel Craig has injected Bond with an appeal to an audience's emotions in order to evoke feelings—as well as the shooting, explosions and physical combat.
Daniel Craig has finished his tenure as ‘Bond, James Bond’, inured with the requisite one liners, furious action sequences, and sociopathic villains, with his humanness intact.
As to whether James Bond will return in another guise, you will be given plenty of hints, tips and suggestions as to Bond’s future direction in No Time To Die, although according to the producers of the Bond series, nothing has been decided.
No Time to Die has allowed Daniel Craig’s Bond to exit the role in multifarious ways, from turbulent, vulnerable and subdued to considerate, energetic and compassionate.
Whatever your approach is to Bond and the Bond universe, Daniel Craig’s completion of his stint as James Bond undoubtedly, decidedly, and irrevocably ends with a bang, not a whimper*.
*With apologies to T. S. Eliot‘s poem The Hollow Men
In Cinemas Now
No Time To Die
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
James Bond 007 will return
James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the long-time custodians of the iconic spy, have said the prospect of replacing Daniel Craig isn’t something they’re entertaining until 2022.
“Oh, God no,” said Broccoli. “We’re not thinking about (a replacement for Daniel Craig as Bond). We want Daniel to have his time of celebration. Next year we’ll start thinking about the future.”
READ: Daniel Craig’s 007 Replacement Won’t Be Discussed Until 2022, Says James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli, Manori Ravindran, Variety, 27 September 2021