We went to see No Time to Die this past Monday afternoon, which ought not to surprise anybody who read last week’s post about watching all the previous Daniel Craig Bond films.
This post contains spoilers.
I am going to put the title card in, then write a few more general paragraphs about the movie, then I will put a cut in and discuss spoilers below that. Spoilers will not appear on the front page of the blog, but if you read this via RSS or came directly to the post then you are in danger of tainting yourself with them.
Again, spoiler warning. You carry on from here at your own risk.
So, as noted, we saw the film on Monday at an afternoon matinee in a sizable theater with maybe a total of ten people on hand. There is a reason we chose that time slot. It was the first time we have been back to the theater since either Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker or Knives Out, both of which we saw during the holidays in 2019.
It has been a while.
And I will say that movie theater popcorn is every bit as good as I remember it. It beats the crap out of home popped or microwave popcorn. Really, they don’t even compare. It was so good that I am sure it must somehow be destroying the environment or involve some sort of exploitation of labor. Amazon probably runs the factory and the delivers services using entirely gig labor compensated as piece work with impossible to meet quotas. But I savored it all the same.
James Bond, however, was a bit of a let down.
No Time to Die picks up where Spectre left off with James and Madeleine in Italy, together after having thwarted Blofeld. They are in love and going to spend the rest of their lives together. James says that they have “all the time in the world,” which I couldn’t help recalling is pretty much what George Lazenby said to Diana Rigg at the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service right before Diana Rigg dies.
Foreshadow much Bond?
Maybe, or maybe not. We’re not to the spoilers quite yet. Anyway, it turns out SPECTRE the organization (as opposed to the movie) is still kind of pissed off and they come to get Bond and there is a car chase and guns and a guy loses his prosthetic eye and when they get clear there is the question of who sold out whom and the relationship is off.
Then we get the opening credits, which were a bland montage backed by a bland theme song. Completely forgettable. If you’re a Billie Eilish fan, I’m sorry, but it just wasn’t enough to carry the opening.
After the credits it is five years later, a sinister plot is afoot and Bond, who has been in retirement in Ian Flemming’s old digs in Jamaica, gets pulled into things despite the fact that he’s off the list and there is already another agent sitting at the desk labeled “007.”
Anyway, he goes in, there is action, betrayal, a major double cross, more action, lots of gun play, an escape, another double cross, then a big reveal about how all of this a black project that is now in the hands of the bads. More Bond digging, plot discovered, bad guys one step ahead, big chase scene, Bond gets away. Then finally the big set piece infiltration op, facing the bad guy, then the grand finale, roll credits, the Daniel Craig era is over.
And it was okay. Mostly on formula. It looked good on the big screen. There are, as always, boxes that need to be checked. Action was done in the Bond fashion. But, as with Spectre, the whole didn’t really come together into something greater than the box-ticking parts.
Having seen all five in the space of a week, my wife and I hashed out our ranking of the Daniel Craig Bond films as:
- Casino Royale
- No Time to Die
- Quantum of Solace
I might give QoS the benefit of the doubt and put it ahead of No Time to Die, maybe… as at least it wasn’t two hours and forty five minutes getting somewhere. If you’re going to be mediocre, at least be brief about it. But my wife insisted it be at the bottom, so I’ll leave it there.
The odd thing about that list is that the best film, at least in our ranking, is the one that doesn’t get all bogged down in the shadowy world of mysterious global criminal organizations that control most everything behind the scenes… though the SPECTRE organization roster seems a bit thin in No Time to Die for an organization that claims to have people everywhere.
Anyway, we are at the spoilers section. You have been warned.